Inflatable winter storage???
I bought a zodiac inflatable over the summer and am now wondering what is the best way to store it. I've heard that rolling it up all winter is not a good practice and I don't want to store it in my garage all winter because I actually want to park in it especially when it gets colder out here. Is it ok to just let a little air out of it and leave it on the trailer coverage with a tarp outside or should it really be stored inside? What do you guys usually do with your inflatables?? Any help would be great.
I like to make supports to hang them from the ceiling in the garage after I take a little air out of them, if you don't have them room for that I have rolled them loosely and stored in a non-heated area. (Shed or storage unit)
I learned some thing new
The glue drys out so keeping it realy warm is not good either. I keep it blown up and in a covered up.
I've always rolled or folded mine up and stored it in the unheated shed or in the heated garage. Both have worked for me. Funny story...for two years when I'd move my inflatable (8-ft dinghy) around, I could hear something rattling around inside the tubes. Thought maybe that something got into the tubes one of the times I'd used a wet/dry vac (exhaust end) to begin inflating the dinghy. Finally took a good look through the valves and into the tubes and saw lots of uncracked sunflower seeds. Figured out that the first winter in the shed, mice had chewed through a bag of birdfood that was in the shed and stored the seeds inside the inflatable. Lucky that they went through the valves and hadn't chewed any on the hypalon. Must have died off before they were able to eat the seeds or made a nest inside the dinghy. I now have lots of mouse traps that I set in the shed and garage, and in the boat (mice once made a nest in there).
My zod is a 81 MkII, I stored it out in the shed one winter 82 or 3 and the keel tube cracked in several places. I tried patching but finally had to buy a new tube. I can only blame the Fairbanks cold, but maybe I should have stored it semi inflated rather than rolled. Now it's stored inside I have had no problems other than it's getting kinda stretched out. But after 26+ years of hard use, I cannot complain about a "little wear" . I also store my Cat tubes indoors.
Best Practice for both inflatable Boats is
Remove the floorboards and engine flip upside down and leave inflated. It will deflate a bit when it gets cold, but it will hold up enough not to get sharp bends which in turn induce cracks. Don't let too much snow pile up on it either, and most of all -- DONT LEAVE IT RIGHT SIDE UP WITH THE FLOORBOARDS IN IT!!! Even under a tarp it will collect water, freeze over the drain plug, fill with ice, push like hell on the floor and bottom and really piss you off next spring.
winter storage of inflatable boats
Most inflatable boat fabrics are good to about Ė30^C thatís about Ė20^F The important thing to remember when itís that cold. Do not move the boat! Iíve rolled up Alaska Series boats at Ė10^F with no adverse effects.
The biggest 3 problems Iíve seen in winter storage is
1. Rodents nesting and chewing on rolled up boats making then in to Swiss cheese.
2. Water working itís way into the stored boat and the freezing/thawing cycles working the water into any loose seams creating big problems out of small problems.
3. Iíve seen an old metzler owned by a guy in Tok where the fabric was delimited from the outside cold weather storage.
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