Storing Drift Boat Outside in Montana Winter

mrfishunt

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All,
I have a RO driftboat that I am considering storing outside from December - February.

I am thinking about buying a boat cover or having it shrink wrapped.

What do I need to consider regarding outdoor storage?

Water, Ice, cold temperature, potential damage to tires, seats, boat, etc...

Thanks in advance,
Mr. Fishunt
 

dillon

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The boat should be stored outside with a good cover. The drain plug should be removed and the trailer tongue propped up so that any rain water will more easily shed off the cover and anythat may get inside will drain out. I'd also be sure to clear any snow off of it asap. I keep one outside year round at my cabin, but it's an old tub that I don't worry about. My nice DB is stored in town covered indoors, which, of course, is preferable.
 
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Kyo

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In addition to what Dillon posted . . .
you might benefit from:

1. BOAT COVER
2. Hitch Lock
3. Tire Covers
4. Spare Tire Cover
5. Trailer Tongue Stand

Here are some observations I’ve had from owning a
drift boat for 18 years.

RO and Clackacraft boat covers are in the $600 range.
After hail destroyed my cover, I went a season without
one until I could afford it, used a tarp instead.

Never seen anybody shrink wrap a drift boat
(sounds expensive) so you might want to investigate.
Anybody done this ???

I use an old cyclone fence post as a trailer stand
but a shovel handle will work. Tongue Stand advantage
is it attaches to the trailer and you’re taking it with you.

Many RV’er use a piece of plywood to cover their tires.

I’ve stored my boat outside no problem.
The wheels are protected by shade. But I do brush and
sweep the snow off each storm. When the ice melts it
collects and re freezes on the sag at the edge (gun walls?)
so I gingerly pick it off as not to poke a hole in the canvas.

If you decide to store it inside a commercially
you might consider taking it empty. Keep any
detachable accessories at home
to prevent theft, like your favorite oars.

One last comment on boat covers, I see better gas mileage when
towing the drift boat with the cover on. Your results may vary, I’m
using the family’s mini-van. And the cliché in Montana is
we have two seasons, winter and road construction. There are
added benefits from owning a boat cover.
 

AnglerX

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Dillon and KYO both have good advice. I use an old crutch with a spiked cleat for propping mine up. Then I use a $40 heavy duty tarp and some straps I've collected over the years. The $40 HD tarps last about 3 seasons before they start ripping. I could never bring myself to pay $600 for a cover. There is another company online that makes covers for about $250 and some friends have had good experiences with them. Don't know how long they last. The best I ever had was from Montana Canvas Co. It was a $500 cover, bought from Cabela's when they had a $200 off coupon. That lasted 8 years before falling apart. The $40 HD tarp is still more cost effective in the end.
 

Bigfly

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20191012_152021[1] by James Landis, on Flickr

We get a pretty serious winters here. High winds and 2-4ft of snow is normal where I park.
I have battled for many years to figure this storage thing out.
Last 2 winters I used a tarp made out of a tough plastic that goes over a grow shed.
I used a slightly bent steel conduit running bow to stern as my "peak".
Then used clamps to grab the edge of the tarp.
She sheds snow/water/pine needles readily.
I can finally quit worrying about her constantly!

Jim
 
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Kyo

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You can also take a large trash bag and bungee cord around it over your winch and another over that spare tire. I have a small freebie tarp from Harbor freight I'm going to deploy this year. But I think there's hope I might get out this year
now the winter came and went twice here already. :D
 

rpl796

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image.jpg
Hi! Maybe something like this can work for you? I will add more pictures soon. I built this just recently to keep rain and snow away from my boat in the winter.
 

mt_flyfisher

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These are all good replies. I’ve been fortunate to always keep my boats inside, as well as my RVs, however keep in mind that sun, rain and wet weather can deteriorate your tires faster than if they were kept dry and protected. I always use 303 protectant on my tires, and other rubber products, and if I’d store my boat outside, I’d probably cover my tires, and perhaps somehow lift my trailer off the ground, or at a minimum put a mat of some kind under the tires so they didn’t sit directly on the wet ground over the course of the winter.

Also, keep in mind that moisture can get in your wheel bearings if you leave your boat sit outside over the winter, so it’s always a good idea to repack the bearings before you make your first trip in the spring. Better to be safe rather than sorry.

John
 

Redrock

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I just bought an Adipose. I also purchased the cover as I plan on storing the boat outside in the winter. From experience storing boats in FL, I suggest making sure the cover centers high enough so that snow melt will flow off the boat and not cause sags in the cover. In FL pvc hoops cut to fit work. That’s my plan for winterizing my cover.
 

jdangler1

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I store mine outside, & addition to what’s been said, I double cover it. In other words, the factory cover than additional tarp over that which covers the whole boat, trailer & tires.
 

mt_flyfisher

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I’m a bit late to the party here, but I just had another idea. A few years back Montana Canvas made a custom cover for me for my Polaris Ranger side by side that had full cab on it. The cover was made from the same type of material that tarps are made from that are used by over the road semi-trucks. That tarp was very heavy duty, and a lot cheaper than the tarps that normally sold for use on drift boats. I think they’d last through at least several or more of Montana’s worst winters.
 

Gotribe

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I don’t own a boat but have always wondered why people don’t remove the tires for the winter and just set the frame on concrete blocks?
 
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