Although there are many ways to store your paddles during the winter, the most important thing while storing paddles is to make sure they are kept dry. If possible, keep your canoe and kayak paddles stored inside and protected from freezing temperatures. All gear needs some care and it is important to take the time to clean and inspect things after each use - or at minimum, in the fall before winter storage. The worst place for a paddle to be stored during the winter is inside a canoe or kayak outside or in the weeds or long grass. Moisture, rodents, freezing temperatures, and sunlight can be a problem for all of your paddling gear.
If a kayak paddle has water in the shaft or blade, it may be bad for it to freeze (but it would be rare for them to have water in them and even more unusual for them to have enough water to cause a split). Our paddle materials are pretty good for cold weather properties, however a hard impact at 20 degrees below zero can fracture just about anything. There is potential that the service life of the product could be shortened if exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period of time. We recommend storing your paddles either inside a garage or inside your house if that is an option.
Wood Canoe Paddles:
Wood paddles in particular need some maintenance if they get a lot of use or abuse during the paddling season. The perfect time to refinish wood paddles is in the winter. Bring your wood paddles inside during the fall, put them somewhere warm and dry, and any moisture in the paddle (assuming you have worn through the varnish in some places) will work its way out. By midwinter, the wood should be bone dry and you can re-varnish your paddles without the risk of capturing water inside the paddle.
A clean plastic garbage can works remarkably well for paddle storage in the garage if you have quite a few paddles. Kayak paddles can be disassembled and stored blade up - which will also allow any water in the ferrule to drain out.
We hope everyone has a great winter filled with other outdoor activities, and we can't wait to see everyone back on the water come spring!