How to Fold an Inflatable Boat for Storage
One of the great things about inflatable rafts, catarafts, kayaks and SUP boards is that when not in use they can be deflated, taking up very little storage space. In this video, the NRS Repairs crew gives you the tips and techniques to minimize stress on seams and materials by showing you how to fold an inflatable boat for storage.
If you have the space, storing your inflatable loosely inflated and out of the sun is ideal. Many of us don’t have that much room, so proper folding is necessary.
For an inflatable kayak, open the valves to deflate. Fold one end over about a foot and continue folding to get a loosely folded bundle.
For your SUP board, after deflating, start folding from the bow end, opposite from the valve. Be careful not to bend the fin attachment plates. It can be stored in the travel carry bag or more loosely folded elsewhere.
For a raft, remove most of the air from the chambers. You can use a pump or vacuum to remove the air; just don’t create a vacuum, as this can put undo stress on the boat’s seams. Fold both side tubes in, so the raft is folded in thirds. If you have the room, fold each end to the middle, and fold the two halves together. Or, you can fold all the way from one end. Cataraft tubes can be folded separately, or you can lay one tube on top of the other before folding.
Be sure the inflatable is clean and dry before storing. It’s a good idea to give it a coating of 303 Protectant before folding.
Rodents can wreak havoc with a stored inflatable. For some reason they like to burrow into a folded boat, which can cause irreparable damage. Please read the linked article, Protect Boating Gear from Rodents, to learn preventive measures.