Winter kayak questions

Since the weather is getting colder I am getting concerned with storing my kayak outside in the elements. I don’t want to call it quits on my kayak season yet here in NJ because we still have a few 50 and 60 degree days mixed in with freezing days. So im not ready to pack it away. But my question is do I have to pack it away at all? I have rack its on upside down on my deck with a tarp that covers 80% but will the ice/ snow/ cold put the boat at any risk? I have a Tempest 170 and a CD Whistler. Both plastic boats.

No problem, unless skunks take up
residence inside. “Poly” plastic is a bit more brittle when it’s very cold, but in such conditions you probably won’t be paddling. I’ve started trips in 12 degree F weather, and poly kayaks were not cracking up.

I store mine outside
in zippered covers, and we’ve had a couple harsh winters lately here in the DC area. no problems. Once my entire rack of boats blew over in a winter gale but those poly boats just shrugged it off and went back to sleep.

Got any trees?
I’d say your major risks are tree limbs and sunshine. Protect against those and I think you will be okay. Haven’t noticed problems on mine, under the deck.

Leaving them outside you might want to make sure there is lots of load bearing surface under the boat. If not, weight of ice snow will all bear on where the boat rests oddly on something, and there’d be lots of psi at that point.


I would bring the hatch covers inside

– Last Updated: Dec-01-11 12:53 AM EST –

and 303 them.

We have been storing a WS Shenai outside at minus degrees(our lowest low was -43 and that happens regularly) for 11 years and no problems except the hatch covers have cracked from winter drying.

It might not be necessary to bring in the covers but they are kinda expensive. Maybe just 303ing them will work. But after spending over a hundred bucks I brought the replacements inside.

You don't want mice to reside in your hatches however so garbage bag covers might be a deterrent. I have yet to try that though I suspect that mice wont want to nest in your kayak as much as mine. They live under the snow surface and can get into the boats outside while the whole boat rack is under snow.

Regular use is a real rodent dissuader. I really believe that mice talk to mice.

A “cartalk” friend says fabric softener
sheets may dissuade rodents from nesting under car hoods. Maybe it would help with boats too.

You have more ice than snow
At least if it is anything like I remember from central NJ when I was young. Ice means melting, refreezing and weight, so I’d suggest you make sure that as mentioned above there is decent support under a third or fourth point under the boats. Or, you could throw a tarp over the top that would be easy to slide off, break or snap off the ice, and put back. You don’t mention how close where you would store them is to a place where snow from the road would be piled up - maybe also a reason for a cover it it would be near enough to catch salt.

We gave taken quite old plastic WW boats from under a porch after sitting in three and four days of sub-zero temps and dropped them into an 80 degree pool, no problem aside from the inside of the boat being pretty chilly until that first swim. I doubt that any likely temps in NJ are going to render a plastic sea kayak dangerously brittle.

Thanks everyone!
I was trying to figure out how I would get them inside my apartment for the winter and somehow turn them into wall art so luckily I don’t have to do that. They are currently on a second floor roof since its flat. I hand built a wood rack for them but I may take them off and lean them on their side since there are only 2 points of support. Maybe I can wrap them in some tarps. I was mainly concerned with the freezing temps and ice somehow warping the plastic like the sun. I have yet to buy cockpit covers tho so that may be the next investment, or christmas present.

Just go out and move them around
Shift them around periodically so that they don’t spend all winter without changes in where the pressure is. They’ll be fine.

Storing outside
If the kayak is stored upside down, and it has a recessed rudder, make sure to put duct tape or equivalent over the skeg box. Water in the skeg box will freeze and damage the skeg box, resulting in a very difficult repair, since it’s hard to get at the damaged spot.

No problem
Cover with a tarp. Been storing my boats outside for years this way.

I got room for about 30 of them if you
want to bring it up to Honesdale, PA. It’s 2 hours from Newark Airport.

Oddly enough…
I just moved into a new apartment last week and of course the kayaks came along. Unfortunately there being no backyard storage space became an issue. I purchased a nice kayak condo 2 from Talic and with some help mounted the brackets 8ft. apart on my living room wall. I put the first kayak on yesterday, the 14ft CD, and it looks great. The second, 17ft Tempest will be the challenge since I have an 18 ft. livingroom. Hooray for kayak wall art!