How to Store a Kayak Properly for Years

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Congratulations on your kayak purchase! You have gone through the steps of learning how to kayak, and found a fulfilling paddling hobby to enjoy with friends and family and are having all the fun in the world! Then Winter comes and you think “Ohh shoot Where am I going to put this thing”? Thankfully there are plenty of indoor and outdoor solutions that can best suit your needs on how to store a kayak.

How to Store Your Kayak: Short Summary

Make sure that you store your kayak indoors or at least under some sort of cover that protects it from the elements. The best position for your kayak would be upsidedown, placed on planks of wood, or strapped securely to the wall by the cockpit.

But First You Must Clean Your Kayak!

Before we talk about kayak storage I want to first talk about a very important step you should do. That is cleaning your kayak! If you are only storing it for a few days and planning to take the kayak out again, I simply just go to the marina and rinse my kayak off with a hose they have provided. I mean really, what’s the point in spending hours meticulously cleaning the kayak when it will only be going back into the water a few days later.

If you are preparing it for storage over winter I recommend you spray the whole kayak with bug spray, wait a few minutes and then rinse. Below kayak angling enthusiast Joshua Taylor talks about a simple and quick way to get rid of anything your kayak can incur, such as blood/ guts from fishing, seaweed, mudstains, and more.

Short Term Storage Options

Before you kayak goes into permanent winter hibernation, it is good to touch on short term storage solutions in between padding sessions. A lot of this will come down to where you live, how much room you have indoors or outdoors. In my case, I really don’t do a lot differently than long term storage because I have a garage to store my kayaks in. However, if you have a different living situation there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

  1. Keep it out of Plain Sight: No one ever thinks theft will happen to them until it finally does. To avoid this try to keep your kayak in a dry space away from easy accessibility from others. You can do this by storing it in a garage, under the canopy/ cover outside with it locked to a sturdy base or you can store your kayak indoors. 
  2. Avoid storing it on its Weak Points: Even though this is short term storage, if you consistently leave your kayak upright on its hull it can become damaged over time, thus reducing the life in your kayak. 

Hassle-Free Short term Storage options include: 

  • Hanging the kayak on it’s side with a rack: There are a few rack items you can purchase that allows you to store the kayak on it’s side. The side and the cockpit are usually the most sturdy areas of the kayak. 
  • Placing it on a PVC Frame standing up: This is a DIY option but we have more instructions on how to do this below. 
  • Store it Upsidedown: If your kayak is away from the elements it can be stored upsidedown, as the cockpit and side wall is where you have the greatest concentration of materials compared to the hull. I would recommend storing it on a rack to avoid any denting or damage. 
  • Finding a sheltered location for it outside: There a few ways you can do this but make sure that the cockpit is covered and the kayak is away from any excessive heat or dampening. 

Below we go into further details about these methods.

Indoor or Outdoor Storage?

So the first question you have to ask is Indoor or Outdoor Storage? In an ideal world you should always choose Indoor Storage if you can because it will keep up the longevity of your kayak and protect it from the elements. We realise that not everyone has that option though. In this guide we will show you the best solutions for most types of kayaks.

Outdoor vs Indoor Storage Kayaks

Use Indoor Storage If:

  • You have room in the garage for storing your kayak
  • You own an Inflatable Kayak
  • You want Your Kayak to be sheltered from the elements
  • You don’t mind storing your kayak in a renting storage space
  • You are a Do it Yourselfer
  • You don’t mind getting a rack to store your kayak
  • You don’t want to find anything living in your kayak
  • You want to keep your kayak for a long time

Use Outdoor Storage if:

  • You have no Garage
  • If you have a Sheltered Space away from the elements
  • Your kayak is under cover somewhere
  • You Live in a Cooler Winter Climate

I personally Store my kayaks in a garage hanging on a rack on the wall. However in the past I would store them on the ground stacked up onto each other. This is the wrong way of doing things as it puts unwanted pressure on the floor of the kayak and tends to flatten it out overtime. As a result my Sun Dolphin started turning into a Sun Whale (Terrible Joke I know).

Elements You Should be Aware of : Kayak Care

how to store a kayak

The first step before actually storing your kayak is cleaning you kayak! Leaving residue from salt, sand dirt and other stuff can stain and eventually disintegrate your kayak. Besides, what’s the point of buying a beautiful kayak if it is decorated with brown stains and mold everywhere?

Cleaning and caring for your kayak before storing it is a crucial step that you should take. Steps you can take for this range from spraying bug spray and rinsing it off with a hose to actually scrubbing the kayak before putting it in storage. Below are things you should be most aware of.

Direct Sunlight Exposure: Direct exposure to unfiltered sunlight is an enemy for all makes of kayak. Not only can it dull the color over time but it can actually degrade the material of the hull. Over time just one thunk can spell disaster for your hardshell kayak. You can use a sun-protective spray to counter this if you have no choice.

Salt Water Exposure: If you are like me and you live by the coast, you want to make sure that you give your kayak a good rinse before leaving. By making a habit of this you will extend the longevity of your kayaks. Heck, I have two Pelican kayaks that have lasted over 12 years and are still going strong because we do this practice. Typically most boat launches have hoses that you can simply rinse the saltwater off of.

Moisture: While moisture itself is not directly a problem it can be a byproduct of more severe punishment for you kayak such as mold and freezing which compensates the material of your kayak hull.

Frost Exposure: While people may fondly tell tales of Jack Frost in the winter, he certainly isn’t too fond of kayaks and their hull materials. Repeated freezing and thawing degrades the material of your kayak, especially if you have a fiberglass or plastic boat.

What Not to Do when it Comes to Kayak Storage

Below is a handy infograph that I made that summarizes bad kayak storage practices

how to store a kayak


Indoor Kayak Storage

This section will be dedicated strictly to how you can store a kayak indoors.

Storing your Kayak in an Apartment

how to store a kayak
Don’t be That Guy!

There are basically three ways to store your kayak in an apartment.

  1. Clean it thoroughly and hang it on the wall (I doubt the wife would like that one, maybe put it in the man cave?)  
  2. Store it on the Balcony (less than ideal)
  3. Store it at a friend or families house
  4. Get a storage Unit 
  5. Get an Inflatable Kayak from the Get Go.

Out of all these options getting an inflatable kayak is by far the most space efficient and cost effective option available. Inflatable Kayaks are often gawked at because people relate them to dinky pool toys but this is far from the truth these days. They are made from a combination of PVC and Drop Stitch material making them even more durable than hard shelled kayaks! Quality Manufacturers like Sea Eagle and Advanced Elements are industry leaders in this category.

How to Store a Kayak in a Garage

how to store a kayak
Photo By Sparehand Systems Instagram

If you have a garage you will want to to make some room and store your kayak there. Not only will the garage protect your kayak from getting damaged by the elements, it will also allow it to keep safe from theft. Now I hear many homeowners whine that they don’t have space because of this or that. The Truth is if you have a wall, you have space.

How to Store your Kayak on a Wall (Buying a Wall Bracket System)

  1. Find a Sturdy Structure
  • Find a Structure such as a wood beam
  • Do not Make your hanging Point on a Drywall or Plywood
  1. Find Out Where to Put the Kayak
  • Measure the kayak
  • Measure appropriate supporting points on the bow and Stern (Usually the diameter of the cockpit)
  1. Buy Bracket System
  • Make Sure Bracket is perfectly level
  • Install into the wall using a drill or recommended tool in the instructions
  1. Hang the Kayak on its Side
  • Place foam or towels on the brackets so that it is not digging into the yak
  • Place Kayak onto it’s side (The Side of the Kayak it it’s strongest Point)
  • Place it on the brackets, Make sure Kayak is placed in the Middle
  • Insure Kayak is properly balanced and not lopsided

Storing your kayak On a Wall (Do it Yourself PVC Kayak Rack)

A Smart solution on WikiHow is posted as well. We Outline the details, the below photo belongs to wikihow

  1. Purchase PVC Pipe and Joints
  • Get 10 Feet of 1 inch PVC Pipe, 4 PVC Joints and Six 1 inch PVC Mounting Clamps
  • You will be creating a 1 ft by 4ft rectangular frame that will secure your kayak against the wall standing up right
  1. Assembling the PVC Frame
  • Cut the PVC Pipe so that it two pieces are 1’ Long and two pieces are 4’ Long
  • Attach these pieces by gluing the joints together using all purpose PVC glue.
  • Your Rectangle is now formed!
  • Allow Joints to dry
  1. Installing PVC Frame to the Wall
  • Place the Top of the Frame 5 Feet from the Ground
  • Screw the clamps into the stifs of the wall in a Straight Line, One Clamp Per Stud with 16” per sud for 3 clamps

how to store a kayak

  1. Place your Kayak Vertically (Standing Up with Cockpit facing out)
  • Place Bow into the rectangular holder
  • Push Stern towards the wall so that it stands
  • Place a Towel, Blanket or cushioned something on the ground where the Stern Sits
  • Grab a strap (like a ratchet strap) and place it around the kayak and the PVC Rack
  • Do not Over Tighten! Make sure it is just snug
  • Check it every once and a while to make sure kayak is not sagging (it shouldn’t if it is not over tightened)

Ground Storage

If you do decide to store your kayak on the ground make sure that it is laying towards it’s side and that it is resting on two planks of wood underneath.  By laying the kayak on it’s side you are resting the kayak on the most strongly enforced point. This will insure that the floor of the kayak will not be dented lying on the ground over time. This is not really the best practice for storing a kayak but it is an option if none of the above see fit to your situation. 

Outdoor Kayak Storage Ideas

Not everyone has the room to store their kayak inside and not everyone has a garage! While Outdoor Kayak Storage is not the most ideal practice for storing a kayak, for many it’s the only option. Let’s go through a few viable options for outdoor kayaks storage

how to store a kayak

Outdoor Kayak Storage Basics

  • Keep your Kayak Under Shelter (something with an awning is ideal)
  • Cover the Cockpit when storing your kayak
  • Cover it with a tarp to protect it from the elements (with the tarp not touching the kayak)
  • Find a Place to lock up your kayak

One of the worst things you can do is have your kayak exposed to UV Rays. Extended UV Rays created by the sun can weaken the material of your plastic kayak and can essentially disintegrate the quality materials over time. The quick solution is to place a tarp over the kayak however, you want to do this carefully. You do not want to essentially wrap the tarp around the kayak in outdoor conditions because this will trap moisture in your kayak which will make it grimmy. What you should do is suspend the tarp over the kayak so that it is in a tent like formation which prevents moisture and mold from covering your yak.

Covering the cockpit of your kayak is good practice because this prevents rodents and other insects from making your kayak their winter cottage. You can do this by covering the cockpit with a garbage bag. You should also make sure to cover up any drainage or scupper holes to insure no creepy crawlies get into your yak.

A Note on Theft

Lastly we go to theft prevention. While we try to think of people overall as “good” there are some “bad apples” out there who would like to make a few quick bucks off of your yak. Ways to prevent this are storing your kayak away from plain view, place a steering wheel lock in the cockpit and run a chain or cable through the kayaks scupper holes (if you have a sit on top) or the grab loop of the kayak. Yes Grab Loops can be cut but potential thefts always go for easy targets. Spending time just crouching and cutting a grab loop is time consuming and increases their chances of getting caught! If you have a Steering Wheel lock in the cockpit on top of that chances are they will not want to go through all that effort to sell a kayak with a steering lock going through it.

How do you Store a Kayak in the Winter? 

The obvious answer here would be to store it indoors where it is protected like a garage. However, if this is not an option for you then its a good idea to store it on an outside rack (more on that below) and wrap it with a kayak cover. You can use a tarp as well to wrap around the kayak but they do not give your boat as much protection against the elements. Tarps are also very easy places to get into if you are a critter seeking shelter from the elements.

Buy a Storage Rack

There are many Outdoor Storage Racks you can purchase here. If you are not the kind of person that likes to build things or are not too handy with tools this would be a good route to go. There are a lot of very affordable options available out there. Just follow instructions, assemble and put together! Tadaahh!

Building a Kayak Storage Rack

There are many ways you can go about and do this. Methods can range anywhere from using PVC Pipes to wood and metal materials used. What I would do regardless of what material you use is make sure there is lots of padding where the kayak sits. You can achieve this by using foam or cut up pool noodles to achieve this. The Below video is a great guide in how to do this using wood

Building a PVC Kayak Rack

But What about Storing Kayak Accessories?

Accessories such as PFD’s, Paddles, Skirts, seats and various other kayak equipment should be stored indoors or at the very least in a dry space such as a garage. Kayak Hatch covers should also be taken off so that the hatch has a chance to dry out.


There are many storage options available for your kayak, you just have to get creative! If you follow this guide you will get more life out of your kayak which will make you a much happier paddler.

Thanks for Reading!

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1 thought on “How to Store a Kayak Properly for Years”

  1. Thanks for useful article!
    A boat cover has factors to guaranteed that it can give the protection that can counter harmful, outdoor elements. It’s the only way that I can be certain that outdoor storage is a success!

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