How to Pack Your Kayak

Before you set out on any boating excursion, be it fishing, long distance, camping, or whitewater, its crucial to have your dry hatch essentials prepared and properly stocked in your kayak. Although all of these different styles typically require different calibers of gear and equipment, there are some not so obvious basics, necessary for any adventure. Making sure you know exactly how waterproof your hatch is before you begin packing is the first step. If you are unsure on how waterproof the space is and don’t have time for testing, be sure to double pack all of your goods into dry bags and then into the hatch to protect against the risk of water damage.  Continue reading How to Pack Your Kayak

Winter is Coming: Kayak Storage Solutions

Although we hate to admit it, it’s officially time to start thinking about kayakiStock_000019474758Small storage. With temperatures dropping and in many places, snowfall becoming more and more frequent, kayaks take a back seat to cozying up indoors and spending a little quality time next to the fireplace. With that said, we have a few storage tips and product recommendations to make your transition from fall to winter a breeze.

Step 1: Prepping Your Boat for Storage

Cleaning your boat and ensuring everything is secure and ready for Spring is an important step to take before storing your kayak for the winter. It will make spring feel that much sweeter when you finally take your kayak out for the first time and everything is ready to go! Continue reading Winter is Coming: Kayak Storage Solutions

Proper Kayak Maintenance

If every paddler had their way, kayaks would glide through the years without a scratch or dent to it’s hull. But let’s be realistic here – a well used kayak takes a beating! The good news is that kayaks are very resilient and kayak maintenance requires minimal effort. There are a few basic things to do and think about to keep your kayak and equipment in good shape and soon, it will be routine!

Pre-Season Kayak Maintenance

Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.
Doing a little kayak maintenance at ACK Houston.

The last thing you want to happen when you pull your kayak out of storage for your first spring paddle is to find that something was left broken from last year, or worse, was damaged during storage. Refer to these pointers to prepare:

Look over the hull for damage. Long term storage is one of the most common ways a kayak’s hull can be damaged. In the case of a depressed hull, heat will often be enough to return the kayak to it’s original shape. Leaving it in the sun on a hot day will often pop it back to it’s original shape.

Inspect the rigging. Make sure the hardware, perimeter lines and bungees are all in good shape. UV radiation can deteriorate plastic pad-eyes and degrade bungees/lines.

Look over the rudder or skeg if it has one and evalutate the deployment lines, stainless steel cables, pivot hardware and pedals. Make sure to repair anything that needs fixing now, rather than finding out on the water!

Replace old parts and accessories, or just add new ones. This is the perfect time to retire old gear like a seat or bulkhead. Look over all of your gear and remind yourself what was bothering you last year.

If you found yourself wishing for an extra something last season, like another rod holder, this is the time to add it!

Refill emergency gear. Go through your first-aid kit, bailout bag and emergency repair kit to make sure everything is stocked. This is especially important to do because if it needs refilling it means it was something you had to use last year!

In Season Kayak Maintenance

Keep these pointers in mind during the peak of your paddling season:

Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!
Avoid kayak maintenance by using a cart!

Use a kayak cart. Dragging your ‘yak on the ground will thin and weaken the material at the bottom, the worst case scenario being that it could lead to holes that will have to be repaired by a specialty shop. Kayak carts are a win-win because they will protect your kayak from damage plus make getting to and from the water a cinch.

Keep it clean. A kayak doesn’t need to look shiny and new, but it’s good practice to quickly spray down your kayak after every outing. This’ll remove grime and salt that can lead to corrosion of the hull and prevent mold from growing.

Usually just taking the hose and spraying down the interior and exterior will suffice but it’s a good idea to give it a thorough scrub with mild soapy water and a kayak sponge a couple times a year.

Protect it from the sun. Long exposure to the sun will affect more than just your kayak’s color – it’ll eventually weaken the plastic, making it brittle and prone to cracking. No, leaving it out for a few days here and there won’t mean you should expect to puncture your hull on the next outing, but several months will certainly lead to deterioration!

Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.
Spraying it down with 303 Protectant.

Using 303 Protectant is a popular method of stopping harmful UV rays, but this will wash away with rain and during paddling outings so it will require re-application. The best solution would be to use a kayak cover or store it indoors.

Cover the cockpit. When it’s not in use, it helps to use a cockpit cover to keep rain and critters out. Remember to dry out the inside before you cover it to keep mold, mosquitoes and scum from accumulating.

Proper kayak storage. It’s important both in season and off! Refer to the link for tips on how to best store your kayak.

Kayak Maintenance to Prepare for Off-Season Storage

Many of you won’t have an off-season, but for some there is a point in the year when water turns solid and the kayak has to go into hibernation. When that time comes, refer to these tips:

Clean and dry the kayak. On a dry day, unload any and all loose gear and put them aside, this includes any rigging accessories that are removable like a seat, deck bag or rod holder. Turn it upside down on a pair of kayak stands and lather it up with mild soapy water. From beneath, spray water throughout the cockpit interior and all the hatches, allowing any loosened sand, crud and dead bugs to drain out. Make sure to let everything dry out before putting it away.

Take a kayak sponge and scrub away if you think it’s necessary. Areas like the cockpit rim can end up being a nesting ground for insects if they’re left alone during storage.

Care for your rigging components. Look over any attached parts on the kayak – like deck cords, toggle handles and bulkheads – and take note of any frayed cords or parts that need replacing and order a replacement part promptly. If any of the bungees, straps or buckles can be loosened or un-done during storage, loosen them. This will help retain their elasticity.

Make sure dirt was removed from bolts/screws during your clean earlier and sponge away anything left over. The use of some WD-40 or other type of corrosion blocking product will keep metal joints in good shape.

Also, be sure to give this short video from PaddlingTV about kayak maintenance a watch:

Storing Your Hobie Kayak

One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.
One way of storing your Hobie Kayak.

Original content reposted from the HobieCat Forum.

Kayak storage isn’t often given much thought, but doing it improperly can lead to permanent damage. Matt Miller, Director of Parts & Accessory Sales at Hobie Cat USA, shares tips and techniques for properly storing your Hobie Kayak.

Important: When storing your Hobie Kayak, do NOT hang your kayak from the bow and stern handles. These handles are designed for carrying the kayak, not for hanging for long periods of time. The plastic will slowly stretch over time and possibly even eventually fail which will create a hole. When storing your Hobie kayak, it is important to be sure that it is well supported.

Storing your Hobie Kayak on the ground or on a rack

One technique for storing your Hobie kayak is by putting it upside down and resting on its two crossbars. The rails of the kayak are very stiff and can support the weight easily. Padded crossbars will reduce the chance of any scratches or marks on the rails. If you must store it right side up, use cradles or something that is shaped to the contour of the hull. If the kayak is resting right side up with little to no support, the entire weight of the kayak may rest on one point on the bottom and possibly cause a flat area to develop. We do offer custom molded cradles for the Adventure Island and the Pro Angler.

Storing your Hobie Kayak with hanging racks or straps

If you plan on hanging your kayak from a ceiling, a minimum of one inch webbed strapping should be used to spread the load of the kayak over more area. Using rope to support it may leave dents in the rails, especially in the heavier kayaks. Best if stored upside down with the strap loads on the stiff cockpit rails.

Removing dents after improperly storing your Hobie Kayak

If you do see a dent or flat area from improper storage, you can remove it fairly easily. For minor dents, put the kayak in the sun with the dent up. The plastic will soften slightly and the plastic will return to its original shape. For more severe dents, pour near boiling hot water over a towel on the dent and pressurize the hull. The air pressure will push on the softened plastic, returning it to its original shape. A great way to put air pressure in your hull is to direct a shop vacs exhaust flow into the opened drain plug. Do not force more than a pound or two of pressure into the hull without the possibility of the pressure easily escaping. Pressure in the hull can cause damage.

So how do you store your Hobie Kayak? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Tips on Kayak Storage from ACK

Keep your investment in tip top shape with proper kayak storage technique

When you buy your first kayak, deciding how you’ll store it isn’t the first thing you think about. It isn’t until you start noticing that the colors are fading or that the hull has developed a slight bend where it was resting in your backyard that you start to realize some upgrades to your storage system might not be a bad idea. With the right gear, like kayak covers and racks, and some proper storage technique, you’ll be able to help your kayak retain it’s vibrant color and hull shape, plus keep it safe from thieves.

Protecting It From Hull Damage

The Malone J-Dock is a popular rack option.
The Malone J-Dock is a popular rack option.

If a kayak is stored so that the weight of the boat is not evenly distributed, it will deform or bend over time. While very durable, the plastic polyethylene hulls are very susceptible to this, but this can also occur with fiberglass and wood frame models as well. To avoid warping of the hull, store the kayak on its side with support at several points along its length using padded cradles or straps. The side of the kayak is the strongest part of the kayak and much less susceptible to bending compared to the hull.

Find a kayak storage rack that will fit into your garage, home or backyard, install it, and you’re all set (until you decide to buy an additional kayak and need a bigger rack)! If you want some recommendations, refer to this past article which outlines popular kayak storage options or contact our customer service team for additional advice.

Protecting It From The Elements

While kayaks are generally very durable against the elements, some things can go wrong if it’s left outside for long periods of time. For the best protection against the elements, store it inside. When this isn’t possible, there are few best practices to consider to defend against sunlight, harsh weather and other elements (like insects and critters).

Danuu's Brat kayak cover is a great option for 9-12.5 ft kayaks!
Danuu’s Brat kayak cover is a great option for 9-12.5 ft kayaks!

When storing outside, the best thing you can do is invest in a protective kayak cover. A kayak cover will prevent sunlight from degrading the hull material and dulling the colors, plus keep out critters and insects that are looking for a warm spot to sleep. It’s also important to remember that when storing outside, your kayak and kayak cover should be angled so that rain water or snow will run off the side rather than pooling on top. Keeping in mind that the cover will be exposed to the elements, you’ll want one that is both UV and water resistant.

Protecting It From Thieves

A Lasso Kong locking cable will make it hard for someone to walk off with your kayak.
A Lasso Kong locking cable will make it hard for someone to walk off with your kayak.

Kayaks are not the easiest thing for a thief to quickly snatch up, but you don’t want to leave the opportunity for a passerby to decide that the kayak in your backyard would look better in the bed of their pick-up. Again, keeping it stored inside is the ideal option as this will hide your kayak away from sight. But when you are stuck using the backyard, do your best to hide it from sight and position it so it’d be difficult for a thief to grab it quickly and run and if that’s not enough invest in a security cable and lock it to a post, fence or building.

Proper Upkeep for Long Term Kayak Storage

No paddler wants to put their kayak away for a long period of time but sometimes you’re forced too. If long term kayak storage is something you’re faced with, consider following the five steps:

  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.

So there you have it. 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!

 

 

 

New Product: YakAttack BlackPak

YakAttack has come out with a new crate “system” for kayak fishing called the BlackPak.  The crate is made of the same starboard material that the Hobie side boards on the Pro Angler are made of.  These are very versatile packs and allow numerous rigging opportunities to customize the product and they are also very durable, able to take a lot of punishment without being destroyed like a normal milk crate would.  As always from YakAttack, these are made right here in the USA. For more information about this product, click here.

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