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Under Deck Kayak Storage – Ideas, How To (Guide)

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Under Deck Kayak Storage – Ideas, How To (Guide)

If you have a deck, it’s one of the easiest and most convenient places to store your kayak when you aren’t paddling.

There are many forms of under deck kayak storage, however, so you will need to choose the option that makes the most sense for you.

Storing your kayak (or kayaks) under your deck is also a great way to avoid figuring out how to store your kayak in the garage.

If you live in a place with four seasons, you won’t want your kayaks to take up valuable space in your garage when you’d rather keep your car warmer in there overnight.

From hanging storage to just leaving your kayaks sitting directly on the ground, you can choose to go simple or get fancy when it comes to storing a kayak under a deck.

While there are, of course, benefits to simplicity, there are also advantages to devising a more complex solution.

Fortunately, we are going to provide a number of under deck kayak storage ideas in today’s how-to guide. So let’s start storing!

Under Deck Kayak Storage Ideas

For starters, let’s just provide a brief list of under deck kayak storage ideas (with illustrations) to provide you with a little inspiration. We will get into how to execute these ideas in a later section.

Build A Freestanding Kayak Rack

The first idea we have for under deck kayak storage is to build a freestanding kayak rack and then place it under your deck.

This solution will require a bit more time and energy, and you should also have an interest in (and affinity for) DIY projects.

It’s a good idea if you have a deck that you can stand underneath and building your own rack will allow you to customize how many kayaks it can hold.

So it’s also a great choice if you have multiple kayaks to store.

Another major benefit of building your own freestanding rack is that you can probably do it for less than if you bought a pre-made rack.

Plus, you will be able to move the rack around once it is built so that it can adapt as your kayak storage needs change.

There are many designs you can use for building your own kayak rack from wood, PVC, or other materials.

We will get into some action steps for this kayak storage idea in our how-to guide, but if you want a full breakdown, check out our article on how to build an outdoor kayak storage shed.

Hanging Wall Storage

If you have enough wall space underneath your deck, you can also install wall-mounted racks to store your kayaks in this fashion.

This idea will require that you have a clear wall that is at least the same length as your longest kayak.

Otherwise, you will not have the kind of space for your kayak to hang on the wall safely.

You do not want anything to be pushing down on your kayak or contacting it in any way if you go with this under deck kayak storage idea.

That is mainly because it will put too much stress on the wall-mounted brackets and compromise their ability to hold your kayaks.

If this happens, your kayaks will fall and could be damaged (or damage something else you’ve stored under your deck).

The main benefit of this storage idea is that the remainder of the square footage underneath your deck will remain accessible for storing other gear and items that you also want to keep out of the weather.

Store Them On The Ground

In some cases, it may also make sense to simply store your kayaks on the ground underneath your deck.

This is obviously the easiest path for under deck kayak storage, but it is really only appropriate if you have a completely enclosed area under your deck.

This will allow you to keep critters out of that space throughout the time that your kayak is in storage.

If your under deck area is open to the outside world, storing your kayaks on the ground will open them up to all sorts of animals and insects.

The wildlife in your area might really enjoy converting your kayak into a seasonal home while you aren’t using it.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t like cleaning up after those temporary residents when you want to pull your kayak out of storage in the spring.

That being said, storing your kayaks on the ground underneath an enclosed deck is by far the cheapest and easiest kayak storage solution.

We’ll provide a little more on how to do it safely and securely in our how-to guide.

Hang Them From The Deck Rafters

Another solution is to hang your kayaks from the rafters underneath your deck.

This is a great solution if you want to keep your kayaks up and off the ground but you don’t necessarily have wall space for a wall-mounted storage solution.

This under deck kayak storage idea will require some basic hardware and knowledge of how to properly drill into your rafters to not only create a durable storage solution but also to avoid compromising the integrity of your deck.

Fortunately, there are many pre-made hanging kayak racks out there to choose from these days.

Many of them also allow you to store your kayak paddle and other kayak accessories along with your kayak itself, so you don’t necessarily need to find other storage space for those items elsewhere.

The only downside of hanging kayaks from the rafters of your deck is that it takes a little more time to hang them securely and then get them down when you want to go kayaking.

That said, we’ll provide some hints for making that process a little easier later on.

Buy A Portable Kayak Rack or Stands

The last idea that we have is to simply buy a pre-made kayak rack or kayak stands to place under your deck.

This is another easy-button solution for under deck kayak storage, but it will require you to spend a little more money than some of the other ideas above.

That said, buying a rack or stands has the added benefit of being able to move it around to store your kayak wherever is needed.

So this storage is good for renters or folks that might be in more fluid living situations.

It also makes it easier to clean and care for your kayaks over their lifetime.

Stands are the perfect place to set your kayak up when it’s time to give it a full rinse after several months of non-use.

Stands or a pre-made rack can also be useful for performing any maintenance tasks on your kayak, such as replacing handles or repairing cracks.

For those reasons, this is a bit more of a versatile under deck kayak storage idea than some of the others.

How To Store A Kayak Under A Deck

Now it’s time to learn how to bring some of these ideas to fruition. In this under deck kayak storage how-to guide, we will walk you through the basic steps of how to store a kayak under a deck in a variety of fashions.

Building A Freestanding Rack

How to build a freestanding kayak rack will depend on the type of material you are comfortable working with.

Most of these racks are either made of wood or PVC plastic piping.

Wooden racks can be a little more expensive, but they tend to be more durable and long-lasting.

While PVC racks may not be able to hold as much weight, they cost much less and are generally easier to build.

Here are some simple steps for building both types of freestanding kayak racks.

Wooden Kayak Rack

1. Choose Design – Your first step will be choosing the design that makes the most sense for you. Some ideas include a box with ‘shelves’ or a T-shape with angled arms. Here are a couple of pictures to illustrate these ideas.

Image – Box with Shelves

Image – T-Shape With Angled Arms

2. Buy/Acquire Materials – Next, make a list of all the materials you will need to complete your build. This will most likely include several lengths of two-by-four or four-by-four, some sort of material to pad the arms of your rack, and all of the hardware to hold it together.

Keep in mind that you may also be able to acquire materials on the cheap by looking at various online resources. So if you don’t need to build your kayak ASAP, you may get a little more creative and industrious when acquiring the materials for your kayak rack.

Just make sure the wood you get is in good condition so that it doesn’t rot or decay within a few months of assembling your rack!

3. Stain/Finish Materials – Even if you are going to place your rack under your deck, it should be as weather-resistant as possible. So make sure you apply a layer of waterproof stain to all the wooden components of your rack before you start to assemble it.

We recommend this because it will be easier to do a more complete job of staining everything before your rack is assembled. Once it is, there will be spots you can’t reach and a little bit of water ingress can cause those unprotected areas to compromise the integrity of the rack.

4. Layout Materials – Once your materials are weatherproofed, lay them out on the ground in the appropriate locations for your design. This will help you visualize your rack before you just starting drilling and bolting things together, and it will also help you make sure you aren’t missing anything before you start to assemble your rack.

5. Assemble Rack – Now you can begin to assemble your rack working from the bottom up. Make sure to pre-drill all holes with an appropriately-sized drill bit in order to ensure the strongest design possible when you do secure all bolts and screws in place.

PVC Kayak Rack

1. Buy/Acquire Materials – For a PVC rack, you’ll need the following materials:

  • 1” PVC pipe (enough length for your specific design and can use a larger diameter for a stronger rack)
  • T-shaped PVC connectors
  • 90° PVC connectors
  • PVC glue

2. Cut PVC Sections – Cut down the PVC pipe to the appropriate lengths and widths. Your width pieces should be 4-6” longer than the width of your kayak.

For the length of your rack, it’s better to use multiple shorter PVC sections (with appropriate vertical supports placed every 3-4’) so that the rack can support the weight of your kayak.

3. Layout Materials – Layout all of your PVC pipe and connectors before you begin the assembly process.

Again, this will help you visualize your design and avoid beginning assembly before you are sure you have all the supplies you need to see it through to completion.

4. Assemble Rack – Now start the assembly from the ground up! Just make sure to use that PVC glue to ensure a strong bond between all sections of PVC pipe and connectors.

Also, check the label on the glue you purchase for the appropriate curing time.

In many cases, you will need to let the entire kayak rack sit for 24-48 hours for the glue to thoroughly cure before you load your kayaks onto your new PVC rack.

Hanging A Wall-Mounted Rack

To hang a wall-mounted rack, start by identifying the exact racks that you want and getting them ordered.

If you need to hang multiple kayaks, make sure you order enough racks to accommodate all of your vessels.

Once you have your racks in hand, you will need to do some measuring of your kayak(s).

Ultimately, you will want to mount your wall racks so that roughly one-third of your kayak’s length is between the arms of your rack.

For example, let us use a 15-foot kayak for this quick how-to process.

We will want to take that kayak and lay it on the ground at the base of the wall on which we intend to hang it.

From there, we want to mark two spots on the wall where our racks will eventually be mounted.

Those spots should roughly be about five feet in from the bow and stern of your kayak, respectively, and five feet apart themselves.

Of course, you will also need to identify studs in the wall so that your racks will eventually support the weight of your kayak.

So you may need to adjust the amount of space between the two rack arms by 6 to 12 inches to make sure that you screw the arms directly into studs.

From there, simply place your rack arms on the wall at your desired height and pre-drill the holes that you will use to mount the racks.

Then, mount the rack arms using the hardware that they came with (most good racks come with mounting screws or bolts) and you are ready to load your kayaks on.

Storing Kayaks On The Ground

This is a really simple solution that, honestly, doesn’t require much in the way of a how-to guide.

We will say, however, that we never recommend storing your kayaks directly on the ground.

If you are not interested in any of the other kayak storage ideas on our list, simply find some sort of blocks or two-by-fours that you can set your kayaks on top of instead of storing them directly on the ground.

Plus, it is a good idea to store your kayak upside down so that the weight isn’t resting directly on the hull.

This will lessen the stress on the hull and decrease the possibility of it becoming dented or cracked while it is in storage.

Also, consider covering your kayak with a tarp or blanket if you do decide to store it on the ground.

This will keep it protected from dust and other debris while also reducing the risk of critters setting up shop inside your kayak’s cockpit while you aren’t looking.

Setting Up Hanging Storage

There are a number of pre-made kayak storage kits that are built for hanging your kayak from a roof or, in this case, the rafters of your deck.

To be honest, hanging from the rafters is a bit easier because you don’t have to worry about finding solid places to mount hardware (like you would in a finished garage, for example).

That being said, if you don’t want to use a pre-made storage kit, you can also mount J-hooks to your rafters at strategic locations.

From there, you can use something like these fifteen-foot NRS cam straps to create loops for hoisting your kayak up and off the ground.

If you have a relatively low deck that barely has enough room for you to stand up underneath, we’d recommend going with a customized solution like that.

If you have a higher deck, however, you will want a pre-made storage kit that includes some sort of pulley system that makes it easier to hoist your kayak up all the way to the rafters.

If you choose the path of buying a pre-made hanging storage kit, our best advice is to simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely when setting it up.

If you choose the DIY route, however, we have a few more tips for you.

When mounting your J-hooks, you will want to place them on rafters that are far enough apart for your kayak to fit between.

So you will need a measurement of the width of your kayak, but a length measurement will be useful while you’re at it.

You don’t want your hooks to be too far apart, however, so choose the two rafters that provide just enough room for your kayak to hang between without making contact with your hooks.

From there, use the same rule as we mentioned above with wall-mounted storage.

You will need two sets of hooks so that you will have two straps to support the weight of your kayak at either end.

These sets of hooks should be placed at a distance equal to about one-third of the total length of your kayak.

This will create a hanging solution that is best equipped to support the entire weight of your kayak evenly.

Buying A Portable Rack or Stands

Again, this one really doesn’t require all that much in the way of how-to suggestions.

That said, there are certainly a number of criteria that you should use when buying a portable kayak rack or kayak stands.

To keep things simple, we recommend making sure that the rack you choose can accommodate the number of kayaks that you need to store as well as the combined weight of all of those kayaks.

For more information on buying a portable kayak rack or kayak stands, check out our article on the 10 best outdoor kayak storage racks!

Final Thoughts

Storing your kayaks correctly is just as important as using them correctly.

A kayak that isn’t properly cared for when it’s not on the water is going to be less likely to perform up to your paddling standards when you do take it out.

Plus, depending on how much you spend to get one of the best crossover kayaks or whitewater kayaks, you might not want your investment to break or wear down in just a few year’s time.

The more care you take when storing your kayak, the longer it will last.

If you ever decide to sell your kayak or upgrade in the future, you will also be able to get a better return on your investment if you take care of your kayak.

So we hope that you leave this article with plenty of ideas for under deck kayak storage and some real examples on how to execute them around your home.

As always, we wish you the best of luck in all of your upcoming kayaking (and kayak storage) adventures!

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Author: Peter SalisburyPete is the Owner of KayakHelp.com. 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 KayakHelp.com. 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.

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