Long Live Kayaks : Caring for Your Inflatable Kayak
Every BOTE inflatable kayak performs with the durability and stability required for days on the water, but what makes them unique is their packability. Our inflatable kayaks come equipped with a custom travel bag so they can pack down into even the smallest spaces. Our inflatable kayaks offer options for the beginner all the way to the ultimate fisherman, and their endless versatility allows you to grow into new kayaking and SUP skills.
So, you’ve finally got yourself an inflatable kayak. Now, like a dad with a new sports car in the driveway, all you wanna do is give it a little TLC. Here at BOTE, the only thing we love more than making top-notch gear is making sure it remains in tip-top shape.
Luckily, our suite of inflatable Aero kayaks basically puts you on third base in that regard. They’re super versatile, supremely packable, but more importantly? They’re incredibly durable. In other words, it doesn’t take much to keep your BOTE inflatable kayak in excellent condition. But chances are, you’ll want to anyway. On the water or in the driveway, spending quality time with your baby is what it’s all about.
Without further ado, here’s how to clean, care for, and store your inflatable kayak.
Rinsing Your Kayak with Fresh Water
It's worth stating the obvious here. When you're ready to wrap up your day, always rinse any BOTE product with fresh, clean water. When it comes to items like the DEUS Aero, Zeppelin Aero, or LONO Aero, don't forget to run fresh water throughout the nooks and crannies to prevent build-up. This simple step can extend the lifetime of any water toy for years, particularly in brackish and saltwater regions.
Cleaning Your Inflatable Kayak
Rinsing with fresh water is a great first step, but make sure to follow it up with a good clean. I mean, we all go home after a day at the beach and take a shower, right?
If you notice smudges or dirt, wipe with a damp cloth. If a cleaner is needed, use an environmentally safe cleaner with no harsh chemicals, like Simple Green, and a damp cloth or very soft bristle brush.
Once you remove all the smudges and dirt, wash off the cleaning solution by rinsing with (wait for it...) fresh water. Then step back to see your inflatable looking like new.
Pro Tip: For darker scratches and smudges, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will literally do magic and have your board looking good as new. Once all the spots are removed, make sure you remove all the cleaning solution by rinsing it with fresh water. Then allow the board to dry before storing.
Preserving Deck Pads
Inflatable kayaks are equipped with a soft, textured deck pad to help you grip and stay steady when you're using it. This texture and softness could allow for grit to build over time, and you may see a discoloration appear without somewhat regular cleaning.
To clean your deck pad, use fresh water and a gentle bristle scrub brush to loosen the dirt, then wash it away. If the grit is soaked in or the discoloration is still there, use an environmentally safe cleaner on your deck pad. Spray on, gently scrub, and rinse your deck pad of the grit and the cleaning solution.
Air It Out
When you're ready to store your inflatable kayak, release the air and roll it up in the same fashion you unrolled it. Each BOTE inflatable product comes with its specially designed bag for both the protection of the inflatable and to facilitate your transportation of it.
It's up to you whether you prefer to store your kayak partially inflated or completely deflated and rolled up. If you want to keep it ready and waiting, reduce the PSI until it is compressible by hand.
Always let your inflatable kayak air-dry before packing it up and storing it. You can throw a DampRid packet into the bag as an added measure. This will help keep it from building up mildew and taking on that high-humidity summer stink.
Pro Tip: Make your life a little easier and leave your inflatable in the sun for 5-10 minutes before rolling it up. This short burst of sunshine warms the material and makes it more pliable for easier packing.
Storing Your Inflatable Kayak
There is such a thing as too much sun, however. It both weakens the material and the seams and increases the pressure beyond its design limits. Do right by your inflatable by storing it out of direct sunlight when not in use and keep it in a cool, dry place. This will help avoid bursting or fading of colors.
How to Find and Patch an Air Leak
If you notice your inflatable kayak isn't as firm to the touch after inflating it, you may have an air leak. Air leaks can be easily identified and patched up; here's how:
Step 1: Make sure your inflatable is at its recommended PSI. Mix a small amount of cleaner and some water in a spray bottle.
Step 2: Spray the solution in the common problem areas first, like the edges of the valve and the seams. Look for bubbles that form and grow after the soapy water has coated the surface. When checking the seams, run your finger over the seam lightly, removing any foam bubbles and see if any air bubbles reappear.
If the valve and all seams appear leak-free, work in sections as you spray the remaining surface areas. Take your time and watch for air bubbles forming.
If you noticed active air bubbles, you identified an air leak. Make note of where it is, and make sure to wash off the cleaning solution with fresh water.
Step 3: Patch it up. All Aero products come with a Repair Kit, including patches, glue, and a valve tool. More severe tears may require professional help in mending, but our Repair Kit should be able to cover most.
From the LONO to the Zeppelin to the Deus, we're stoked to bring you an award-winning selection of inflatable kayaks that are sexy, versatile, and virtually indestructible. In most cases, it takes less than five minutes to care for an Aero at the end of a long weekend of getting your paddle on, ripping lips, and drinking some chiller lites on your inflatable dock.