When storing your kayak, it’s important to take proper care and do it correctly in order to protect it from damage and extend its lifespan. There’s nothing worse than finding mold, water damage, scratches, or a crack in your kayak because it has been stored improperly throughout the winter. Thankfully, there are plenty of kayak storage ideas that you can consider to meet your specific needs and requirements.
In addition to storage ideas, having proper means of transportation is also important in order to protect your kayak from damage. It’s a good idea to consider kayak carts for mobility if you struggle to carry your kayak or for transportation purposes a kayak trailer or kayak roof racks for your car.
Kayak Storage Considerations
Many different kayak storage mounts are available that suit a variety of environments and personal preferences. Most can be bought, but for penny-pinchers or DIY enthusiasts, you can improvise and your own.
If floor-mount clutter is the main concern, then more efficient solutions are wall or ceiling mounts.
The things you need to consider before settling on the type of kayak storage mount you need, are:
The Number of Kayaks
Considering how many kayaks you need to store will have a direct impact on what type of storage solution you will need. Freestanding or wall-mounted kayak racks are usually the best bet when it comes to storing multiple kayaks, while pulley systems usually only take a single kayak at a time.
Kayak Size and Weight
The kayak’s build and design obviously play a large part in how it should be stored. You have to consider the kayak’s size, structure, and weight in order to determine what the best storage solution will be. A large and heavy kayak may be easier to store by means of a ceiling hoist, rather than mounting it to a wall.
Preferred Storage Locations
Where you choose to store your kayaks will not only have an effect on the kayak’s longevity but will also improve clutter, protect your kayak from exposure to elements, and secure it against theft.
How You Mount and Secure Your Kayak
Your choice of how you want to mount your kayak will determine the type of storage. Generally, kayaks are either stored by hanging them from the ceiling through a pulley system, wall-mounted brackets and racks, and freestanding floor racks.
Pulley systems are perfect for anyone that wants to store their kayak with limited floor space. It is also a quick and easy process to load and secure the kayak and pull the kayak upwards, especially for people of shorter stature.
While wall-mounted and freestanding storage options give you the ability to store multiple kayaks on the same system, it does however take more time to successfully load all the kayaks properly. It might also prove difficult for those that are a bit shorter, to lift the kayaks to the top mounting levels of the storage units.
Material Preferences for DIY Storage Mounts
Kayak storage mounts are normally made from steel or aluminum, often powder coated, and will most likely include some foam protection to prevent damage to your kayak. Ceiling-hoist storage offers heavy-duty nylon straps and strong metal clips.
However, for those who prefer to construct their own kayak mounts, ropes, straps, timber, or PVC pipes can be used.
Different Kayak Storage Ideas
Kayaks can either be stored indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference. Each specific storage type has its own pros and cons.
The most popular ways of storing kayaks are:
Starting Out With Indoor Kayak Storage Ideas
1. Overhead Kayak Storage
If you haven’t factored in the storage requirements of the kayak you’ve just bought, or you have a particularly heavy kayak, you might want to opt for an overhead mounting system. A fiberglass kayak can be prone to damage, and a large sea kayak will take up an enormous amount of space. It is entirely out of the way by storing your kayak up at roof level, and there’s no risk of it getting bumped or damaged. Just make sure it’s securely fastened to the roof because a sudden fall from the ceiling will cause damage.
Overhead Pulley Systems
Kayak hoists and pulley systems are popular storage solutions and can be purchased or self-made. Even the heaviest kayak can then be raised and lowered with ease. A heavy-duty sling system is used and placed on both ends of the kayak. The pulley wheels are bolted to the ceiling, often the garage ceiling, in a safe and accessible location where you can easily fasten the hoist cord, but where it can’t be accidentally released.
This storage system prevents uneven pressure distribution within the kayak and keeps it well ventilated and away from pests.
Fixed Ceiling Rack
A fixed bar-type system is permanently secured to the roof. Storing a kayak requires you to push the kayak up into position on the bars.
You can make this type of kayak mount yourself or purchase a ready-made system that is bolted into ceiling supports. The bar generally has rollers or foam that prevents any scratches from occurring when loading the kayak.
Depending on your ceiling height, this system can be challenging to manage. A shorter person will struggle to angle the kayak up onto the rack properly.
2. Wall-Mounted Kayak Storage
Wall-mounted kayak storage can be very convenient. Multiple kayaks can be stored underneath each other, and these mounts can be used both indoors and outdoors. Most people won’t have trouble accessing these, unlike the overhead systems that are more difficult for shorter people. Depending on how much space you have available alongside your walls, these kayaks may still get in your way a bit.
Fixed Frame Wall Mount
This type of kayak storage frame is probably the most commonly used both indoors and outdoors. Usually made from aluminum or timber, these are readily sold in stores and easy to secure to the wall.
Be wary of the weight capacity and how it’s secured to the wall. If you exceed the carrying capacity or secure it to a weak part of the wall rather than a beam or solid section, you may cause damage to the wall and your kayak.
Sling Wall Mount System
In much the same style as a fixed frame, the kayak is stored in a wall-mounted sling. This sling is made of straps or heavy-duty ropes with padding up against the wall. One major perk to this system is that when kayaks are removed, the sling lays flat against the wall and won’t be in the way. A great space-saver.
3. Freestanding Kayak Storage Mounts
A freestanding system is designed similarly to a wall-mounted storage rack, however, the freestanding system can be moved around much easier as it is normally not fixed to a specific area through bolts or drilling.
For better mobility, some freestanding kayak storage racks are fitted with wheels or can easily be picked up and moved. This offers a lot of flexibility which might appeal to some.
Sawhorse Kayak Stands
A freestanding sawhorse can be the cheapest and easiest kayak storage option. Although this kayak storage method is affordable, an easy DIY project, portable and straightforward to use, it is not the most optimal method of storing a kayak as they take up a lot of floor space.
Outdoor Kayak Storage Ideas
Although indoor storage ideas for your kayaks offer many benefits, some do not have the option of indoor storage.
Additionally, when it comes to outdoor storage there are some extra concerns that you should take into account with storing and protecting your kayaks properly such as ensuring that kayaks are protected against harmful elements such as excess moisture, UV damage, and extreme temperatures, and theft.
The most common outdoor storage options for kayaks are either freestanding or wall-mounted racks, where the kayak sits flat or slightly on its side in the rack. If you have a sizeable deck outside, it makes for a perfect covered outdoor storage option for your kayaks, should they fit.
For those with multiple kayaks and who want extra protection, kayak sheds are also often used as storage solutions. This is something that pro DIY’ers can construct themselves if they’re feeling up to it.
Just remember that when storing your kayaks outdoors, remove any material seats and compartments that may become moldy or infested with pests.
Kayak Care Tips Before Storage
Properly caring for and cleaning your kayak before storing it away will extend its lifespan and give you more happy years on the water with it. Don’t even think about bringing your kayak straight from the water and leaving it in your garage.
1. Rinse and Drain Your Kayak
Always drain the water entirely from the kayak, and if you’ve been in saltwater, give it a rinse with fresh water before storage.
2. Keep Your Kayak off the Ground
Keeping your kayak up off the ground in storage is a no-brainer. Leaving your kayak just laying on the ground will enhance the risk of it being damaged it having it being constantly in the way. Make sure to always apply proper kayak storage techniques.
3. Keep the Kayak’s Weight Distribution Level
When storing your kayak try to make sure that the weight is distributed more or less evenly. If the kayak is stored in an awkward position with uneven weight distribution for a long period of time, you may come to find it misshapen and dented after a while.
4. Be Aware of Exposure To Temperature
When storing your kayak, whether it be indoors or outdoors, be aware of nearby heat sources. Having it too close to a heater or exhaust, for example, could cause it to melt and deform. A warm, even temperature is perfect, with no extremes if it can be helped.
How to Protect Your Kayak From the Elements
When storing your kayak outdoors, the priority is protection from the elements. The best is to find a safe location where the kayak is covered by rain and sun.
If stored under a porch, deck, or the eaves of a roof, you can cover it with a heavy-duty tarp which is not only good for environmental damage and degradation but also helps to keep the kayak out of sight to prevent opportunities for theft.
If you absolutely must store your kayak outdoors during the winter season, there are some important things you can do to ensure that the kayak remains in good condition.
A plastic kayak may become brittle from exposure to extreme cold so do not allow snow to collect on the kayak. If you don’t have a storage location where the kayak is under some cover, as a last resort, cover it with a tarp to keep the snow off.
It would be best to store plastic kayaks either on the side or upside down, while a composite kayak should be stored upside down.
Always clean and inspect your kayak before storing it away. If you have some small cracks in the hull, get them filled as soon as possible. Unfilled cracks can collect water that will freeze and exacerbate the existing damage.
Likewise, if you have a composite kayak with a timber trim, it’s often advised to loosen the screws to prevent any cracking and warping over winter.
Pests and Nesting Animals
Try to keep animals from nesting or living inside your kayak over the winter. An upside-down kayak hull is a lovely-looking winter home for a rat or raccoon. Safe and warm. However, when Spring comes you might find that their claws and urine have caused very noticeable damage to your kayak. And you will then have the unpleasant job to evict the critter and clean it out their mess before being able to take your kayak out.
You can keep animals out by blocking the entrance to the kayak with any breathable material. A spray deck or cockpit cover is ideal. You want to ensure the breathability of the interior of your kayak to keep moisture from building up.
Whether you have your kayak for fishing, exploring the coastline, or adventure paddling, you need to be able to store it appropriately. They are often a hefty investment, and as such, you want to maximize your value and enjoyment.
Always clean your kayak and check it for any damage before packing it away. As a bare minimum, if you cannot store your kayak indoors, try to find a storage location that is out of the elements. Happy paddling!