Klepper Kayak Maintenance – Good Habits, Simple Care

A few secrets and some common sense
Given the quality materials used in the fabrication of every Klepper folding kayak and good customer care, most Kleppers have a life span of 20-30 years, 40 is not uncommon, and some even reach 50 years of use or more. The secret - when not in use, the boat should be stored indoors, in a dry, well-ventilated area. It is good to develop a few habits starting when you receive your kayak, and then just carry on the same way.
Klepper Repair Kit:
Includes parts of keel strips, boat hull, deck fabric, PVC material, sand paper, self adhesive tape, stopper for air sponson, rubber glue, glue for air sponson, when ordering please indicate your deck color. untitled
Typical Storage
Short-term or long term -  clean and dry, then put in the packing bags indoors, in a safe and favourable place. Do not avoid assembly and dis-assembly, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
  1.  After a usual trip, the kayak would be somewhat wet here and there. Take out the frame, prop up front deck and rear deck of the skin with a rib, to allow better air circulation. The skin is self- drying, just needs air, a little sun and a little time. When dry, wipe out sand and moisture and take home dry and clean inthe car.
  2. If it rains or if it is dark and cannot dry outdoors, take home wet - and in the next few days lay out hull in your backyard, hallway or basement to let dry properly. Under tightest conditions: use 2 old chairs in a  small kitchen, lay the hull over two chairs, it saves space.
  3. Where to store: usually a good section in basement, backroom, shop, or safe garage. Never on cement floor or wall and always on a chair,carton, shelf, box or off the ground. Avoid extreme wetness or extreme heat.
Not recommended to store: in a barn, woodshed, or open garage as there might be small pests that can chew away at the boat skin and bags. 4.  Taking the kayak apart allows wood to relax and wood can dry nicely - sand comes out, hull material can dry.
Storage of assembled boat 
  1. This is not our preferred way to store, but we all do it during paddling season.  We don't prefer it, as the assembled boat keeps sand, grit and moisture trapped inside. But, if it suits your purposes it will work during boating season.  The preferred way is:
  2. In basement, shop, garage, on 2 cartons or sawhorses -  flip kayak upside down, cockpit facing floor. Let the air out of the sponsons, to increase air circulation, and as you walk by, slap the hull a little, which lets dry sand fall out.
  3. Some owners store it "cockpit up, cockpit covered": fine while on vacation, but long-term, there can be condensation forming, and sand/grit stays in.
  4.  If you must keep it outdoors (no other choice), then get it off the ground, upside down, and find a good canvas cover, to prevent UV ray damage. Note: plastic sticks.
  5. If your boat house is above the water, or next to the water (i.e. high humidity) it would be most helpful to get the kayak out of wind and sand often  to avoid harm.
Thus: use the boat as much as you want, but keep it safe in long storage periods. Wet storage is harmful to the hull materials, permanent wetness is harmful to the wood.
Handling and care
Annual maintenance care: preparation and inspection before the season, major cleanup after the season. You can also do a good cleanup after a longer vacation. Paddlers often carry a sponge or old towel with them. After a trip remove sand, grit, twigs, leaves from the inside of the boat. When good and dry, and you fold up the hull: use old towel to clean off grass or little stones. Avoid oils, grease, fats, chemicals if you can. If hull appears dirty inside: mix up a pail with fresh water and gentle soap. Use a soft brush or sponge. You can also use Klepper Talcum Powder, sprinkle inside the boat, let rest 2 hours and then wipe dry. Washing with brushes or soaps- As a general rule of thumb throughout the life-cycle of your kayak - "if it does not 'sting' your skin, it shouldn't harm the boat". Never use harsh detergents. A muddy deck: use a soft brush when dry. After a saltwater vacation: spend a little time to wash hull and wood with soapsuds and fresh water. Use brush, soapsuds, fresh water to wash deck. You want to do this at end of season also. Some customers do it more often. A garden hose does not usually remove dried-up salt from deck.
Hull CSM Care:
we have developed an excellent clear (no stain) boat polish, in liquid form. When rubber hull is clean, apply thinly with cloth. This seals pores, and keeps grime and even watermarks off the rubber. Good long term care! Apply once or twice a year. Note on sand: always remove sand, which works like sandpaper, against wood and rubber. You can place a thin, protective cover under woodwork for extra protection.
Care of sails:
modern, synthetic sailcloth does not rot, but catches water residue, which looks unsightly. Hang up sails to dry, use a wet sponge if necessary. After years of use: gentle hand washing with soft brush.
Care of Wood:
As the years go by, rubbing and water/weather effects will remove some of the varnish in places. Such places are: where your feet rest against ribs, on the wood blocks of the gunwale connections, also on wood bow & stern. If you wish to touch up such places, use pure Original Marine Varnish. Important: Wood parts have to be completely dry - do not do this in the sun. Clean damaged area, remove wax or oils with fine sandpaper or steel wool, apply varnish thinly with a brush, avoid large drops; then hang up to dry. Two thin applications are better than one thick one - After many years, a more complete varnish job might be desirable, ask for special instructions at that time.
1.) For all high-speed, long distance trips, take advantage of the special properties of the folding kayak: carry in the trunk or in the back seat in packing bags. You will achieve fuel economy, ensure security of goods, with maximum of convenience. 2.) For shorter trips or daily use in vacation area: a Klepper can be carried on a sturdy car-top carrier. Special advice: boat sits on carrier (2-bar) the way it sits on water - cockpit to sky! Make sure, carrier is well-cushioned, no boat should sit on thin metal, raw wood, on obstructions. Place two strong belts across beam, from carrier bar left to right. Very astute owners keep bow lower than stern, to avoid wind-lift. All owners place a security line from front bumper to bow, and down to bumper; same in back of car. Be aware: for a car 60 mph. speed is normal, for a boat 60 mph speed is the wind speed in a strong storm.
Replacement of metal fittings
A Klepper is a masterpiece of simplicity. All wooden parts are precision-made, and can be replaced. All metal parts attached to wood, are attached with soft rivets- a trouble free way of doing it. However, it is possible to replace rivets and thus metal parts with simple tools: small sharp chisel, or a file; a punch and a small tack-hammer. - A few parts are attached with small screws.
Many years later...