How To Store A Kayak Properly (Indoors, Garage, or Outside)

March 23, 2022

Kayaks stored on a rack on the beach

Whether you're putting the kayak away for the winter season or you just want to keep it out of the way between uses, learning how to store a kayak properly is important for any owner. Not only does this help you save valuable space in your garage, apartment, or shed - it also protects your boat from any sort of damage.

And as you'll soon discover, it's not as simple as just pulling the boat into the garage or throwing it out into the backyard. You'll need to take a few extra measures depending on how and where you want to store your boat.

Don't worry - we're here to help. Today, you're going to learn how to properly store a kayak in a garage, apartment, outside - you name it. First things first we want to explain why proper storage protocol is so important.

Why Does Learning How To Store A Kayak Properly Matter So Much?

As you're likely already the proud owner of a kayak, you know they're expensive. When you buy a kayak, you're going to shell out a pretty penny. As such, you want to extend the life of your investment as far as possible.

Getting as much useful life out of your kayak is a top priority. You take great care in transporting your boat to and from the water - and you're careful about the water you paddle in, preventing rocks from damaging the hull of your boat. So why not learn how to store your kayak properly and prevent deterioration? Here are a few things that could happen with improper storage:

  • The weather could damage your kayak if stored outdoors improperly (rain, sun, hail, etc.)
  • Bugs, birds, or other critters could degrade your kayak if stored improperly (indoors or outdoors)
  • Falls from improper hanging/mounting could damage your kayak

These are just three scenarios that could arise from improper storage. The good news is you can avoid all these pitfalls and more through proper kayak storage. Let's dive into our guide without any further ado!

First Of All - Where Should You Store Your Kayak?

Before you learn how to store your kayak, we need to talk about where to store your kayak. There are obvious advantages to storing kayaks inside. You'll eliminate any of the concerns surrounding weather (sun degradation, hail damage, etc.) and most of the concerns surrounding pests. If you can, indoor storage of your boat is recommended. This can be in a shed, garage, or even a spare bedroom - whatever it takes!

However, we recognize that indoor storage of your kayak is not always possible. Maybe you're an apartment dweller - or simply don't have the space for your kayak in your house. Maybe your garage is already full. In this case, outdoor storage will be your only option. And while storing your boat outdoors isn't ideal, it can still be done with a few tricks and tips to protect your boat. We're going to rank the best kayak storage situations below and you can see which one best suits your unique situation:

  1. Garage Storage or Shed Storage
  2. Indoor Storage (spare bedroom)
  3. Outdoor Storage

We're just about ready to talk about actually storing a kayak. Before we get to that, we want to talk about one more important aspect of storage - preparing for storage with a good clean.

Remember To Clean Your Kayak Before Storing It

The main reason you're here reading this comprehensive guide on kayak storage is that you care about your boat, right? Well, storing a dirty kayak is never a good idea. It's imperative that you first clean your boat and prepare it for storage - especially if you are storing your kayak for the winter season.

Give it a good rinse with fresh water to remove any loose dirt, sand, salt, or grime. You may need to get out some car wash soap and give it a good scrubbing if you've neglected to clean your kayak for a while. Just pay close attention to the ingredients label. You don't want to use any harsh chemicals or solvents that could damage the vessel.

When cleaning, be sure to pay attention to not just the hull and sides of your boat - but the rudder, rudder cables, and foot braces too. You may even want to get out a microfiber cloth and wipe down the interior of your kayak if necessary - especially prior to offseason storage. The final step is letting the kayak air dry before actually stowing it. This is an important step whether you have an inflatable kayak, a folding kayak, or even a hardshell kayak.

Now - let's get into the meat and potatoes of this discussion. How to actually go about storing your kayak.

How To Store A Kayak In A Garage (Best Approach)

The best approach to kayak storage is making use of your garage - no doubt about it. This approach gets you the best of both worlds - you protect your boat from outdoor elements while keeping it out of your actual living space. If you have the room for it, there is no question that garage storage makes the most sense.

If you're fortunate enough to have ample garage space, storing kayaks here will be a breeze. You can invest in a quality kayak storage rack to help you save space and keep your boat off the floor and out of the way.

These are a great investment because not only can you store kayaks on them. But, they can also accommodate other toys you likely have such as bikes, SUPs (stand-up paddleboards), skis, snowboards - you name it. Keeping all your gear neatly organized in one section of your garage helps you prepare for trips much easier, too. No scrambling to find gear - it'll all be located in one area so packing is a breeze.

We know that not everyone has a garage - if this is true of your situation, go ahead and move on to the next section where we'll talk about storing the kayak in your apartment or house. Still, some of those who do have a garage cannot make room for a large kayak. Hear us out though - you may have more room than you think.

How To Store A Kayak Vertically In Your Garage To Save Space

Learning how to store a kayak vertically is a great idea because it saves valuable floor space. Unless you're in the minority and boast a huge 3-4 car garage that has more space than you know what to do with, vertical storage is the way to go. This way, you can stack 2-3 kayaks on top of each other in the rack safely and securely. Not only that, but it allows you to store kayaking essentials - like paddles, helmets, and other gear - underneath. Otherwise, you'll need to invest in a separate kayak paddle rack.

There are other ways you can go about this, too. If you don't have a spot on the wall to mount a rack you can try hoisting the kayak up high - above your parked car even. These hoist systems are becoming more and more popular for kayakers who are limited on garage space but don't want to resort to buying a shed or storing outside or indoors. They raise and lower your kayak with ease, keeping it out of the way until you're ready to load it up for your next adventure.

Additional Tips For Storing Your Kayak In The Garage Safely

Before moving on to the other ways to store a kayak, we want to quickly go over some tips and tricks to ensure safe, proper storage.

When hoisting your kayak up towards the ceiling or mounting it on the rack, take great care to avoid pressure points. These can form over time from tightly tying traps around the body of your kayak. To avoid this you can use soft, guarded rails to rest your kayak on (these are the standard on proper kayak storage racks). Or, if you are hoisting your kayak up with kayak straps use more than just a few to distribute the weight of your kayak evenly. With proper distribution of weight, you will decrease the likelihood of your kayak's hull deforming or bending.

You should also take ease of access into consideration when storing your kayak. If you're putting it up for the winter and won't need it for 6+ months this won't be an issue. However, if you're just stowing your kayak out of the way for a week or two, you want to be able to easily load it up in your car when it is time for your next adventure.

Don't Have Garage Space? Consider Investing In A Shed!

Your kayak is an investment - and you should do whatever you can to protect it. If you don't have garage space and don't want to store it in a spare bedroom - consider investing in a shed. This won't offer the same level of climate control as a garage, but it will at the very least protect from some wildlife along with the weather.

If You Have The Space - A Spare Bedroom Will Work Too

Maybe you're living in an apartment and don't have the space for a shed and you don't have a garage. So, you want to learn how to store a kayak in an apartment. We'll be honest - it's not going to be easy. Unless you have an inflatable kayak or folding kayak, the boat will take up a good chunk of space - something you don't have a lot of in an apartment.

Nevertheless, you can try to make space for it in a spare bedroom. Or, consider mounting it on the wall of your apartment just as you would in your garage. You can even hoist it up to the ceiling. You'll have to get really creative here.

Otherwise, you'll have to consider storing the kayak outdoors. Let's discuss this approach:

How To Store A Kayak Outside

Maybe you don't have space in your garage or shed - and storing the kayak inside a spare bedroom is not an option. If this is the case, you don't have much choice but to store your kayak outdoors. You can store your kayak under a deck, below the eaves of your roof on the side of your home, or even just in the backyard wherever it fits. You'll have to work with what you've got - and every situation is a bit differently.

With that said, outdoor kayak storage requires a bit more proactive protection by you. You'll need to carefully plan out a shady spot. And, you'll need to get some UV protectant spray to prevent sun degradation. You should also consider how you're going to protect your kayak from moisture. There is also the added risk of theft to take into account. With all this said, here is our advice on storing your kayak outside:

  • Start With A UV Protectant Spray - this will prevent sun damage. Even if you're using a tarp or cover we recommend applying this spray.
  • Find A Shady Spot For Your Kayak - Even with a tarp and spray, you should limit the heat and sunlight your kayak is exposed to outdoors.
  • Cover The Kayak With A Tarp - ideally, you should wrap the kayak all the way around to limit the risk of pest & critter penetration. This will also prevent moisture damage. Just be sure to position the tarp such that it cannot fill with water - which could weigh down and damage the boat.
  • Keep The Kayak Out Of View and Discreet - the last thing you want is to come home one day or glance out the window to see your kayak is not in the backyard anymore. Position it so that a thief cannot easily grab it and walk out the gate with it. You can even add a vehicle steering lock across the cockpit to prevent the thief from using the boat - they'll see this and be deterred from stealing it. Better yet, lock your boat up to a fence, post, or even a tree.

Final Thoughts On How To Properly Store A Kayak

There you have it - how to properly store a kayak. We've covered indoor and outdoor storage tips so now you're equipped with the knowledge to store your kayak correctly. Remember - storing your kayak indoors is the best approach. You can either suspend your kayak indoors from the ceiling or mount it on a wall rack. And be sure to prepare your boat for storage with a good clean - regardless of your storage locations.

Looking for kayak gear like storage racks, paddle holders, and other essentials? Here at OutdoorPlay, we've got everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors as they were intended. Shop now and keep your boat in pristine condition for the long haul!

< Back to Blog


Brian MasseyHead of Catalog ManagementBrian is a foundational member of the team at Outdoorplay. For over 25 years, Brian has brought his expertise and passion for paddlesports and the outdoors to bear on both his work and leisure time. He is an active member of the paddling community in the Columbia River Gorge and beyond. Brian enjoys multi-day rafting trips, kayaking and biking - any way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.