Maintaining your investment: rinsing, drying, storing your kayak and accessories

Imagine walking down a dark neighborhood street and seeing a man in a headlamp, t-shirt, and shorts watering the grass at 10PM.

You’d probably stare and snicker with your friends, as those walking past my husband did after he rinsed off all our kayak gear after a full day on the water.

I was watching the bystanders from our outdoor table, giving everything a quick dry with a big beach towel before running it inside to hang up.

We rinse everything, whether it’s “fresh” water (can’t tell you how many “toxic algae” signs I’ve seen where we’ve paddled) or salt. And 1-2 years later all our gear looks completely new, minus some scratches on the bottom of our kayak we can buff out later.


We don’t dry the whole kayak with towels but we make sure to soak up any excess water once its on its’ side in the garage, being paranoid about warping the walls. We lay it as vertical as possible for the same reason.


First you have to get the main amount of water out though. My husband’s a little neater about stuff than I am, so he doesn’t even want our wet grass on the kayak when we store it. So after rinsing we stand on either end and take turns lifting ends (like a sea-saw motion) to get the water out. If we had a touring cockpit with bulkheads this motion might not be required.

Next we hang everything up to dry more thoroughly. On our laundry rack…


And a shoe rack…


Wet suits shouldn’t be left inside out for long or they’ll get creased/less insulated. Here’s a good short article on How to Care for a Wet Suit by Wetsuit Warehouse if you want more info.

The wetsuit gloves are the most difficult to dry and you can stuff them with newspaper or put them in front of a fan.

Paddles should be separated (assuming you don’t have a one piece), rinsed down the shaft, and leaned against the wall with the blade towards the ceiling to allow the water to drain. Otherwise you may end up with a one piece…without the lower weight benefit.

Then we put them in our travel bag that we’re itching to use during actual travel.


We keep all our gear in this old separate closet thing, hanging up our wet suits and life jackets and cockpit skirts, our cooler and dry bags get laid on the bottom, and everything else goes on the shelf on top.

How do you maintain and store your gear? What’s the most difficult item to keep clean or dry?

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