Storing a kayak is not the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately, storage is often overlooked when people are buying a kayak for the first time. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide to share the best way to store a kayak in the garage.
If you are fortunate enough to have space in your garage, it’s a great place to store a kayak. There are many benefits to storing a kayak in the garage; it’s locked up and safe from potential thieves, and it’s protected from the weather, to name a few.
Storing your kayak indoors makes sense for many people, and how you store your kayak is essential to your vessel’s longevity. We will get into all of this and more as we get deeper into this article.
Best way to store a kayak in the garage
There are a lot of different ways to store a kayak in the garage. Some are pretty easy to set up, while others require more work. Let’s get into some of the different options and see what works best for you.
Wall mount hanger
Wall hangers are a great way to store a kayak in your garage. Using a wall mount will save valuable space on your floor and keep your kayak off the ground.
You will need to make sure you find the studs in the wall to secure the kayak wall hanger. The last thing you want is to wake up in the middle of the night to the “crash” of a kayak falling off the wall onto your garage floor.
Depending on how much wall space you have, you can store more than one kayak on the wall. Hang one kayak closer to the ground and another above that, higher up the wall.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you plan to use a wall hanger.
- Leave space for the garage door to open
- Make sure you can lift the kayak up onto the wall mount
- Use a kayak hanger that has padding so your kayak will not move or get scratched
You can pick up a wall mount online or at a local shop. There are plenty of DIY solutions out there too.
One great thing about installing a wall mount is it’s a one-time installation. You can easily store your kayak in your garage for many years to come.
Portable kayak stand
If you have the floor space in your garage, a portable kayak stand is kind of a no-brainer. Stands take up more space than other storage solutions, but they are straightforward to set up and use.
The downside is that a kayak stand requires a fair amount of floor space. Before you set up the stand, measure your boat’s length and width to know precisely how much space you will need.
One of the benefits of a kayak stand is that you can move it wherever you need it. If you need to clean out your garage, you can temporarily move your kayak and stand out of the garage. Kayak stands are versatile and can hold a variety of kayak sizes.
If you are not a very handy person or don’t want to put holes in your wall, a kayak stand is a great option. A portable stand also works well in other areas, like a shed or basement.
Suspended from the ceiling
People often overlook the ceiling as a space to store a kayak in a garage. If your ceiling is high enough, hanging your kayak from the ceiling is an excellent way to save space.
Mounting a suspension (or pulley) system from the ceiling is not the easiest thing to do. Rather than building one yourself, you can buy a kit that comes with all the parts and pieces you need. The great thing about buying a complete system is it will come with step by step installation instructions.
When installing a ceiling-mounted suspension system, it is critical to find a stud, just like a wall-mounted hanger. This will help support the full weight of the kayak. If you don’t have the hardware securely fastened to the studs in the ceiling, your kayak will come crashing down.
Many suspension systems are inexpensive. If you have enough space on your garage ceiling, you could hang up more than one kayak with multiple pulley systems. Hanging your kayak from the ceiling is a great way to use space that you might not otherwise use.
Ceiling mounted non-pulley
There are also ceiling-mounted storage racks that are not a pulley operated system. These types of racks are fixed and hang from the ceiling. It can be a little difficult to lift your kayak overhead and balance it while setting it on the rack.
A ceiling mount is a great way to save space, much like a pulley system, but requires more work to lift the kayak in place. Store Your Board is an excellent example of this type of system.
Standing up (vertical storage)
Another way to store your kayak that doesn’t take up a lot of space is to store it upright (standing up on the stern). Make sure your garage ceiling is high enough to accommodate the length of your kayak.
If you have a long touring, or sea kayak, this option might not work for you. But it’s a solid option for most recreational kayaks.
The great thing about standing your kayak up in the garage is that you can set this up yourself pretty easily. This kayak storage solution only requires a few straps anchored to the wall to hold the kayak in place.
You can use d-rings and cam straps as a simple example. You can also use a bungee cord or rope. It’s a good idea to have the kayak supported with one strap about 1/3 of the way from the top and bottom.
Like other methods, you will need to make sure the hardware you use is anchored to the studs in your wall. Although the weight will be on the end of the boat, the straps will hold the kayak steady and keep it from tipping over.
It’s also a good idea to have some sort of pad underneath the stern sitting directly on the garage floor.
When it comes to kayak racks, there are a lot of DIY options out there. There are some excellent benefits to building a kayak storage rack yourself. Typically they are inexpensive, you can pick up the materials at your local hardware store, and you can build them to suit your kayak(s).
Get the right hardware
When you decide the best way to store a kayak in the garage, you will need the right mounting hardware. You will need things like screws, bolts, nails, d-rings, anything that will securely attach to the studs in the walls.
Ensure the screws or bolts are long enough to get through drywall, the hardware you are using (like a D-ring), and anchor tight into the stud. Sometimes people forget to account for the drywall in these situations.
If you don’t have drywall, that makes it a lot easier to find the studs. Otherwise, you can use a stud finder.
Watch for studs
If you are not familiar with the term “stud,” a stud is part of the framing in a wall. Studs are typically 2×4 pieces of wood that run vertically (up and down the wall), every sixteen inches.
When you mount a kayak rack to the wall, you must install the hardware into the studs for maximum support. If you only anchor into drywall, your kayak is going to end up on the floor.
Make sure you have clearance
Before you get too excited and start drilling holes and screwing screws, make sure you check for clearance. If you are using a ceiling-mounted system, either with a pulley or without, make sure you can open (and close) the garage door when the kayak is stored.
If you are storing your kayak on a ceiling mount and want to park your car in the garage, make sure there is clearance above your vehicle.
Watch for doors, windows, or other structures that might get in the way of storing your kayak, whether it’s on the floor, ceiling, or wall.
Click here for a comprehensive collection of kayak storage ideas.
Tips for storing your kayak in the garage
Clean your kayak
Before you store your kayak, it’s a good idea to clean it with fresh water. This goes for hardshell and inflatable kayaks. If you take the time to clean it after you use it, it won’t be gross and disgusting next time you hit the water.
Washing your kayak will help clean off dirt, mud, salt, and other grime from your day on the water. Make sure you clean everything, including the footrests, rudder, cables, etc. If you can remove the seat and wash it separately, that’s a good idea too. Some kayak seats are machine washable.
If you want to go the extra mile, use mild soap and water with a scrub brush to clean your boat. Rinse the kayak thoroughly with fresh water and wipe it down with a towel before you put it away for good.
Take out the drain plug to let any water out of the inside. It’s best if your kayak is completely dry before your store it.
Climate control…in your garage? Yeah right.
The climate (temperature and humidity) in your garage can have a significant impact on your kayak’s longevity. In an ideal world, to protect your shiny new kayak, it’s best to control the climate as much as you can.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on an HVAC system for your garage unless, of course, you want to. There are some things you can do, or may want to keep in mind when it comes to temperature and humidity in your garage.
Many people don’t heat the garage because you don’t spend enough time to make it worthwhile. But if you live in an area where it gets frigid in the winter, you might want to consider using a space heater.
Using a space heater can help prevent kayak damage from cold temps. A space heater will increase your electric bill, but it might prolong the life of your kayak.
Humidity can be a problem for your kayak in a few different ways. First, specific components on your kayak could rust in the humidity. Second, with humidity, you could be looking at mildew or mold, especially on fabric seats.
One way to combat humidity and ease moisture’s effects on your kayak is to use a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is easy to use; you just have to remember to drain the water they pull from the air.
Drain your kayak
It’s always a good idea to drain any water from your kayak before you store it. Draining your kayak will vary depending on the type of kayak you own. Be sure you get the water out of all the nooks and crannies, including any hatches or compartments.
Sometimes, it can be a little tricky to get all the water out. Many recreational kayaks have a drain plug located at the bow or stern. The first thing to do is empty any water out using the drain plug. Take the drain plug out, and tip the kayak toward the drain.
For any remaining water, you can use a bilge pump, sponge, or towel. Use whatever you have handy that can soak up water.
There are a couple of reasons to get all the water out before you store your kayak. The first is to avoid damage that might occur as a result of standing water. If you live in a cold climate with freezing temperatures, you want to protect your kayak from freezing and thawing cycles.
This is not super common when you store your kayak in a garage, but still, something to keep in mind.
Cover it up
Part of the benefit of storing your kayak in the garage is not being exposed to the weather outside. That said, some people still prefer to cover their kayak even when storing it in the garage. A kayak cover can help to keep dust, critters, and moisture out of your boat.
Whether or not you cover your kayak is up to you. It’s just something to keep in mind.
Consider the position
Depending on how much usable space you have in your garage can help determine if you will store your kayak vertically or horizontally. Both options have their advantages, but it comes down to what’s best for your situation.
One thing to keep in mind is that you never want to store your kayak on a hard surface for an extended period. This can warp and damage the hull. An example is leaving the kayak on a concrete garage floor for a long time.
Remove your accessories
When storing your kayak, don’t forget about your accessories like your paddle, dry bag, bilge pump, etc. Make sure you check the compartments on your vessel and properly store your accessories. Usually, it’s a good idea to rinse your gear and dry it off before you put it away long term.
Some kayak storage solutions will have a place to hang your paddle and other accessories too. Look for a way to store your kayak and accessories in your garage. This can help free up space in other areas of your house.
Distribute weight evenly
Your kayak’s hull can be damaged if you don’t store the vessel properly. When you store your kayak on a rack, you need to make sure that the kayak is supported in a couple of different spots.
Ideally, support the kayak using padded cradles or nylon straps that contour with the hull. A good rule of thumb is to support the kayak about 1/3 of the way from the bow and stern.
Advantages of storing your kayak in the garage
If you have space, storing your kayak in the garage has many benefits, including:
If your kayak is stored in your garage, you don’t have to worry about locking it up like if you stored it outdoors. The kayak should be safer in your garage than, say, stored outside where a would-be thief might see it.
Not exposed to weather
Kayaks can break down when they are overly exposed to direct sunlight and other weather conditions. Keeping your kayak under cover in your garage can help prolong the life of your boat.
Storing your kayak in the garage means you should (hopefully) have easy access to the kayak, so it’s easy to use. If the kayak is hard to get to, you are less likely to use it.
There are many space-saving ways to store a kayak in the garage, including wall mounts and the ceiling.
Disadvantages of storing your kayak in the garage
If you don’t have a large garage or keep multiple vehicles in your garage, adding a kayak to the mix can use up valuable space. If you use a kayak stand, then the boat could be in your way.
If you have the space for it, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of storing a kayak in the garage.
Don’t have space or a garage?
Buy an inflatable
Inflatable kayaks are a great option if you don’t have room to store a hardshell kayak in your garage. Inflatables are easy to transport and don’t take up much shelf space when you store one.
There are a lot of options when it comes to inflatable kayaks. Click here for more information on inflatables.
What’s the best way to store a kayak in the garage? There are a lot of options when it comes to answering this question. You will have to determine how much room you have and which application works the best for your situation.
However you decide to set your kayak up in the garage, it will be safe and concealed from Mother Nature. If you use the wall or ceiling to hold your kayak, make sure it is securely fastened to avoid damage from a fallen kayak.
If you have any questions, please let us know.
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.