How to Store a Kayak?

Kayaks are a lot of fun, but it’s important to know how to take proper care of them to maintain the kayak’s lifespan. Kayaks need to be cleaned after every outing during kayaking season, and they need to be more thoroughly cleaned before long-term storage.

Kayaks can also be damaged if they’re stored improperly, so it’s important to have a rack, straps, or hoists to store your kayak indoors. Storing kayaks indoors is generally better than outdoors, but there are ways to properly cover your kayak for outdoor storage if you do not have space inside.

This article will help you find the right kayak storage solution for you so you can avoid being the victim of theft or having your kayak damaged due to lack of proper storage.

Cleaning your kayak

It’s important to clean your kayak before you store it. If you are just putting the kayak away temporarily, you can simply rinse the kayak off with water, making sure to rinse out the bilge pump as well.

If you are storing the kayak long term (such as over the winter) you need to clean it more thoroughly.

Short-term kayak storage

The way you set up your kayak for short-term storage depends on your living space and the storage solution that works best for you. Some people store their kayaks the same way for both temporary and long-term storage because they just keep the kayaks in their garage all the time.

  • Make sure it’s not easy to steal your kayak. If you leave your kayak exposed out in the open where anyone can see it, someone might come along and steal it.

Therefore it’s a good idea to find an indoor storage option and/or keep it covered with a tarp.

  • Don’t store the kayak on its side for even a short period of time. This improper storage will cause uneven weight distribution on the pressure points and will damage your kayak, therefore shortening its lifespan.

Some of the suggestions for short-term kayak storage include:

  • Using a ceiling mounted kayak rack to store your kayak.
  • Placing the kayak vertically in an upright position on a PVC vertical storage frame.
  • Storing your kayak upside down is a good way to protect it from damage. Storing the kayak upside down on a storage rack is one of the best ways to prevent water damage.
  • If you must store your kayak outdoors, it’s best to keep it covered under a tarp or kayak cover and away from water sources. This keeps it safe from the elements and dry.
  • Even if you keep the kayak in the shade, apply a coat of protective spray to guard against UV rays and keep it out of direct sunlight at all times.
  • Pool noodles: One of the simplest ways to store a kayak is with pool noodles. Just rest the kayak on top of a few noodles and throw a storage cover over it. 

You should note, however, that this is not a good kayak storage solution for long periods of time. The pool noodles decompress and the kayak ends up just sitting on the hard surface underneath it.

If you don’t keep your kayak clean, it can disintegrate over time. Dirt, grime, sand, and salt can all cause damage and stains that gradually destroy your kayak.

Some other things to note when storing your kayak include:

  • Avoid letting your kayak be directly exposed to sunlight. This can discolor the kayak’s paint and cause damage over time.
  • Avoid trapping moisture with the kayak because this can cause problems. These include the possibility of mold growing more easily on the kayak, and the kayak being weakened by the moisture exposure.
  • Freezing temperatures and ice can destroy your kayak. This is especially problematic for kayaks that are made out of synthetic materials such as plastic, because a constant cycle of heating and thawing will weaken and deteriorate the kayak material.
  • Avoid storing multiple kayaks on top of each other, as this puts pressure on the floor of the kayak and deforms the shape of the kayak’s hull over time. This is also a problem if you hang your kayak upright from the ceiling, because the direct gravitational pull deforms the kayak’s shape. 

These problems also apply to laying the kayak directly on hard flat surfaces or hanging it from the grab loops at the stern and bow. 

  • Mice, rats, and other pests love kayaks too. Kayaks make great nests, the seat cushions offering excellent nest material, and they can easily chew through the hard plastic, which will cause extensive hull damage.
  • Another way that you can deform your kayak is by strapping it down too tightly. This is certainly a good idea while transporting it, but if you strap the kayak down tightly while you are storing it, whether in outdoor or indoor storage, it can become damaged, dented, and deformed.

Long-term Kayak Storage

When storing your kayak for an extended period of time, a good location is indoors on a kayak storage rack. This is ideal because it protects the kayak from deteriorating under the elements, and it’s less likely for your kayak to be stolen. 

If you can make room in your garage, storage area, or spare room, storing your kayak indoors might be the best solution for you.

A popular option for many kayak owners is to invest in an inflatable kayak. A good modern inflatable kayak is more durable than a hard-shelled kayak, and can be compressed to fit in a box for easy storage.

Inflatable kayaks are popular options because they save space and are easy to transport and store without sacrificing quality.

The best and most space efficient way to store your kayak indoors is to use a wall-mounted kayak rack. To do this, you can either build a DIY rack or buy one.

This allows you to safely store the kayak while maximizing your available floor space. It also gives you an interesting conversation piece for anyone who comes into the room and sees the kayak.

You can also store your kayak on a flat surface on the ground as long as you lay the kayak on two planks of wood, leaning towards its side. This keeps the kayak safe and preserves the hull’s shape by resting it on its most reinforced side.

If your ceilings are high and you’re short on storage locations, you may want to consider overhead storage. A combination of overhead pulley systems, padded cradles, and wide nylon straps can make for a great prolonged storage option. 

Just take the time to make sure any overhead racks are secure because if your kayak falls it will likely be significantly damaged. 

Long-term Outdoor Kayak Storage

Long-term outdoor kayak storage isn’t optimal, but it might be your only option, depending on your situation. If you are in a situation where you have to store your kayak outside long term, here are some kayak storage tips to keep in mind. 

  • Extended exposure to the sun’s UV light rays will destroy, damage, and disintegrate your kayak over time. This is why it’s important to keep your kayak under some sort of shelter, like a covered porch or even a tarp.

If you wrap the tarp around the kayak, this will trap moisture inside which can create mold, attract critters and pests, and it can make the kayak gross and unpleasant to use.

Instead, it’s a better idea to suspend the tarp over the kayak properly, like a tent.

  • Cover up the cockpit and make sure the drain plug is properly inserted so that bugs and rodents don’t invade and use your kayak as a ready-made home. If they can chew through drywall and hard brick, they can chew through your kayak.
  • Just like with short-term kayak storage, it’s always a good idea to give your kayak a coat of UV sun protective spray to help keep the kayak safe from extreme heat.

Kayak Theft

It’s also important to prevent your kayak from getting stolen. Here are some ways you can do this. 

  • Keep the kayak out of plain, visible site.
  • Use a lock, either on the grab loop or in the cockpit. A steering wheel lock is a great option.

These locks and the grab loop can be cut, but you dramatically lower your risk of theft because your kayak is no longer an easy target. Instead of being out in the open and free to grab, it’s hidden out of sight and locked down. 

Options for Indoor Kayak Storage

Whenever possible, it’s always best to store your kayak inside. There are a variety of ways that you can do this. The following are a variety of options for how to store a kayak indoors.

  • Hanging racks: There are cradles that you can mount onto any wall strong enough to hold a kayak’s weight, regardless of what room the wall is in. There are customizable options to work with your kayak’s needs.
  • Hanging straps: These are similar to hanging racks, but it’s much harder to load the kayak into the hanging straps by yourself. It’s especially important to make sure that these straps are attached to a sturdy wall before you store a kayak in them.
  • Free-standing racks: Professionally built free-standing kayak racks come in a range of sizes that can fit a number of different kayaks. You can also build a free-standing kayak rack fairly easily with planks and/or PVC pipe, but keep in mind that the only downside of this option is that it’s a permanent structure that takes up more space than other methods of kayak storage.
  • Hoists: Hoists are a creative strategy to store your kayak that involves using heavy straps and a pulley to hoist the kayak up to the ceiling. To ensure your personal safety when using this method, make sure that the hoist is able to securely support the kayak. 


Can kayaks be stored outside?

Yes, but it’s not optimal, especially for long-term storage. If you do store your kayak outside, make sure you keep the kayak elevated off the ground, the cockpit covered up, and cover the kayak with some sort of tarp.

Can you store kayaks on the wall?

Yes, there are a number of ways to store a kayak on a wall, both for indoor and outdoor storage. The best ways to do this are to use either wall-mounted racks or straps. 

You can also install a hoist system to attach your kayak to the wall or ceiling. These methods also work well in most garages.

How can I store my kayak if I can’t mess with my walls?

You can still store a kayak if you live in a place where you are not allowed to do any projects that require you to drill into, paint, or otherwise mess with the walls.

In this case the best option for long-term kayak storage is a free-standing rack. You can buy one or you can make one yourself as a DIY project.