Hardshell kayak

How to Store a Kayak In an Apartment

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Kayaking, canoeing, and rafting are outstanding, popular water sports that offer a good deal of fun. Whether you buy an inflatable or a hard-shell craft, will depend on your intended purpose, finances, and personal preference.

Many are put off from buying a hard-shell kayak due to the complexity of storage and transportation. We’re not going to lie: inflatable kayaks and folding kayaks are much easier to store and move.

This fact makes owning a hardshell kayak especially challenging to those of us who live in apartments and other small rental spaces. But there is hope! In this article, we’ll look at how to store a kayak in an apartment. For those who love the hardshell format, but don’t have loads of basement space or garage space to devote to a kayak, we have some solutions!


Hardshell Living

Pelican Hardshell Kayak

There are many advantages to owning a hard-shell craft.

  • Hard-shell boats sit deeper, making them more efficient at tracking and cutting through the water. 
  • No set-up time is needed. Pack it, get in, grab your kayak pfd, and go.
  • No risk of punctures.
  • Hard-shell kayaks have a longer lifespan. If you look after the body, a hard-shell craft can last around 10 years, as opposed to 5 years for an inflatable.
  • Better styling. Nobody loves the look of an inflatable kayak.

Tips on Kayak Storage

When it comes to storing kayaks, there are several options. We will first briefly discuss the easy one — inflatable kayaks. Then we’ll dive into hardshells.

Storing an Inflatable Kayak

Inflatables do exactly as the title states, they inflate. This also means they deflate, making them easy to store. When you’ve finished with any kayak, always wash it down with a mild detergent, and clear the fabric of all debris. Don’t skip this step!

Once the inflatable has dried out, roll or fold it up and store it in a dry, well-aired out area when not in use. Follow these basic maintenance rules and you shouldn’t suffer any damp mold.

Storing a Hard-Shell Kayak

If you choose a hard-shell kayak for an apartment, then you’ve most likely accepted that you’re stuck with the bulky size. This means that you’ll need a larger space to store it. If space isn’t a huge concern, see this article for other ideas.

Hard-shell kayaks tend to be more expensive, so you must take care of your investment. 

Let’s look at a few tips for caring, and storing a hard-shell kayak, even in the smallest of spaces.

It’s easy to keep your kayak clean by using a mild detergent. It’s also important to stop any mildew from forming whilst it’s not in use. Cleaning removes salt or sand too, which can be damaging to the materials.

Once cleaned make sure it’s dried out. Loosen all straps and buckles so there’s no strain on them while not in use.

Don’t choose a storage spot where the sun is shining through a window, if you can avoid it. Whether your kayak’s made of tough plastic or fiberglass, heat will degrade the material.

Equally harmful elements are damp spaces. A well-aired-out space in your apartment is ideal. 

Whatever you do, don’t simply store your kayak on the floor, flat out, as this can deform the hull.

This is where all the clever gadgets for storing come in handy.

How to Store a Kayak in an Apartment

Even in the smallest of homes, there are some creative ways to store your kayak so that it takes up the least amount of room. But for the most part, that means putting your kayak essentially on display.

You can’t really hide the kayak. Well you could put a blanket on it, but that’s probably not going to do much! Instead, you’ll need to use a rack, and turn it into an aesthetic feature of your space.

Easier said than done, I know. But it’s possible!

You’ll need a kayak rack. A specialist kayak rack could be ideal, and they come in all shapes and sizes:

Large Stand-alone Rack

Stand-Alone Kayak Storage Rack

These are available in single, or double models  that store two hard-shelled kayaks or solid paddleboards. A double one will hold up to 170lbs.

A double rack weighs around 50lbs with measurements of approx. L100 x H50 x D 24-inches. Some even adjust in width, which is a great space saver.

Look for one with cushioned sleeves, so the metal doesn’t scratch the body of your craft whilst in storage. 

Small Stand-alone Rack

Small Stand-Alone Storage Rack

Taking up less space, this sleek wood and steel easily-assembled rack  will keep your kayaks safe during storage. It will accommodate 2 kayaks with the smaller model of 27-inches tall.

The larger one, at 43-inches, can hold up to 3 kayaks.

Both give you a depth of approx. 27-inches from the back of the rack. Each level holds around 50-lbs. Each kayak sits with the rack arms in the center of the craft, so the craft is well balanced.

Fold-up Stand-alone Racks

Fold-Up Kayak Paddleboard Rack

If you don’t want racks that take up space when not in use, consider a pair of portable fold-up stand-alone racks . Space-wise, they stand around 20-inches from the ground and take up a width of approx.17-inches.

They tend to come in pairs as it requires two stands per kayak. The bow and stern, respectively, will sit on each stand, placing the hull at the bottom.

This means you can store the boat the right way up without any damage coming to it while in storage.

Wall Mounted Racks

Wall-Mounted Kayak Rack

Then again, if you don’t floor-space you can look to hanging your kayak on the wall, with heavy-duty Wall Mounted racks 

Again, they often come in pairs. Look for a gap of around 17-inches between the rack and the wall for a bigger kayak. For a smaller one, a gap of 13-inches should do.

Make sure the fixtures are metal, as the plastic ones may not hold out long enough. 

Ceiling Mounted Racks

Ceiling-Mounted Rack

Even if your apartment has a limited floor or wall space, there is another solution. Ceiling-mounted hangers  could solve your storage problems. By using a pulley system, you can hoist your craft up to the ceiling.

The bow and stern balance inside durable straps. With safety locks holding it in place, there’s no chance of the kayak falling down. If you have 2 kayaks, use a double all-in-one ceiling hanger .

On average, the hoist takes the crafts as high as 8-10-inches from the ceiling. The fixtures will need attaching to the joists, so the ceiling can take the weight safely.


The average size of a recreational kayak is around W2-2.5ft x 6-12ft. Wherever you decide you store it, don’t ever store it unsupported on the ground. 

If you have a small balcony, you could stand it up on its stern, with a waterproof tarp over it. The tarp will protect against the elements, and also conceal it against possible theft.

If you choose to stand your kayak upright, it will still need to be lifted from the ground. The danger of this position can be the distortion of the shape, due to unsupported weight.

Consider building some sort of wooden frame that can take most of the weight of the body of the craft. 

If you can’t avoid storage in the sun, then cover it with a tarp, or spray the craft with a sun-protector. That way, no damage can be done to the material from UV rays.

The bottom line is that kayak storage in a small space will mean leaving the kayak in view. Try to make it look as intentional and use it as an aesthetic feature in your space. Good luck!

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