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How-To Guide

How to Store a Kayak in a Garage or Outside

 Posted on: April 16th, 2021

How to Store a Kayak in a Garage or Outside
Kayak stored in the garage with our Elevate Outdoor Kayak and Canoe Storage Hoist

Proper storage of your kayak is crucial to ensuring it has a long-lasting life, so you can enjoy getting out on the water and paddling in it for years to come.

Kayaks can be stored both indoors and out, but it’s important to take the appropriate measures to prepare the kayak so it is protected from the elements and other potential sources of damage. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about indoor and outdoor kayak storage.

Before you store, be sure to clean

Whether you’re storing your kayak indoors or outdoors, there are some steps you’ll want to take before storing it away for an extended period of time.

First, you should thoroughly clean the kayak. If you’ve gotten a lot of use out of the kayak, it will probably have a lot of dirt, bugs and other debris and residue you should clean off.

To clean the kayak, take out fabric sections to wash separately according to manufacturer instructions (typically in the washing machine), and store them away separately. Then spray the kayak with a mild water/detergent mixture, and use a scrub brush to buff the kayak.

Man wiping down Kayak
Man hand diligently wipes the kayak from water drops after a walk, on the lawn against the background of other boats.

Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the kayak you can rinse it off with a hose, and be sure to empty all water by opening the drainage plug. Any excess water that doesn’t drain should be wiped down with a rag. You should then bring the boat into the sun and allow it to thoroughly air dry before taking it to its ultimate storage location.

When storing your kayak outdoors

A lot of people simply leave their kayak sitting outside in a yard or next to a shed if they know they’re going to be frequently using it. While that might be fine for everyday use, you’ll need to take some additional steps if you plan to store your kayak for a longer time without using it, such as when you put it away for the season.

It’s not enough to just wrap the kayak in a tarp and set it outside. This could potentially trap moisture inside, resulting in a mold problem, or at least issues with the kayak developing a musty odor.

Storing Kayak Outside
Red and yellow kayaks stored under a wooden shed

Instead, create an area outside that has a bit of shelter, under which you can store the kayak. This could take the form of a tent or lean-to. You can purchase small kayak shelters, or create your own with some PVS or wood and a tarp. Consider purchasing a cover for the cockpit area to prevent rodents or pests from getting inside, and throw in moisture-absorbing packets before sealing it.

During long periods of storage outside, the kayak should be kept off the ground on a rack designated for its storage. It should be away from direct sunlight so you can prevent damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and should be locked to another secure structure, such as a structure or shed, for security purposes. Be sure to store all fabric components separately to keep them in good condition.

When storing in a garage or shed

If storing the kayak in a garage, shed or boathouse, the most important thing is to avoid positioning the kayak on a hard surface. Kayaks should not be kept on a flat surface for more than a day or two, as this could result in the bottom becoming deformed. The hull is not designed to lie flat.

There are several alternative options you could use for your kayak storage.

One is to place a couple wooden plants on the ground near a wall, and store the kayak right side up on the plants to ensure even weight distribution. Then, lift one side of the kayak and lean it against the wall, rotating the kayak every month from side to side.

You can also use bars or straps anchored to the ceiling to hang the kayak—a great option if you have the available space. Just make sure you don’t hang the kayak from the rudder or handles. Instead, the strap should go around the entire body of the vessel.

Using hoist to store in garage
Man using Elevate Outdoor Kayak and Canoe Storage Hoist to store Kayak in garage

There are custom kayak storage racks, which can be expensive but will ensure the kayak is properly stored in a way that will keep it secure and in good condition. Finally, you could simply strap the kayak to the wall in an upright position. To do this, wrap bungees or straps around the kayak and then anchor them to a wall stud. Just make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly, as that could damage the hull.

Take good care of your kayak during every season of the year so you can keep using it for your paddling adventures for years to come!