Is it better to store inflatable paddle board inflated or deflated?

Inflatable paddle boards, also known as iSUPs, have become increasingly popular in recent years as an accessible and affordable way to enjoy paddle boarding. Unlike traditional hard paddle boards, inflatable paddle boards can be deflated and rolled up for easy storage and transportation. This leads to an important question for iSUP owners – is it better to store an inflatable paddle board inflated or deflated? There are good reasons for both storage methods, so it often comes down to personal preference and logistics. This article will examine the pros and cons of storing iSUPs inflated versus deflated to help readers decide what works best for their needs and preferences.

Quick Answer

There is no definitive right or wrong answer to whether it is better to store an inflatable paddle board inflated or deflated. Both storage methods have advantages and disadvantages:

– Ready to use anytime
– Holds shape and rigidity better over time
– Takes up more space for storage

– More compact for storage and transport
– Prone to shape loss over time when deflated
– Need to inflate each time before use

Most iSUP owners store deflated for space savings, but some store inflated for convenience. Consider storage space, usage frequency, and board quality when deciding.

Reasons to Store Inflatable Paddle Boards Deflated

There are several good reasons why most people choose to store their inflatable paddle boards deflated:

More Compact Storage

The main advantage of deflating an iSUP after use is that it takes up significantly less space for storage. iSUPs are designed to roll or fold up into a small package when deflated. This allows them to easily fit into car trunks, small closets, under beds, or other out-of-the-way spaces. For people with limited storage options, deflated storage is usually the only viable choice.

Easier Transportation

In addition to compact storage, deflating iSUPs makes transportation much easier as well. Deflated iSUPs can be packed into carry bags, shoulder straps, or small rooftop cargo boxes. Inflated boards are large and cumbersome to transport. For people who want to take their iSUP to remote paddling locations, deflated storage and transport is necessary.

Convenient Travel Option

Deflated iSUPs take up very little space, which makes them great for travel. They can be packed into suitcases or car trunks without taking up much room. Most airlines will even allow deflated iSUPs as oversized luggage for standard checked bag fees. Transporting an inflated board for travel is not really feasible for most people.

Protects Board Over Time

Keeping an iSUP inflated all the time can put stress on the seams and material over many months. Letting the air pressure out when not in use allows the board materials to relax, which may extend the board’s life. However, modern iSUP materials are quite durable when stored fully inflated as well.

Saves Money

Electric air pumps used for inflating iSUPs consume electricity. Keeping a board deflated until each use will save some money on electricity bills over time compared to keeping it perpetually inflated. However, this is typically not a major cost consideration.

Space-Saving Storage Options

Here are some of the most popular storage solutions for keeping deflated iSUPs compact:

– Garage or shed storage racks
– Under bed storage racks
– Closet corner racks
– Wall-mounted vertical racks
– Ceiling pulley storage systems
– Deflation bags with straps

Reasons to Store Inflatable Paddle Boards Inflated

While deflated storage has some clear advantages, there are also benefits to keeping an iSUP inflated:

Faster Usage

The main reason many choose to store inflated is for the convenience of being able to use the board anytime without having to inflate it first. Inflating a paddle board can take 15-20 minutes, so inflated storage saves prep time.

Retains Best Shape

Fully inflated boards retain their optimal shape and rigidity compared to deflated boards that can lose some of their form over time. Repeated inflation and deflation also stresses seams over many cycles.

Better Paddle Performance

Properly inflated iSUPs perform better in the water by cutting through waves and tracking straighter. An iSUP that has been deflated for a while may take on some surface impressions that affect performance until re-inflated for a period.

Quicker to Repair

Finding and patching small leaks and holes is easier when the board stays fully inflated. Waiting until next use to inflate may delay discovering issues.

Prevents Accidental Damage

Keeping the iSUP inflated ensures the materials stay in their proper shape and position. Deflated materials can be more prone to dings, cracks, bends, and other accidental damage while being stored.

Tips for Inflated Storage

If choosing to store inflated, follow these tips:

– Store away from direct sunlight to avoid material degradation
– Use board straps to safely secure to walls or rack
– Make sure surface is clean before storage to avoid stains
– Check inflation levels monthly for slow leaks
– Use maximum inflation for rigid storage shape
– Consider adding protective board sleeve

Other Factors to Consider

Beyond the main advantages of each method, several other factors are important to consider when deciding how to store an inflatable SUP:

Usage Frequency

If you use your iSUP 3-4 times per week or more, inflated storage may be preferred for the quicker access and setup. If only occasional use, deflated storage may be fine to save space.

Board Quality

Higher-end boards made with the most durable materials and seams can better handle constant inflation. Cheaper boards may degrade faster when stored inflated long-term.

Climate Conditions

In extremely cold or hot climates, inflated storage puts more stress on materials versus deflation. Deflating when not in use avoids temperature risks.

Number of Boards

Storing multiple iSUPs inflated takes up considerable space. Deflating allows fitting 2 or more boards in the space needed for one inflated.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Storage

Deflated boards must be stored indoors or in protective bags if kept outside to prevent material damage. Inflated boards can be stored outdoors on racks.

Best Practices for Deflated Storage

If you do decide deflated storage is best for your needs, be sure to follow these storage and handling practices:

– Fully deflate after each use and allow to dry before storage
– Carefully roll up or fold according to manufacturer’s technique
– Avoid overly tight folds or bends that could lead to creases
– Store in carry bag or clean, dry space away from sharp objects
– Periodically reinflate to reshape if stored long term
– Inflate to maximum PSI and allow to sit overnight before first use after storage
– Check for leaks, holes, or cracks after reinflation before taking on water
– Use board repair kit as needed to patch pinholes or damaged areas
– Consider using a protective board sleeve for long-term deflated storage

Best Practices for Inflated Storage

And if you choose to keep your iSUP inflated ready-to-use, follow these tips for properly maintaining it in inflated storage:

– Keep fully inflated to maximize rigidity; inflate to the upper PSI level
– Store out of direct sunlight, which can damage the board over time
– Clean and dry board thoroughly before storage to prevent mold or mildew
– Use a paddle board rack, stands or wall straps to keep board stable and secure
– Avoid contact with sharp corners or edges that could puncture the board
– Check monthly for slow air leaks and re-inflate as needed
– Do not keep inflated in extremely hot or cold temperatures
– Consider using a board sleeve or cover for extra seam and surface protection
– Avoid placing heavy objects on the board that could lead to impressions
– Maintain proper inflation even when not in seasonal use
– Occasionally deflate and reinflate to reshape and ensure air holding

Hybrid Inflation Storage

A hybrid approach some people use is:

– Keeping inflated during active paddling season for convenience
– Deflating for winter or long-term storage to relax materials

This allows you to get the main benefits of each method during appropriate times. Just be sure to do a thorough check after reinflating after storage.


Deciding whether to store an inflatable stand up paddle board inflated or deflated depends on your priorities. Deflated storage saves tremendous space at the expense of inflation time before each use. Inflated storage allows instant access to hit the water whenever desired, but uses more space for storage.

Most iSUP owners choose deflated storage out of necessity for compactness. But more avid paddlers are willing to sacrifice space to keep their board ready for action. Consider how you plan to use your iSUP and what your storage constraints are to decide the best approach. With proper care either storage method can work well. Having the ability to easily inflate and deflate boards is what makes iSUPs such a versatile paddling option after all.

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