When you purchase a kayak, you make an investment. Like all things, quality kayaks last much longer. How long can you expect a kayak to last? Big-box kayaks might only cost $250 or so, but they often won’t last more than a few years. With proper care and maintenance, better quality brands can last a lifetime. Read on to learn how to maximize the life of your kayak.
Types of Materials
Kayaks are made of different materials that require different types of maintenance. Rotomolded kayaks, such as those made by Liquid Logic, are made from a type of plastic called polyethylene. Polyethylene kayaks tend to be the least expensive and heaviest. They require very minimal kayak maintenance. Most recreational and whitewater kayaks are made from this material. Native Watercraft Fishing Kayaks are another example of polyethylene-made kayaks that we offer at Performance Kayak
Kayaks may also be thermoformed or polycarbonate plastic. Both are slightly lighter weight, so they require a bit more care than rotomolded kayaks. Fiberglass is another popular material for sea and touring kayaks. Fiberglass kayaks are not able to withstand the types of impacts that polyethylene kayaks can, but they are generally more scratch resistant. Similar to fiberglass is Kevlar, a lighter weight but more expensive material. Several Stellar Kayaks are made of Kevlar, and they offer a superior boat in mechanical strength, aesthetic finish, optimal weight and consistent performance. Stellar uses epoxy resin, heat curing, vacuum and infusion to create some of the best boats on the market.
To protect your investment, you need to perform regular maintenance. You should hose down your kayak after each paddling session, especially if you have been in salt water or in water with a lot of algae or muck. Pay particular attention to cleaning your rudder and foot braces. A good spray down will help keep all parts of your kayak corrosion-free. Empty any water from the interior by releasing the bow drain plug and turning the boat upside down to drain.
A few times a season, you may wish to use a mild soap to give your kayak a thorough cleaning. Use a sponge or gentle cloth to scrub away stains or dirt and be sure to rinse thoroughly. Allow your kayak to dry completely before storing.
If your kayak is made of polyethylene or fiberglass, know that it may become faded and more brittle with sun exposure. Protect your plastic kayak with a spray designed to shield it from UV light. You should spray both the outside and inside of your boat. If you have a fiberglass kayak, you may use a wax to protect its finish.
Proper Transport and Storage
Dragging your yak on the ground will thin and weaken its bottom. Dragging can create holes that may have to be repaired by a specialty shop. Kayak carts are a wise investment. They will protect your kayak from damage and make getting it to the water a breeze.
Storage is the key to keeping your boat in great shape and helping it to last. It is best to store your kayak on edge, upside down, standing on end, or hanging on edge. The strongest part of your boat is its cockpit area. Be careful to support your kayak on its edge using a rack or webbing. To hang your boat, run straps around it near the cockpit. Improper storage may cause your boat to bow. For example, storing your boat bottom side down or hanging it from the toggle may cause distortion. Proper storage will maintain your boat’s integrity and help it to last.
Every paddler hopes that their kayak will glide through the years scratch-less and dent-less. It is more likely though that a well-used kayak will take a beating during its adventures. Kayaks are made to be resilient, and maintaining your boat requires minimal effort. Following these basic suggestions will help your kayak last so that you may enjoy paddling for years to come.