Owning a kayak is a fantastic way to get out on the water and enjoy the wonders of nature, but if you’re like me, once you get home, you have no idea where to put the thing!
What to do with my kayak when it’s not in use emphasizes the mistake I made with not planning and building a suitable storage area at my home to keep it safe.
Please don’t follow in my footsteps! Kayaks are long, bulky, and take up loads of storage space, but leaving them sitting out in the elements degrades the hull, seat, and other materials quickly.
It would help if you kept your kayak indoors or under a cover to avoid damage from dirt, rain, snow, and sunlight.
To help you create the best kayak storage solution for your needs, I put all the information right here in this how to store a kayak tutorial.
I gather all the pro tips and methods on storing a kayak properly so that you can tackle your kayak storage problem once and for all!
What You Will Need to Follow this Tutorial
You’ll need one of the following groups of supplies, depending on which method you choose to use.
- Wooden 2×4 block 6-inches wider than your kayak
- Two large eye-bolts
- Four 3.5-inch long screws to attach 2×4 into wall studs
- Short ratchet strap or durable bungee cords
- Dense foam padding
- Ceiling suspension pulley system kit
- Thick and wide tie-down straps
- Heavy-gauge nylon rope 1/4″ thick
For hanging storage, it’s easiest to purchase a complete kit to save time and money. You may want to upgrade the rope or straps that come with the kit if it isn’t durable enough to support the weight of your kayak.
If suspending your kayak from the garage ceiling isn’t going to work, you can opt for a wall rack to slip the kayak into.
For a wall rack you’ll need:
- 2×4 lumber (One 8-foot section)
- 3-inch screws
- 2 large heavy-duty shelf brackets (check for weight capacity on label)
- Rubber non-slip material
- 4 Screw-in large eye hooks
- 2 durable bungee cords, rope, or strapping
The wall rack can also be built on the exterior of a garage or shed for outdoor storage. You’ll want to provide a roof or at minimum a tarp over any outdoor kayak storage.
Overall, the best and easiest way to store a kayak is the vertical option because one person can easily maneuver the kayak into and out of its storage place.
Unfortunately, if you own a two-person or longer kayak, storing it vertically in a garage may not be possible, so you’ll have to decide which horizontal kayak storage option suits your needs best.
Before we start with the kayak storage tutorial, take into consideration these tips from pros about proper kayak storage:
Long-term kayak storage tips
- Experts state the best way to store a kayak is indoors by hanging it upside-down in the horizontal position
- For long-term kayak storage, avoid placing the kayak on its side, which can cause dents or deformation
- Never hang a kayak directly from its handles. Stress can cause the rope to break and the kayak to fall
- Storing or hanging a kayak right-side-up in the long-term will eventually distort the shape of the hull near the pressure point areas
Short-term kayak storage tips
- A kayak is also built to support weight on the stern for vertical storage so you can lean it against a building or tree and secure it with a strap
- Never leave a kayak sitting with one end on a platform or in a wheeled cart as this will form a bend in the boat
- Even short-term, never leave a kayak sitting on the ground or exposed to the elements. UV-rays and direct heat from the sun can cause the weakening of the hull material and color fading
- The best way to store a kayak outside is to put a roof over the area and bring seat covers indoors to prevent rot
How to Store a Kayak in Garage – Step-by-step Tutorial
Leaving a kayak on the garage floor exposes it to run-ins with a car, kids, pets, and landscaping equipment that can damage the hull.
Storing a kayak out of the way is the ideal solution, so here are the step-by-step instructions on creating the various kayak storage solutions.
Vertical Kayak Storage Tutorial
Step 1. Figure out the best spot on your wall to store your kayak
You’ll need to have room to bring the kayak in and get it into position in the rack without banging into other objects in the garage.
Step 2. Locate wall studs to secure the kayak
Use a stud-finder or other method to locate two studs where you plan to store the kayak. Studs should be 16-inches apart on center.
Mark the location of two studs at about 2/3rds the height of your kayak.
Step 3. Attach your 2×4 board to the wall
Hold up your 2×4 board (cut 6 inches wider than your kayak) horizontally across the two studs you marked on the wall. Use two screws, one above the other with two inches in between, to secure the board onto each wall stud.
You don’t necessarily have to center the 2×4 over the two studs. You just need to ensure you can screw the board securely into two studs so it can support the weight of your kayak.
Step 4. Screw in the eye bolts to the 2×4 and attach padding
Measure one inch in from both ends of the 2×4, and screw in your large eye bolts.
In the board’s center, glue on a strip of dense foam padding to protect the hull during storage from scrapes.
Step 5. Place foam padding on the floor under the 2×4
Stack several inches of foam padding in a block on the garage floor under where you plan to stand your kayak.
I suggest using three or four kneeling pads found at home improvement stores as they are dense and aren’t as prone to slipping as other material. You can also place some non-slip rug liner under the foam to prevent it from moving.
Step 6. Load your kayak onto the rack
Bring in your kayak and place the stern onto the foam padding. Stand the kayak upright and push it against the 2×4 between the eye bolts.
Step 7. Secure the kayak to the rack
Lastly, using a rope, bungee cord, or strapping, tie off one end to one eye bolt, bring it over the front of the kayak, and secure it to the other eye bolt.
It’s helpful always to keep one side of the rope attached to an eyebolt, so it’s quicker to secure the kayak in the future.
Make sure the kayak is vertical to the wall, with the boat’s full weight sitting on the foam padding.
Watch this video posted by Stephanie Weaver, who made a similar rack that gives you a visual about how the final result will look.
Hanging Kayak Storage Tutorial
Step 1. Locate the ceiling area you want to mount the kayak for storage
You’ll need room to bring the kayak in, lay it on the floor, and attach it to the pulley system to raise it to the ceiling.
Step 2. Open your mounting kit and inspect all the components
Some kits come with inferior rope or poor-quality bolts that you may wish to replace with something sturdier.
I recommend the Hi-Lift kit from StoreYourBoard, which offers a full video on installation and delivers quality rope and components.
Step 3. Locate ceiling studs to secure the mounting brackets
Use a stud-finder or other method to locate studs to secure the brackets. If there aren’t studs where you need them, cut a scrap piece of 2×4 to span across two joists that you can then attach the mounting bracket to.
After you secure the main bracket, attach the secondary bracket using carriage bolts.
Step 4. String the rope through the first pulleys
Following instructions with the kit, start by threading and tying off one end of the rope through the hole in the bracket with a single built-in pulley.
Draw the rope downward and through one of the loose pulleys, then back up through the pulley in the bracket. Leave enough slack in the rope so the pulley and hook will remain on the floor while you continue stringing the rope.
Step 5. String the rope through the secondary pulleys
Pull the rope across to the other bracket, drawing it through the top of one of the two pulleys, then down through the hole and under the braking tab.
Pull a foot of rope downward, then thread it up behind the braking tab and up through the hole that corresponds with the other pulley in the bracket.
Run the rope over the top of the pulley and align the ropes evenly.
After that, take the end of the rope, feed it through the last loose pulley (leaving slack, so it remains on the ground), and straight-up through the hole at the bottom of the mounting bracket.
Tie off the rope with a knot as you did on the opposite bracket when you began, so it stays secure and won’t fall through the hole.
Step 6. Attach the rope cleat to the wall
Screw the rope cleat into a wall stud to keep excess rope neat and secure during kayak storage.
Step 7. Load the kayak and lift
Lastly, add straps around your kayak and hook the straps to the pulley system. Pull the ropes to lift the kayak up or down.
Wall-mount Kayak Storage Tutorial
Step 1. Decide where you have enough space to hang your kayak
Measure your kayak to determine how much area you’ll need to attach your wall brackets and how far apart they must be to support the kayak fully. This picture from Tom King and his Howdy Ya Dewit blog gives you an idea of spacing for the brackets.
You’ll want to load the kayak easily, so don’t place the bracket up too high on the wall.
Step 2. Locate studs along the wall to attach the shelf brackets
You’ll need to locate two studs about six feet apart to attach your metal brackets. The length of your kayak determines how far apart the brackets need to be. Generally, you want to support your kayak at points about 2-3 feet in from either end.
Step 3. Screw shelf brackets into the wall
Using long screws, attach the heavy-duty shelf brackets into the studs, making sure they are both at the same level as you can see here.
Luckily, kayaks are relatively lightweight, but make sure the brackets you buy can support your kayak model’s full weight.
Step 4. Add a wooden extension to the top of the metal bracket
Cut two pieces of lumber that are three inches wider than your kayak. Attach one to the top of each metal bracket to extend the reach from the wall so the whole kayak can be supported, as you can see in this picture.
Use small screws that run through the metal bracket and into the wood to hold it in place.
Step 5. Add padding and eyebolts to the top of the bracket
Cut strips of dense foam and glue them to the top of the 2×4 wood of your wall bracket to cushion your kayak during storage. Add eyebolts to the outer end and near to the wall so you can tie down the kayak to prevent it from slipping off the brackets.
Step 6. Load your kayak and secure it down
Lift your kayak, turn it upside-down, and center it evenly between the brackets. Secure the kayak with rope, and you’re all set!
I hope you like this tutorial and use the pro tips for the correct way to store a kayak in the garage or outdoors to help prevent damage.
I know that once I got my kayak off the ground and protected from the elements, it’s made my life much less stressful! Better yet, these solutions work for canoes, paddleboards, and other watersport gear.
I hope you make an effort to protect your kayak investment by following this how to store a kayak tutorial, so it remains in good condition year after year.
Please add your kayak storage ideas and tips in the comments below, and share this article with all your friends if you find it helpful!
My name is Bryan and I’m the chief editor of kayakiye.com. My goal is to share my experience with readers of kayakiye.com. Here I tell you how to choose the perfect kayak for fishing, camping, and traveling. I share reviews of the best kayaks on the market. I hope that my blog will be useful to Kayakers and Fishing folks.