Winter Canoe Storage

For those of us who live in the Northern part of the United States it is time to store the canoes away for the winter if we haven’t already.   The bigger lakes have started to freeze over and even the creeks and rivers are becoming non-existent.  As an outfitter we have too many canoes, too little indoor space, and not enough energy left at the end of the season to store all of our canoes perfectly.  Most manufacturers keep your canoe out of the sun and to hang it inside of a heated building with the belly up and weight on the gunwales to keep the hull shape unaffected.  If you must store it outside then be sure it is dry since moisture that is trapped in a canoe can cause problems once colder temperatures arrive.  You can store a canoe upside down on a set of saw horses, keep it covered, and remove any snow load on a regular basis.  Be especially cautious with royalex canoes with wooden gunwales.  The royalex and wood both shrink at a different rate and the pressure caused by the contraction can cause cracks to form.  In order to avoid this manufacturers recommend loosening the screws on the gunwales at the ends of the canoe.  Cliff Jacobsen talks about this procedure in a recent online article you can find on this site.  With just a little bit of time and energy you can keep your canoe in proper working shape for a long time.  One big mistake to avoid, don’t leave a kevlar canoe where a snowplow can touch it, the reason should be obvious!  Been there, done that, and don’t need to do it again. 

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