Kayaks are long, heavy, and take up a lot of room, so figuring out how and when to store them can be challenging. However, if you want to extend its life, it is essential to learn how to properly store your kayak, especially if it will be sitting for a long time, such as during wintertime.
Here is how and where you can store a kayak and maximize its life:
- Thoroughly clean and dry before storing.
- Store kayaks inside wherever possible.
- If storing outside, make sure to keep the kayak dry.
- Always lock a kayak that’s stored outside.
- Use hooks, hoists, or storage racks.
- Maintain the kayak while it’s stored.
- Consider off-site storage, such as a kayak club.
- Use tarp and storage racks during the winter months.
- Avoid excessive weather exposure and unsafe areas.
- Consider an inflatable kayak.
Storing your kayak correctly when you’re not using it is crucial in extending its life, and since kayaks aren’t cheap, it’s in your best interest to do so. This article will explain everything you need to know about storing your kayak, no matter what type the kayak is or what kind of space you have available.
1. Thoroughly Clean and Dry Before Storing
The first step before you look to store the kayak is cleaning it. This is something that many people forget to do, but it is crucial to ensure that the kayak doesn’t get damaged, especially if you’re storing it for a more extended period.
If you’re only storing the kayak for a few days, it is acceptable to just wash it down at the marina when you’re done paddling. It is pointless to clean it meticulously in this case since it will be back in the water in just a few days.
However, if you’re storing the kayak for a prolonged period, such as for winter, it would be best to do a thorough cleaning before storing it. This may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t too much work.
Also, remember that after cleaning, you’ll need to let the kayak dry for as long as possible before storing it. This is because trapped water may struggle to evaporate once the kayak is covered.
How To Clean the Inside of a Kayak
The inside is often the most challenging place to clean since most kayaks have a small opening, making it hard to reach most areas. In addition, since these spaces are open, they tend to accumulate quite a bit of sand, mud, or seaweeds.
The places that get the most dust are usually the footrests, as you will often get into the kayak with muddy feet.
Depending on the type of kayak you have, you should take a particular approach when cleaning it:
- Clean wooden kayaks with a lightly wet cloth. But first, let the kayak sit for a day or two so that all of the mud dries out, making it easier to clean.
- Spray down composite and plastic kayaks with a hose or pressure washer. Don’t increase the water pressure too much as it may damage the boat.
How To Clean the Outside of a Kayak
Cleaning the outside is the more accessible and easier part, as mud or seaweed can’t really accumulate since the outside is usually underwater.
The best way to clean the outside is by using warm, soapy water and a sponge to spread it across the kayak. You can use warm water from the hot tap in the kitchen and add some car shampoo or a special kayak soap.
You will also need a sponge to spread the soapy water throughout the kayak. After that, fill a bucket with clean water and use it to wash the soap off. If you can, use a hose as it would be much easier.
Why Pressure Washers Aren’t Ideal for Kayaks
Pressure washing a kayak can be a great way to quickly remove any dust or residue stuck on the kayak surface. However, it would be best if you only used pressure washers on specific kayaks that can withstand the pressure from the running water without getting damaged.
Avoid using pressure washers on wooden kayaks, as the pressure can strip off the wood finish and damage the waterproof elements of the wood. You should also avoid using pressure washers with composite kayaks, as the pressure could damage the kayak where the composite material is thin.
Plastic kayaks are the most durable as they’re made of polyethylene, making them the easiest to clean as you can pressure wash them both inside and outside.
2. Store Kayaks Inside Wherever Possible
While there is nothing wrong with storing your kayak outdoors, and there are many ways to do so, it would be best to keep it inside if possible.
Factors to consider when looking for an inside space to store your kayak include:
- Ensure that the area’s temperature is average or that you can control it.
- Avoid storing the kayak near windows to prevent sun damage.
- Make sure the kayak isn’t obstructing walking paths, as this can be dangerous for you and the kayak.
Store Your Kayak in the Garage, Basement, or Shed
Here are some of the most common places people use to store their kayaks or other smaller boats:
- Garage. A big garage is ideal as it will protect the kayak from sunlight and also make it very accessible. Even if your garage is already pretty full, you should still be able to find enough space. Kayaks can sit up against the wall or even hang from the ceiling.
- Basement. A basement is also a viable option for storing your kayak as the temperatures are usually stable. Also, it’s not likely the kayak will be exposed to excessive sunlight in the basement.
- Spare room. If you live in a larger house and have some extra rooms available, you can make that room your kayak sanctuary. Be careful not to damage your floor, though.
- Shed. If keeping your kayak inside your home isn’t an option, you could also keep it in a shed if you have one. Sheds are typically inexpensive, and though it won’t be as secure as keeping the kayak in the garage or inside your home, it’s certainly better than keeping it in the open.
3. If Storing Outside, Make Sure To Keep the Kayak Dry
Not all people have an indoor space they can dedicate to their kayak. In this case, there is nothing wrong with keeping the kayak outside, as long as you follow a few guidelines to protect it.
Additionally, outdoor storage may even be preferred during in-season use, as it would be much easier for you to take out the kayak and store it back up for constant use.
Here are some basics to have in mind for storing your kayak outside:
- Keep the kayak under some form of shelter, as the sun rays can damage its surface.
- Preferably, you should keep the kayak under a lock, but if that’s not possible, at least cover it up nicely to keep it out of sight of potential intruders.
- Cover the cockpit of your kayak to prevent insects or other small animals from living inside it.
As you may have noticed, it is imperative to have the kayak under some sort of cover. Even if it’s outside, that will make a huge difference and extend the kayak’s life. Luckily, there are many routes you can take when deciding on a cover for your kayak, such as:
- Under a deck
- Cover it with a tarp – but instead of wrapping the tarp around the kayak, hang the tarp over it.
- Under a roof
- On a covered porch
If you’re storing the kayak outside, something like the i COVER Kayak Cover (available on Amazon.com) can be great for protecting it from dust, sunlight, and animals. It is made of heavy-duty fabric and will fit most kayaks.
Places To Avoid Storing Your Kayak
Whether it’s for the short or long-term, there are some places where you should never store your kayak, such as:
- On the ground – this can expose your kayak to dirt and moisture, shortening its life. It can also damage the hull, which can potentially disable the kayak.
- In places accessible to wildlife – small animals are always looking for a new place to call home, so make sure your kayak doesn’t become it by properly covering it or keeping it indoors.
- Places you or others often walk around – although the kayak will often be stored against the wall, it can still be a hazard if you frequently walk near it, potentially causing damage to the kayak, the household, or yourself.
4. Always Lock a Kayak That’s Stored Outside
Kayaks can be pretty expensive, so if you don’t have space to store them inside, make sure they are adequately secured outside. Locking your kayak is a relatively easy and inexpensive thing to do, so even if you feel like there’s no danger of it getting stolen, it is still worth doing just to be safe.
To properly secure a kayak outside:
- Try to store it as close to your house as possible.
- Find a permanent hole on the kayak that you can put a cable through and attach to an eye bolt or bolt loop on your wall.
- You can also make a wooden rack if you have the time, giving you more space to loop the cable through.
Try this Lasso The Original Kayak Lock from Amazon.com. It’s long enough to wrap from one end of your kayak to the other and has a re-settable combination code for your convenience.
5. Use Hooks, Hoists, or Storage Racks
Once you find a place for your kayak, it is time to position it for storage properly. There are a few directions you can take, so let’s quickly take a look at some of your best options:
Storing a Kayak on the Wall With Hooks
This is the best position to store your kayak if you have limited space, and especially if you’re storing the kayak inside.
To do so, you will need wall hangers, which are wall-mounted cradles that mount to any vertical surface and can support heavy items such as a kayak. In addition, they allow for single-kayak storage and up to three kayaks if you have more than one to store.
These RAD Sportz Store Kayak Storage Hooks from Amazon.com are very affordable and are sturdy enough to hold up to 125 pounds (56.70 kg). In addition, the foam-padded hooks will ensure your kayak remains in tip-top condition.
It is usually straightforward to customize these types of hangers. This should allow you to set them up so that your kayak is supported in the places where it needs it most, such as the bulkheads for long kayaks and both ends of a shorter kayak.
You will also need to think about the height you set the hangers up and store the kayak, and this will depend on how many kayaks you’re keeping and the space you’re holding them in.
Remember that the higher you store the kayak, the harder it’ll be to bring it down and store it back up.
DIY Kayak Rack for Wall Storing
If you want, you can also create a homemade kayak rack. To do that, you will need:
- 10 feet (3m) of 1in (2.5 cm) PVC pipe
- 6 1-inch (2.5 cm) PVC mounting clamps
- 4 PVC Joints
- Ratchet strap
After gathering all the materials, assemble the PVC frame. To do so:
- Cut the PVC pipe into four pieces (two 1′ or 30 cm long pieces and two 4′ or 121 cm pieces).
- Use PVC glue to attach all the pieces using the PVC joins to make a rectangular shape.
- Allow the glue to dry.
Then, it is time to install the frame you just created on the wall:
- Place the top of the frame about 5 feet from the ground.
- Screw the PVC clamps into the studs on the wall.
- Place a cushioned surface on the floor beneath the frame.
After the frame is ready, it is time to place the kayak. It would be best to do so vertically, with the cockpit facing up. Sit the other end on the cushioned surface and gently push the kayak into the rectangular PVC frame you made. Then, grab a strap and place it around the kayak and PVC strap, but don’t tighten it too much as the kayak might sag.
Storing a Kayak With a Storage Rack
Storage racks are perfect if you have multiple kayaks, as they come in a variety of sizes, storing up to six kayaks.
For a storage rack to work, you will need some floor space, so be sure to make space in the desired area.
Kayak storage racks can cost a few hundred dollars, but they are a worthy investment as they will last you a long time. Another good thing about storage racks is that you can move them around if you install wheels, which gives you the flexibility to change the place you keep your kayaks easily.
If you decide to buy a storage rack, I recommend the VIVOHOME Freestanding Dual Storage Rack available on Amazon.com. It is made of solid material that will last for years and has a large capacity to store multiple kayaks.
Storing a Kayak With Hoists
A hoist system uses a pulley system to lift the kayak and store it high off the ground. This is an excellent option for a garage and will allow you to park your car underneath the kayak along with any other items you may have. It is also great for saving space and long-term storage.
This StoreYourBoard Kayak Ceiling Storage Hoist from Amazon.com is affordable and lightweight but sturdy enough to hoist up to 60 pounds (27.22 kg). With this hoist design, you can set the kayak in place on ground level, then lift it out of the way for storage.
Before going ahead with this option, measure the size of your garage as it may not be large enough to support a kayak hanging on the ceiling, especially if the kayak in question is on the larger side. Additionally, it may be harder to find enough space to store multiple kayaks with this method.
5. Maintain the Kayak While It’s Stored
After you’ve gone through the process of cleaning your kayak, figuring out a place to store it, and then storing it, it is time to relax, at least until it’s kayak season again.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely forget about the kayak you stored.
While there is no need to clean the kayak again or take it down from where it’s stored for any reason, you should regularly check to make sure that the kayak stands firmly on the surface it’s stored on.
If you want to learn more, Old Town has a great video with more information on how to store a kayak for a more extended period:
6. Consider Off-Site Storage, Such as a Kayak Club
If you are willing to exchange some extra money for more convenience, consider the option of storing your kayak off-site.
Check for kayak clubs in your area and marinas to see whether they offer parking. Some clubs will only have a rack, while others provide some extra amenities such as a shower, security, and more.
The yearly fee for a kayak club is around $400, and with that comes insurance, cables, and other tools. It is undoubtedly one of the more expensive options for storing your kayak, but some people find that it pays off for the convenience it brings.
Short-Term Kayak Storage
So far, we have mainly focused on storing a kayak for a more extended period. Often, though, you will only need to hold the kayak for a short period, like a few days or a week, before you deploy it back to the water.
In some cases, your long and short-term storage solution will be the same, but some people may need to have a separate place to keep their kayak depending on how long they won’t use it.
No matter how long you’re storing your kayak, you should still avoid leaving it in the open and preferably keep it inside. Also, don’t store it on its side since that causes uneven weight distribution, damaging the kayak.
Here are some of the best short-term storage options:
- Ceiling or ground storage rack
- Keeping it outside under a cover or tarp and away from water sources
- Placed under a shade and sprayed with a protective spray to prevent damage from UV rays
Remember that these storage options, especially the last two, are only meant for short periods. If left unattended for too long, the kayak may accumulate plenty of dirt or incur damage from pests.
Other Kayak Storing Accessories
Now that you’ve learned how to store your kayak properly, you may wonder what to do with the accessories. Here are some of the leading kayak accessories:
It would help if you also looked to store all of the accessories inside, or at least find a dry space for them like a garage or something similar. Since they are smaller and easier to fit, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to find space for them inside.
That would be especially important during harsh winters, and you should always avoid placing the accessories in the cockpit and storing them with the kayak.
You should also consider taking off the hatch covers and storing them separately from the kayak after cleaning them. This will allow the hatch to stay dry.
7. Use Tarp and Storage Racks During the Winter Months
All of the steps mentioned above apply to storing a kayak during winter. Still, there are some other winter-specific things to consider, especially if you live in an area where winters are particularly harsh.
Here are some of the things that can happen if your kayak isn’t adequately protected during winter:
- Freeze-thaw cycles will break the plastic of your kayak.
- Snow load may cause your kayak to bend or dent.
- Small animals may use your kayak to keep warm.
To avoid this from happening, use any of the methods discussed earlier while paying extra attention to cover up the kayak, so it isn’t exposed to the cold or snow. Keeping it inside would be the easiest to achieve this, but you can also use a tarp or a weather-resistant cover if it’s outside.
Also, lift the kayak up from the ground, preferably on a storage rack. If you leave it on the floor, snow can cause severe damage to the material.
8. Avoid Excessive Weather Exposure and Unsafe Areas
So far, we’ve only talked about what you should be doing when storing your kayak.
However, it is also essential to know a few things you should absolutely avoid doing to store the kayak properly and maximize its life. These include:
- Leaving it exposed to the sun is one of the worst things you can do to your kayak if you want to extend its life, especially if it’s a plastic one. UV rays can cause fading and even break down the plastic over time.
- Not covering the cockpit will probably result in plenty of unwanted guests such as rats, raccoons, or insects calling your cockpit their new home. They will not only make the inside of your kayak very hard to clean but may also cause physical damage as some pests don’t mind chewing on plastic.
- Placing it on a hard surface may cause plastic kayaks to flatten. This is due to the pressure of their own weight, which can affect performance.
- Leaving it unlocked outside is a sure way to get your kayak stolen. If nothing else, invest in a secure lock.
9. Consider an Inflatable Kayak
You can ignore everything I talked about in this article by buying an inflatable kayak from the get-go. Unfortunately, people have been skeptical about the quality of inflatable kayaks compared to their counterparts in the past, and that stigma is somewhat present to this day.
However, inflatable kayaks these days are made of PVC and drop stitch material, making them even more resilient than regular kayaks, and usually for a fraction of the cost.
With an inflatable kayak, you will never have to worry about finding space to store it, as you can easily fit it in a closet or a garage shelf.
If you’re willing to go this route, I recommend the Intex Excursion Pro Kayak available on Amazon.com. It is made of highly durable PVC, making it appropriate for all bodies of water, no matter how unstable it may be.
Storing your kayak is essential in extending its life. It is best to store a kayak inside, but there are also outdoor options.
If you’re keeping the kayak for a longer period, it is essential to clean it thoroughly. The positioning of the kayak, once stored, should ideally be upside down, and you should regularly check and maintain the kayak to make sure everything is okay.
If you want to avoid the hassle of finding storage for your kayak, you can purchase an inflatable one that you can easily fit inside your home or garage.