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Storing a Kayak: Essential Guide to All-Year-Round Care

By: Dave Samuel
Updated On: January 5, 2024

Paddling across a pristine lake, navigating the rapids, or exploring hidden waterways, a kayak can offer endless moments of thrill and tranquility alike. However, storing a kayak the right way when not in use is just as critical as knowing how to harness its potential on the water. Without proper care and storage, your cherished water sports equipment might meet an early end or fail to deliver the desired performance.

A well-stored kayak not only lasts longer but also keeps delivering peak performance year-round. Yet, many are unsure about how to store their kayaks properly, whether indoors or outdoors.

We aim to change that with this elaborate guide on everything you need to know about storing a kayak – from cleaning tips before storage and optimal positioning of the vessel for minimal wear and tear to options for both indoor and outdoor storage.

What You’ll Gain From This Post

  • The importance of proper kayak storage
  • The link between good storage practices and enhanced performance
  • Indoor vs outdoor storage – Advantage/Disadvantage analysis
  • Protecting your kayak against damage during prolonged storage
  • Key steps for exhaustive cleaning before storing your kayak

Understanding the Importance of Proper Kayak Storage

There’s a lot more to a kayak than just getting it in the water. How we store our kayaks when they’re not in use plays an equally important role in preserving their lifespan, usability, and performance. Knowing how to care for your kayak year-round—both on and off-season—is crucial.

Understanding the Importance of Properly Storing a kayak

The Value of a Well-Maintained Kayak

Storing a kayak properly has several benefits that directly impact its longevity and overall value:

  • Slow Down Degradation: Like any other item, improper storage can speed up wear and tear on your kayak. Exposure to harsh elements or resting it under undue pressure may harm the hull’s material over time.
  • Prevent Major Damage: Proper indoor or outdoor kayak storage helps prevent accidental damage like scratches, punctures, or breaks that could occur if it’s haphazardly stored with other gear.
  • Retain Resale Value: If you ever plan on selling or upgrading your kayak, maintaining it well can help retain its resale value over time.

The Impact on Performance

One might wonder: how does the way I store my kayak affect its performance? Here are some points to consider:

  • Shape Integrity: Our kayaks are designed with specific shapes catering to different types of activities. Storing them improperly might lead to deformations, which will inevitably affect their buoyancy and stability in water.
  • Cleanliness Equals Speed: A clean and well-maintained hull simply moves faster through the water. In contrast, one that is grimy or has scum build-up is sure to slow you down.
  • Safety Measures: Cracks or holes from poor storage could result in leakage during use, which raises safety issues.

Understanding why proper “kayak storage” matters extends beyond just caring for our gear but into enhancing our on-water experiences as well. After all, who wouldn’t want every trip out with their kayak to be as enjoyable as the first paddle? Ensuring your kayak gets the care it deserves during storage is, undoubtedly, an integral step.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Paddle Board Transport: Do it Right!

Essential Tips For Storing a Kayak

As a kayak owner, I can testify to the vital importance of proper kayak storage. It’s not just about tidying up; it’s about protecting the investment I’ve made in my kayak and ensuring it lasts for years to come.

Out of the numerous storage options available, indoor options often offer the best protection from harsh elements. Here are some excellent indoor storage possibilities.

Indoor Storage Options

When considering where to store my kayak indoors, I usually look at three key factors:

  • Space – Does the location offer enough space for my kayak?
  • Safety – Will storing my kayak in this location pose any risk or endanger others?
  • Protection from Elements – Is the location shielded from harsh weather conditions and direct sunlight that could damage my kayak?

These considerations often point me toward these popular indoor storage solutions:

  • Garage Storage: A garage is an ideal place for storing a kayak, and mine does just fine there! It’s safe, out of the way, yet easily accessible. If you have rafters in your garage, you can even hang your kayak to free up floor space.
  • Ceiling Mounts: When garage or floor space is tight, storing a kayak overhead on ceiling mounts is an excellent option—I’ve used this method before with great success! Ensure the mounts are securely attached and distribute your boat’s weight evenly to prevent any unwanted accidents.
  • Wall Racks: Wall racks can save plenty of space while providing easy access to your watercraft when needed—I find this especially useful as I paddle frequently.
  • Freestanding Racks: If wall mounting isn’t feasible or you’re looking for mobility (like me sometimes), freestanding racks are a gift sent from above! They’re extremely versatile, as you can move them around easily.

Whatever choice you go with for indoor kayak storage, remember the primary goals: safety, space efficiency, and maximum protection from wear and tear. I have learned that the key is to find a method that works best for you and your kayak.

Outdoor Storage Solutions

Storing a kayak outdoors can be done in many ways and each offers unique benefits and considerations. Here are some effective solutions:

  • Racks: Outdoor racks can be made from various materials such as metal, wood or PVC pipe according to your preference and budget. They allow for easy access while keeping your kayak elevated off the ground.
  • Wall Mounts: For anyone pressed for space in their yard, wall mounts available in vertical or horizontal variations could be an efficient solution. Remember though that kayaks can be heavy so ensure that any mount you choose is sufficiently robust.
  • Storage Sheds: If safety from weather elements is paramount, consider purchasing or building a shed specifically for storing your vessel. This option provides both protection and concealment.

Regardless of what kind of outdoor solution you will choose remember to cover your kayak at all times when not in use! This helps shield it against potential damage from environmental factors like moisture, UV light from sun exposure, and dirt accumulation which might degrade its quality over time.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Paddle Board Transport: Do it Right!

Cleaning Before Storing a Kayak

The upkeep of your kayak is as vital as how you store it. It’s crucial to ensure that your kayak is thoroughly cleaned before each storage season, as pre-existing grime and filth can potentially lead to long-term damage. Allow me to walk you through the necessary procedures.

Necessary Cleaning Steps

Before you get started with storing a kayak, it’s essential that proper cleaning steps are followed:

  1. Clearing The Debris: Begin by brushing out any visible debris from the boat’s inside and outside.
  2. Washing: Use mild soap and warm water to wash down your kayak thoroughly.
  3. Stubborn Spots: Utilize a soft brush or sponge for stubborn spots.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Make sure all soap is rinsed off completely because if left behind, soap scum can affect the material of the kayak after some time.
  5. Inspect For Damage: This also offers an excellent opportunity to inspect for any damages or loose components that can be fixed before storage.

These procedures should be executed regularly throughout the year- at a minimum every month during active use seasons when transitioning in and out of seasons, as well as annually prior to winter storage.

Importance of Drying

Equally critical in this process is ensuring your kayak is entirely dry before storing it away:

  • Wipe Down: After washing and rinsing, I usually give my own kayak an extra once-over with dry towels just to make sure no puddles have been left lying around.
  • Air drying: The next step involves letting nature do its thing – leave your boat in an open but shaded area allowing fresh air ventilation till it dries completely on its own.
  • Address Hidden Areas: Extra caution must be paid to areas where water might stick around longer like hatches or compartments.

Leaving your vessel damp before packing it away can be a straight road to mildew or mold growth, and believe me, starting next season with a mucky-smelling kayak isn’t what you want.

By following these simple cleaning and drying guidelines, you’ll help ensure your kayak remains in optimal condition for extended usage. This contributes significantly when it comes to storing a kayak properly. Next up, let’s talk about preventative measures while storing your favorite watercraft.

Also Read: Winter Kayaking: Your Ultimate Guide To Master the Chill

Preventing Damage While Storing a Kayak

Storing a kayak correctly to prevent any kind of damage is the key to ensuring its longevity. Storage is just as important in maintaining the functionality of your kayak as regular cleaning or maintenance check-ups. Let’s break down this process, focusing mainly on positioning the kayak and using protective covers.

Preventing Damage While Storing a Kayak

Positioning the Kayak

Choosing the suitable position to store a kayak is pivotal in avoiding deformation or warping over time. Here are some critical points:

  • On Its Side: Storing a kayak on its side often proves beneficial, especially for hard-shell kayaks. This method helps distribute the weight equally, reducing any pressure on one particular area. However, take care that it rests against a supportive structure and doesn’t roll forward.
  • Vertically: You can also opt for vertical storage if you have limited space available. It’s crucial to place more substantial parts at the bottom and ensure that it stand firm without wobbling excessively.
  • Hull Up: While storing an inflatable or softer material kayak, flip it upside down with its hull facing upwards. This can help alleviate excessive pressure on its delicate bottom.
  • Racks & Mounts: Use racks or wall mounts designed specifically for kayaks that provide correct positioning along with firmer support. These tools often come padded with materials resistant to rust or corrosion offering better protection.

Using Protective Covers

To safeguard your investment from harsh weather patterns like sun rays, rains, or snowfall outdoor hiding isn’t always feasible bringing in protective covers into play:

  • Custom-Made Covers: These are excellent options tailored-made suit specific models protecting them from external elements including dirt and bugs even when stored.
  • Universal Fit Covers: For those who own more than one type of kayak choosing universal fit covers makes sense providing adequate shielding despite size differences.
  • Tarpaulin Sheets: If purpose-made covers feel costly, tarpaulin sheets can be your go-to option. Just ensure to secure them correctly around the kayak preventing any possible leaks.
  • Regular Maintenance: Protective covers are great but don’t stand alone as a solution. Regular cleaning and checks for any wear and tear are crucial to keeping up with maintaining your kayak’s visual and functional integrity.

Overall, correctly storing a kayak isn’t an overly complicated process. Crucial positioning supplemented with protective cover usage can go miles in preserving its strength and durability. It eventually comes down to keeping up with these measures routinely so you can keep enjoying those tranquil moments paddling on the water without worry.


What are the best ways to store a kayak?

The best ways to store a kayak depend on your space and environment. Indoor storage options include garage storage and ceiling mounts. If you’re storing it outdoors, consider solutions like racks, wall mounts, or storage sheds.

How can I protect my kayak from weather damage during storage?

To protect your kayak from weather damage during outdoor storage, utilize protective covers and roofed structures if possible. These will guard against damage from the sun, rain, or snow.

Is it necessary to clean my kayak before storing it?

Absolutely! Cleaning your kayak before storing is an essential part of year-round care. Not only does this step maintain your kayak’s lifespan but also helps prevent any mildew or mold growth that could get triggered by residual water or dirt.


After all is said and done, when it comes to storing a kayak, it’s evident that proper care and planning play monumental roles. Overlooking these aspects can lead to unnecessary damage and hinder performance. From indoor or outdoor storage options to understanding the importance of effective cleaning and drying before storing, every step is integral for year-round kayak care. Proper positioning of your kayak during storage also minimizes the risk of deformation.

Key Takeaway Points

  • Understanding the importance of correct kayak storage mitigates damage.
  • Both indoor and outdoor storage solutions can be highly beneficial depending on your circumstance.
  • Regular cleaning and proper drying of your kayak before storage wards off potential mildew or mold.
  • Correct positioning while storing will prevent deformation issues.
  • Utilizing protective covers, especially in outdoor storage scenarios, shields from weather damage.

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