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Transportation, Storage and Care of your kayak

An unloaded solo kayak can be transported by the paddler.

Crouch down with the buttocks resting against your heels. Position the cockpit of your kayak against your shoulder. Grasp it and stand up carefully, keeping your back straight. Your thighs must bear the effort, not your back. For more comfort, make a shoulder pad out of a piece of foam or rolled-up sweater. 
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Trolleys / Carts

If you suffer from backaches or find your kayak too heavy, use a kayak cart at one end of the kayak. Grasp the toggle and pull it along behind you. Kayak carts are often collapsible for easy storage in your kayak before departure.
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Vehicle with a Roof Rack

Upside down, right side up, on its side; there is no wrong way to transport a kayak. The only conditions are that the kayak be well secured, that nothing obstructs your field of vision and that the hull is not being deformed.

If your car is equipped with a roof rack:

  • Position the foam protectors on the rack bars.
  • Install the kayak.
  • Use two straps and two cords to secure it in place.
  • Slide the straps under the rack bars and over the kayak.
  • Repeat, attach the buckle and pull tight.
  • Attach the bow and stern ends using cords. Do not tighten excessively.

Several kayak support systems are offered on the market: cradle-shaped, J-shaped and others. Choose a system contoured to your kayak shape and that spreads weight evenly. The support bars of your rack should be positioned near the bulkheads or one third of the way from each end of the kayak.
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Vehicle with a Roof Rack / Transporting your kayak

Think ahead!
If you are transporting your kayak upright or on its side, a cockpit cover could prevent rain and dirt from entering the craft. You may even save money on gas because of decreased air turbulence in the cockpit.

The use of self-tightening straps is not recommended because it is hard to determine the amount of pressure applied to the kayak.

Check with your local authorities for information on the maximum length of craft that may be transported on a vehicle roof.

The minimum requirement to transporting your kayak by car is a padded roof-rack and webbing straps. This is the least secure way of carrying the kayak as the kayak is prone to shifting due to side-winds, and bow and stern ties are advisable.

The kayak is prone to damage when strapped to a bare roof-rack as the load will be placed on two relatively small pressure points on the kayak, and this may cause star cracking or worse, especially if it rests on a lighter deck section or hull section away from the bulkheads.

A padded pair of upright bars bolted to the roof-rack help by stabilising the kayak in side winds, though not necessarily from damage if it sits on a point away from the bulkheads. This may be lessened by resting the kayak on its side.

A better solution is to sit the kayak in V or J shape cradles. These cradles stop the kayak moving in side winds, and maximise the contact pressure point areas, especially if the cradles line up with the bulkheads. For cars with roof bars close together, bow and stern ties are advisable. If the bow and stern are tied down through the toggle ropes, check the condition of the toggle ropes after every use as this does greatly increase the rope wear.

Cradles are also better for keeping two or more boats apart, and prevent rubbing and chafing, which may be severe if the boats are covered in sand.
Suspended Storage

The best places to hang your kayak are from the ceiling of a garage or under a veranda. However, you must suspend your kayak properly and never hang it from the toggles.

For a solo kayak you will need:

   2 X 2.75 m (9 ft) nylon straps 5 cm (2 in) wide
   4 X 0. 325 m  (1 ft) cords 3 mm (1/8 in) in diameter
   4 triglide buckles
   2 or 4 hooks

For a tandem kayak you will need:

   3 X 2.75 m (9 ft) nylon straps 5 cm (2 in) wide
   6 X 0.325 m (1 ft) cords 3 mm (1/8 in) in diameter
   6 triglide buckles
   3 or 6 hooks

Hang your kayak using straps positioned underneath the bulkheads which are the firmest parts of your kayak.  For tandem kayaks, position a third strap at the centre of the craft.
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Storage on Sawhorses

If you choose to store you kayak on sawhorses, use sawhorses with a soft covering or place foam blocks over any hard surface on which the kayak would rest.

It is advisable to secure your kayak to the sawhorses using straps. These straps should not be overly tight and ideally positioned close to where the bulkheads join the deck and hull.

There are different kinds of sawhorse shapes: H, X, Y or L. Use your imagination and make your own! Ensure that they are of sufficient height to be used for cleaning or working on your kayak.
Remember to position your sawhorses under the bulkheads to better distribute the weight of the kayak.
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Storage on Foam Blocks

If you store your kayak on foam blocks, lean it sideways along a wall or straight surface. For plastic kayaks, the blocks must be positioned under the bulkheads to avoid any deformation.
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Kayak Storage / Winter Storage

Winter storage is relatively uncomplicated. Your kayak can be stored outdoors in a protected location or in an unheated building. It can be hung from the ceiling or rested on foam blocks or sawhorses. The main thing is to store the kayak in a location where it is protected from the accumulation of snow, exposure to ultraviolet rays and possible blows.   

The impact resistance of a plastic kayak decreases with exposure to cold. Therefore, avoid storing the kayak too close to the ground. This will also keep small animals from choosing to rest there in winter. In many cases, a cockpit cover provides even greater protection.

You can package your kayak or place it in a bag to protect it from dust and scratches. In such case, ensure that the bag is dry. Don't forget to release the compartment straps to avoid unnecessary pressure on the gaskets.

If you decide to hang the kayak from the ceiling, do not use the toggles.Use straps positioned one-third of the length from each end of the kayak, or directly beneath the bulkheads.

If you store your kayak outside, keep it up-side-down. This keeps the kayak dry and in the long term is best for your kayak by slowing down water penetration into the laminate.

Remove hatch covers if you store long term.
Keep the kayak out of direct sunlight to best preserve the deck elastics and ropes, also over a period of time gel-coat pigment will fade due to the UV light.

If you cover the kayak with a tarpaulin or similar, note that trapping moisture between the tarp and the kayak’s gel-coat may lead to osmosis of the gel-coat (little bubbles and blisters).

Only use a tarp for short periods, remove and dry both kayak and tarpaulin if condensation builds up under the cover.

Ideally, suspend the tarpaulin so to prevent it touching the kayak, this prevents condensation and chafing of gel-coat.

NOTE: Osmosis in a kayak is a storage and moisture issue and is generally not covered by your kayak manufacturers warranty; It is EASY to stop osmosis in a composite kayak -  store your kayak properly and keep it dry during storage.

    - osmosis is a bubbling / blistering in the gel-coat, it occurs when there has been water settling on the surface of the gel-coat for an extended period of time and slowly perpetrates below the gel-coat and forms bubbles. The main way this can occur with your sea-kayak is if it is stored under a tarpaulin (or similar) and moisture is trapped between the tarpaulin and kayak for extended periods of time. Moisture can be created by condensation.

Ideally, hang the tarp so to prevent it touching the kayak, this prevents condensation and chafing of gelcoat.

The best solution to storing your kayak is to keep it inside a garage or shed. This generally reduces moisture in and around the kayak, and shades it from UV light.


Wash your kayak with fresh water
The kayak should be washed inside and out with fresh water after every use, make sure to remove all sand and grit from your kayak and the mechanisms of the pedals, hatches and seating of your kayak. Rinsing off sea water will help preserve metal parts. Leaving salt water on your kayak, can even corrode the highest quality of stainless steel; especially make sure the hinges on your pedals are rinsed.

Remember to rinse the inside of your rubber hatches, as salt and sand can deteriorate the seal for these hatches

Make sure you also dry out all of your hatches and cockpit after each use, so water is not pooling in your kayak.

Care of deck lines, bungee cords and toggles
Keep deck lines taught and inspect all ropes & bungee cord for wear and tear regularly. Pay special attention to the condition of toggle ropes as they usually take the strain of carrying and towing, replace them when they begin to show wear. Salt water and UV exposure will deteriorate these cords.

Care of rudder cable - stainless steel or spectra cord

Always check that there is no fraying of your rudder cables and your shackles are tightened. This can occur over time and these cables will need to be replaced, prior to having it snap when you are out in the water.

Your Mirage sea kayak has been designed to track straight without the rudder system. If your cables does snap, when you are out paddling, then please disengage the cable on the non snapped side (this will make your rudder free flowing and mush easier to paddle steer and you will get home) maybe think about having a replacement kit with you; especially if you are undertaking an expedition.

Damage and gel-coat scratches
Deep scratches through the gel-coat exposing laminate should be repaired. Small star cracks, gel-coat scratches and chips are a fact of life in a composite kayak, and do not pose a threat to your kayak’s lifespan.
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