Well, at the end of the summer it’s finally time for some of us who go through the four seasons to temporarily give up our favorite activities and think about packing our kayaks and canoes.
The parks are closed, it is cold and at some point snow and ice will be present and invite us to practice winter sports or other outdoor activities. And yes, you can still play outside, even in these super cold winter months!
What to do with our equipment?
You may think that storing your equipment is simple and does not require a lot of knowledge or experience.
However, regular maintenance of kayaks or canoes and other accessories can make it possible to have more fun and be safer when the season starts again.
The fact is, everything gets older, even your kayaks! For many years you can expect scratches, holes, real cracks (the one you are worried about), boring paint. We don’t live in an ideal world, so we have to plan maintenance and storage at least once a year.
Your safety and fun in the water depend on it!
From my experience with expensive road equipment I have discovered that there are three steps to remember:
- Repair and maintenance services
- Appropriate storage conditions
Follow these three simple but very effective principles for each of your equipment (kayaking, diving, camping, hiking…) and you will enjoy safe and efficient equipment during all your seasonal and favourite activities!
Cleaning of the gear unit
We all agree that in spring, when we unpack, it is much more pleasant to find clean boots, plates, sleeping bags, tents and boats!
Boats and folding boats :
- Remove all loose parts (belts, chairs, manhole covers) and rinse in warm, fresh water with a mild detergent (do not use strong commercial products or bleach that burns the fibres). Rinse it thoroughly. Don’t forget to wash your personal flotation device as well!
- Remove salt water and sand from kayaks or canoes or from diving equipment (regulators): rinse or remove boats and all accessories (deck lines, handles and bulkheads), pedals, oars, etc.
- Use a gum sponge if your kayak needs to stay in the water all season.
- Try to check if all O-rings are dirty and carefully clean the holes in the dry compartments.
- Above all, let all your clothes dry thoroughly – turn the boats upside down and tear them off the ground. Use a towel if necessary.
The oars are very expensive, I keep all our oars in a safe place in our basement during this long winter period.
If you have two-component knives, keep them in pieces. However, first clean the seals inside and out with a small bottle brush (I use my old bottle brush!):
After this simple step, all I have to do is wash the knife and rinse and dry it thoroughly with a soft towel.
I do the same for my wooden paddles.
Dry suits, wet suits and PFDs
Above all, it must be washed and dried very carefully. It’s actually the same thing you have to do after every use! Carefully check all zippers during this process.
One thing’s for sure: Don’t put your wetsuits in the washing machine!
If you need to re-treat your PFD or dry suit, it is best to contact the various manufacturers for recommendations.
Repair and maintenance services
Thoroughly check each boat and equipment to see if there are repair options.
And don’t be lazy. If you see something wrong, fix it now!
Sufficient storage conditions
You must take your canoes or kayaks to a safe place. It’s a place where they won’t get hurt.
If you leave them in the snow, you can expect damage from frost and expansion or native fauna!
It is best to leave a canoe or kayak in the garage. If you don’t have a safe place, leave the boat outside well covered. Then you can cover them easily.
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