What Is Oil Canning Kayak And How To Fix It?

What is oil canning kayak

Knowing what is oil canning kayak is might be beneficial whether you’re seeking to buy a used kayak or looking for ways to fix your own. So we’re here to provide you with some tips on how to avoid it and how you might perhaps fix it yourself. But before you can figure out how to fix it, you must first understand what oil-canning in plastic kayaks is.

What Is Oil Canning On A Kayak?

Oil canning is a word used to describe the indentations on the hull of your kayak. These indentations may occur if your yak is stowed on the bottom of its hull or is strapped down too firmly on a roof rack. When it comes to a plastic kayak, kayak oil canning is described as the observed waviness of the hull’s plastic.

In contrast to an outward curvature, oil canning makes the hull of a plastic kayak seem wavy toward the interior. The indentions in the kayak tend to burst out under pressure; this is referred to as “oil canning”. It may also arise as a result of the wear and tear that dragging your yak on the ground might cause (keel guard anyone?). It usually manifests itself as a huge depression on the bottom of the hull, forcing that piece to curve inwards.

The bottom of a kayak or canoe hull may be more vulnerable to damage and oil canning than the sides. This is because of the way plastic kayaks and canoes are constructed. It is more common in older boats that have undergone a lot of services, although it may also develop in younger kayak.

Oil canning may damage your speed or track depending on the places where dents are located since it might change the original form of your hull. Depending on the sort of paddling you do, you may or may not notice these performance limitations. Because of the placement of the dents on the bottom of the hull, the kind of indentations that might arise can impact the performance of your kayak.

What Is The Issue With Oil Canning Kayak?

You may not notice a difference in performance, but you’ll see the effects of oil canning on your kayak’s hull cosmetically. The dent may produce drag in the water, requiring you to paddle harder to compensate. You won’t get the greatest performance out of a kayak since the kayak won’t track as effectively through the water.

The more malleable the plastic, the thinner the material in that region of the kayak will normally be. Oil canning may also indicate that the material is going thin. This is particularly detrimental to a kayak’s hull since fractures are more prone to occur in these thin spots.

Are You Able to Prevent It?

If you’re transporting it to and from the water – try to avoid dragging the hull over the ground as much as possible. The way you store your boat might have an impact on its hull’s lifetime, so making sure the hull isn’t laying on the ground is a good idea. Racks and hanging systems are great for storing kayaks on their sides or upside down without damaging or weakening the hull.

How To Fix Oil Canning Kayak?

There are numerous approaches to resolving the issue of oil canning. The list below isn’t a full list of tools you’ll need to do the project. You may utilize various objects depending on the technique you pick. Using the sawhorses is suggested. From the interior of the cockpit, you may also reach the opposite side of the hull.


Turn your Kayak or Canoe on its side.

Turn your canoe or kayak upside down so that the bottom of the hull faces upwards to begin the repair operation. You should be able to see where the oil canning happened and where the indentations are if you do not have a good view of the inside of the kayak.

Make Use Of The Sun

The sun’s heat may be great for fixing the oil canning issue. Allow your yak or canoe to sit with the bottom of the hull towards the sun while it is still upside down. Allow it to sit in the sun for about two hours, or until the hull softens from the heat.

The Trick Is Done By Nature

Leave it for a few hours, or more than 24 hours, depending on the strength of the sun. After that, the dents may pop out on their own, returning your hull to its original shape.

You Can Remove The Dents By Yourself

If the sun has dented your ship’s hull or damaged it in any other way, you may need to use your hands to press on the damaged area with the outside of the hull. This, together with the sun’s warmth, should drive the dent out and return your hull to its original molded shape.

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Make Use Of A Hair Dryer

Warm up the hull of an oil canning kayak using a hair dryer if you don’t live in a warm area or if the sun doesn’t warm the hull enough. Warm up the region where the oil is coming from using a heat gun before canning it. If you melt or burn the plastic, you’ll have more issues than simply oil-canning on your hands.

Remove The Dent

You may push the dent out from the interior of the hull now that the hull is heated. You may or may not need to do it by hand if the heat from the hairdryer causes the dent to come out on its own.

Fill with hot water

If you’re having trouble getting the dents out of your yak, try pouring boiling water inside the hull to cover the damaged region. This should warm the hull sufficiently to press the dent out, with the hot water serving as a weight to assist the hull in returning to its normal shape.


Place the Kayak on the Saw Horses backward.

Place the kayak on the sawhorses with the hull towards the sun. It’s OK to simply put the kayak on the ground if you don’t have a pair of sawhorses. You’ll want to park the kayak somewhere where you’ll be able to leave it for at least a few hours.

Make sure the Kayak’s hull is exposed to direct sunlight.

When using sunlight to heat a kayak, it is important to ensure that the hull is exposed to direct sunlight for the whole time. One item to consider is whether or not there will be a shady patch that drops over the kayak while it stands in the sun. The last thing you want is to leave your kayak out in the elements and find it shaded by something when you return.

Allow at least 2 hours for the process to complete.

Allow at least 2 hours for the kayak to be exposed to direct sunshine. Check the weather to be sure you’ll be able to apply this strategy on a hot, sunny day. Depending on the extent of the hull damage, it may take more than two hours for the hull to fully heat up and reassemble to its previous state.

Examine the Hull Visually

How much time should you leave the car in the sun before checking to see if it has returned to its original shape? If it is damaged, try using weights or another heavy item to weigh down the opposite side of the dent to pop it out again.


Place the Kayak on the Saw Horses backward.

When heating the hull of a kayak with a heat gun or air drier, it’s better to put the kayak upside down or on its side on a pair of sawhorses. This will give you easy access to both the interior and the hull region.

Use a low-heat heat gun or a high-heat hair dryer.

A heat gun or a hairdryer set on high should be sufficient to melt the plastic off the hull of a boat. However, you must exercise caution while using the heat gun, since the plastic may easily be burned. The heat gun should be placed at least 6 inches away from the hull’s surface.

Heat the damaged area’s surface.

Move the heat gun or hair dryer over the damaged portion of the hull regularly – you don’t want to leave it in one spot for too long. The key purpose is to simply warm up the hull to the point where it keeps its original form or can be pushed back into place.

The Rubber Mallet should be used.

A rubber mallet works best for softly tapping and pressing on the kayak without harming or scratching the plastic. Depending on the extent of the damage and the plastic hull’s capacity to return to its normal shape with only heat, you may need to apply mild pressure to the other side of the hull to help pop it out.

Examine the Hull Visually

After you’ve finished, take another look at the hull to ensure that you’ve been able to entirely reform the region. Get down to eye level to observe the hull’s complete curve as it rests upside down. You’re good to go if you’re pleased with the outcomes.


Place the Kayak on Saw Horses or vertically.

You may fill the hull with boiling water if the oil canning is taking place below the cockpit area on the hull. Any water you pour into the kayak will fill the stern or the bow region, which will then fill against the walls. It’s advisable to stand the Kayak up upright against a wall or other object to avoid filling it with water.

Bring water to a Boil

This is because the heat from the water softens the plastic, and the weight pushes on the kayak helps to pop out any dents in the hull. You’ll also want to be sure you have enough water to fill the space appropriately.

Fill the Kayak with hot water.

You will need boiling water to soften the plastic, and allow it to rest until it cools – this will allow its weight to continue to press against the hull of the kayak. This will aid in the reshaping of the hull, allowing it to take on more than a few hours to harden.

Examine the Hull Visually

When you’re finished, double-check the hull for any remaining oil canning. It may be necessary to repeat the boiling water process to get the desired effect. After delving into the numerous methods for addressing the peculiar issue of oil canning in a kayak, the next critical step is to uncover the underlying reasons behind this occurrence.

By fully comprehending what leads to this problem, you are not only better positioned to implement the right solutions but also to proactively ward off the issue before it even begins. This includes choosing the best kayak anchor trolley, understanding the manner in which you house your kayak, or considering the transportation techniques employed. A myriad of elements can lead to this unwelcome situation.

The Reasons for Kayak Oil Canning

Kayak Storage Mistakes

When a kayak is stored flat on its hull, the plastic might become misshaped in certain spots. This means there is a considerably greater chance of oil canning. During the winter, most individuals will store their kayak on the ground rather than on the hull.

Transportation via Kayak

The importance of tying down a kayak while moving it by car or otherwise cannot be overstated. When the kayak is tethered to a mounting rack, however, undesired indentations might occur, such as an indentation caused by another kayak being forced against the hull.

Dragging the Kayak

A kayak cart is a convenient way to move a kayak without having to drag it over the ground. The hull of most kayaks will sometimes come into touch with solid ground. Constantly dragging the kayak’s hull might produce scratches and oil canning.

How to Prevent Kayak Damage

Make sure it’s transported properly

When transporting a kayak, it’s crucial to be careful of the tie-down points and make sure they aren’t too tight so that the kayak is damaged. Use the appropriate roof rack or J rack for your kayak as well as straps that are snug but not so tight that they produce indentations.

Store it Properly

It’s advisable to utilize a kayak storage rack or a kayak hoist while storing your kayak for the off-season. To prevent any potential damage, the kayak should be positioned on its side or upside down.

Make a Right Turn

When transporting your kayak to and from the water, it is most likely to be dragged over the ground. Try having a buddy present to assist you in carrying it, use the handles to carry it, or even utilize a kayak cart. If you don’t have a buddy with you, consider using a truck or kayak carrier to help you get it from the truck to the water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my kayak from becoming oil-canning?

Making sure you’re paddling in a straight path is the greatest method to keep your kayak from oil-canning – try turning the boat around and paddling the other way if you’re experiencing problems.

What impact does oil have?

The oil can effect is a phrase used to describe the phenomena in which an oil-based lubricant causes a thin film of oil to form on metal surfaces. The oil then shields these metal surfaces from corrosion and wear while also making it difficult to clean them adequately, experts say.

Is it necessary to wax a kayak’s bottom?

If you’re searching for a blanket response that will work in every situation, I’d say no. A kayak is a tiny watercraft with one or two long thin paddles that push it forward. The term “kayak” is derived from the Inuit language and means “to move awkwardly”.

Final Thoughts – Kayak Oil Canning

A beaten-up, oil-canning kayak does not look good, and it may compromise the kayak’s integrity and performance. While this may occur in both old and modern plastic canoes and kayaks, there are several simple repairs available. Regardless of how well you care for your kayak, frequent usage over time may result in oil canning.

If the portion of the hull that is undergoing oil canning is becoming too thin, a kayak may be too far gone to fix. The DIY technique to fixing this issue, on the other hand, is the less expensive option. One of these three ways is certain to work.

There are several simple fixes that can be used to prevent oil canning in plastic kayaks and canoes. Take care of your kayak, as properly transporting and storing it may help reduce the risk of oil-canning. If you have any questions or would like to suggest alternatives, please let us know in the comments.

Read more: Kayak with anchor

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