You’ve unwrapped your new Feelfree kayak, and it’s sitting in your living room or on your garage floor. From the kitchen you hear, “Where are you going to store that?” For all the thinking and dreaming about rudders, seats, fishing and customization, one thing has completely slipped your mind. Where are you going to put your new kayak?
For all intensive purposes, you’re fine with it in the living room or where the cars are parked. But because you value keeping people in your life, you decide to come up with a plan. When thinking through kayak storage, you need to think specifically about three key areas; storage preparation, short term storage, and long term storage.
Before storing your kayak, you want to have it in the best condition possible. While it is a possibility to store a dirty kayak with gear mounted all over it, it’s best practice to strip it down and clean it up.
Start by disconnecting anything that you wouldn't want to get completely soaked, or accessories that obstruct large portions of your kayak. It’s a good idea to remove your storage crate, and fish finder, as well as your paddle and pedal system. Set these items aside and clean them separately.
Spray your kayak down with a garden hose, and use a little mild dish soap and a sponge or rag to wash it. Something similar to Dawn dish soap works just fine. Either let it air dry, or use a towel to prevent water spots. If water got into your kayak, be sure to open up all the hatches and dry the inside out as well. About once a month, spray and wipe the entire thing down with a protectant specifically designed for vinyl, such as 303. Vinyl protectants, like 303, are formulated to keep your kayak not only protected from harmful UV rays, but also help it shine like the day you unwrapped it from the factory.
Short Term Storage
There are just a few things to think through when storing your kayak for a few short days. After all, you don’t want to put a bunch of time into putting it away if you are just going to get it back out in the near future.
If storing your kayak outside, keep it in a shady place if possible. UV rays will deteriorate any plastic, straps and other parts of your kayak over time. If storing it in the sun, set up a tent shade over it or suspend a cover several feet above but not directly on top, to allow for air flow. Covering your kayak with a tarp or other non breathable material directly on it can create an oven effect on even a mild day, making your plastic soft and susceptible to warping. If you have a sit inside kayak, make sure you get yourself a cockpit cover, because critters love kayaks.
If you decide to store your kayak outside, be sure to store it in an area that is hidden from plain view, and where someone cannot easily walk off with it. And, don't forget to secure it. A bike lock through a molded in handle and around a fence post could be the difference between having your kayak in the morning and not.
Storing your kayak inside is always preferable to outside, because it is better protected from the elements and would be thieves. There are so many options for storing your kayak inside. Some people leave their kayak flat on the ground which is fine for short periods of time. Some store their kayak by hoisting up to the ceiling in their garage or shop. Others store it on PVC tubes nestled between the hull channels to prevent deformation to the hull. Others store it on the trailer that they use to transport it. Find what works best for you. Even a simple web search of “kayak storage” will net you more options than you can imagine.
One important consideration when deciding where to store your kayak is whether or not you want to be able to load and unload alone. Storing a kayak high on a wall sounds like a great idea until you realize that you need a partner to lift it 6’ off the ground. But just dropping the mounting area to 12” off the garage floor makes it a quick one person operation.
If you own the Overdrive or any other pedal system, hanging it on a wall in the vertical position (the orientation that you pedal it in) works best. Just a simple bike hook, or similar, in a stud on the wall should do (see picture).
Long Term Storage
Whether it’s the onset of winter, or an extended family vacation, there come times when you need to put your kayak away for an extended period of time. When thinking through long term storage, the question on your mind should be, “How do I protect my kayak to the best of my ability?” The main two components that need protecting, are the hull itself (from damaging UV rays and warping), and the seat and other fabric based components (from deterioration and animals using it as nesting material).
The best long term storage option is to store your kayak indoors. Feelfree recommends you store your kayak on its side or upside down. Storing it in one of these positions allows the reinforced sides and gunwales to support the weight of the kayak and prevent hull deformation, which hampers performance. Indoors, and stored properly, your kayak will be protected from almost anything that can damage the components long term.
If you are unable to store it indoors, remove the seat (as well as any other accessories) and store those inside. If possible, store your kayak at least 12” off the ground to prevent animals from using it as a home. Once again, store it in a shaded area, and follow the suggestions above, the same as you would for short term storage. If you don't have an awning or porch to store it under, create a tent that promotes airflow and secure it to the best of your ability.
It doesn’t take much planning to take care of your investment for a lifetime. With a little thought, some garage cleaning, and a couple simple products, you’ll have your kayak out of your living room in no time. Unless, of course, no one objects to it being there. In that case, you’ve got the best seat in the house.
Written by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member