Winter Storage & Maintenance

Tips to keep your gear in good condition while in storage:
  • Lay Thermarests unrolled and flat with the valve open or check what your manufacturer recommends for your particular brand of air mattress.
  • Often sleeping bag manufacturers recommend storing sleeping bags loosely and will supply a special storage bag for this purpose.
  • Hang wooden paddles in racks made especially for this purpose.
  • For canoes with wooden gunwales, it is recommended that you reapply tung oil upon purchase and 2 to 4 times per season or as gunwales become dry and rough. Apply in the shade with a rag, leave 5 to 10 minutes before wiping off any excess oil. Varnishing wood gunwales is NOT recommended because the varnish will eventually crack and peel.
  • Canoe seats, yoke, thwart and handles may already be varnished upon purchased and are subject to much less wear so should require little or not maintenance.
  • Wooden rails on Royalex canoes should be loosened off each season prior to winter storage and retightened each spring.
Before putting your canoe away for the season and prior to extended trips a thorough inspection is recommended. Use a flashlight inside your overturned canoe to inspect composite (fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon) hulls for stress cracks which look like spider web cracks on the inside. Don’t confuse an outside only hairline gel-coat crack (cosmetic) with real stress cracks (structural). Deep scratches into the cloth are relatively easy to repair. Take your canoe to someone who knows how to do these repairs such as our own Gregg Parsons or the canoe manufacturer or check out the following website for do-it-yourself repair tips: www.frontenac-outfitters.com.

Inside Canoe Storage:

Inside storage is preferred if available since prolonged UV exposure and snow or ice buildup can shorten the lifespan of your canoe. As well, cold temperatures can pose a greater threat to Royalex boats due to possible hull contraction and expansion. The best canoe storage is upside down in a cool, dry place, off the ground. A pair of padded sawhorses works great. Suspending your canoe from ceiling rafters work well if the canoe’s weight is resting evenly on the gunwales. Do not store heavy objects on top of your canoe and do not store your canoe on its side since the hull can deform.

Outside Canoe Storage:

If you must store your canoe outside suspend a tarp over the boat, leaving the down wind ends open to ensure circulation and to keep snow and ice off. DO NOT wrap your boat tight in a tarp, as it will trap moisture, which can discolour the hull.
Note: During the winter, to get the salt they crave, critters love to nibble off the salt left by your hands on your beautiful wood gunwales