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How to Store a Kayak Properly

 Posted on: August 22nd, 2022

Kayak hanging in a wooden barn
Kayak hanging in a wooden barn

Another season on the water is behind us, and winter is fast approaching. Before you bring out the snowshoes and snowmobile, make sure you’ve taken care of storing away all your seasonal items for spring through fall, including your kayaks!

Proper storage of kayaks is critical for protecting them from the elements, which can cause damage and distortion with extended exposure. Proper storage also keeps you and others safe, as you’ll have the kayak hung or stored away in such a way that it will not fall and become a safety hazard, and will protect it from theft.

Before we go over how to properly store a kayak for the winter, though, here are a few tips for storage strategies to avoid.

Here’s a quick look at some of the considerations you’re going to need to take into account to get the most out of your day on the water.

Two green kayaks stored in racks above ground
Two green kayaks stored in racks above ground

Never store the kayak on the ground

You should make it a point to keep your kayak off the ground, especially if you have no other choice but to store it outside. Leaving the kayak in contact with the gold ground throughout the winter could cause damage due to moisture or the freezing conditions. You should either hang the kayak or cover the ground first with waterproof tarps.

Keep the kayak away from frequently used items

The last thing you want is for an item you won’t use for an entire season (like a kayak) to be right in the way of other items you need to access frequently. You will risk knocking the kayak down, causing potential damage or injury, or will simply get annoyed with it being in the way.

Keep it away from wildlife

Small animals might try to nest in the cockpit, so make sure you store it in a way that it will be inaccessible to critters.

Avoid certain storage positions

You should never store your kayak with overly tight straps, with the cockpit up, on its side, hanging by the handles or on a wheeled cart.

The best storage strategies

So now that you understand what not to do with your long-term kayak storage, here are a few tips that will ensure you keep your kayak safe and in good condition all winter long before you bring it back out again once the warm weather returns.


Analyze your space

Carefully consider where you have room to put the kayak and whether it will be in the way of other items you need. Do not store the kayak in areas that are high traffic or have items that are frequently used.


Clean it first

Clean the outside and inside of the kayak before you put it away, and let it thoroughly air dry before storage to avoid issues with moisture and mold formation.



In addition to cleaning the kayak, make sure you open the drain plug to prevent formation of condensation and to allow better ventilation. Close and fasten all hatches, remove and clean scupper plugs and valves, and if you have no other choice but to store the kayak in an area where there will be sunlight coming in, make sure you add a coat of UV-blocking protectant to prevent fading and damage.

Two yellow kayaks are stored inside on racks
Two yellow kayaks are stored inside on racks

Aim for indoors

Outdoor storage is generally meant for short-term storage during the season, when you’re going to be frequently bringing the kayak back and forth from the water. During the winter, you should aim for indoor storage so you can control the temperature and shield the kayak from the elements. This also helps you better prevent potential theft.


Look for racks or suspension systems

Whenever possible you should avoid standing a kayak vertically or storing it on its side, at least for more than a day or so. Instead, look for specially designed kayak racks or suspension systems that allow you to hang one or more kayaks in the air with their cockpits facing the ground. This will prevent issues with pressure points causing damage on the kayaks, instead spreading the pressure across the weight of the kayak.

By prioritizing proper storage of your kayak over the next several months, you can ensure it will be in good condition and ready for more adventure when you pull it out in the spring.

Get your kayak stored away, and get excited for all of the fun winter activities that are just around the corner!