Hints and Tips for Canoe Storage



HINTS and TIPS on Canoe Storage

Canoes are valued possessions, giving us all a doorway to adventure, relaxation and a profound connection with the water and therefore we would like to open the discussion on the importance of storing your canoe. Often overlooked potentially affecting the structural integrity, appearance and of course the life span of your canoe.

In the ideal world, we would all store our canoes inside, in the dry, away from UV rays, intense sun, wind, and any other element you can think of. However, with inside storage not always being available, we the paddling community need to consider the affect of the elements on our little pride and joy during storage. Just to be clear, we are referring to our canoes and not our children or loveable pets.

For example, sunlight can degrade just about any canoe hull material, from fibreglass to plastic to epoxy-coated wood, gel coats and so on. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can really beat up your canoe. As UV is absorbed, it starts to break chemical bonds in materials. This leads to cracking, brittleness, fading and discolouration.

Prolonged exposure to humid, cold or wet weather can also cause some hull materials to oxidise and/or degrade. Cabling systems to decay and Ama bungs to perish, letting in water during the good times!

Repeated freezing and thawing during winter months can cause increased damage to canoe hulls if water has  seeped into seams, joints or cracks, this water will expand and contract as it freezes and melts.

And finally, to top off all this good news (only joking) prolonged exposure to Intense sunlight and heat will expand air internally turning your canoe hull or ama into a balloon, but without the added joy, potentially reaching popping point, until the air finds a way out!

So, to summarise, canoe storage outside needs care to be taken and consideration of how to protect your canoe.

Canoes storage - Good Practice.

  • If you paddle in saltwater, be sure to rinse your canoe thoroughly with fresh water before you store it. Saltwater can degrade hull materials and corrode metal parts.
  • Always store your canoe upside down and off the ground.
  • Release any canoe bungs allowing the release of air pressure.
  • Support your canoe at several points along its length, using padded racks.
  • Do not store your canoe on its side, as the hull can deform.
  • Remove before storage, seats or other removable perishable items and store in a clean dry area.
  • Remove leg leashes as they can become trapped pressing against your canoe, causing damage. Also they may become damaged themselves and perish over time, resulting in your leg leash becoming brittle and not safe for use.
  • Don’t tie down too tightly using narrow gauge rope or tie downs. Use only padded tie downs with plastic attachments. Metal strap buckles can damage your canoe.
  • Loosely cover or bag your canoe and/or ama, allowing air to flow.

Bagging or covering your canoe

Bagging acts as a protection against the destructive impacts of the sun and protects against accidental knocks and bumps whilst in storage. Not everyone is as careful as you!

The ideal bag for both your canoe and Ama is excessive in size allowing air to circulate, access to ventilation from within the bag and a dark colour bag; black, navy blue as examples. A dark colour is supported by research to protect against UV rays. Tight bags will trap moisture inside, creating the risk of paint bubbling, your hull or Ama discolouring or indeed mold or fungal growth in wet conditions.

Finally….. use durable hard wearing material (1000 Denier is a good example) providing protection against collision as well as the elements associated with geographical climates.

A final thought..

The problem often associated with canoe storage bags is indeed finding the right bag! Frequently, some of the bags supplied when you buy a new canoe are tight fitting, potential the wrong colour to combat UV rays and unventilated, making them unsuitable for some local climates.

The greater care you take to store your canoe, the longer it is likely to last (and look good)!







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