What is oil canning on a kayak

What is oil canning on a kayak?

The term oil canning might not seem like a suitable term for kayaking. However, it’s a common phenomenon that can happen to your kayak anytime. Whether you are new to kayaking or have been on the scene for a long time, oil canning is still unfamiliar to many.

You might notice your kayak suffers from oil canning for unexpected reasons. But, before that happens, I will discuss what oil canning is on a kayak and how you can prevent it from happening. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

What is oil canning on a kayak?

Oil canning has different meanings in different industries. But when it comes to kayaking, it’s not something you should wish for. So, what’s the matter here that makes oil canning so concerning for kayakers? Oil canning is indentations on the hull of your kayak. You might not do something intentionally, and even then, you can end up with an indentation.

The interesting fact here is why it is called oil canning. That’s because, if you look at the indentation closely, it looks like someone pressed the kayak’s hull with an oil can and made a dent similar to the side of a barrel. That’s where the term oil canning on kayak came from. So, what causes oil canning? There are multiple, and if you are being a little careful, you can easily avoid those issues.

As I mentioned earlier, oil canning is usually seen under the hull of your kayak. This is because the hull plays a massive role in your kayak’s speed, control, and stability. So, when the hull gets compromised due to oil canning, it’ll affect your kayak’s performance badly.

Also, you might be wondering what type of kayaks are most affected by oil canning. Oil canning mostly happens to polyethylene kayaks widely used these days. It’s more likely to suffer oil canning if the kayak is old and has years of extensive use under its belt.

Firstly, proper transportation is one of the critical factors in preventing oil canning. Oil canning is an indentation, and there are many chances it can happen during transportation. So, you need to ensure you are carrying your kayak on a rack that is appropriately fit for the kayak. Also, if you are tying down the kayak, don’t make it so tight that it causes a dent in the hull.

The next thing you can do is ensure a proper storage solution. The exact use of racks applies here too. Make sure you store your kayak on a rack instead of just placing it on the ground. Don’t keep anything heavy on the kayak. It might look okay, but the weight can eventually create a dent in the hull.

Lastly, when pushing your kayak into or out of the water, carry it instead of just dragging it. Carrying a kayak might be a bit challenging, and you might need extra hands, but it’ll save your kayak from any unexpected dents from dragging.

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Repairing oil canning: Different methods you can try

Now that you know the reasons, does oil canning go away? Yes, it absolutely does. Below, I have discussed some widely used ways you can try to fix the oil canning on your kayak. While some techniques are essential, some will require extra tools. Depending on your expertise and tool availability, you can use any method.

Method 1: Using the heat from the sun

I think the method itself is pretty self-explanatory. If your indentation case is not very severe, you can use this method to fix the oil canning. You must place your kayak under direct sun, exposing the kayak’s hull.

You have to keep it this way for at least two hours before you notice the dents returning to shape on their own. Sometimes, the dent might need some manual assistance by your hand to fix.


Method 2: Using a hair dryer or heat gun

This method is quicker, and if you don’t have the necessary heat from the sun, this second method will come in handy. Instead of depending on the sun’s heat, you can take the duty of heating the hull in your hand.

Use the heat gun or hair dryer to heat the affected spot. But ensure it’s not too hot because that’ll worsen the condition. If the dents dot pops back up on its own, apply some light pressure to fix the dents. After fixing, check the hull out closely, and if you are not satisfied, you can use this method for further adjustments.

Method 3: Using hot water

Again, the goal here is to provide the necessary heat for the kayak and let it heal on its own. This method can be an easy last resort if you don’t have the sun or tools like a hair dryer or heat gun. For this method, boil some hot water. The water should be pretty hot, but too much heat can damage the hull further.

As for the quantity, take enough water to fill up the hull. After boiling, pour the whole thing inside the kayak, targeting the affected area. Let the water sit in there until it cools down. Then, drain the water and check if the hull is fixed. Additionally, you might need some extra pressure to pop the dents back out.

Final Words

That’s a wrap for today. I hope my article was helpful enough to give you a brief idea about what oil canning is on a kayak and the remedies. I don’t know whether you were familiar with the term oil canning on a kayak, but you must have noticed oil canning happened to kayaks before.

But now that all those indentations are called oil canning fixing them will also be easier for you. Also, oil canning can teach a good lesson to us kayakers about the importance of proper maintenance, transport, and storage of kayaks.

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