How to Hang a Kayak in a Garage: 2 Ways to Store While Saving Space

May 06, 2022

2 kayaks hung up on the wall

When storing your kayak, the garage is the preferred choice. Storing kayaks in garage spaces protects them from the elements, making it easy to load up your boat and head out to the water. But if you’re like most people, garage space is a precious commodity you cannot afford to waste. You don’t want to keep your kayak in the garage at the cost of having to park your car outside - or crawl through a mess just to get around the garage.

That’s why we do not recommend you let your kayak take up floor space. And today, we’re going to teach you how to hang a kayak in a garage up off the ground. We’ll explain the two best ways to hang your kayak in the garage: with a kayak storage rack or a hoist system. Storage racks are more straightforward, affordable, and versatile - but the hoist system is the ultimate space-saving device. As we go through this topic, we’ll help you understand which of these techniques best suits you and your kayak. Let’s start with an essential first question: is the garage the best place to store your kayak?

Is the Garage the Best Place to Store Your Kayak?

If you have the space, your garage is one of the best places to store your kayak.  Ideally, it should be stored inside and hung from the ceiling or the wall to protect it from the elements & critters. If you have the space, consider yourself lucky. We know many paddlers who have to get creative with storing their boat - either using a spare bedroom, a shed, or worse - leaving it outdoors to endure the elements. 

But let’s face it - your kayak is a big, bulky boat that takes up more space than you’d like. Is the garage the best choice for it? Why can’t you store your kayak outside under an awning instead, keeping that garage space open for you to park your car(s) and maneuver about? Here’s why we prefer storing kayaks in garage areas to any of the alternatives.

Benefits of Hanging Your Kayak in the Garage

As you’ll learn in our guide on storing a kayak properly, the garage is the best place to store & hang your kayak. Why is that? Simple - it offers the most protection from critters and inclement weather, both of which will weaken the boat's integrity. So, while the space-saving trade-off may seem obvious, you’ll significantly extend the life of your kayak by storing it in an indoor garage. 

You’ll lengthen, protecting it from sun damage, rain, snow, and hail, all of which cause structural damage. Heat from the sun will cause the air inside to expand, straining the body, glue, and seams of the boat, eventually leading to total failure. In extreme weather conditions like hail storms or blizzards, hail will create acute pressure dings on the boat, and the snow will place undue blunt stress on larger surface areas, weakening the kayak. It will be even heavier if it manages to freeze, and the fracturing ice will likely damage the hull.  Protection from severe weather and critters is enough reason to store it indoors, but the likelihood of theft is much lower in your garage than outdoors, even if it’s locked up properly.

All of these reasons contribute to our opinion that garage storage is the premier choice for kayak storage. However, if you find that this isn’t feasible for you, there are a few other ways you can store your kayak:

How to Store Your Kayak Safely (4 Methods)

Of course, if you have an inflatable kayak, you should deflate it after each use and store it to save space. This is also the best way to extend its lifespan, as it limits the time the seams are under stress. Similarly, folding kayaks are another tremendous space-saving boat you can consider upgrading. In either case, storage shouldn’t be an issue if you have either of these types of kayaks

But if you have a hard shell kayak that doesn’t fold up, what are your options?

For the full breakdown of how to utilize these storage tactics, we highly encourage you to read our complete guide on storing a kayak at home, which gives you tips on storing your boat in other locations like a shed, spare bedroom, or storage facility. Here’s a complete list of storage options for your kayak if the garage isn’t an option: 

  • Outside (under a tarp and protected from sun/rain)
  • In a shed (you can build one or buy one)
  • In a spare bedroom (perfect for apartment dwellers)
  • Renting storage space (great for long-term storage)

How to Hang a Kayak in a Garage Using a Storage Rack

Ready to learn how to hang a kayak in a garage? We will start with the more straightforward approach: using a kayak rack for garage storage. As with anything, there are pros and cons to hanging your kayak with these.

While they still take up floor space, they will get your kayak off the ground - a vital storage tip in and of itself. You want your kayak elevated, ideally. But beyond just getting your kayak off the floor, these racks can also support all your other gear. That includes paddle boards, skis, bikes - you name it. All your gear and toys can stay neatly organized in one corner of the garage - so you never have to search for anything or uncover a buried kayak.

Hanging your kayak in a garage using a storage rack is as simple as finding the right rack for your needs, assembling it, and organizing everything neatly.

Start by Choosing Your Storage Rack

Not all kayak storage racks are created equal. Some are incredibly simple stand-up racks. On the other hand, you’ll find folding kayak storage racks that can be mounted on the wall. You can hold them out of the way to save space when not in use. The ideal pick for you depends on a few factors:

  • How much space do you have? You'll be limited to the standing rack if you don’t have the wall space to hang something up. On the other hand, if floor space is minimal, the hanging rack may be your only option. Your unique garage configuration and sizing will dictate your ideal rack.
  • What do you need to hang a kayak? If you just have to hang up a single kayak, you will need a far smaller rack than someone who had to hang up two kayaks. Similarly, you’ll need a smaller rack if all you’re hanging is two (2) kayaks compared to someone hanging two (2) kayaks, SUPs, skis, and a bike - you get the point. See if there is a way you can add all your gear to one rack to free up other space in your kayak garage storage.

Once you have a better idea of what you need, you can head over to Outdoorplay and shop our collection of kayak storage racks. We have the most impressive racks from the industry’s most trusted brands. That means you can shop confidently, knowing you’re getting the best.

Safely Hanging Your Rack on the Wall

If you opt for the free-standing kayak rack for garage storage, this step does not apply to you - keep reading on to the next section. However, if you choose a wall-mounted rack, you must carefully plan how and where - you will install it. Even the most lightweight kayaks are heavy. You must hang your rack into studs to keep your boat safe and secure. This will require the use of a stud finder. Be sure to follow the installation manual that comes with your rack carefully.

Assemble Your Rack & Organize Your Kayaks and Accessories

Once you’ve assembled your rack, you can find the spot in your garage that fits best. You’ll want to be sure that the kayaks don’t get in the way of you opening your car doors or getting around the garage. From there, you can start to organize your kayaks, paddles, and other gear on the rack accordingly - using these racks is super simple. When heading out to the water, you can simply unload your boat from the rack and head out on your adventure. For more information on how to transport a kayak or tie your kayak down on a J rack, check out our guides. In the meantime, let’s move on to another approach to hanging a kayak in the garage - using a hoist system.

How to Store a Kayak in the Garage Using a Ceiling Hoist System

If you have high ceilings in your garage, you can hang your kayak from the ceiling with a hoist system, helping you save valuable floor space. You can still park your car(s) in the garage, and your kayak will be safely secured overhead. This is our preferred method because it saves more space than a rack will - even the wall-mounted racks extend off the wall horizontally and take up some degree of space. Want to learn how to hang a kayak in a garage using the hoist system? Here is all you need to know:

Start by Choosing Your Hoist System

Just as you must carefully consider the specific rack you will purchase; you must start by choosing your ideal hoist system. Hoist systems work via several pulleys, reducing the strength needed to raise the kayak. Pull the rope to raise it towards the ceiling, then loosen it to lower it to the ground. 

As you’ll soon discover, a high-quality hoist system costs less than a high-quality storage rack. However, you can choose between manual hoists and electric hoists. The latter costs more - but saves you energy and may be your ideal choice if lifting heavy loads isn’t possible.

At Outdoorplay, you’ll find an incredible selection of durable, reliable hoists - at the lowest pricing online. With our price-matching policy, you’ll always have access to the lowest prices possible on these hoists. Get yours with free shipping today, and then proceed to the next step: installing your hoist.

Installing Your Hoist System

As we recommended regarding installing your storage rack, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with your hoist. This is the best advice we can offer regarding installing your system. If you stick with our selection of hoists, you’ll be well-equipped to get the job done right, as they include all you need for installation. As discussed, you must install your hoist system into the ceiling studs. This will prevent the kayak from falling on your car - or worse, a person.

Which of These Methods Is Best for You? Final Thoughts on How to Store & Hang Your Kayak in the Garage

We’ve covered the two main methods of storing kayaks in garage spaces. The question now becomes - which of these methods is best for you? We’ve discussed the essential considerations throughout this article, but we’ll summarize them for you once more below:

  • Do you have ample floor space and multiple kayaks/toys to hang? Stick with the storage rack. These are more versatile and can help you organize all your gear.
  • Do you need to hang your kayak off the floor and out of the way? Use a hoist system. These will keep your kayak safely stowed overhead, keeping valuable floor space clear.

Regardless of your approach, we want to remind you that Outdoorplay is the #1 choice for all your kayak storage essentials. But that’s just one small part of what we offer. We have all your kayak accessories covered, from kayak paddles to paddling life jackets, spray skirts, and much more. Shop now and make hanging your kayak as easy as possible!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I store my kayak vertically? 

You should not store your kayak vertically for long periods, even if it’s just leaning against the wall. The weight will be concentrated on the tail or nose, which may weaken the kayak’s structure. Furthermore, it may be difficult to remove any trapped debris that’s trapped in the kayak. 

What’s the best way to store my kayak in the garage? 

The two best ways to store your kayak in a garage are a storage rack or a hoist system. Horizontal racks are slightly more convenient, though they occupy more floor space. Hoist systems are ideal for those with several kayaks or little floor space to spare. 

Can I hang my kayak by the handles?

You should not hang your kayak by the handles, as this will stress the handles and possibly warp the entire kayak. Wrap the hull as a whole with your straps to keep the kayak from falling or being damaged. 

< Back to Blog


Jason SchroederOperations/Sales LeaderJason has lived in four national parks, stoking a lifelong spark for adventure and sharing his knowledge and love for the outdoors. He has been a dedicated member of the team at Outdoorplay for over 20 years in many roles, including outreach and group sales for community paddling clubs and government organizations. Jason enjoys watersports of all kinds: kayaking, paddle boarding, rafting - and if you've never tried, he'll be the first to tell you there's no time like the present.