Fiberglass Kayak - Winter Storage

I just purchased a new fiberglass yak and the only place I can store it thats big enough is my non-insulated garage. I live in Ontario where the winter temps can get very cold (-25C)(-13F). Are there any concerns with storing a fiberglass kayak in extreme cold?

Hope not
That’s how I’ve been storing mine for the past 5 years. No ill effects yet. I do 303 the crap out of the hatch covers before I put it up for the winter. That’s where my plastic boats spend the off-season as well. Likewise, no ill effects yet.

I don’t think so

– Last Updated: Nov-27-12 11:13 AM EST –

Though if you have Valley hatch covers the rubber may get brittle in the cold. We bring those in to a semi heated garage. The act of bringing that stuff in also reminds us that they need 303 treatment. We always used to forget that, which might have added as much cracking as the cold did in the hatch covers. Cold is pretty drying.

The old kayak (Wilderness Systems Shenai) was stored outside for 12 years, sometimes under 8 feet of snow. Then it finally got inside to an unheated garage.

Normal winters used to bottom out here at minus 40F. In the last three years its been bottoming out at minus 25F.

So the short answer is I would expect no problem.

Marinas here have unheated storage rack except a roof. They are huge and some thousand boats are stored that way..and another thousand boats on the forty acres of field. The boats are all fiberglass.

Was OK for my glass boats
Stored in an uninsulated, unheated shed in Colorado. Not as cold as -25 F except for rare occasions, but below zero wasn’t all that uncommon. Mostly single digits and teens at night. No problems from the cold.

The one caveat I would make is that as long as the kayaks sit unused in the shed, they’re only subject to gradual heating and cooling. If, on the other hand, you take it from -25 F shed, drive on a really cold day, and put it in 35 degree seawater (or worse yet, into and out of a heated swimming pool), that’s a different can of worms.

Make sure it’s dry (and stays dry) especially if you store it on its side. Water freezing and expanding can do some damage.

The cold temperatures wont hurt it.

When I lived up north…
I never had any problems storing fiberglass, kevlar or carbon fibre canoes or kayaks in a unheated barn


Lots of powerboats are stored outside
and that wouldn’t happen if there were known problems. The only thing I would worry about are critters. Most unheated garages are going to have mice and they can chew up all kinds of stuff to make a nest. I have had them chew up windsurf sails. So be sure to have a tight fitting cockpit cover.

Things made of FRP and used in the cold
Various light aircraft in their entirety. Bits and pieces of commercial and military aircraft. Outside temperatures at altitude are -50ish.

Sno-mobile bodies.

Ski poles.

Protective domes over radar antennae.

Various parts of passenger trains.

Pick-up truck bed caps and covers.

Wind turbine blades.

Ski-lift seats.

Yeah, but check for cracks and bubbles
I think this might be where trouble could arise. If water’s still in cracked areas it will expand when frozen. I don’t mean just water from paddling but condensation dripping and running into the cracks, then freezing. With bubbles, the trapped air expands and contracts. Might not matter as long as the boat sits all winter and such changes are gradual. I don’t know.

Somehow I dont think that is much of
a problem on a large scale.Cold air is incredibly drying. Water can actually sublimate from liquid to gas below zero.

Now that we have dropped below freezing for the long term I look at the commercial storage units for fiberglass cruisers and can’t help think the storage businesses know what they are doing.

Each boat is wrapped in shrink wrap and each is outside. Snow load is the big culprit and tautness of the wrap is paramount. Inside you have a roof to substitute for wrap.

Sure there is a peril. Rodents. Been there and found stuff in my kayak that was nesting material from other ex boxes mixed with mouse pee. Once in early May we dug out the boats and found birds nesting in one, but that was from a Wenonah canoe buried in twelve feet of snow in 2001…no we had not checked all winter.

Should be fine
My two glass boats stay out in the shed all winter. I’d recommend removing the hatch covers. I always store the boats with hatches open. I think it’s better for the covers and lets any water inside dry out.