The Ultimate Guide to Storing Your Kayak in the Garage

Two kayaks and a SUP stored in a garage

Are you struggling to find the best way to store your kayak in your garage? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various innovative and efficient kayak storage solutions to help keep your prized possession safe and well-maintained. From wall mounts to ceiling storage options, freestanding racks to portable stands, we’ll cover it all. Plus, we’ll share valuable tips on how to prepare your kayak for storage and protect it from theft. So, let’s dive in and discover the ideal storage solution for your kayak!

Best Garage Kayak Storage Solutions

Without further ado, let’s explore some of the best ways to store your kayak.

Wall Mounts

A SUP board is stored on wall racks

Wall mounts are a popular choice for garage kayak storage. They are sturdy, affordable, and easy to install. When it comes to wall mounts, you have a few options to consider:

Wall Racks

Racks are metal arms that securely hold your kayak. They are mounted directly on your garage wall and provide a safe resting place for your kayak. These racks offer several benefits:

  • They are incredibly sturdy, thanks to their metal construction.
  • They are anchored directly to your wall studs, ensuring maximum stability.
  • They often feature padding and a kayak-friendly design to protect your kayak’s hull from damage.

Some wall racks are foldable, providing additional space-saving options. However, keep in mind that drilling into the studs may cause visible damage to your wall. If you’re interested in wall racks, check out our article on the best kayak storage racks for affordable and reliable options.

Loop Straps

Loop straps for kayak storage

Loop straps are an inexpensive storage solution for your garage. These straps loop around your kayak and hang from eye-bolts or hooks mounted on your garage wall. While loop straps are affordable, they are best suited for standard recreational kayaks rather than heavier fishing or expedition kayaks. Lightweight systems may not be able to handle the weight of larger kayaks. If you decide to use loop straps, make sure they are compatible with the weight and size of your kayak.

DIY Kayak Slings

DIY kayak slings

Creating your own DIY kayak sling is a simple and cost-effective solution. With ratchet or cam buckle straps, you can easily support the weight of your kayak. The straps are designed for heavy loads and provide excellent stability. All you need is a heavy-duty eye-bolt or hook to anchor into the wall. With just a minimal investment of around $20 and 15 minutes of your time, you can create your own DIY kayak sling.

Ceiling Storage for Kayaks

Two blue plastic kayaks are stored on ceiling racks in a garage

If your garage has limited wall space, don’t worry. There’s always room overhead! Here are a couple of options for mounting your kayaks to the garage ceiling:

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Ceiling Racks

Ceiling racks are simple and effective solutions for storing kayaks. These racks are anchored to the ceiling and feature crossbars to support the kayaks. They are easy to install and provide ample storage space. However, make sure your garage ceiling is flat; otherwise, the angle may cause the kayak to slide off the rack. Additionally, consider your own height and comfort level when hoisting the kayak onto the ceiling rack. Check out our article on the best kayak storage racks for a recommended dual-kayak ceiling rack.

Kayak Hoists

Kayak hoist for convenient storage

Kayak hoists offer a more complex but versatile storage solution. These systems involve connecting slings or loops to a rope and pulley system. This allows you to easily lower the kayak to the floor for insertion and removal and then hoist it back up to the ceiling. Hoists are ideal for frequent kayak usage during the summer while providing space-saving storage. However, keep in mind that hoists are pricier and require a bit of learning to operate correctly. They also utilize two ropes, which can be inconvenient if you need to move around in your garage. Explore our article on the best kayak hoists for a variety of options, including electric motor-powered hoists!

Freestanding Kayak Racks

Sturdy freestanding kayak rack

If you have ample space in your garage, freestanding kayak racks are an excellent choice. These racks are designed to be solid and stable, providing a sturdy resting place for your kayaks. However, keep in mind that freestanding racks require substantial floor space, especially for larger, heavier kayaks. Make sure your garage has enough room to accommodate both the kayaks and the rack. Our article on the best kayak storage racks features three reliable freestanding options for consideration.

Portable/Collapsible Kayak Stands

Collapsible kayak stand for easy storage

If space is a concern or you need a portable storage solution, consider a collapsible kayak stand. These stands are compact, lightweight, and easy to assemble. They are made from metal and can be folded down to a small size for storage. Portable kayak stands are suitable for a variety of kayak lengths and offer a convenient and space-saving option. However, they may not provide the same level of stability as other storage solutions. Check out our article on the best kayak storage racks for recommendations on a great foldable kayak stand.

Vertical Storage

Vertical storage of kayaks

Storing your kayak vertically may be a last resort option if wall, ceiling, or freestanding racks are not feasible. However, we do not recommend this method due to potential hull damage caused by pressure on the end of the kayak. Additionally, most garages are not tall enough to accommodate upright storage for longer kayaks. If you choose this method, make sure to DIY a secure upright kayak storage solution using ratchet or cam buckle straps connected to two anchor points. Rotate the kayak periodically to prevent hull damage.

Inflatable/Collapsible Kayaks

Inflatable kayak stored deflated

If space is limited and traditional storage options are not suitable, consider an inflatable or collapsible kayak. Inflatable kayaks are portable and can be deflated to a compact size. They are perfect for recreational use on calm waters. While they may not offer the same durability as hard-shell kayaks, they are continually improving in quality. Another space-saving option is a foldable kayak, such as those offered by ORU. These kayaks fold down to a manageable size for storage and unfold to handle the water like a regular hard-shell kayak. For more information, check out our articles on the best inflatable kayaks and ORU foldable kayaks.

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How Not to Store Your Kayak: Typical Mistakes

Old canoes stored on an old building

To ensure your kayak remains in optimal condition during storage, avoid these common mistakes:

Don’t store kayaks wet

Always ensure your kayak is clean and dry before storage. Saltwater can deteriorate the kayak, while freshwater can lead to mold and bacterial growth. Damp kayaks are prone to mildew formation, which can be difficult to clean. Thoroughly dry your kayak to prevent damage and maintain its longevity.

Don’t store kayaks on hard surfaces

Avoid storing your kayak directly on hard metal or wooden racks without padding. Thermoplastic and rotomolded kayaks are particularly susceptible to damage from prolonged contact with hard surfaces. Place protective padding between the kayak and any storage surfaces to prevent deformation.

Don’t store kayaks in direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can degrade the materials of your kayak. UV radiation weakens the hull and makes it more brittle, leading to potential damage. If your kayak is stored outdoors or in a garage exposed to sunlight, cover it with a kayak cover or tarp to shield it from harmful UV rays.

Don’t store kayaks with the cockpit open

Leaving your kayak’s cockpit open creates an inviting habitat for critters and insects. Squirrels, rodents, spiders, and other creatures may seek shelter or nest inside your kayak. Cover the cockpit to protect the kayak’s interior from potential damage.

Don’t store kayaks with the hatches open

While it is essential to leave the hatches open for initial drying, make sure to close them after a week or so. Open hatches attract critters and allow humidity to build up inside the compartments. Closing the hatches prevents unwanted guests and reduces moisture-related issues.

Don’t hang kayaks by the handles

Avoid hanging your kayak solely by the handles, as it can strain the hardware and potentially damage the kayak. The weight distribution may cause a “banana effect” and adversely affect the kayak’s structure. Ensure you use proper mounting options, such as straps or loops, to support and secure the kayak.

How to Prepare a Kayak for Storage

Plastic kayaks stored on ceiling racks

Properly preparing your kayak for storage is crucial to its long-term preservation. Follow these steps to ensure your kayak remains in excellent condition during its time in storage:

Step 1: Empty out the water

After your final kayak trip, thoroughly remove any water from your kayak. Tip the kayak to drain any water in the cockpit and open the hatches to let water escape from the compartments.

Step 2: Take out seat cushions, paddles, and accessories

Remove the seat cushions, paddles, and any other accessories from the kayak. This prevents water damage and allows for separate cleaning and maintenance.

Step 3: Rinse it off

Thoroughly rinse the kayak and its accessories with clean water to remove salt, grime, and any other residue. Open all hatches and compartments, ensuring water is flushed out from all areas.

Step 4: Give it a scrub-down

If you’ve been using your kayak in saltwater, use a mild detergent or a kayak-specific cleaning product to scrub away any remaining salt, mold, grime, or debris. This step is crucial for maintaining the kayak’s lifespan and preventing deterioration.

Step 5: Dry it thoroughly

Allow your kayak to air-dry in direct sunlight for several hours. Once dry, use a clean cloth or towel to thoroughly wipe down the kayak, paying special attention to nooks, crannies, and compartments. Ensure the kayak is completely dry to prevent mold and mildew growth.

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Step 6: Cover it

After mounting your kayak to the chosen storage solution, close all hatches and cover the cockpit to protect it from dust, debris, and potential critter infiltration. With these steps completed, you can confidently store your kayak, knowing it is well-prepared for the winter or extended periods of storage.

Smart Tips to Stop Thieves From Stealing Your Kayak

Yellow-white plastic kayak securely stored above a vehicle

Protecting your kayak from theft is essential, especially if it is stored in your garage. Here are some smart tips to deter potential thieves:

  1. Keep your garage door closed: Always ensure your garage door is closed, even when you’re briefly away. This simple step acts as a visual deterrent for opportunistic thieves.

  2. Lock it down: Secure your kayak with additional protection. Use two bolts anchored in your garage wall to run a chain around the kayaks, securing them with a heavy-duty padlock. While not foolproof, this extra layer of security can discourage theft attempts.

  3. Install a home security system: Consider adding motion-activated lights, doorbell cameras, or a comprehensive smart home monitoring system. These measures provide enhanced security and monitoring for your home and can deter potential thieves.

Taking even these basic precautions goes a long way in protecting your kayak from theft. Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and a few extra layers of defense can greatly reduce the chances of your kayak being stolen.

Kayak Storage FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about kayak storage:

  1. Q: Can I store my kayak outside?
    A: While storing your kayak outside is possible, it is generally not recommended. Exposure to the elements, direct sunlight, and potential theft risks make indoor storage preferable. If outdoor storage is your only option, consider using a kayak cover or tarp to protect it from UV rays and other environmental factors.

  2. Q: Can I store multiple kayaks together?
    A: Yes, you can store multiple kayaks together using various storage solutions such as wall mounts, ceiling racks, freestanding racks, or portable stands. Ensure the storage option you choose provides adequate support and stability for the number of kayaks you plan to store.

  3. Q: How often should I rotate my kayak during storage?
    A: If you store your kayak in an upright position, it is advisable to rotate it periodically to prevent hull deformation. The frequency of rotation depends on the length of storage and the kayak’s material. As a general guideline, rotate your kayak every few weeks.

  4. Q: Can I store my kayak on its side?
    A: Storing a kayak on its side is not recommended as it can cause warping or distortion of the hull. It is best to store your kayak in an upright position or following the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper storage.

With this ultimate guide to storing your kayak in the garage, you can now choose the best storage solution that suits your needs. Whether you opt for wall mounts, ceiling storage, freestanding racks, or portable stands, proper storage and maintenance will ensure your kayak remains in excellent condition. Remember to prepare your kayak for storage and take necessary precautions to protect it from theft. Happy paddling and safe storage!

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