Can poly kayak be stored in cold?

My wife has a Poly kayak (Walden Odyssey). We store it in a unwarmed storage building. The temperuture may drop down to 0F in winter.

May the cold damage the kayak’s plastic?

Our Experience
We store our Cape Horn 15 (and our ply/epoxy VKs) in the basement of our summer place, where winter temps can fall well below freezing for weeks at a time. So far, no observable damage. We do take care to ensure the interior of the hull is dry when the boat is put away, and leave the hatch covers slightly ajar to allow for air circulation.

Read archives about storage
Yes, storage is possible but you need to rely on the information in the Archives. The position you store your “yak” in makes a difference. I used that information myself this year.

Thank you
Thank you, everybody.

does anyone know if it explands?
I have heard that if a material absorbs water it will expand and be damaged. I hear that fiberglass and kevlar can be damaged in this way, is it true for poly as well?

No worries
Keep it clean & dry, and you’ll have no problems.

When I had a poly boat, it was stored in a garage which went down below zero at times. Never had a problem. In fact, I stored my composite boats out there, too.

Drying out the hatches & cockpit before putting the boat away are key. A nice coat of 303 helps, too.


Kevlar and fiberglass are

– Last Updated: Nov-30-04 4:09 PM EST –

fabric made by weaving. This fabric is then impregnated with resin to make it stiff, and then coated. Water can be absorbed in areas where resin/coating are breached.

Polyethelene is simply a plastic polymer and will not absorb water.

Mine has been fine, cold-stored
I have kept my Squall in an unheated shed every winter. No problems. Winter lows can go below 0 F, though usually they’re more like 10 to 20.

My wood kayak resides there, too.

Almost all ice-cube trays
are made of high-density polyethylene. Some new ice-cube trays are made from polypropylene with an elastomer (rubber)compound mixed in. Ethylene needs no compound.

Mine was outside in -30 last winter
The kids and I blew bubbles on the deck, they froze solid. Not kidding, you could hold them in your hand.

Had two poly boats on outdoor racks (I paddle all winter), no harm done.

This should set your mind at ease tarpan

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I used to attend pool practice sessions with my poly Noah WW kayak in a Michigan town 25 miles from where I lived. The temperature was frequently in the mid 20*f range during the trips to and from. I knew the poly was tough and wanted to be real sure how tough as this was going to be used very rough. I did have some experience with poly items actually in use in prolonged freezing conditions and never had problems before so I decided to really test the poly of the yak. I did cold water paddling as well and did not want to be in something that may not hold up to conditions. On to the test ...

After a nice warm pool session I would load the poly yak on the racks on top of my full size Ford E-350 van. We would drive home the 35 to 45 minutes it normally took. Most of this was at freeway speeds of around 75. Quite the chill factor! When I arrived home the poly would be colder than an ice cube throughout and be very stiff for poly. I would untie the yak and toss it off the van so it would land on it's bottom on the solidly frozen ground (lawn) beside the driveway. A free fall of 8' to 9' I believe. I did this repeatedly about 7 or 8 years ago. The poly yak never sustained any damage and is still in use today.

Oh yes, almost forgot. I stored the poly hull outside all winter hung against the outside north-west wall of the garage. The overhang shaded it most of the day. Nothing protected it from the cold and extra low temperatures of the north wind and every late afternoon it received the warmth of the west sun for a few hours. The hull was heated and cooled everyday.

If the drops and the heating cooling cycles of a Michigan winter did not hurt my poly hull I would not be too concerned about storing yours outside if I were you. Do try to shade it completely from the sun if at all possible. It is also best not to put the tarp directly on the hull, but to suspend it over the hull, giving it some breathing space to keep condensation off. Condensation held against the hull for a period can cause irregular color changes. (There have been a lot of threads on covering if you need more info on that.)

Hope this eases your mind about simply storing your poly hull outside.

Happy Paddl'n!