Inflatable kayaks are lightweight, rugged, and easy to store and transport, making them attractive to many people. But what makes them challenging is when it comes to caring for them. It is important to make sure that the inflatable kayak is appropriately cleaned and dried before storing.
This can help to extend its life and prevent mold from forming inside. Caring for the inflatable kayak can be tedious, but it must keep it running for many years. If you take time caring for it, at the end of it, you will be happy. Here is how to properly care for your inflatable kayak.
Remove any debris
When you have finished using your inflatable kayak, it is always the best idea to clean all debris from your kayak, including dirt, algae, sand, or anything transferred to the kayak, like sunscreen. Even a small amount of waste can peel off the surface of the inflatable kayak, increase the chance of leaks, and remove UV protection. So, you need to remove all of them if you want to care for your kayak correctly.
Once you have to get out of the water, it may not be possible to clean the inflatable kayak thoroughly. In many cases, the kayak will need to be cleaned on your return home. Depending on the dirt on it, you may require to use water and mild soap to clean it. There are those people who like to inflate a kayak on its return, rinse it, and suds it like washing a car.
Other people clean the inflatable kayak when it is deflated. This will depend on the kayak you have and what is best for you. Once you have cleaned it several times, you will see what works best for your case. Wash the interior and exterior and clean all air chambers. You may be surprised at the areas where dirt can hide. Flip the kayak over and then clean the floor.
If you are cleaning it when inflated, remove the base to help clean the interior. You can separately clean the floor also. If the kayak is not very dirty, you can skip this step entirely and move on to the subsequent rinsing.
Rinse with clean water
After cleaning the inflatable kayak with water and soap, it is time to rinse the kayak thoroughly. Depending on the level of dirt in the kayak, rinsing with fresh water after use is a good idea, particularly if you are paddling in saltwater. Make sure to have crannies and nooks. If the kayak contains mud, sand, or other grime, remove them out before you store it for an extended period.
After washing your kayak with soap, be sure to remove all the soapy water. It may be necessary to spray the interior several times to remove grime or soap altogether. To drain the inflatable kayak, turn it over and spray again until everything is well rinsed. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied. Rinse it with some grains of salt. It may be impossible to remove all the salt, pebble, or sand from the kayak so, you need to rinse it and repeat until almost everything is clean.
Drying an inflatable kayak is a crucial step to care for it. This can also be the most frustrating and tedious part. It is challenging to drain all the water. Using a towel becomes an excellent way to continue drying. The bottom and outer surface of the kayak is easy to dry. The hardest part is to get all water out. Some people dry it when inflated, while others get it easier when they have deflated it. This depends on the inflatable kayak and what’s best for you.
Dry the interior and the gaps, air chambers, seams, creases, vents, and everywhere you can assess with a towel. You will be surprised to see where the water can hide. It is often helpful to have a second set of hands that can separate various parts of the inflatable kayak as it dries. If you have a sit-inside model, this can be challenging to get under the stern and bow to soak up all the water.
To reach these hard-to-reach places, try a paint or stick pole with the towel at the end.Use gravity as the advantage. When the inflatable kayak is inflated, you can turn it over and raise it overhead. Pivot and tilt it in various directions to drain the water.
Many inflatable kayaks today have a UV protective coating. But if the kayak isn’t there, you can easily coat it by using a UV protection spray. The bottles have instructions on how much to use the inflatable kayak depending on its size.
Heat causes the expansion of air pressure. If you’re out in the sun for some hours, you may want to allow some air out of the inflatable kayak to let for air expansion also to protect the seams. Essentially, the kayak tends to get hotter when sitting on the water, particularly on the sidewalk. Also, it tends to get cooler in the water; therefore, be extra careful when leaving the kayak to dock where there is the blazing sun.
If you do not use the inflatable kayak for long, the air will gradually escape, and the kayak may sink slowly. That does not mean the inflatable kayak is leaking. However, this means you require to correct the air pressure in the kayak. The kayak manual contains instructions on how much air to add to the kayak.
Fold the kayak
Try folding or rolling your kayak a little at each time. This prevents weak points in an inflatable kayak material from always folding in the same place. Mix as much as possible. If there is a plastic skeg attachment plate, make sure you don’t bend them because they could break. If one end of a kayak has a valve, make it open and start to roll from the other end to push the remaining air out.
Once you have followed the above steps, you can put an inflatable kayak back in a storage bag if you have one. Store in a cool and dry place to prevent mildew or mold from forming. If you store the kayak in a shed or outside, shield it using a tarp or cover it with the blanket to prevent dirt from falling on it accidentally. If animal activity is near the inflatable kayak, like mice or rats, store it near and keep it in the closed container to avoid damage.
Watch the weather
Low temperatures can destroy an inflatable kayak. If you want to store it outside or in a shed, make sure it’s totally dry to prevent the water from freezing inside. Preferably, keep the inflatable kayak inside to avoid weather problems.
Proper care of an inflatable kayak can help to extend its life and keep it functional for years. If you are using it regularly during the season, it can get some moisture. So, it would be helpful if you had proper care for it to live for long by making it dry completely. The above steps are the simplest rules you need to follow to care for an inflatable kayak. Unlike rigid kayaks, they require more care, or you can buy a new one sooner than expected.