How To Store A Kayak The Right Way

Storing a kayak is not an easy thing to do. Kayaks are heavy and awkward to move. In this post, we will discuss how to store a kayak. Whether you are new to kayaking or not, proper storage can help extend your boat’s life.

Kayaks are bulky and cumbersome, so finding the best place to store your kayak might be more challenging than you think. When you are excited to buy your kayak, storing it is not always top of mind.  It’s kind of an afterthought for a lot of people.

One of the worst things you can do is leave your kayak outside on the ground where it’s exposed to the elements.  To prevent damage and potential theft, you need to put some thought into storing your kayak correctly.

Fortunately, this guide will show you how to store a kayak and some best practices to follow. We will share some ways to save space and prepare your kayak for storage.  You want your kayak to last a long time, so taking some precautions when you store it can help.

How to store a kayak – Best practice

  • Store your kayak upside down whenever possible to avoid denting or deforming the hull. You want to minimize the potential for scratching, sagging, etc.
  • Evenly distribute the weight on the mount or suspension system. Space the kayak evenly across your mounting system.
  • Don’t store your kayak attached to a kayak cart (wheel cart). This can cause sagging, as one end is elevated and the other is on the ground.
  • If you can’t store your kayak upside down, store it on its side. Many people use a wall mount cradle to hang their kayak in the garage or a shed because it saves space. If you are limited on space, it may be difficult to store your kayak upside down. 
  • Avoid storing your kayak on the hull (cockpit up); this can lead to deforming or denting the hull.  Kayaks are not designed to sit on their hull for extended periods.

How to store a kayak indoors

If you can store your kayak indoors, that is ideal because your boat is not exposed to the weather.  If you have a garage or storage shed and you have the room, this is a great place to store a kayak.

Another advantage of storing your kayak indoors is that your kayak is protected from the elements and protected from thieves.  Hopefully, you can shut and lock the doors so your kayak will be safe and sound.

You can use something as simple as two sawhorses to store your kayak.  To do this, you would place your kayak upside down, with a sawhorse under each end of the kayak. You can put a towel or pad on top of the sawhorse, so you don’t scratch your boat.

The downfall to floor storage methods is it does take up a lot of valuable floor space in your garage or shed.  But there are other options to consider for indoors.

How to store a kayak using a ceiling rackPin

You can also try a ceiling rack, a kayak hoist, pulley, or suspension system.  These are great ways to maximize the ceiling space in your garage or shed.  Using your ceiling is a space-saving way to store your kayaks out of the way.

A lot of people use wall mount cradles for their kayaks too.  These can work well. It’s not ideal to store your kayak on its side.  Check out the video below for a great wall mount option so you can still store your kayak upside down with a wall mount.

How to store a kayak outside

If you don’t have a garage or shed, let’s talk about how to store a kayak outdoors. There are some things to consider when storing a kayak outside.

Make sure your kayak is covered if you store it outside.  We protect our skin from the sun, and it’s essential to do the same with your kayak. The sun’s rays can be brutal to a kayak. 

Many kayaks are made out of polyethylene and are likely to become damaged by long-term exposure to the sun.  You can use a kayak cover, a tarp, or you can use a marine protectant, kind of like sunscreen for your yak. Taking these extra precautions will help your boat last longer if you store it outdoors.

If possible, try not to wrap your kayak in a tarp. This can lead to mold in wet climates.  Instead, suspend a weather-resistant tarp over the kayak, kind of like a tent, so it will be out of the sun at all times.

Make sure it’s locked and out of sight. The last thing you want is for someone to steal your kayak if it’s stored outside.  You can read more about locking your kayak here.

A great place to store your kayak outside is under a covered patio or deck. Under a deck or patio cover, your kayak will be protected from the sun.  You might also be able to anchor a ceiling mount or a pulley system in this situation.

You can also buy or build a kayak rack to store your kayak upside down.  The most important thing to remember when storing a kayak outside is to keep it off the ground, out of the sun, and lock it up.

Protect your kayak from thieves

If you store your kayak outside, make sure you protect your boat from potential thieves.  Keep your kayak out of view from people passing by.  Using a tarp or kayak cover is great to keep it out of sight.

Be sure to lock your kayak up if you store it outdoors.  If your kayak has scupper holes, you can run a cable lock through the holes and lock your kayak to a sturdy object like a post or a tree.

If you own a sit-inside kayak, you might be able to use an existing hole, like a drain hole.  Some kayaks have holes in the bow and stern where carry handles are attached.  You could remove the carry handles and run a cable lock through there. 

Another option is to drill drain holes near the cockpit to run a cable lock through. This also works well for locking two kayaks together.

If you don’t have existing holes or don’t want to drill holes in your kayak, there is another option. You can also use a loop style cable lock over each end of the kayak and secure them together tightly underneath.

How to store an inflatable kayak

One of the enormous benefits of owning an inflatable kayak is how easy they are to store. You can easily pack the kayak in a closet or a shelf in a garage.  You want to be sure the kayak is clean and completely dry before you pack it away. 

Speaking of cleaning, let’s talk about that next.

Keep your kayak clean

Before you store your kayak, give it a good cleaning. Rinse your boat off with fresh water before you put it away to remove any grime, dirt, salt, sand, etc. Occasionally you can wash your kayak with mild soap and water.

Be sure to clean the inside and outside of the kayak and dry it thoroughly before storing it.  This will help to prolong the life of your boat.

Other things to consider

  • Make sure the kayak is off the ground, away from moisture.  Constant exposure to rain and snow can cause your kayak to breakdown over time. 
  • Be careful with cold temperatures.  Constant freezing and thawing can damage your kayak.
  • Distribute the weight evenly. If your kayak’s weight is not evenly distributed, the hull can deform or sag over time.  Make sure the kayak is evenly supported along its length with no pressure points.
  • Find a convenient place to store your kayak. If storing your kayak is too much work, you are more likely to not use your kayak.

What not to do

Don’t store your kayak on the ground for extended periods. This can damage the hull and expose the kayak to dirt and moisture on the ground. All of these factors can hurt the life of your kayak.

How to store kayak accessories

Don’t forget about your accessories, things like your paddle, life jacket, dry bags, spray skirt, etc.  You will want to take the same precautions when storing these items.  Make sure your kayak accessories are clean and dry before you store them.  Since these items are much smaller than your kayak, try to store them indoors.

Wrapping up

Now you should have a much better idea of how to store a kayak. Keeping your kayak clean and properly stored will help it last a long time. 

A few things to keep in mind are:

  • Store your kayak upside down when possible
  • Make sure your kayak and accessories are clean before you put them away.
  • Distribute the kayaks weight evenly when you store it
  • Keep your kayak up off the ground when you store it
  • Lock it up if you store your kayak outdoors

Let me know if you have any questions.  Happy paddling!

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About the author
Steve Morrow
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.