How to Store a Kayak

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Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy the peaceful sound of the currents lapping against your hull, but it presents a few unique difficulties for even the most dedicated kayakers. Foremost among these is storing the kayak when you’re done using it, especially if you live in an apartment or a smaller house.

In today’s guide, we’re going to cover how to store a kayak the best way to ensure that it doesn’t end up getting damaged by the elements. We’ll discuss the factors that can degrade your kayak before we get into the various approaches to storing one of them as efficiently as possible.


Factors That Can Damage Your Kayak

Heat

Heat is a major factor that can damage a kayak, regardless of whether it’s a rigid, inflatable, or folding model. Heat sources can include a nearby heater or direct sunlight, so you’ll typically want to avoid things that generate heat when you’re storing your kayak by keeping it in a cool, dark place.

Heat-damaged kayaks can exhibit several issues, but some of the most common damage includes deformation of the hull. When the material used to construct kayaks is heated, it becomes more malleable, which means that your kayak can get bent out of shape, potentially compromising its performance on the water.

Cold

Temperature extremes at both ends can result in significant damage to your kayak, and cold is up there with heat as one of the kayak’s worst enemies. While cold damage is a little less likely than heat damage, the right set of factors can result in severe damage to your kayak that you’d probably not want to risk.

Cold damage typically occurs when your kayak is still wet or is stored in a humid environment. This results in the kayak repeatedly freezing and thawing, which can cause cracks in the material used to construct it. This is typically a major concern with rigid or folding kayaks made out of fiberglass or GRP.

Moisture

While it can be catastrophic when coupled with the cold, moisture on its own can result in significant damage to your kayak, as well. Moisture comes in many forms. One of the least damaging forms of moisture is atmospheric humidity, as most kayaks are built to resist it.

However, if you leave your kayak wet before storing it, this can result in damage to the materials used to construct your kayak, especially over long periods of time. This damage can be worsened further if you leave your kayak drenched in salt water when you store it, as this will slowly eat away at the vessel’s hull. Don’t just pull your kayak off the kayak trailer and ignore it!

Sunlight

Leaving your kayak in direct sunlight is the next thing that you should avoid doing if you want it to last you as long as possible. A kayak exposed to sunlight will also be exposed to UV rays, which can cause degradation in the material used in your kayak’s hull.

Damage from UV rays ranges from sun-bleaching, which is a discoloration of the kayak’s hull, though it can also be more significant. Enough exposure to sunlight can start wearing away at the material itself, weakening it gradually until it suddenly fails one day, further down the line.

Keep in mind that the sun will also generate heat that will cause additional damage to your kayak.


Decide Where to Store Your Kayak

kayak rack

Indoors

The first option you have when it comes to storing your kayak is putting it somewhere indoors. This has the benefit of making your kayak less vulnerable to the elements, as it will be protected by your walls and ceiling from things like rain and snow.

It should also be relatively shielded from the sun, provided you put it in the right place.

An added benefit to storing your kayak indoors is that you won’t have to worry about it being as much of a target for thieves, especially if you have a pricey kayak like a stand-up fishing kayak.

Nobody wants to wake up in the morning to find that their $1000+ plus investment has been pilfered from their back yard!

Finally, storing your kayak indoors will also make it less likely to sustain damage due to atmospheric humidity. Within your home, you can use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to ensure that the temperature and humidity level in your storage room is conducive to a long life for your kayak.

Of course, this option has a few disadvantages, and the main one is coming up with storage space for your kayak if you live in a smaller home or an apartment (see our article on apartment storage for kayaks for tips.)

Unless you get creative or invest money into your kayak storage, you’ll likely be better off storing it outside where it won’t be an inconvenience.

Outdoors

Storing your kayak outdoors may be a good idea if you live in a relatively rural area where you won’t have to worry about an enterprising individual coming along and taking your kayak for themselves. When you store your kayak outdoors, you won’t have to worry about investing in things like wall racks or ceiling mounts to save space.

Also, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of getting your kayak into your home in the first place. If you have relatively narrow walls in your home or apartment, you may find it a struggle to maneuver your kayak around in your home in the first place, so outside may be your only storage option.

If you decide to store your kayak outside, you’ll want to make sure that you put it somewhere shaded, where you can be sure that it won’t get damaged from its exposure to sunlight. Putting your kayak somewhere shaded will also make it less visible, ensuring that it’s less of a target for potential thieves.

Another thing you’ll have to do when storing your kayak outdoors is ensuring that it won’t be damaged by the weather. you may want to mount a tarp above it to prevent water from touching the storage bag.

Preparing Your Kayak for Storage

Deflate or Fold It (if Applicable)

Before you store or even transport your kayak, the first thing you’ll want to do is fold your folding kayak or deflate your inflatable kayak. If you own a rigid kayak, you can just disregard this part of our guide. 

Folding or deflating your kayak will help cut down on the amount of storage space your vessel takes up. This will make it easier to store your kayak in a confined space where it otherwise wouldn’t fit.

Even more conveniently, folding and inflatable kayaks, when broken down, can fit inside of a kayak storage bag like the BAYUE storage bag, which is specifically designed for kayaks of these types.

Rinse and Wash It

Before storing your kayak, you’ll want to make sure that you rinse it off first, as saltwater and even freshwater can cause damage to the hull if it remains on it for too long. If you can rinse it off before transporting it back to your home, even better. If you don’t have that option, try to do it as soon as you get back.

Use a garden hose, along with a bit of soap and a rag to get the lake water or seawater off of your kayak before you get ready to store it.

Dry It

Drying off your kayak is another crucial step to take before you store it, and it can be a little tedious, but it will be worth the difference it makes in your kayak’s longevity. There are a few different ways to dry a kayak, depending on how much time you have available and how thoroughly you want to dry it.

First off, you can use a towel to dry off every part of it yourself. While this is the most tedious way to dry off a kayak, it is also the most thorough method. On the other hand, you can leave your kayak out to dry in the sun and heat. This shouldn’t result in any significant UV damage to your kayak, but it will be a little less efficient.


How to Store a Kayak

There are two main ways to store a kayak. Wall racks and ceiling racks. Let’s look at both of those here.

Wall Racks

Rad Sports Wall Mount Kayak Rack

One of the most common ways to keep your kayak out of the way while storing it is to mount it to wall racks. These can be a little pricey, but they are a worthwhile investment if you have a relatively small space in which to store your kayak and you want to make the most of it.

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Ceiling Racks

Kayak Ceiling Rack

Ceiling racks can maximize your space even more so than wall racks, but they are a little less common, so you can expect them to be more expensive. Another thing to consider is that ceiling racks can be considerably more difficult to install than wall racks, particularly if you have high ceilings.

Conclusion

Storing a kayak isn’t too complicated, but there are a few factors that you’ll have to consider, like the temperature, humidity, and darkness of your storage area. Whether you store your kayak indoors or outdoors is up to you and the amount of space you have in your home. We hope that this guide has helped you make a decision!