Quick Tip – Keep It Clean!

As a female angler, I am in complete shock when I see my friends go out with their brand new kayaks looking all fresh and detailed only to return home with a filthy, full of dead bait kayak and never even clean it. Really?! Come on guys! Most launch points have a car wash within a few miles. At least rinse that thing off!

All joking aside, it really is smart to keep your kayaks clean and taken care of. Why would you spend that much on something and then not take care of it? That’s crazy! Here are a few simple suggestions to keeping your kayak clean and extending its life span.

Rinse your boat down and clean it out with “Simple Green” (an all purpose environmentally friendly cleaner you can get from almost any store). Be sure to clean it inside and out.

Once clean, I highly recommended “303 Protectant”, it’s like a sun block for your boat to help keep it from fading, keeps it shiny and holds the “new boat” look as well as keeping it from getting brittle. You would want to use 303 after Simple Green. Just spray your boat in sections, wiping as you go. Make sure to leave your hatches open to prevent moisture from sitting inside your boat too!

Fifteen minutes is all it takes!

Amanda @ACK Houston

Dare We Say…Time to Start Thinking About Kayak Storage?

Consider these tips and product recommendations to keep the critters out and your kayak in good shape.

Admittedly, the idea of long-term storage of a kayak seems like a strange concept to me personally. I’ve lived in Texas all my life and not to throw it in your face, but our paddling season extends well into fall and even through the “winter” season. That said we do recognize that a large percentage of our customers don’t live in the south and when winter comes, it really is time to start thinking about how to store your boats away for the season. Here are a few tips and product recommendations for those looking for affordable, space saving options and more importantly, the protection of your investment — your kayak.

Step by Step…Preparing Your Boat for Storage

  1. Start by washing your boat inside and out with a mild soapy water to remove dirt, grime and for you anglers out there…all that gooey stuff that comes from who knows what. Wipe it down and let it dry thoroughly, especially inside.
  2. Spray your kayak with 303 Aerospace Protectant but don’t over do it. A light coating is all you need.I like to put my hand in an old sock and use it to evenly apply the 303. This will keep your kayak conditioned — so to speak.
  3. Oil any metal parts…again don’t over do it!
  4. Tighten all screws, bolts, etc. to ensure a safe revival in spring in case you forget to do it then. This also gives you time to hunt down replacement hardware should any of it be missing or on it’s way to the rust bucket.
  5. Finally, if storing outside, remove any soft or fabric type materials such as the seat. If a rodent happens to make it’s way into your boat, this is the type of material they like for their nests.

Storing Your Boats
If you don’t already have a rack system setup, you should certainly consider it. Too often, customers will store their kayak flat on the ground resulting in a hull that warps. Your best bet is to store it off the floor and on its side or with the hull side up. The sides and gunnels (upper edge on the sides of your boat) are thicker and with less surface space in those areas, there is a less of a chance of warping. To properly store it on it’s hull or side, you’ll need to invest in a kayak storage device.

The following are a few of our most popular recommendations:

NRS Kayak Hanger – Simple and affordable. The NRS Kayak Hanger is the perfect solution for those with ceiling space in a garage, porch or other storage room. Can be installed in minutes and comes with loops to store you paddle. The kit comes with everything you need.

Talic Kayak Tilt Storage – My personal favorite is the Tilt Storage Rack. While not recommended for outdoor use, it is quite possibly the best looking and easiest to install wall rack system. When not in use, the arms can be moved up so they don’t get in the way.

Malone J-Dock Hybrid Kayak Storage System – Don’t be fooled, while affordable, this system can take a beating and boasts a corrosion proof construction. What makes this unique is it’s ability to hold more than just one kayak. Don’t have two kayaks? Use the top portion of the system for your paddle, snowboard or other outdoor gear.

Harken 90 lb. Kayak Lift System – Worried about how you plan to lift your kayak onto the wall or ceiling? The Harken Kayak Lift System is exactly what you need. Not only will it get it out of the way you can easily get it of the ground or your roof rack with Harken’s 4 point lift system. A 60 lb. version of the system is also available.

Cover It Up!
Regardless of where you store it, you may want to consider protecting your boat with a cover to keep critters out. We sell both full boat covers as well as cockpit covers for sit inside kayaks. Click here to view our complete line of full boat covers and cockpit covers.

Whether your store it inside or out, take care of your investment, otherwise you’ll be back at ACK.com shopping for another kayak sooner than you think! :-)

Roland @ ACK

Too Early to Start Thinking About Spring? We Don’t Think So!

7 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Kayak for the Spring Paddling Season

For some, the idea of the “spring season” may seem a bit silly, because with the ponds and streams still frozen watersports may be the last thing on their mind. On the flipside, others are in the midst of an unseasonably warm winter. Then of course there are those paddlers who don’t believe seasons exist, and paddle all year long! Regardless of your position, now is a good time to take a look at your kayak or canoe to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for what we can refer to as the busy paddling season. We all understand that kayaks are virtually indestructible and part of what makes them appealing is the fact that you really don’t have to do much in terms of maintenance. However, over time and through heavy use, kayaks and canoes like everything else will begin to deteriorate. Here are a few quick tips that will help extend the life your boat for years to come.

1.) Check For Leaks:

Leaks are generally a result of a gash or more often wear on the bottom of your hull. While some leaks are slow and may not be an immediate threat, patching it up as quickly as possible will keep it from spreading into what may eventually become unrepairable or even worse, pose a safety risk. Also, check for thinning plastic on the bottom of your hull. When an area becomes thin with wear, even a small bump into a sharp rock can cause it to rupture. Obtain a plastic patch kit or take your kayak to your local dealer to repair any damage.

2.) Check the Hardware:

You may have experienced this before. You pick up your kayak only to find that the handle unexpectedly pops loose and your kayak goes falling to the ground. It’s always a good idea to tighten all of the hardware and replace any hardware that has rusted or is showing other signs of corrosion.

3.) Make Sure it All Works:

Sure, most kayaks have limited moving parts but if you own one with a rudder or pedal drive system, double check to make sure it’s all in working order before you head out. While you are at it, check all cables and tubing for fraying wires and cracking. Lubricate all moving parts per the manufacturers instructions.

4.) Check For Wear:

The first parts that typically need replacing are your straps, cargo bungee, rope and other fabric based materials. Check them all, these are usually easily replaceable. A seat that doesn’t provide the proper support due to a faulty strap is not fun when you’re miles from your destination.

5.) Check your Gear:

Just like your kayak, check that all of your gear is in good working order. Items such as your PFD, paddle, vehicle rack system (very important), cart, etc. This is also a good time to check to make sure you have all of your safety gear and replenish any consumables in your first aid kits that you may have used last season.

6.) Check Yourself:

Don’t forget, you are the engine of your kayak, without you, it’s not going anywhere. Start thinking about a conditioning program, shed a few pounds, work on those legs and get some cardio exercises integrated into your daily routine. It’s all for the benefit of your health and will lead to a more enjoyable day on the water.

7.) Make it Look Good:

Okay, maybe not necessary but cleaning your kayak with a mild soap/water mixture and conditioning it with some 303 protectant will not only bring it’s sheen back to life, but will help keep your kayak from fading. 303 contains UV inhibitors so it’s not just all about looks — it will also protect it.

Whether you are one of the few lucky ones experiencing this sensational mild winter or have your packed away in the garage, take a moment to look out for your investment and safety.

Roland @ACK

Kayak Sunburn

Buying a kayak can be an investment and it is important to consider your boat’s value both in the immediate sense as well as down the road.  When purchasing a kayak, there are certain variables that will maintain a boat’s long-term value and positively influence its resale value.

These variables include regular maintenance and care (such as replacing broken padeyes, bungee cords, carry handles, etc) and any additional improvements or added accessories that broaden the scope of a kayak’s use.  Examples of accessories include items such as flush mount rod holders, a rudder, or an upgraded seat.  These are some of the variables that will influence the value of your boat.

Typically the most important aspect of retaining value is the cosmetic appearance of the boat.  “Looks” will have the greatest impact on perceived value.  Although appearance is a non-functional aspect of the kayak, potential buyers look at the condition of a boat and envision themselves paddling it.  If a kayak has been sun damaged or repaired multiple times, the intrinsic value of the boat will diminish in the buyer’s eyes.  Unfortunately, repair scars are difficult to hide, but sun damage or discoloration of a kayak is incredibly easy to prevent.

Just as there are many products to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, there are products that do the same for your kayak.  303 Aerospace UV Protectant is a product specially formulated for use on plastic surfaces.  Hobie makes a comparable product called Hobie UV Protectant & Restorer.  Although this product is labeled Hobie, it provides protection for all plastic kayaks.  Using the Hobie Boat Cleaner will lower the number of applications of the UV protectant necessary to maintain a kayak’s cosmetic appearance. These kayak maintainers retail for between $8.99 – $14.99 and work to protect your kayak surfaces from drying out or becoming faded or discolored.

For just a few extra bucks, it is well worth it to use these kayak protectors regularly to maintain the condition of your yak throughout its lifespan.

Chris Steckel
ACK – San Marcos