How to Dry an Inflatable Kayak

dry a kayak

One of the biggest issues that people who own a kayak have to deal with is the very real possibility that their kayak will get moldy or grow mildew on it. This mold and mildew can ruin a great looking kayak and often it is something that could have easily been prevented if proper care had been taken to ensure it was completely dry. Here are a few tips on how to dry an inflatable kayak before you pack it up.


Why Drying Is Necessary

Inflatable kayaks and other boats are all designed to be easy to use. However, there are a few responsibilities that you must accept if you want to own one and want to keep it looking great for a very long time. The biggest “chore” with ownership is that it must be cleaned and dried.

Cleaning it will keep it looking great. The main reason that you should dry your kayak is quite obvious to anyone who has had anything mold while it was wet and stored. Mold stains and it can develop an odor. The last thing you want to deal with is having to scrub down your kayak before you can take it out.

It is better to prepare it for storage, even if you will only be out of the water for a couple days. This is because damp vinyl and a tight storage bag create an ideal, warm environment for mold and mildew to grow.


Clean Your Kayak First

Many people choose to rinse and wipe their kayak before they worry about drying, especially if they have been in salt water. Salt water can cause damage if the water is allowed to sit and it goes well beyond the mold or mildew point. An inflatable kayak can be damaged by sun exposure and the salt if it is left on it. Therefore, most inflatable kayak owners recommend washing with inflatable boat cleaner and water is a necessity before you worry about drying it. You should also periodically clean your kayak to help it last longer.


Tips on Drying Your Inflatable

Make sure you rinse off any salt water or debris once you are ready to dry off your kayak. If you are not in a situation where you are unable to dry it and you must pack it up wet, be sure to take it out when you are home so that it can be dried. You should do this as soon as possible. Just make sure that you include drying the inflatables storage area as well.

The first step is to take off everything that attaches to your inflatable. If the seats can be removed, take them out. The same with storage bags and other accessories that may be on board. Lay everything to the side and then flip the kayak so that it is upside down. This will allow more water to drain off and out of the kayak. If your kayak is already deflated, you can still lay it out so that it can dry off. However, it will take a longer amount of time for it to dry completely. Many people suggest using a large towel to speed up drying. You may want to have at least two on hand. One will pick up debris such as sand or pebbles, if you are concerned about possible rocks being inside the kayak, while the other will complete the drying process. Some people also use a shop vac to get dry there inflatable before using a dry towel.

drying inflatable kayak with a shop vac

After the bottom of the kayak is completely dry, you will want to turn it back so it is upright. Deflate the floor and turn your kayak onto its side or completely upside down again. This will get more of the water out of the inside area. If you want to speed up drying, you can put fans on the kayak as well as use the towels to dry it.

When it is dry enough for your personal preference, you can then start to deflate the rest of the air out of your inflatable kayak. There may still be pockets that are holding water so keep your towel handy and dry those areas as you see it.

Figuring out how to dry an inflatable kayak is not hard. If you are going to be using your kayak again in a few days, you can worry less about excess water that may be trapped. The total drying process with towels and no fan should take you less than five minutes. However, if you do not plan to use your kayak for a while, you will want to put in more effort and possibly bring out the fans for it. Some people even suggest putting it inside of your carport or some other area, on its side, for a day or so along with the fan.