Most of all, a little care and maintenance will ensure a long and stress free life for both you and your kayak.
What is the best way to store my Feathercraft?
You can store your Feathercraft either in the bag or assembled.
If storing it in the bag:
- Let the skin completely dry on the frame.
- Rinse the frame tubes thoroughly with fresh water.
- Take extension bars apart.
- Lubricate spring buttons, inserts, and wipe framework clean of any salt deposits with Boeshield T-9.
If you are keeping your kayak assembled:
- Store it in a dry place, covered, and protected from the weather elements.
- Keep cockpit covered to avoid unwanted guests taking up residence in your kayak.
- If salt water has pooled in your kayak, take it apart every two months and relubricate the frame.
NOTE: With our new Sealskin technology, much less water will enter your kayak. You may find that disassembly and lubrication of your kayak can be done less frequently.
Do I need to treat the skin with anything?
The welded urethane skins do not need any additional treatment. Clean with mild detergent and a soft scrub brush.
Prior to 2000, the kayak deck and hull were sewn together. The deck was a single coated Cordura nylon fabric, with the coating on the underside. Over time, this coating will break down. The Cordura can be treated with Scotch Guard or Nik Wax to help with the water resistance. Because the decks were sewn to the hull, seam sealing of these skins is required. Seam sealer can be applied to the underside of the deck by turning the skin inside out. The deck to hull seam needs to be sealed from the outside.
To seam seal, have the kayak assembled. Rest on one side. Run a bead of sealer along the length of the kayak, between and on each side of the web loops, including the large web handle on each end. When dry, repeat with the other side.
The kayak has been stored for a while, and now the skin is tight, and it is difficult to extend the frame.
For nylon Cordura decks, completely soak the deck to allow the deck to stretch out when extending the frame.
For urethane skins, turn the skin inside out; close the sponson valves; completely submerge the skin in a tube of water for at least 24 hours. Assemble the kayak and allow the skin to dry on the frame. This stretches the skin back.
Can I car-top my Feathercraft?
Absolutely. Feathercraft Kayaks can be carried on the top of your car just like any rigid kayak. Usually the kayak is secured to the car rack, hull side down. Care should be taken to not cinch down too hard on either the bow or stern ends, creating a reverse bow effect. Care should also be taken when “running” rope or cord over the Polytech deck. The colored film on the deck could be scuffed.
Ensure the kayak is well secured to the rack, and that the rack is well secured to the vehicle. Secure the kayak across its beam at two points, and have a rope attached to the bow and stern ends of the boat and the vehicle. There is no particular rack that we suggest. Both straight bar racks and cradle systems work well. Remove all light weight items from kayak, such as sea sock, spray skirt, life jacket. If you are using a cockpit cover, be sure to tie it on to a deck line. Items are easily sucked off and out of the kayak at highway speeds. When car-topping the K2, a minimum distance between the bars of the rack is approximately 1 meter, or 3 feet.
Single coated fabrics will eventually loose their urethane coating.
The fabric used on the sea socks, spray skirts, hatch tunnels & covers is a single coated nylon. With a single coated fabric, water can migrate through from the top side and will eventually push the urethane coating off the fabric. So far, there are not after-market products that will coat it like new. Depending on the amount of use and humidity, estimated wear can be between three to five years. Should seam tape begin to peal, seams can be sealed with tent seam sealer or Aquaseal. As of 2011, we are now using a double coated nylon fabric – meaning there is a urethane coating on both sides of the fabric. This is a premium fabric, and is offered as standard on the Expedition kayaks. It is an upgradeable option for the smaller kayaks. Replacement skirts and socks made from the double coated nylon fabric are available. The double coating will extend the life of the water-proof performance of the skirt and sock.
Travelling with your Feathercraft.
This is best part! Pack it up and away you go to a multitude of exotic destinations. Of course travel in general is not quite as easy as it used to be. A little pre-trip planning and weighing will make your air-line baggage experience painless. Every airline seems to have their own rules for baggage allowance and surcharge. However, most have a 50 lb (23 kg) bag limit. Before arriving at the airport, weigh you kayak bag. Make any small adjustments to keep under the limit. Give the kayak bag some additional padding with your life jacket, personal clothing, towels. When checking in, state first that the bag is sporting goods, and second it is a kayak. Not all airline employees have heard of a folding kayak – strange, but true.
Mildew on Nylon Gear.
It is best to try to avoid mildew and mold on your nylon paddling gear. Let your gear dry completely before storing. However, if it happens, here’s some suggestions:
– Mix 1/2c Lysol in one gallon of hot water (Lysol can attract bugs. Use Mirazim as an alternate). Wash gear with sponge. Let air dry. After it dries, mix one cup salt with one cup concentrated lemon juice in one gallon hot water. Wash with this solution. Let dry. Float bags and many other non-fabric surfaces can sometimes be flushed or scrubbed with a low-strength bleach solution. CAUTION – Always test on a small piece of fabric before tackling a large area.
– Never put single coated nylon gear in a washing machine.
– Check for other cleaning solutions and tips on-line.
REI Cleaning Solutions