How well you care for your inflatable can have a direct impact on how long it lasts. Wear and tear are normal, and they are designed to withstand moderate use and abuse. However, after paddling inflatable kayaks for over a decade, I’ve discovered that there are things you can do to extend the life and durability of your purchase.
Follow these steps to keep your inflatable kayak in good condition so you can enjoy it for as long as possible.
Remove any sand or dirt from the valves. Every now and then, clean the rest of the kayak with warm water and mild natural soap. Oil from your skin and sunscreen accumulate over time as they transfer from you to the kayak.
When sea kayaking, always rinse the kayak with fresh water after use. Saltwater will corrode the material, and while not rinsing it once or twice isn’t a big deal, it can cause serious damage over time. Close all of the valves before rinsing to ensure that no water enters the air tubes. Mold or mildew growing inside your kayak is the last thing you want.
Drying the kayak properly not only protects the material but also prevents mould and mildew growth. Mold and mildew deteriorate the material, making it more prone to leaks and punctures. Bring an old towel with you and use it to thoroughly dry the kayak after use. The floor is detachable, allowing you to easily drain and dry any excess water.
4: UV Protection
To protect the PVC material from harsh UV rays, use a 303 Protectant spray. 303 Protectant is simple to use and effective. For best results, follow the directions on the bottle.
5: Air Expansion
Heat causes air pressure to rise. So, if you’re going to be out in the hot sun for a while, you should let a little air out of the kayak to allow for air expansion, which also helps protect the seams.
6: Air Pressure
Follow the air pressure recommendations included with your inflatable kayak. Overinflating your kayak will cause seam damage. Most inflatable kayaks can be inflated to between 2.5 and 3.5 PSI.
Although some can hold a lot more and some have high-pressure floors (such as the Sea Eagle kayaks) that can hold up to 10 PSI of air pressure. So, make sure to read your owner’s manual and follow the instructions exactly.
7: Folding the Kayak
There are a few things to consider when folding or rolling up your kayak to store it. If you roll it the same way every time, you will crease the same area over and over, potentially weakening it. Fold it loosely and in a slightly different manner each time.
It’s best not to leave it inflated if you’re going to be storing it for an extended period of time. Leaving it inflated can put a strain on the seams and valves, especially as temperatures rise and air expands.
Are inflatable kayaks safe and long-lasting?
Inflatable kayaks are just as safe and easy to use as any other kayak, thanks to their tough materials, rigid structure, and comfortable seating.
How long can an inflatable kayak be used?
Most inflatable kayaks will last between 5 and 10 years if properly cared for and maintained.
Do inflatable kayaks have a tendency to pop?
Inflatable kayaks that are of high quality do not pop easily, nor do they tear or puncture easily.