Kayak Oil Canning

Oil canning is a term used to describe the indentations that your kayak may have on its hull. These indentations can happen as a result of your kayak being tied down too tightly on a roof rack or being stored on the bottom of its hull.

It can also happen because of the wear and tear that can occur from dragging your kayak along the ground. You will often notice it as a large dent on the underside of the hull causing that section to curve inwards, instead of outwards in line with the rest of the hull. Usually it will appear in the areas that have suffered more stress or pressure, such as from where the vessel has been resting on a roof rack. Because of the way in which plastic kayaks and canoes are designed it might be that the bottom is thinner than the sides, which could make it more susceptible to damage and oil canning. While it may be more likely to occur in older vessels that have seen a lot of use, it can also happen in newer vessels.

The type of indentations that can occur could mean that your vessel’s performance is affected, usually because of the location of the dents on the bottom of the hull. Depending on the areas where the dents are, oil canning could affect your speed or tracking as it can alter your hull’s original design and the way it flows thru water. However, you may or may not notice these performance issues, depending on the type of paddling you do.

How to repair a kayak with oil canning?

Turn Your Kayak Or Canoe Upside Down

The first thing you will want to do to start the repair process is to turn your canoe or kayak upside down so that the bottom of the hull is facing upwards. This will allow you to see where the oil canning has occurred and you should be able to see where the indentations are.

Use The Sun

The heat of the sun can be ideal for fixing the oil canning problem. With yourkayak or canoe still upside down, let it sit in this position with the bottom of the hull facing the sun. Leave it in the sun for around two hours until the hull begins to soften in the heat.

Nature Does The Trick

After about a couple of hours you may find that the dents will automatically pop out themselves, putting your hull back to its original shape. Depending on the strength of the sun, you may want to leave it for several hours.

Pop The Dents Out Yourself

If the sun hasn’t made the dents pop out automatically you could also push up on the dented area yourself from the inside of the hull, using your hands. This, combined with the warmth of the sun, should force the dent back out and allow your hull to go back to its original molded hull design.

Push Out The Dent

When the hull is warm, you can push the dent out from the inside of the hull. You might find that the heat of a hairdryer could cause the dent to pop itself out, so you may or may not need to do it by hand.

Pour In Hot Water

If all the other steps have failed and you’re still trying to get the dents out of your kayak, another option you can try is to pour hot water inside the hull so that it covers the dented area. This should heat the hull up enough to push the dent back out, with the hot water also acting as a weight to help force the hull to regain its original shape.