Kayak Storage: Stowing Your Pride and Joy Safely

Importance of Proper Kayak Storage

Proper kayak storage is just as crucial as the quality of your paddle strokes. Not only does it keep your kayak safe and free from potential damage, but it also ensures it remains in tip-top condition for your next adventure. Imagine being all set for a weekend paddle only to discover that your kayak has warped due to poor storage. Frustrating, right? So, let’s avoid that.

Kayak Types and Their Storage Needs

Different kayaks have unique shapes, materials, and sizes, which means their storage needs vary. As a kayak enthusiast, I’ve had my fair share of “I wish someone had told me that” moments, especially when it comes to storage. Here’s what I have learned:

Sit-On-Top Kayaks

Design and Appeal:
Sit-on-top kayaks have become increasingly popular, especially among recreational kayakers and fishing enthusiasts. With their open design, they allow paddlers easy entry and exit, making them highly favorable for those who might feel confined in a closed cockpit. This design also means that in the event of a tip-over, they’re easier to re-enter from the water.

Storage Needs:
Considering their bulkier build, sit-on-top kayaks require robust storage solutions. It’s essential to provide ample support to prevent them from sagging over time. Given that they don’t have an enclosed cockpit, they’re more susceptible to collecting water if stored improperly. Here’s a pro tip: If you’re using an outdoor storage solution, opt for a kayak cover. It will protect your sit-on-top from direct sunlight, which can fade its colors and weaken the material. Moreover, periodically check for any standing water in its scupper holes. 

Touring Kayaks

Design and Appeal:
Touring kayaks, also known as sea kayaks, are designed for longer paddling trips on open waters, lakes, and seas. Their sleek design is engineered to cover distances efficiently, and they often come with storage hatches for camping gear and food. Their extended length and narrower width provide speed and stability, especially in choppy waters.

Storage Needs:
Their elongated structure means that, while storing, you need to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed to avoid any undue pressure on any single part. This is where wall cradles come in handy. They offer support to the kayak’s length. A common mistake? Storing these kayaks hanging by their ends. Over time, this can cause the midsection to sag. Rotate your kayak periodically if it’s stored on its side to distribute the pressure points.

Inflatable Kayaks

Design and Appeal:
Inflatable kayaks are a marvel for those with limited storage space or those who enjoy spontaneous adventures. They’re designed to be inflated when you’re ready to hit the water and deflated once done. Made from high-quality, puncture-resistant materials, these kayaks are surprisingly durable and can even handle some rapids!

Storage Needs:
The most crucial aspect of storing an inflatable kayak is ensuring it’s bone dry. Any residual moisture can lead to mold or mildew, compromising its material and your health. Once deflated, fold it neatly, following its natural creases, and store it in its bag or storage box. Place it in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Also, avoid stacking heavy items on top of it. Periodically, especially during long storage periods, give it an air fill and check for any signs of wear, puncture, or leaks.

Key Elements to Consider for Kayak Storage

When storing your prized kayak, there’s more to consider than just finding a spot to stash it until your next paddling adventure. Proper storage can significantly extend the lifespan of your kayak and keep it in optimal condition. As someone who has learned the hard way, trust me when I say that the following are the pillars of effective kayak storage:

Protection from Elements

The environment can be a silent adversary for your kayak. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Sunlight: Extended exposure to direct sunlight can fade the vibrant colors of your kayak and make some materials brittle. UV protective covers or storing your kayak in shaded areas can combat this.
  • Rain and Snow: Continuous exposure can lead to wear and tear, especially in the seams and joints of the kayak. Make sure your kayak is angled so that water doesn’t pool in any part of it. For those in snow-prone areas, a shed or indoor storage is recommended during winter months.
  • Wind: High winds can topple kayaks stored on their side. Secure them with straps or, better yet, store them flat or upside down to reduce the risk.


You’re more likely to use your kayak if it’s easily accessible. Think about it – would you be excited to go on an adventure when taking out your kayak is such a hassle?

  • Quick Set-Up: Wall mounts or stands that allow you to easily lift and set down your kayak are gold. Ceiling hoists with pulley systems can be very convenient for those with high ceilings.
  • Protection vs. Accessibility: While it’s essential to protect your kayak, if it’s wrapped up in layers of covers, tarps, and ropes, the chances are you might skip the idea of paddling altogether. Strike a balance.

Space Efficiency

Not all of us have the luxury of sprawling garages or vast backyard spaces. Space efficiency is crucial:

  • Vertical Storage: Wall racks and mounts allow you to use wall space rather than floor space. For multiple kayaks, there are even tiered racks available.
  • Hanging Systems: For those with a bit of ceiling height, pulley systems can be a godsend. Your kayak stays above, leaving you ample room below for other storage or activities.
  • Collapsible Solutions: Look for storage solutions that can be folded or disassembled when not in use, freeing up space.

Safety and Security

Your kayak is an investment. Protecting it from potential theft or damage is paramount:

  • Lockable Racks: If you’re storing your kayak outside, consider using lockable racks or cables to deter potential thieves.
  • Stability: Ensure that your storage solution, whether it’s a rack, hanger, or stand, is stable. You don’t want a gust of wind or a slight nudge to send your kayak crashing down.
  • Surveillance: If possible, store your kayak in a place visible from your home or under a security camera’s eye.

Practical Kayak Storage Solutions

Whether you’re a city dweller with limited space or fortunate enough to have an expansive garage, efficient kayak storage is vital. The idea is to protect your kayak while ensuring it doesn’t become an obstacle in your daily life. Over the years, I’ve experimented with numerous storage solutions, and here are the most practical ones that have stood the test of time:

Red kayaks on metal wired kayak storage with no ceiling.

Wall Racks and Hangers

The Gist:
Wall racks and hangers make use of vertical space, keeping your kayak off the floor and away from potential hazards.


  • Space Saver: Perfect for narrow spaces or tight garages.
  • Visibility: Your kayak is elevated, allowing for easy inspection.
  • Variety: From padded cradles to secure straps, there’s a wide range of options to suit every kayak type.


  • Sturdy Installation: Ensure the hangers are anchored securely to wall studs.
  • Padding: Choose racks with padding to prevent scratches or dents on your kayak.
  • Spacing: If you own multiple kayaks, ensure there’s adequate space between each when mounted to prevent them from knocking into each other.

Ceiling Hoists

The Gist:
A ceiling hoist uses a pulley system to lift and suspend your kayak from the ceiling.


  • Maximized Floor Space: Your floor remains clear, offering room for other activities or storage.
  • Safety: Keeps the kayak away from pets, pests, or potential flooding.


  • Weight Limit: Always check the weight capacity before buying to ensure it can safely support your kayak.
  • Ease of Use: Opt for systems with mechanical advantages – ones that make lifting and lowering your kayak a breeze.

Free-Standing Racks

The Gist:
These are standalone structures, often resembling shelves, where you can store one or multiple kayaks.


  • Mobility: They’re not fixed, allowing you to reposition them as needed.
  • Multiple Storage: Many can hold more than one kayak, making them perfect for families or those with a kayak collection.


  • Footprint: Ensure you have adequate floor space. While they’re great for storage, they can be bulky.
  • Material: Opt for rust-resistant materials, especially if you plan to place them outside or in damp areas.

Using Protective Covers

The Gist:
These are specialized covers, often made of weather-resistant materials, designed to shield your kayak from environmental factors.


  • Protection: Shields against UV rays, rain, snow, and debris.
  • Durability: Ensures longevity of your kayak’s paint and material.


  • Fit: Make sure the cover fits snugly but not too tightly. A loose cover can flap in the wind, potentially causing abrasions.
  • Material Check: Look for covers with UV protection and waterproofing. Breathable materials can prevent mold and mildew buildup.

Many kayaks for keeping on wooden spacious kayak storage with protective covers.

Maintenance Tips for Stored Kayaks

Storage isn’t just about finding a space for your kayak and forgetting about it. Maintenance is an ongoing commitment if you want to ensure that your vessel is always ready for the next aquatic adventure. Over my kayaking journey, I’ve found that a little care goes a long way. Here are the golden rules of kayak maintenance during storage:

Cleaning Before Storage

The Gist:
Ensuring your kayak is squeaky clean before storage prevents long-term damage and ensures longevity.

The Why:

  • Minimize Wear: Dirt, salt, and grime can erode the kayak’s surface over time.
  • Avoid Pests: Organic material like seaweed or leftover bait can attract pests.


  1. Fresh Water Rinse: Always rinse your kayak with fresh water after each use, especially if you’ve been in saltwater. This helps in removing salt, grime, and microorganisms.
  2. Soap Down: Using mild soap and a soft scrub, gently clean the kayak’s surface.
  3. Drain the Water: Make sure there’s no trapped water inside the kayak. Tip it upside down or use sponge and cloth to absorb any remaining moisture.
  4. Dry Thoroughly: Let the kayak air dry completely. Moisture trapped inside can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Periodic Checkups

The Gist:
Stored doesn’t mean forgotten. Check on your kayak from time to time, even if you aren’t using it.

The Why:

  • Spot Issues Early: Regular inspections can catch potential problems before they become major.
  • Maintain Value: Ensuring the kayak remains in top shape preserves its resale value.


  1. Structural Check: Look for any cracks, dents, or signs of wear on the hull and surface.
  2. Hardware Inspection: Ensure that the footpegs, seat, and other hardware are secure and in good condition.
  3. Hatch Examination: If your kayak has storage hatches, ensure the seals remain tight and the compartments are dry.
  4. Look for Pests: Check for any signs of pests or insects that might have taken a liking to your stored kayak.

Avoiding Prolonged Sun Exposure

The Gist:
Sun can be a silent destroyer when it comes to kayaks. It’s vital to protect your vessel from prolonged UV exposure.

The Why:

  • Preserve Material Integrity: Continuous sun exposure can make certain materials brittle and prone to cracking.
  • Maintain Aesthetics: UV rays can fade the vibrant colors of your kayak.


  1. Shaded Storage: Whenever possible, store your kayak in a shaded area, be it under a tree, canopy, or in a garage.
  2. UV Protective Covers: Invest in a cover that offers UV protection. They’re specially designed to deflect harmful rays, acting as sunglasses for your kayak.
  3. Rotate the Kayak: If storing outdoors and shade isn’t an option, periodically rotate the kayak’s position. This ensures that the same side isn’t always exposed to direct sunlight.
  4. UV Protective Sprays: These are products designed to be applied to the surface of your kayak, providing an additional layer of UV protection.


From the thrill of gliding through tranquil waters to the serene moments of watching a sunset from the middle of a lake, kayaking offers an unparalleled experience. But like all great things, it comes with responsibility. The care you provide for your kayak when it’s not in use is just as crucial as the skills you exhibit when paddling. Proper storage, routine maintenance, and a keen eye for detail ensure that your kayak remains in peak condition for years to come. After all, it’s not just about preserving an investment; it’s about safeguarding memories and adventures yet to come. Dive into this guide, embrace the tips, and here’s to countless more kayaking escapades ahead!


Q: Can I store my kayak outside all year long?

A: While it’s possible to store your kayak outside, it’s essential to provide adequate protection from UV rays, rain, snow, and potential pests. Use protective covers and consider rotation to prevent continuous sun exposure to one side.

Q: How often should I check on my kayak when it’s stored for a long time?

A: A monthly check-up is a good rule of thumb. This routine ensures you catch any potential issues early and gives you peace of mind.

Q: Is it okay to hang my kayak by its handles or cords?

A: It’s advisable not to hang your kayak by its handles or cords for prolonged periods as this can strain these parts and potentially warp your kayak’s shape. Instead, opt for padded wall hangers or cradles that distribute the weight evenly.

Q: I’ve noticed a small crack in my stored kayak. What should I do?

A: Small cracks or dents can be repaired using a kayak repair kit or marine-grade sealants. However, for larger damages or if you’re unsure, consult with a professional or your kayak’s manufacturer.

Q: Does temperature affect my kayak during storage?

A: Yes, extreme temperatures can affect certain kayak materials. For instance, plastic kayaks can become brittle in cold conditions or warp if left in direct sunlight during scorching days. It’s always best to store your kayak in a temperature-controlled environment or shield it from extreme conditions.

Kayak Storage: Stowing Your Pride and Joy Safely

The author, Sophia Monroe, kayaking.

Sophia Monroe

My initial goal to inspire others to embrace the wonderful world of water sports has evolved into a commitment to share my love to the widest audience possible. In a world increasingly consumed by sedentary lifestyles and digital devices, it's vital to reconnect with nature, prioritize physical activity, mental health, and live life to its fullest. I believe that by providing information and resources, we can empower ourselves to embrace strength, vitality, and a life lived to the fullest. Let's embark on this journey together!

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