drying off boat

I’ve seen the bilge sponges for sale but I was wondering, has anyone tried the synthetic chamois cloths that you can buy at the auto parts stores like Auto Zone or Pep Boys? I used to have a synthetic chamois for drying my car until I let it get all moldy and funky. I usually carry a towel to dry off my kayak but it becomes useless once it gets too much water in it. I don’t know, are the auto parts synthetic chamois any cheaper than a product being sold specifically for boating? The advantage of the auto parts one would be if you could get it cheaper than the special boat ones.

Take the boat out of the water
the air does a pretty good job.

IMO a dry boat is a sad thing.

Just go to a dollar store or wally world and get a big sponge used for cleaning. I had one of the sponges from a paddling shop and the covering on it made it mildew and smell bad.

I think the chamois cloths pick up
more water than a sponge.That must be why mine have disappeared.

Micro fiber towels
pick up a lot of water and wring out well.

Sponge vs. Towel?
Sounds like you’re talking about two different uses: sopping water out of your bilge (cockpit), and cleaning up the hull exterior.

The typical paddling sponge is intended for the former, while the later is probably best performed with a microfiber or regular towel.

I wouldn’t use the same sponge for both, as the cockpit usually has lots of sand and grit which your sponge will pick up, and will then scratch the sleek exterior of your boat.

Like other posters here, I don’t typically dry the outside of my kayaks, even if I give them a good cleanup and hosedown at home after a particularly grungy paddle; I just let them air dry before putting them back to bed. Here’s some more general info on boat maintenance:


P.S.: Although I was skeptical at first, I tried some small microfiber towels for drying dishes on kayak-camping trips, and they excel at this!

Good Luck!



Guess I should’ve clarified
that I have an inflatable kayak so I need to get it as dry as possible before putting it back in it’s storage bag. Once I get it home I can spread it out to dry some more if needed but I live in an apartment with no balcony so I’m limited on places indoor to spread it out. It sounds like the chamois type towels will be the best bet for me to get the outside dried off quickly. Thankfully this kayak which has a spray deck doesn’t get too wet inside compared to the other inflatable I have which is open topped.

Your inflatable material doesn’t
absorb water into the surface, does it?

One trick I use, when car-camping with tents, is NOT to roll a wet tent up tight, but to just stuff it loose into a breathable Nylon bag. It fits just as easily in the trunk, and it gets drier, faster than if it were packed tight.

Maybe you can do something similar with your inflatable.