So you’re curious about maintaining your inflatable kayak. What is the typical maintenance that blow up kayaks require? They’re not like a car that needs an oil change every 3,000 miles, but kayaks need basic care to ensure you get your money’s worth!
As we continue, you will learn the basics of inflatable kayak care, how to store your kayak, and have several of your questions answered with trustworthy inflatable kayak tips. So let’s get started!
When you purchase any item you want it to last as long as possible. It’s especially true when you spend several hundred dollars or more on an item. Performing basic maintenance is one way to help get the most out of your inflatable kayak purchase.
Luckily, blow up kayaks don’t require too much care. However, there are a few best practices to know so you can keep yours in tip top shape.
Many people imagine a blow-up kayak like a balloon or cheap pool toy, unable to handle rough contact. While it is never wise to intentionally try to put a hole in your kayak, inflatable kayaks can handle tough conditions with a little protection.
Eventually, you’re going to get a hole in your kayak. In that case you will need a repair kit. If your kayak didn’t come with an inflatable kayak repair kit, then buy one ASAP. Having a repair kit and knowing how to patch an inflatable kayak will inevitably save one of your kayaking adventures.
If you have a small leak, pinhole size, or smaller, then using vinyl glue should fix the problem. For any hole larger than that, you will need a patch. Follow the instructions provided with your repair kit to patch the hole. Most repairs don’t keep you off the water for long.
Storing your kayak correctly will go a long way in protecting your inflatable. If you know how to store an inflatable boat, you know how to store an inflatable kayak. If you do not, don’t worry, we will discuss that in detail now.
Properly storing an inflatable kayak all begins with knowing how to clean it, dry it, fold it, and finally store it. Let’s learn the best way to store an inflatable kayak.
Cleaning a kayak is simple. Wipe it down with a vinyl cleaner or dish soap, and then rinse off the kayak. Make sure you remove all the debris you collected while on the water. Mud, leaves, and water plants will attract unwelcome critters to your kayak.
If you’re in a rush, at the very least rinse off your kayak with a water hose, especially if you have been in salt water. DO NOT use harsh chemicals to clean your blow-up kayak. Harsh chemicals can weaken the integrity of the materials and shorten the lifespan of your kayak.
Once you have thoroughly cleaned it, allow your inflatable kayak drying time. It’s best to raise it off of the ground to let it air dry. You can leave it in the sun to help speed up the drying process but be warned the UV rays from the sun can damage the kayak if it’s left outside too long.
If you’re in a hurry, wipe it down with a towel and then leave it leaning against a wall to finish drying. DO NOT fold your inflatable kayak and store it while it is still damp.
Once your kayak has been cleaned and thoroughly dried, you can spray on the UV protectant.
Every kayak will be different when it comes to folding it to fit into your inflatable kayak storage bag. Follow the directions provided with your kayak. If none were provided, then you’re out of luck; just kidding! Here are a few basic steps to help you fold your inflatable kayak.
Inflatable kayak storage ends with knowing where to store it. If it’s in the storage bag, then a temperature-controlled dry location will work perfectly. If you don’t have a storage bag, then store it in a cool, dry place. Most of the time, a closet is the best option available.
Avoid areas where it will get exposed to direct sunlight, rodents, or extreme weather. All these factors are capable of shortening the life of your kayak.
Have you already purchased your kayak? If you’re still in the market, take a look at our buying guide for the best inflatable fishing kayak or the best beginner kayaks with (you guessed it) lots of inflatable options!
Q: Can you leave an inflatable kayak inflated?
A: No. Well, technically, yes, but you will place unnecessary stress on the valves and seams of the kayak. It won’t hurt the kayak to leave it inflated for several days, but don’t leave it full of air for an extended time.
Q: What happens if you overinflate a kayak?
A: You risk busting a seam or ruining a valve, or blowing a hole in a weak spot.
Q: How long can you leave an inflatable kayak inflated?
A: You should not leave one fully inflated for an extended length of time. If you want to store it inflated, you should deflate it to about 75% to relieve the pressure off of the valves and seams.
Q: How do you deflate an inflatable kayak?
A: Slowly open the valve(s) and let the air release. Once the air and released, fully open the valve(s) and roll or fold the kayak to force any residual air out.
Q: How long do inflatable boats last?
A: A quality inflatable should last five to ten years by following the essential maintenance tips above.
Wesley Littlefield is an outdoor writer, a lover of kayak bass fishing, husband, and father. When he is not writing, he is spending his time outdoors making lasting memories with his family.