Many new kayak owners don’t adequately prepare for the extra storage space that their new kayak will require. Proper storage is an essential part of protecting the potentially substantial investment you just made.
How you store your kayak (or kayaks) is just as important as buying the best kayak for your purpose. There are many great techniques for outdoor storage (including building your own kayak storage shed), but many owners opt for the benefits of indoor kayak storage.
If you live in a colder climate or a place that experiences a variety of weather, indoor storage is the way to go. And your garage, in most cases, makes the most sense for storing large items like a kayak.
In this article, we’ll offer the 5 best ways to store a kayak in the garage. We’ll also give you some general kayak storage tips that should be applied regardless of where you decide to store your kayak.
Table of Contents
- 1 Jargon Buster
- 2 Kayak Storage Tips
- 3 Best Ways To Store A Kayak In The Garage
- 4 Which Is Best For You?
- 5 Conclusion
For those of you seeking to store your first-ever kayak, there might be a few terms later in this article that appear unfamiliar. In this section, we’ll provide brief definitions for those terms so that things make a bit more sense as you read on!
Mounting hardware usually includes items like screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and D-rings. Generally, it can be defined as anything that helps you secure a wall or ceiling-mounted kayak rack at your chosen storage location.
In construction terms, a stud is a piece of lumber that is part of the framing of a wall. Studs are usually found running vertically every 16 inches inside of a wall and they provide much more strength (when it comes to mounting a kayak rack) than the drywall that has been installed over those studs.
DIY stands for ‘do-it-yourself’. This can be a cheaper way to store a kayak in the garage, but it generally takes more time and requires care to ensure safe kayak storage.
A D-ring is a piece of hardware often used as a lashing point for straps or clips. As its name suggests, it comes in the shape of the letter D and provides a secure point for secure attachments of various items or equipment.
Kayak Storage Tips
The above photo is a fantastic example of what NOT to do when storing kayaks. Before we get into our suggestions for the best ways to store a kayak in the garage, here are some general kayak storage tips to keep in mind.
Drain Any Water Remaining In Your Kayak
Your kayak should never be stored with any water remaining in the cockpit or compartments. The exact method of draining your kayak will depend on the type of kayak you’ve purchased.
For sit on top kayaks, you’ll need to open the plug that’s typically located at the bow or stern of the kayak. Then, you’ll need to stand the kayak up on end so that any water inside will effectively drain out.
Sit inside kayaks require the use of a bilge pump and sponge. You’ll need to pump the majority of the water out of the cockpit and/or compartments before absorbing the last remnants with the sponge.
Kayaks should always be stored completely dry to avoid damage from any freeze-thaw cycles that happen with fluctuating temperatures.
While this is less of a problem when you store a kayak in the garage, most garages aren’t heated, so it’s still recommended.
Thoroughly Clean Your Kayak Before Storing
There’s nothing worse than finding your kayak an absolute mess when you’re ready to load it up and take it to the beach. That’s why it’s always a good practice to thoroughly clean your kayak before storing it.
To clean your kayak, start by removing any fabric materials like your seat cushions or storage compartment covers. These materials can typically be machine-washed, but it’s always good to check manufacturer recommendations before doing so.
Next, wet the entirety of the kayak with a mixture of warm water and a mild detergent (a dash or two of Dr. Bronner’s will do!). Use a sponge or scrub brush to thoroughly wash the kayak inside and out.
Once you’ve scrubbed the kayak, rinse it thoroughly to remove all soap and any loose debris that you’ve created during the scrubbing process. Open the drain plug or turn your kayak over to drain as much water as possible.
Finally, wipe the kayak down with a dry towel and then leave it out in the sun for a few hours to dry completely. Make sure the kayak is dry before placing it back in your garage using whichever garage storage method you choose.
Temperature and Humidity
The best way to store a kayak in the garage and maximize its lifespan is to keep the temperature and humidity in the garage as consistent as possible. In some cases, this is easier said than done.
Most garages aren’t heated, which means they can experience drastic fluctuations depending on the season. Your garage probably gets uncomfortably hot in the summer and cold during the winter.
There are several things you can do to combat these changes without installing a bunch of ductwork to connect your garage to your house’s central heating or air conditioning system.
The first (and possibly easiest solution) is simply to purchase and run a small space heater in your garage. While this will undoubtedly raise your electric bill during the colder months, it will prevent your kayak from sustaining any cold-related damage.
Humidity can also be a hazard to your kayak because excess moisture can cause rust to certain components. Mold also becomes more likely to develop on any fabric parts of your kayak.
For those that live in more humid environments, installing a dehumidifier in your garage is one way to reduce the effects of moisture on your kayak and its components. These require a little more work than heaters because you’ll have to regularly empty the water that they remove from the air.
That being said, keeping the temperature and humidity more consistent in your garage is a great way to extend the life of your kayak and it doesn’t have to require a tremendous investment of either time or money on your part.
Even if you decide to store your kayak outside and on the ground, you should NEVER store your kayak on a hard surface. If left on a hard surface for a long time, kayaks can develop dents that compromise the integrity of the hull.
The best ways to store a kayak in the garage all involve getting your kayak up and off the ground. This is recommended because storing them on their hull (or deck) for an extended period can cause irreversible damage.
If you have to store a kayak outside and on the ground, pick a grassy surface or put a rug or tarp down underneath them. Then, make sure to store them either on their side or face down.
Best Ways To Store A Kayak In The Garage
1. Wall-Mounted Rack
You’ll need plenty of wall space for this storage solution, but it’s a great way to store multiple kayaks in your garage without taking up any floor space. Just make sure you find studs underneath the sheetrock so that the weight of your kayak(s) will be amply supported.
You can store two or more kayaks in one section of the wall using this storage technique. As you plan out your space, one thing to be careful of is saving enough room for your garage door to open.
There are multiple wall-mounted kayak racks available on Amazon. For example, check out this heavy-duty kayak rack from SUDOO that gives you a place to store your kayak and your paddle underneath.
If you’re a fan of DIY projects, a wall-mounted rack can be constructed relatively easily using PVC, wall-mounting brackets, and PVC pipe joints. Of course, other materials can be used as well.
When opting for a wall-mounted rack solution, always be sure that the arms of the rack are well-padded. This will help to protect the integrity of your kayak over the long-term.
The main advantage of this storage solution is that it requires a one-time installation. It also gives you a consistent, strong location to store your kayaks every time you bring them home from a trip.
2. Overhead Suspension System
Limited space in your garage means you’ll have to get creative. An overhead suspension system is a great way to store kayaks in a space that otherwise wouldn’t be used in your garage.
Because of their complexity, it’s generally recommended to buy an overhead suspension system that comes with all the requisite parts for proper installation. These systems will also come with detailed directions to help you install them safely and securely.
Just like when you’re installing a wall-mounted kayak rack, you’ll need to make sure that your mounting hardware seats in a stud. In this case, you’ll be looking for ceiling studs, but it’s still essential for this storage solution to support the weight of your kayak.
This suspension system from RAD Sportz is a great option because it’s relatively inexpensive and has ample capacity to hold large kayaks. It also comes in a pack of two so you can use it to store multiple kayaks overhead in your garage.
The only drawback of an overhead suspension system is added installation time and energy. You’ll also need to be very confident in the job you’ve done securing your suspension system before you hoist your kayaks up and pull vehicles back into the garage.
3. Upright Storage
Kayaks can also be stored upright in your garage so that they don’t take up a bunch of wall space width-wise. You’ll need a garage that’s at least as tall (ideally at least a foot taller) than the length of your kayak.
This is a relatively easy DIY garage storage solution for kayaks because it only really requires a couple of straps and secure wall mounts where those straps can be anchored. Of course, you should always put something underneath the bow or stern of the kayak to pad it from
sitting directly on the ground.
As with all of these mounted kayak rack solutions, you’ll need to make sure you find studs when you’re installing the mounting hardware. That being said, this step is slightly less important for upright storage.
This is because the majority of the weight of the kayak will be sitting on the bow or stern.
As opposed to all of the weight being supported by a wall-mounted rack or overhead suspension system, the straps used in upright storage simply need to keep your kayak from tipping over, rather than falling down completely.
A DIY upright storage system like this can be installed relatively easily using D-Ring Tie-Downs (which will be mounted to the wall of your garage) and two or three 9-foot NRS Cam Straps (to hold the kayak in place).
4. Wall-Mounted Sling Set
Another wall-mounted solution involves a sling set rather than the installation of permanent rack arms. This setup still requires secure mounting hardware to be installed in the wall of your garage, but it relies on straps to hold your kayak.
The straps will run from the mounting hardware and around your kayak. As their name suggests, this creates a sling that holds your kayak up and in place against the wall.
The main benefit of this wall-mounted storage solution (over a rack installation) is that it takes up significantly less space when your kayaks aren’t in the garage. This means fewer obstacles to run into once you’ve moved your kayaks out.
Another benefit of this type of storage solution is some models can actually hold two kayaks using only one set of mounting hardware.
This sling set from Malone Auto Racks is a great example of this.
The only downside of storing your kayak in the garage using a sling set can be taking it down. If you have a larger, heavier kayak, you might need someone to help take the weight of the kayak while you loosen and unhook the straps.
5. Portable Stands
Portable stands are by far the easiest garage kayak storage solution. While they take up more space than some of the other options, these stands are super easy to set up wherever you want to keep your kayaks.
Unlike a wall or ceiling-mounted solution, however, these stands will require enough floor space in your garage. You can typically measure the amount of floor space needed by using the length and width dimensions of your kayak.
Portable stands are also great because they allow you to change where you store your kayak. If you temporarily need to move your kayak outside while moving other things around in your garage, for example, it’s super easy to relocate this type of kayak stand.
Most of these stands (like the Suspenz Universal Portable Stand) come in a two-pack to securely support the weight of even larger kayaks. If you don’t want to drill holes into the walls or ceiling of your garage, this is also a great kayak storage solution.
Which Is Best For You?
Because garages aren’t all created exactly the same, the right kayak storage solution for you will ultimately depend on what you’re working with. However, here are some general recommendations.
If you have plenty of wall space, a wall-mounted kayak rack is probably your best bet. This is a great way to store a kayak in a smaller garage where floor space is at a premium.
For those that have tall garages with a lot of unused space between the tops of their vehicles and the garage ceiling, an overhead suspension system is recommended. This is also a really great solution for kayakers that only use their boats on a seasonal basis.
Storing your kayaks in the upright position can be a great option for folks with taller garages and less time for hardware installation. It’s also a great solution for kayakers that prefer a DIY garage storage installation.
A wall-mounted sling set is ideal for anyone that doesn’t want a permanent kayak rack sticking out from the wall once their kayaks are removed. This is also a great option if you want to store multiple kayaks using a single set of mounting hardware.
Finally, portable stands are best for anyone that foresees changing up their kayak storage set up on a frequent basis. It’s also the only one of these five solutions that doesn’t require mounting hardware.
The best way to store a kayak in the garage should be simple and cost-effective. That’s why we’ve given you a list of easy solutions that can be implemented with relative ease.
Whether you want to go the 100-percent DIY route or purchase an affordable solution online, you have plenty of options for how to store your kayak.
Just make sure to follow any instructions included with the hardware you purchase so that you can protect your kayak investment!