Kayak and Canoe Transport and Storage
The practical aspects of getting your kayak or canoe to the water and how to store it when it's not in use can be a little tricky. Paddling is great exercise but you don't want to damage either yourself or your craft getting it to or from the water. We have compiled some tips and products that will make transporting and storing your kayak or canoe easier.
Storing Your Paddlecraft
Ideally your kayak or canoe should be stored in your shed, carport or garage, away from heat and UV. This is not always possible if you lack a shed or your kayak/surf ski is longer than your garage - taking up all the garage space is not an option!
Some tips for storage:
- Kayak racks are good & slings even better - commercial products such as Aquaracks and Aquaslings are available. Many people choose to make their own slings. Any hard racks should be padded to prevent cracking or deforming - pool noodles are good for this.
- Store your kayak or surfski tilted onto its side - this is the strongest orientation - if you store it sitting upright on its hull over time it may deform over the racking.
- Canoes should be stored upside down, resting on their gunwhales.
- It is best to rinse and sponge out your craft prior to putting it away, to maintain the fittings and moving parts such as rudder controls. It is then ready to go on your next paddle!
A polyweave storage cover (banner image above) will protect your paddlecraft if you have to store it outside. They are made from a heavy-duty polyweave in silver (white available) - ground sheet material. These have the benefit of weather protection and also keeping the creepy-crawlies out.
A stretchie knitted cover is also good in under-cover storage - it will keep dust off and bugs out.
Transporting Your Canoe or Kayak on Your Car
Unless you are fortunate enough to live near the water, or practice "commando kayaking" like Dubside, you will need to transport your canoe or kayak on your car.
Weight is a consideration - can you get your kayak/canoe onto and off you car by yourself or will you always have a paddle buddy on hand?
Here are a few tips for loading and carrying your kayak or canoe on your car:
- When tying down your kayak or canoe you want it to be firm and secure but not so tight that it pops the seams or bends the kayak. Use cam straps (NOT ratcheting ones!) or rope / straps tied down with a reliable knot and secured with half hitches.
- Sea and Recreational kayaks and surf skis ideally should be supported in cradles, but can be transported upside-down (flatter side) on padded roof racks.
- Try to avoid strapping fibreglass kayaks down over cockpit combing or hatches - if you can manage it straps should ideally go over bulkhead areas.
- Canoes and sit-on-top kayaks can be transported upside down so they sit flat on the racks.
- Be aware of the weight limits of your car's roof and roof racks!
There are a whole range of roof rack set ups designed to help you get your kayak onto your car more easily and also spread the load on shorter vehicles. While we do stock simple roof rack cradles that will hold your surf ski or sea kayak safely, for any other more complicated racking, rollers or lifting devices we recommend you see roof rack professionals such as Roof Carrier Systems.
Most states of Australia have rules about vehicle overhang limits / projecting loads - front, back side, and what is allowable on a car or trailer. You should make yourself familiar with these rules (and those interstate if you are travelling) in order to avoid problems.These rules are available from you state road transport department such as Vicroads and QLD Dept Transport. As a general rule, loads can project up to 1.2m at the front (measured level with headlights) and if over 1.2m from the back (there is also a max. projection limit) should have a flag (or red light at night) - know your state's specific requirements for projecting loads, flags and lights.
Getting to the Water - Kayak Carts and Trolleys
A trolley or cart is a useful device for transporting your kayak to the water, from your car, campsite or water-side home. They come in different sizes, wheel types and methods of attaching to your craft.
Sit on top carts are specifically made to fit in the scupper or drainage holes of sit on top kayaks. However not all scupper holes are the same size and not all kayaks have sufficient plastic around their scupper holes - force a trolley with large insert rods into small, thin plastic scupper holes and you will be looking at a visit to the Plastic Welder! Brands such as Hobie and Aquayak have their own trolley to go with their kayaks, and there are sturdy trolleys such as the Sea to Summit Sit on Top Cart with solid wheels that are excellent on hard and uneven terrain (it fits larger scupper holes such as those on the Perception Pescador 12 shown here).
Kayak carts that strap underneath your paddlecraft are a great solution for getting your boat to the water. The wheels are removable so you can stow it in your back hatch or cargo area. There are small width carts for sea kayaks, surf skis and smaller recreational craft, medium size for larger canoes and kayaks and large carts for huge tandem kayaks and you can also stack your SUPs on them. Choose balloon wheels such as those on the Wheeleez Mini Kayak Cart for soft sandy beaches, or solid wheels such as those on the Sea to Summit Kayak Cart for tracks, roads and harder or uneven terrain.
For best results fasten the straps through the perimeter lines where possible to prevent them loosening off and sliding!
If you want to make your own special set of wheels (or have a handy golf cart frame lying around), the wheels on these Sea to Summit and Wheeleez carts can be purchased separately.