How To Store A Sit On Top Kayak?

How To Store A Sit On Top Kayak?

There is always an unfortunate time of year when our kayak just happens to sit in storage more than it really gets used.

But even during the best times of year for kayaking, you probably need a reliable place to store your sit on top kayak when you come home.

The good news is that learning how to store a sit on top kayak is far from rocket science.

That being said, there are various methods and strategies that you can use to store one of the best sit on top kayaks when you’re not using it.

From DIY solutions to expensive kayak racks, there is no shortage of kayak storage options out there.

Your first choice, simply, will be whether you want to spend more time to build your own storage solution or whether you want to spend more money to purchase a solution that will arrive at your doorstep nearly ready for you to load kayaks onto it.

The best way to store a sit on top kayak isn’t vastly different from the methods used to store other types of kayaks.

But there are some important considerations to be mindful of when ensuring the safety of your sit on top kayak while it’s in storage.

So, in addition to presenting you with a few options of sit on top kayak storage solutions, we’re also going to give you a few general tips on how to store sit on top kayaks safely.

Our hope is that you’ll be able to store your kayak correctly so that you find it in the same condition you left it in when you go to use it again.

Let’s get started!

Also Read: Best 2 Kayak Roof Racks

How To Store A Sit On Top Kayak?

When you’re storing a sit on top kayak, you’ll want to think about protecting it from the elements as best as possible.

And you should also consider the environment you live in because different environments pose different kinds of hazards to the integrity of your kayak.

We’ll get into the specifics of those hazards (and how to protect your kayak from them) a bit later.

But, first, here are a few DIY and ready-made solutions that will help you store your sit on top kayak safely.

The PVC Kayak Rack

One of the easiest and most affordable DIY projects you can take on if you need a place to store a sit on top kayak is to build your own kayak rack from PVC.

There are a lot of designs for PVC kayak racks, but the one that makes the most sense for you will depend on how many kayaks you need to store.

But, whether you choose to build a larger rack for up to eight sit on top kayaks (like the photo above) or you just need to store one or two kayaks, you should choose PVC pipe that’s at least one inch in diameter when building a kayak rack.

You’ll also need a selection of 90-degree elbows to put the entire rack together.

And you can reinforce the stability of a PVC kayak rack using lengths of rebar that you drive into the ground before placing the PVC over them.

By driving lengths of rebar into the ground at the corners of your PVC kayak rack, you can help to protect it from collapsing under loads or when it’s hit by heavy winds.

If you choose this reinforcement method, just make sure the lengths of rebar are at least half the total height of your PVC pipes.

When you store a kayak on a PVC rack, you should also consider covering the entire rack with a tarp or a cover of some sort.

The photo above gives you an example of how to cover a PVC kayak rack to protect your kayaks from rain, snow, and other environmental elements.

The Wooden Kayak Rack

If you’re an experienced woodworker, you may also opt to build your own wooden kayak rack.

The example above is a more complex design, but you can also construct a simpler kayak rack from scrap wood that’s lying around your property.

Building a wooden kayak rack can be a little more expensive than building a PVC kayak rack, but that can depend on how creative you get when sourcing your materials.

If you seek leftover materials from a nearby construction site, for example, you’ll probably be able to build a wooden kayak rack for much less than if you buy the lumber directly from your local hardware store.

If you do choose this option for storing your sit on top kayaks, just make sure to give the slots where the kayaks will sit ample clearance.

This will require accurate measurements of the length, width, and depth of your kayak.

As a general rule, the distance between arms that the weight of your kayak rests on should be roughly one-third of the total length of your kayak (as shown below).

This will ensure that your kayak balances on the rack properly and help you avoid problems that can arise if too much of your kayak’s weight is forward or aft of the rack arms.

Additionally, the height of the slot for your kayak should be a minimum of six inches greater than the total depth of your kayak.

This will provide plenty of room for you to load and unload your kayak and it also provides the flexibility to upgrade to a larger, deeper kayak later without having to build an entirely new rack.

The Prefabricated Kayak Rack

If you’d rather spend a little extra money rather than spending the time to build a rack to store your sit on top kayak, then you should look into prefabricated racks.

If you plan to store your kayak outdoors, check out our recommendations for the best outdoor kayak storage racks.

These prefabricated racks typically don’t require very much installation time and they are super easy to load your kayak onto once they’re set up.

Many of them can also accommodate tandem kayaks or crossover kayaks if you ever decide to upgrade your kayak arsenal.

While this kayak storage solution can require a bit more of an upfront investment, you won’t have to spend as much time building a rack as you would if you chose to construct a PVC or wooden kayak rack.

That being said, you’ll still need to figure out a way to cover your kayaks if you set up one of these kayak racks outside.

But, just like the PVC kayak rack, you can always wrap a large tarp over the rack and secure it down with short lengths of rope or bungee cords.

The Ground Storage Method

Sit on top kayaks can also be stored on the ground if you don’t have the time or the budget to build or buy a kayak rack.

The best way to do this is to lean your kayak up on its side against your house, a shed, or a tree in your yard.

By leaning your kayak up on its side, you can reduce the likelihood of water pooling in the lower-lying areas of your kayak’s cockpit.

While the best sit on top kayaks all come with scupper holes for water drainage, small amounts of water can still accumulate in the footwells, tankwells, and the seating area.

Even small amounts of water that remain in your kayak’s cockpit for a long period of time can cause mold to begin growing.

While the presence of mold won’t severely impact the integrity of your kayak in the short-term, it will mean you’ll need to spend more time cleaning your kayak when you take it out of storage.

In addition, leaning your kayak on its side when storing it on the ground will make it easier to cover with a tarp and lock up to a secure location.

If you’re worried about the security of your sit on top kayak when you leave it in storage, be sure to check out our recommendations on how to lock up a kayak.

The Stand Up Method

If you have a larger collection of sit on top kayaks, you can also store them by standing them up and locking them into a wooden, steel, or even PVC rack.

This is a more popular storage solution for kayak rental and guiding companies that offer guided kayaking tours on a daily basis.

Many of these types of companies choose this storage solution because it allows them to store a larger number of kayaks within a smaller footprint.

So, if you have many kayaks you need to store, this can be a way to save space.

That being said, standing your kayaks up for storage can make them more subject to falling or tipping over during storms with high winds.

It also makes it much more difficult to secure a tarp over the kayaks once they’re secured and locked into place.

Furthermore, standing your kayaks up places their entire weight on the stern point of the kayak.

While most kayaks are reinforced at the bow and stern (because these areas tend to make contact with rocky shorelines more frequently than the rest of the kayak), some cheaper models may become dented if you rest them on the stern for too long.

The Hanging Storage Method

If you have space inside your garage, you can also hang your sit on top kayaks on one of the walls, or even from the ceiling and doing so is actually pretty simple if you get a quality pair of kayak wall straps.

These straps need to be bolted or screwed into a set of studs on your garage wall or ceiling.

Even though the straps themselves are built to hold the weight of your kayak without issue, they most likely won’t stay in place if you only screw them into the drywall instead of finding a stud.

But, as long as you secure your straps or sling storage system properly, this is a great way to store sit on top kayaks because it saves space.

It also eliminates the need to cover your kayaks with a tarp because they’ll be stored in the protected area inside your garage.

This method is also useful because most sling storage systems allow you to also secure your kayak paddles and other kayak accessories on your kayak or secured behind the straps.

This eliminates the need to store these other kayak essentials elsewhere and further saves you storage space inside your garage and around your home.

The Wall Storage Method

Another option for storing sit on top kayaks inside your garage (or on a wall anywhere, for that matter) is to install a set of kayak wall hangers.

These need to be installed in much the same fashion as the kayak wall straps we mentioned above, but they make it a little easier to load and unload your kayak as needed.

Most of these hangers look like upside-down hooks and they are rated to hold the weight of your kayak and a few of its accessories.

But, because your kayaks won’t be fully strapped in, these racks are better for short-term storage because they make it easier to grab your kayak down and load it onto your vehicle when you’re ready to go for a paddle.

In some cases, however, you may need to purchase a set of bungee cords to ensure that your kayak doesn’t fall off these hangers when bumped.

This is a precautionary step that can prevent the entire kayak from falling off the wall and damaging someone or something on its way down (not to mention the potential for damage to the kayak itself).

You’ll also need enough space in your garage to mount these hangers to the wall and still have room to move about once your kayaks are upon them.

So, be sure to accurately measure your garage before choosing this sit on top kayak storage solution.

Sit On Top Kayak Storage Tips

No matter which method you choose for storing a sit on top kayak, there are general kayak storage tips that you should know.

These tips will help you protect your kayak and maximize its performance for years to come.

Clean BEFORE Storing

There’s arguably nothing worse than opening your kayak up in the spring to find it a filthy mess from the previous season.

That’s why we always recommend thoroughly cleaning your kayak BEFORE placing it in storage for the non-paddling season.

Sit on top kayaks are the easiest types of kayaks to clean because they don’t have closed cockpits where a bunch of water can pool.

So, in most cases, you can simply hose them down and then scrub any residue away with a soft brush or sponge.

In some cases, you might need to use a mild detergent to remove debris that’s caked onto the hull or deck of your kayak and you should always make sure to wipe your kayak completely dry or allow it to air dry in the sun before placing it in storage.

Remove Foam Padding

If you’re planning on storing your kayak outside, we recommend removing any and all foam padding on your kayak before storing it.

On sit on top kayaks, this is usually limited to the kayak seat, but there can sometimes be other foam components that you should remove before storing.

We recommend taking this step because any critters that can get access to your kayak while it’s in storage can sometimes decide they’d like to repurpose that foam padding for insulation in their winter homes.

For you, this means opening your kayak up in the spring to find that your seat has been chewed open and all of the foam padding has been removed.

In many cases, it can also mean that unwanted critters have made a home inside or underneath your kayak while it has been in storage.

If you want to avoid camping critters or having to buy a new kayak seat, you can simply remove any foam padding from your kayak and place it securely in storage in your garage or somewhere inside your home.

You can also think about placing it in a bin or bag to further prevent critters from getting to it.

Open Drain Plug

The reason that sit on top kayaks float so well is because they have air inside of them.

This is a very useful feature for beginners because it makes it easier to learn basic kayaking maneuvers and it also makes it easier to get back into a sit on top kayak if you happen to capsize accidentally.

But that air inside the kayak can heat up dangerously if you leave the drain plug closed while your kayak is in storage.

And that can actually lead to deformities or cracks in the hull of your sit on top kayak.

In addition, some sit on top kayaks can get a small amount of water inside of them during the paddling season.

That water can freeze and cause damage to your kayak’s hull or deck if you live somewhere that experiences freezing temperatures overnight.

Whether you’re worried about heat or ice causing damage to your kayak, their effects can be mitigated by storing your kayak with the drain plug open.

Just make sure you don’t lose the drain plug so that you can install it back in place before you head out paddling again!

Cover It Up

This tip is also specific to those of you that plan to store your sit on top kayak outside, but it’s never a bad idea to cover your entire kayak while storing it.

While you can purchase a ready-made kayak cover that fits snugly around your kayak, you can also use a tarp or plastic sheeting.

Covering your kayak while it’s in storage protects it from rain, snow, dirt, and other debris while you’re not watching it every day.

Depending on how long you leave your kayak in storage, these elements can wreak havoc on your kayak’s exterior.

In the worst-case scenario, these elements can even lead to the kind of permanent damage that forces you to buy an entirely new kayak.

But, the good news is that these covers and tarps aren’t expensive and they’re a great way to protect your sit on top kayak while it’s being stored.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, investing either time or money is a requirement if you want to properly care for your sit on top kayak.

Of course, you could simply let it sit on the ground outside and leave it uncovered whenever you’re not using it.

But that’s just asking for the weather, critters, and other factors to wreak havoc on your kayak.

Over time, it’s going to cause you to have to invest more money to get an entirely new kayak than if you had just invested a little extra upfront to store your kayak properly.

With the many methods for storing a sit on top kayak we’ve presented above, you’ll be able to choose the solution that best fits your home, kayak, and lifestyle.

We hope you’ve found these solutions, as well as our general tips for storing a kayak useful, and, as always, we wish you the best of luck on all of your future kayaking adventures!

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Peter Salisbury

Pete is the Owner of Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him skiing in the mountains, reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.

Welcome! I’m so glad you are here :-) I’m Pete. I am the owner of I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I grew up kayaking, fishing, sailing, and partaking in outdoor adventures around the Great Lakes. When I am not out on the water, you can find me skiing in the mountains, reading my favorite books, and spending time with my family.