Taking canoe out of warm storage

Sep 18, 2011
This fall I was planning to take my canoe to the basement but a little bet with my wife (she said I would only use it for a few months a year, so I told her I would use it at least once a month) made me leave it in the garage (not heated). Is there any worries of taking a canoe from storage in the basement to outside to non frozen but cold rivers? I know of cold cracking in royalex, but is there a way to acclimate the canoe to use during the warmer days we have had this winter. Days this week have been in the mid 40s and I am sure river water temps are near freezing.

Thanks, Kaine


Re: Taking canoe out of warm storage

Great question that I had never considered. Unless you are walking just a few feet to the water I bet that the boat will have cooled enough to not have a problem. Even a few miles on a roof at 30 mph will cool it pretty well.
Sep 2, 2011
Raymond, ME
Re: Taking canoe out of warm storage

Not an issue. If your garage is unheated the temperature differential is probably small. Royalex and wood exhibit different expansion rates and the rate of change of temperature is also important. I have never had a cold cracked canoe..

The barn for the canoe was unheated and if it was - 30 outside it would eventually become -30 in but the barn is insulated , hence the rate of change of temperature not fast.

More of a problem if the temp is 30 in day and minus thirty at night and the boat outside.

But the real issue is dropping a covered in ice boat after the paddle or not getting it roped on the car correctly cause of frozen fingers. Wind chill could frost your boat up I bet. Its been a warm winter but now temps are settling to highs in the upper 20's. It gets to almost 40 in the sun. When there is sun...not often.
Jan 22, 2012
Re: Taking canoe out of warm storage

Agree with Yellowcanoe.

I'm in Wyoming and take both plastic and composite boats out in freezing temps quite often when there are open spots on the water. Mostly short local trips. Never had a problem. Some of my boats are indoor stored, others in an unheated garage. Just handle everything a little more carefully in freezing temps. Set boats down gently, don't gorilla-reef the straps & safety lines, etc.

RX boats will rock gouge more easily in cold weather/water. The material loses a bit of its natural lubricity when cold. You may notice the boat is not as slippery when scraping along a shallow as it was in warm weather. Use caution when dragging a boat over an ice flow or iced over launch ramp. Ice is full of sharp debris and can behave like an efficient sandpaper under some conditions.

The logistics of securing a wet and ice crusted boat for transport do need to be taken seriously. Keep your straps and such inside the vehicle while paddling. You want them as clean and flexible as possible for the return trip. Winter paddling is no place for old worn straps - extreme temperatures need good condition cordage.

Keep a bag of old bath towels in the trunk for wiping the boats down before strapping things up. Clean boats and clean straps get along much better together in cold temperatures.

Pre-trip racks, mounts, etc., prior to winter trips. Cold temperatures can have an effect upon many kinds of fasteners, just give 'em all a good look over before you head out.

Winter paddling is laborious in many respects but its really quite fun, too. It requires good preparation, the proper safety equipment/skills and perhaps a touch of paddle-mania :)