How should I care for and maintain my kayak?
Your kayak can handle bumps and bashes, scratches and abrasions, and it can withstand sun exposure. But, over the years, these things take their toll and no kayak is indestructible.
Plastic kayaks do not need a lot of maintenance but they do need some care to keep them in perfect condition for years and years. Follow our recommendations for the care and maintenance of your Vagabond kayak.
Read this article for many useful Kayak Care & Maintenance tips.
Can I order directly from Vagabond?
The short answer is no. We are in the process of signing-up dealers.
If you reside in a country where is no dealer (yet), please contact us directly.
How can I fix a dent or crack in my kayak?
Dents are easy. The plastic that we use has a good memory so putting your kayak in the sun for a few hours will usually cause the dent to pop out. If that doesn’t work, pour boiling water on the dented area and use a blunt object to gently push the plastic into its original shape.
Cracks are more challenging. If you suspect that the crack is due to a manufacturing defect, please contact us for verification. If you dropped your kayak down a cliff, this would be counted as ‘operator error’ and you’ll need to look at making your own repairs.
If you can locate a company with plastic welding experience, try them. If not, you’ll need to attempt the repairs yourself.
Use a small drill to drill into the ends of the crack to prevent the crack from spreading. Clean the crack and even the edges using a sharp blade. To weld the crack closed, you will need some plastic to fill the crack. Cut a narrow strip of plastic from the inside of the cockpit rim (sit-in kayak) or from the inside of the hatch rim (sit-on-top kayak). A plastic welding gun or a heat gun are suitable heat sources as they concentrate heat in a small area.
Start at the beginning of the crack and use the heat gun to heat both the plastic around the crack and the filler piece at the same time. Feed the filler plastic into the crack. You’ll know that your heating is right when the plastic becomes shiny and it sticks easily to the crack on contact. Use a spoon to apply just enough pressure to work the molten plastic filler into the crack and to smooth the surface. Continue heating the sides of the crack and the plastic filler, pushing the filler into the crack, until the crack has been filled.
To level and smooth any areas, heat and apply pressure – do not rub sideways.
Be patient. Work slowly and carefully and take care not to apply too much heat. The repaired crack will never be as strong as the original plastic, but a good repair will ensure that your kayak is watertight again.
DISCLAIMER: Please be very careful when welding your kayak. And don’t blame us if it doesn’t go according to plan.
How do I submit a warranty claim?
How should I store my kayak?
If you do not live close to a water source to paddle regularly or if you prefer paddling only during summer’s warmth, chances are good that you’ll need to store your kayak for a few months at a time.
We recommend storing your kayak upright. Stand your kayak vertically on its stern, leaving the drain plug open. Alternatively, store it on its side on a padded rack. If you do not have space indoors, aim for a shaded, undercover spot or cover with a tarpaulin to keep it out of direct sunlight and away from the sun’s heat. If you have one of our sit-in kayaks, cover the cockpit to keep dust from settling inside.
Never store a kayak flat on its hull as this can result in permanent deformation.
Do recreational sit-on-top kayaks flip over easily?
There are kayaks and there are kayaks. Kayaks that flip over easily are usually those designed for speed and racing. They tend to be long and narrow. Our range of kayaks is focused on recreational paddling. As such, our Vagabond kayaks are stable enough that on flatwater you can stand up on the deck to wave to your supporters. Our kayaks handle waves from the side really well and you can even try to surf small rapids without fear of capsizing.
That said, while our kayaks do not flip over easily, they can still flip over – like if you take your kayak to the sea and you get dunked by a wave, or if you hit a rock in a rapid, or if a whale surfaces underneath your kayak, or if you overload your single-seater kayak by taking your two siblings and their two dogs for a ride.
The joy of paddling a sit-on-top is that if you fall off, you can just climb back on. Safety first! Always paddle wearing a PFD because you just never know what can happen out there.
Should I buy a second-hand kayak?
If you are testing the waters and exploring the sport of paddling, then buying a second-hand kayak is worth doing, especially if you get a good deal on a kayak that is in good condition. For a lower price, buying second-hand gives you the opportunity to gain some experience and to discover your paddling preferences and what aspects of the sport appeal to you.
But, second-hand kayaks do not come with warranties and you will have no idea whether the kayak has any issues. It is bound to have nicks and scratches too.
A new kayak comes with a three-year warranty and it has the benefit of no history.
If you know what you want and you can get a good deal on a second-hand Vagabond kayak from a trusted source, go for it. If you’d like a shiny, out-of-the-box Vagabond kayak with no wear-and-tear, buy new.
What is oil canning and how can I fix it?
Oil canning is the term that describes indentations in the hull that pop-in and pop-out under pressure. Fortunately, oil canning has no effect on the strength of the kayak or its performance.
Place your kayak upside-down in the sun for a few hours. The plastic’s memory should restore the hull shape. You may need to use foam braces beneath the affected area to encourage the indentation to pop out.
To prevent oil canning, avoid storing your kayak on its hull (store it vertically or on its side) and take care not to strap it too tightly to roof racks.