Ultimate Guide for Kayaks Storage

Every kayaker have one of the most important questions they should ask themselves is how and where do you plan to store your kayak? 

Kayaks are often big which make storage a challenge. Furthermore, kayaks are constructed with thin material for better performance on the water. Because the material is stretched so thin, warping can occur during storage. That’s why you should take seriously about kayak storage. You don’t want to damage it when it lays down in your garage.

Proper storage will keep your kayak in good shape and protected them from damage. Because I know how important it can be, I try to write this guide for you on how to properly store your kayaks. There are so many ways, I’ll give you the best methods both based on my experience and my research.

Here is the overview of the article:

  • Where to store your kayak?
  • Ground rules
    • Control the temperature
    • No direct sunlight
    • make sure it is balanced
    • Covered the cockpit 
    • Unload any loose gear
    • Always check
  • Indoor storage ideas
    • On a kayak rack
    • Overhead suspension system
    • Hoist system
    • Upright storage
  • Outdoor storage 
    • Keep it away from the sun
    • Use a tarp
    • Don’t get stolen
  • Maintenance
    • Basic maintenance
    • Regular cleaning 
    • Look Over The Hull 
    • Double-check fittings
    • Replace broken parts 

Where to store your kayak?

First of all, where to store your kayak? Although some people might suggest you store your kayaks outdoors, in my opinion, it is best to store it indoors so that it is well-protected.

There are serval factors will determine your decision of how to store it. Kayaks often occupied a lot of room and should not be in contact with other objects when being stored. You need an area with enough space for it.

Make sure to measure your kayak and your storage space ahead of time. You could store it in a garage, basement, shed, or any other indoor storage area.

Ground rules

There are many factors will damage your kayak in silence while you store it in the garage. Heat, time and stress…etc. They all can harm your kayaks in different ways. So, here are some basic rules for store a kayak you should always keep in mind.

  • Control the temperature
  • No direct sunlight
  • make sure it is balanced
  • Covered the cockpit 
  • Unload any loose gear
  • Always check

Control the temperature

Making sure to control the temperature of the storage area. Do not let your kayak stay in any extreme heat or cold conditions. Avoid temperatures below freezing or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat can cause deformation of hull materials. This is important so that your kayak doesn’t become brittle. 

No direct sunlight

Keep the kayak away from direct sunlight. Wrap it with a tarp and store in a cool, dry place. Storing your kayak in direct sunlight is the worst option. The heat will warp the plastic and fade the surface. And the sunlight can degrade just about any kayak hull material, from fiberglass to plastic to coated fabric. If you don’t have a tarp at least store the kayak in a relatively dark area.

Make sure it is balanced

No matter which way you store the kayak, make sure it is balanced. Kayak hulls can deform or bend over time due to uneven weight distribution. When storing your boat, you need to support the weight of the boat at points along its length, using padded cradles or wide nylon straps that match the curve of the hull. Support the boat about one-third of the way in on each end is effective.

Covered the cockpit 

Ensure that you have covered the cockpit to prevent any unwanted critters from making a home there. You can buy a special kayak cover, use a cover for the cockpit, or use a simple tarp and drape it over your kayak for added protection. This is especially important for long-term storage.

Unload any loose gear

Any fabric or soft materials on your kayak, such as the seat, should be removed for storage. This is especially important when storing outside. Soft materials should be stored somewhere dry and not too cold, like in a closet.

Always check

Check on your kayak at least once a week while it is stored. Make sure that it hasn’t slipped or sagged and that the integrity of any systems you have used to store the kayak has held up.

Indoor storage ideas

As I mentioned before, I recommend you to store your kayaks indoors. Storing your kayak inside and away from the elements can be the best option, as this way it remains dry and protected from harsh weather conditions. So, I’m going to share some indoor storage ideas in this part of the article.

  • Kayak Rack
  • Overhead hoist system
  • Upright storage

Kayak Rack

If you have plenty of space in your garage and you do have multiple kayaks need to be stored. Then a rack system will be a great option. The use of a rack will allow for your kayaks to be stored safely.

Buy a Rack

You can buy or make your own rack that will hold your boat off the ground. There are a lot of options on the market when it comes to kayak rack system. The one rack I currently use is “RAD Sportz Indoor Outdoor Freestanding Heavy Duty Two Kayak Storage“(I copy the name from Amazon, who can remember such a long title.)

kayak rack

I won’t say it’s the best model on the market. I’ll say it’s heavy duty and stable, easily assembled. It’s not very tall, so it’s easy to put the kayak on the top rack. If you’re not the one who likes to put things together, you might find the DIY part quite daunting.

DIY your rack

When you try to make it on your own, here is an informative instruction on the WikiHow. All the photos belong to WikiHow.

  • Buy PVC pipe and PVC joints. 
  • Assemble the PVC frame. 
  • Affix the PVC frame to a wall. 
  • Put your kayak vertically into the frame.
  • Buy PVC pipe and PVC joints. 
  • Check on the kayak periodically. 

Purchase 10 feet (3 m) of 1-inch (2.54 cm) PVC pipe and 4 PVC joints and 3 1-inch PVC mounting clamps to create a 1 ft (.3 m) by 4 ft (1.2 m) rectangular frame. This will secure your kayak vertically against a wall.

kayak rack

Assemble the PVC frame. 

You will need to cut the PVC pipe using a saw and connect the frame by the joints. Saw two pieces that are 1 ft (.3 m) long and two pieces that are 4 ft (1.2 m) long. Attach them by gluing the pieces together in the joints using all-purpose PVC glue. It will form a large rectangle. Allow the joints to dry fully before affixing the frame to the wall.kayak rack

Affix the PVC frame to a wall. 

Place it 5 feet (1.52 m) from the ground on a wall in your storage area with the mounting clamps. Screw the clamps into the studs of the wall in a straight line. Screw in one clamp on each stud (with a standard distance of 16” between studs, this should require 3 clamps for a 4 ft frame), then clip each clamp on the same side of the rectangular frame. This will hold the frame securely in place, attached to the wall.kayak rack

Put your kayak vertically into the frame. 

Place the bow through the rectangle from the bottom of the rack. Push up on the stern towards the wall so that the bow goes through the rectangular frame and the stern touches the ground. The cockpit should face out. The rack will hold it in place and allow it to lean against the wall.kayak rack

Check on the kayak periodically. 

At least once a week, inspect the kayak to guarantee it hasn’t slipped or sagged.kayak rack

When using a rack, you want to take care to protect the hull (bottom) of the boat. To do so, you can use a rack that either supports the boat on its side or allows you to position the boat hull-side up.

Overhead hoist system

When you don’t have enough space in the garage. The overhead ceiling storage will be one of your best options. Take advantage of overhead space. Think outside the box—and your garage— and consider underneath your deck, a covered patio, an inside hallway, or you can even use a ceiling storage rack to hang your boats up above.

You could make a storage hoist by yourself, but for me, buying a turn-key system is way easier, and usually, those systems are not expensive which generally cost less than $50 and can hold just about any sorts of kayaks.

I didn’t use these systems because I have enough space for my racks. So, I find some products that receive many good reviews from the online customers. You can check yourself after reading my recommendation.

The one product that stands out is “RAD Sportz Kayak Hoist“. This storage solution came out on top of the competition for several reasons, including the great price point, convenient design and features, and the glowing customer reviews. For me, the most impressed part is that it can be used not only to store canoes and kayaks but also ladders and bikes. In fact, it can lift just about anything under 125 pounds. Furthermore, it seems easy to install and works with most garages. The Rad Sportz hoist works with ceilings as tall as 12 foot. Also, it’s totally affordable. I can’t think of any reason that I’ll want to build on my own(unless you’re a DIY maniac.)

And here is the perfect video showing you how to install the RAD Sportz kayak hoist.

Upright storage

This solution is probably the most inexpensive one. And it also serves well for those who have the crowded garage. But you have to make sure you have a tall ceiling that fits your kayak, especially for some sea kayaks with an extremely narrow model.

The method is very easy. The video below demonstrates the whole process of building the upright storage system.

The tools you might need(for 2 kayaks):

  • wood board x 2 (size depends on your kayak)
  • Pool Noodles x 2
  • Galvanized pipes x 4
  • Threaded pipes x 4
  • Rubber Caps x 4
  • Foam Block (normally for roof rack) x 2
  • Rubber Kayak Roof Top x 2
  • Foam Rubber
  • Eye bolts x 4
  • Suspension cords x 2
  • oil pan x 2

The step by step provided by the video:

  1. Screw the galvanized pipes onto the wood board.
  2. Screw in the threaded pipes.
  3. Cut the pool noodle to the appropriate length and place on top of the threaded popes.
  4. Add the rubber caps on the top.
  5. Screw the wood board onto the wall at the heights fit your garage and kayak.
  6. Screw the eyebolts into the wall at the correct widths.
  7. Add some of the foam rubber into the oil pan.
  8. Place the kayak into the oil pan and make sure it is in place between the rack.
  9. Take the suspension cords around the middle of the kayak and secure to the eyebolts.

That’s how to store your kayak upright. Although it’s a quick and inexpensive option to store your kayak, I won’t recommend you use the methods for a long period of storage. Because upright will place the full weight of the kayak to rest on the hull and it may cause it to warp if you store for a long time. 

Outdoor storage 

I don’t recommend you to store your kayaks outdoor. If possible, you want to store your kayak indoors. But I know many people don’t have space indoors for a kayak. So, I hope could give you some basic precautions which may likely to reduce the chance of damaging your kayak.

  • Keep it away from the sun
  • Use a tarp
  • Don’t get stolen

Keep it away from the sun 

After long periods of time exposed to sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation can destroy almost anything no matter what material it’s made from. Most kayaks are made from polyethylene and are quickly aged by the sun. While Fiberglass kayaks are likely to age slower than plastic, after time they too will begin to fade and show damage to the finish. If available, store your kayak undercover in a spot that is shaded at all times. If you can not find any places, you have to find a tarp to cover it and probably consider to use a kayak sun protection spray like 303 Aerospace Kayak Protectant which is like sunscreen for your kayak. Because of its enduring cosmetic properties, the resistance of spray it protects your kayak surface form not only the UV but also the dust, soiling, and staining.

Use a tarp

If using a tarp to cover your kayak, suspend or hang the tarp so that it’s not in contact with the kayak. There are many different coverage options that assist in protecting your kayak’s exterior from weather and other elements that can make your boat frail. Full kayak covers and cockpit covers are a couple excellent ways to keep your kayak clean and far less scratched while in storage. Coverage is especially important if sunshine storage is your kayak’s only option. 

Don’t get stolen

Protect your kayak against theft. A quality kayak is a considerable investment, so it’s worth taking steps to protect your boat from being stolen. Try to keep your kayak hidden from view as much as possible. Or you can also lock a vehicle steering wheel lock across the cockpit of the boat. For added protection, thread a durable security cable through a sturdy part of the boat and lock it to a post, fence or building.


When you use your boat, it’s going to get the occasional bump or scratch. Most of the time, these adventure marks aren’t going to affect the performance or longevity of your kayak. It’s the unseen effects that the water and sun can have on your kayak that tend to damage your kayak in silence.

Here I outline some maintenance tips you should look out.

  • Basic maintenance
  • Regular cleaning 
  • Look Over The Hull 
  • Double-check fittings
  • Replace broken parts 

Basic maintenance

First of all, cherish your kayak. Don’t drag it over rough surfaces, drop it, or subject it to other impacts that might scratch, dent, or break your watercraft.

Regular cleaning 

Whenever you pull your boat out of the water, you should rinse it with clean fresh water to remove any grime. Use a mild all-purpose cleaner (such as diluted Castile soap) and a sponge to wipe down your kayak. Make sure to clean the inside and outside. There should be no remaining dirt or residue. Rinse thoroughly with water after cleaning with soap so that no soap remains on the kayak.

Look Over The Hull 

Long-term storage sometimes causes kayak’s hull damaged. In the case of a depressed hull, heat will often be enough to return the kayak to its original shape. Leaving it in the sun on a hot day will often pop it back to its original shape.

Double-check fittings 

Screws that hold in place different kayak fittings can loosen with regular use. Use a screwdriver to gently tighten any screws that need it. These might include carrying handles, gear racks, rod holders, cargo hatches, etc. Also make sure the hardware, perimeter lines, and bungees are all in good shape. 

Replace broken parts 

Stuff happens and things break. What you don’t want is to put off a small fix for too long and let it grow into a larger problem. I suggest you do a seasonal maintenance. You can retire old gear like a seat or bulkhead in the period of maintenance.

Look over all of your gear and remind yourself what was bothering you last season. If your boat has a broken piece that needs to be replaced, take care of it as soon as possible. 


Hope you find this post interesting and helpful and have the basic idea of how you can store your kayak. Most of the information in the post is based on my experience or searched on the internet. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please kindly leave your comment below. I will update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading. Happy Kayaking.







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Darrien Hansen
3 years ago

It’s good that you brought up how you should keep your kayak stored inside so that it stays unaffected by the weather. My wife and I live in an area that experiences frequent hail storms, and we would like to find a place to store the new kayak my uncle bought me for my birthday in order to prevent it from getting dented. We’ll consider finding a way to store our kayak indoors properly.

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