How to properly care for your inflatable kayak - Rugged Outdoor Life (2022)

If you just bought one, then you definitely need to learn how to properly care for your inflatable kayak. If you haven’t got yourself one yet: what are you waiting for? Let me tell you – these things are taking over!

Not only are they quite easy to transport but they are also a piece of cake to use, can take on quite a bit of weight and they are crazily affordable too. (Check out these options ranging from $60 on Amazon)

Read: Is There A Weight Limit For Kayaking?

Inflatable kayaks are the gift that most outdoor water body lovers have been waiting forever since they first thought of sailing but quickly realized it wasn’t as cheap as many people make it out to be. Just look at some of the comments from people just like you and me on Twitter:

How come I'm just now being informed about inflatable kayaks?!!!!

— Caitlin (@lilplntlady) April 23, 2019

That’s a lucky person who just realized that their entire life has been a lie. Check out this other happy…” discoverer”:

(Video) Cheap Inflatable Kayak Modified Into a Legit Fishing Kayak!? How to Make It

Just discovered there are inflatable kayaks and I am now planning out all the places I’m going to go with my hypothetical kayak in 2019..

— dachel (@dachelravis) December 30, 2018

If you are into going out on the water for fishing, relaxing, exercise or just to get away from people, then you definitely need to consider kayaking as a viable option.

Honestly, think about it and once you realize that it’s an excellent idea, go out and get yourself an inflatable kayak. (They are an excellent option for kayaking beginners who are yet to figure out what kind of kayaker they want to be. This way you don’t have to commit to a costly boat right off the gate.)

Are inflatable kayaks easy to maintain?

Yes, inflatable kayaks are rather easy to maintain and care for if you know what you are doing.

In this article, I’m going to cover all you need to know about properly caring for your new inflatable kayak and how to keep it looking brand new and in excellent shape through the years. With the right kind of care, the right kind of inflatable kayak can last you up to 10 years.

But before we go into all that, let’s look at some questions and concerns that many new inflatable kayak owners or “would-be” new inflatable kayak owners might have?

(Video) What's the Best Beginner Inflatable Kayak? $170 vs $500 Inflatable Kayak

How to properly care for your inflatable kayak - Rugged Outdoor Life (1)

Inflatable kayak FAQ

Of course, if you are going to buy an inflatable kayak, there are questions that you are going to want to be answered. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important questions before we go to the topic that brought us all here today: how to properly care for your inflatable kayak.

  • Question 1: Are inflatable kayaks safe?
  • Answer 1: Inflatable kayaks are very safe. The best types are made out of the kind of material that goes into making the inflatable boats that huge professional organizations like the Coast Guard and even the Navy Seals use. You can read all about the safety of inflatable kayaks in this article I wrote about it some time back.
  • Question 2: Are inflatable kayaks durable?
  • Answer 2: Inflatable kayaks are very durable but it really depends on two main things: First – the kind of kayak you buy (the sturdier ones like the Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Expedition Kayak are a bit pricier than most). Secondly, it depends on how well you take care of your kayak. With proper care, the best inflatable kayaks can last you anywhere from 5 – 10 years with regular use.

Read: How Durable Are Inflatable Kayaks?

Also, check out this tweet from “Kayaking Facts” giving you a small idea of just how tough and durable these boats can be:

#InflatableKayaks considered to be remarkably tough and durable compared to some hard-sided boats.

— Kayaking Facts (@KayakingFacts) June 7, 2019
  • Question 3: Are inflatable kayaks hard to care for?
  • Answer 3: Not at all. Inflatable kayaks are very easy to care for. Read on to find out how to properly care for your inflatable kayak.

Tips on how to care for your inflatable kayak

There are three main tips or steps you need to master if you are to take proper care of your inflatable kayak. You to learn how to:

  • Step 1: Protect it from harmful elements that will seek to ruin it (UV rays, sharp objects, angry ex-girlfriends etc.)
  • Step 2: Keep dry after use.
  • Step 3: Store it well.

Once you learn how to do these three things for your inflatable kayak, you can simply rinse and repeat the process every time you take it out and that boat will serve you well for years.

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Step 1: How to Protect Your Inflatable Kayak?

Protecting your inflatable kayak has everything to do with how you handle it when it’s both in and out of the water. Here are the most important tips when it comes to protecting your kayak:

  • Protect your inflatable kayak from UV rays: The material used in making your inflatable kayak is, unfortunately, vulnerable to UV rays. Seeing as most of your kayaking will be done out in the open where UV rays can get to your kayak, you need to find ways to protect it from those rays. The best way to do this is to properly and fully spray your boat with a 303 protectant (they aren’t that expensive and you can get a bottle from Amazon even today).
  • Clean the valves: Before you inflate your kayak, take a moment to make sure that the valves are clean and free of debris. These little nooks and crannies are notorious for harbouring little bits of sand and other foreign objects that could cause a rapture when forced into the kayak using the pump.
  • Give it room to grow: When inflating your kayak, be sure to do so in a spacious and clear area that is free of obstacles that could encumber its growth as well as sharp objects that could puncture it as it gets bigger.
  • Be careful when it comes to the air pressure: The best inflatable kayaks come with a pump and clear instructions on how much pressure should be pumped into which compartment. If yours didn’t come with a pump, be sure to buy one with a pressure gauge (I find that this ADVANCED ELEMENTS Double Action Hand Pump with Pressure Gauge works just fine and it’s quite affordable too). Under-inflating or over-inflating your kayak can damage it. When it’s under-inflated it won’t float as well making it difficult to manoeuvre and control which can lead to accidents. Over-inflating it could result in damage or tears to the internal septums which can be impossible to repair.
  • Don’t leave it out in the open for long once inflated: Get your kayak on the water as soon as possible once it’s inflated. It’s not an emergency or anything but if you leave it out in direct sunlight or on hot concrete the air inside could expand thus causing the same damage and tear to the internal septums that we just talked about.

Here is a video giving you a quick rundown on how to inflate and generally care for your Sea Eagle 330 Inflatable Kayak with Deluxe Package (check out current prices for that boat on Amazon):

Here is one showing you how to carry out quick repairs on your inflatable kayak:

When it comes to protecting it from your crazy ex-girlfriend, I’m afraid you are on your own there. I would just lock the doors and pretend I’m not home.

Step 2: How do you dry an inflatable kayak?

Never store your kayak while wet!!! That is a serious no-no. It will get mildew and wind up damaged. You need to either let it dry up properly or do it yourself before storing it. Here are tips for keeping your kayak dry once you are done using it:

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  • You can leave it out in the sun to dry up naturally for a little while. This is only viable if you have the time but not entirely advisable because of that whole “UV rays being bad for your inflatable kayak” thing.
  • Bring two towels with you and pat down your kayak after removing all debris such as twigs, sand and pebbles from its surface.

Begin by…

  • Removing the seats and all bags from the kayak.
  • Rinse out the kayak using a hose and freshwater. This is particularly important if you were kayaking at sea with saltwater. That salt can cake on the outside of your kayak and cause problems to the material later.
  • Make sure the kayak is free of debris. By debris, I’m talking of everything including sand, pebbles, twigs, algae, patches of your sunscreen…everything. All these little things, if left unchecked cause damage by debriding the surface of your boat and removing its UV protection thus making it that much more vulnerable to springing a leak.
  • While the kayak is still inflated, dry the outer parts with the towels.
  • Deflate the floor then flip your kayak on its side to drain it of any water.
  • Use the towels to mop up any remaining water from the inside of the floor as well as the inner parts of the kayak. Be on the lookout for additional debris.
  • Deflate the rest of the kayak and use the towels to mop up any additional water.
  • Use the towels to dry off underneath the kayak as you roll it for storage.

How dry does your kayak have to be?

I’ve already mentioned that you should never store your kayak while wet because it can build up mold and mildew and wind up damaged. This means that the kayak has to be pretty dry when you store it.

However, if you are an avid kayaker and will be using your boat once or twice every week or at least four times a month then you don’t need to turn it into a tinderbox just to store it. You can put it away with a little moisture. But if you are going to keep it stored away for months, it HAS to be as dry as it can get without igniting!

Here is a video showing you how to dry and store your inflatable boat:

Step 3: What is the best way to store your inflatable kayak?

Storing your kayak is just as important as everything else we have already covered above. The beauty of most inflatable kayaks is that they can fold up and fit into a backpack. This makes them easier to transport and store. That being said, here are some pointers on how to do that properly:

Here is a video giving you a full rundown on how to fold and store your kayak:

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Additional tips on how to store your inflatable kayak

  • Fold it up differently every time: Try to fold up your kayak differently every single time. Folding it up in the same way for storage could lead to unwanted seams being formed at those fold-lines. These seams can slowly develop into points of weakness that could lead to rapture or a puncture.
  • Include dryer sheets when storing for a longer period of time: Mice don’t like the smell of dryer sheets so if you are going to be storing your boat for a long time, like through the winter, include some dryer sheets in that bag to prevent these little miscreants from munching on or nesting in the bag with your kayak.
  • Use silica gel to keep the boat dry through long haul: No matter how dry you think your kayak was before you stored it, there is a chance that some moisture might get in especially in the wet winter months. Use silica gel to keep it dry.
  • Was with white vinegar or spirit for mold: As I said, no matter how dry you think your boat is when you store it, some moisture could still get in and cause mold. Should that happen, don’t throw your boat away. You can simply wash it off using some white vinegar or spirit. Use that on the entire yak.

Is it okay to store your inflatable kayak outside?

No! It is not okay nor cool to store your inflatable kayak outside. This boat needs to be kept in a cool, dry place. Never leave it exposed to the elements such as the sun, freezing weather or the rain.

Plus, if you leave it outside, how will you keep it away from your crazy ex-girlfriend with them scissors?


How to properly care for your inflatable kayak - Rugged Outdoor Life? ›

How To Prolong The Life & Durability Of Your Inflatable Kayak
  1. CLEAN. Clean any sand or dirt out of the valves. ...
  2. RINSE. Always rinse the kayak off with fresh water after use when sea kayaking. ...
  3. DRY. ...
  6. AIR PRESSURE. ...

How do you maintain a plastic kayak? ›

Basic Kayak Maintenance - YouTube

How do I clean my Itiwit? ›

At home, you will need to unroll it to rinse it with fresh water and leave it to dry before rolling it back up again. The best way to dry it out completely is to remove the seats and then the floor and leave them to dry separately. Once everything is dry, put it all back in place and pack your kayak into its bag.

How do I clean my advanced element kayak? ›

After using the kayak you can wipe it down with a dry towel. Once you reach home, you can clean it with soft liquid soapy water. Rinse it off with clean water then. You can do this while inflated or deflated.

How do you dry a kayak? ›

If you will use it soon, towel off the water, pack the boat in its bag, and away you go. If you are packing your kayak up for the season, be certain to remove all the water, and let it air dry. Then clean and vacuum it, seal it to keep the critters out and store it off the ground.

Should you wax a plastic kayak? ›

Again, unlike composite kayaks, plastic-hulled vessels don't require waxing. However, cleaning and applying UV protectant is still very much recommended. No, scratch that – it's mandatory.

Can I use Armor All on my kayak? ›

To beautify, we suggest a vinyl protectant product such as Armor All®, 303 Products or Pledge. These are safe for use on any of our Polyethylene, Superlinear, Royalex® and Fiberglass canoes or kayaks.

Do inflatable kayaks get moldy? ›

Keep in mind that the dirt, sand and rocks that will undoubtedly gather inside the kayak are not a problem. The water and moisture is the important part to dry out so that you don't end up with mold and mildew. Find more inflatable kayak tips and advice.

Do you get wet in an inflatable kayak? ›

You don't wet in an inflatable kayak?!

In a traditional kayak you are much lower in the water compared to an inflatable kayak which sits on the top. During our fun couple adventures in the Lake District we would always get soggy bottoms as the kayak would fill with lake water.

How do you get mold out of a inflatable kayak? ›

It's also possible for your kayak to grow some icky black mildew on it. To get rid of that and the musty smell that can accompany it, spray your kayak with vinegar and let it sit out in the sun to dry. The vinegar will kill the mold spores and remove any fetid odor.

Is it OK to leave inflatable kayak inflated? ›

You don't need a lot of space but you do need a dry cool place to keep it. It's best not to leave it inflated while storing away for an extended period of time. Leaving it inflated can cause stress on the seams and valves especially if the temperatures rise and the air expands.

How do you clean the inside of a kayak? ›

How To | Clean your Kayak - YouTube

How do you pack an inflatable kayak? ›

How to pack a STAR Pike or Paragon Inflatable Kayak back in the bag.

How can I make my kayak shine? ›

How to Clean Your Kayak - Quick & Easy - YouTube

How do you get water out of a kayak? ›

How To Empty A Flooded Kayak | Instructional - YouTube

How do I get water out of my inflatable raft? ›

Inflatable boats tend to collect water inside.
There are various methods of taking water out of inflatable boat.
  1. Open up drain plug, and run boat at full speed. ...
  2. Use hand bilge pump to pump water out. ...
  3. Use battery operated bilge pumps, such as Attwood WaterBuster Portable Pump sold on Amazon for $29.
Jun 9, 2017

How do you care for a composite kayak? ›

How to Care for Your P&H Composite Sea Kayak - YouTube

How do you store a polyethylene kayak? ›

The best way to store a kayak outdoors for a longer period is to keep it out of the water and under some sort of cover. For example, mounting racks on a wall keeps your kayaks off the ground and easily accessible for in-season use. Some other options for long-term outdoor storage include: Under a deck.

What do you put on the bottom of a kayak? ›

Protecting the bottom of my kayak || Gator Guard - YouTube

How do you waterproof a kayak? ›

waterproofing your fishing kayak - YouTube


1. Taking the inflatable kayak on the water for the first time !
(Sheezelectric aka Mizz-fix-it)
2. Choosing an inflatable kayak Part2 - Summer 2020 update
(J Baikoff)
3. 5 Best Inflatable Kayaks You Can Buy In 2022
4. Best Inflatable Kayaks 2021 - Top 7 Fastest Inflatable Kayak for Fishing
(Best Guider)
5. ITIWIT 2 Men Inflatable Kayak - Unboxing and Review - DECATHLON
(Alive Road)
6. Inflatable Kayak Gear Review | Sea Eagle - RazorLite 393

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