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So, you’ve purchased your new kayak, you’ve taken it for a spin out on the water, and now you’re wondering how to store it. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
If you decided against an inflatable kayak and went for the traditional hard shell kind, then storing it correctly will come with some additional steps and precautions which we’re going to go over today.
In this article, we’re going to cover how to properly store your kayak and the preferred storage locations to keep your kayak in its best possible condition.
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Before we get into how to store your kayak, it’s important to know where the best place to store it is.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garage or shed space, then storing your kayak indoors is your safest bet. Not only would it be protected from the outdoor elements, but it will also be kept out of sight from thieves.
When it comes to indoor storage, you can go down the storage rack or suspended kayak storage option route. We’ll get into both of these a little bit later, but regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to keep your kayak away from other objects.
Even hard shell kayaks can damage objects falling or bumping up against them, so it is essential to keep your kayak in a place where nothing can accidentally hit it.
Keeping your kayak out of direct sunlight is also an important rule every owner should abide by when it comes to storing kayaks. The sun can damage the materials of a kayak as well as generally discoloring and aging them.
If you want to keep your kayak inside, keep it away from any windows or loosely cover it with a tarp. Tarps should be hung over the kayak to encourage airflow and not kept directly on top of them.
Your indoor storage area should also remain a steady temperature year-round. If your indoor kayak storage area gets too hot or too cold, it could damage the materials of your kayak and shorten its lifespan.
If you aren’t blessed with an indoor proper kayak storage area, then storing your kayak outdoors will also work just fine. Although it is possible to store it outdoors, this should only be used as a last resort option as the extreme temperatures, elements, and UV radiation can damage your kayak far quicker than if it was stored indoors.
Shaded outdoor areas are your best bet when it comes to an outdoor kayak storage space. Back porches or patios, more often than not, have protection from the sun, wind, and extreme heat. You could even store your kayaks under your porch if you have room.
Just like indoor storage, you can also use storage racks or suspension cords to keep your kayak up off the ground. If you do choose to store kayaks outdoors, it’s recommended to loosely drape a tarp over the top. The tarp will prevent rainfall, snow, and sun from reaching your kayak and potentially damaging it over time.
If you’ve found the perfect outdoor or indoor storage space, then it’s time to find the right kayak storage solution. Storage solutions such as storage racks and suspension systems prevent uneven weight distribution that could ultimately end in a damaged kayak.
Kayak storage racks can be freestanding or attached to a wall or ceiling. Some great examples are:
Purchasing a high-quality storage rack will give your kayak a permanent and easy-to-access home when it isn’t in use. Many racks can store multiple kayaks and even other watercraft like paddle boards and surfboards.
As we mentioned before, kayak racks can be used for both indoor and outdoor storage areas and can easily be attached to a wall, ceiling, or deck with the use of simple hardware.
For more storage rack options, head on over to SUP Storage Racks: Best Paddle Board Wall Racks or The Best Outdoor Paddle Board Storage Solutions. And don’t worry, as kayaks and paddle boards are roughly the same shape and size, storage racks typically work well for both!
Another option is to suspend your kayak against the wall. A suspension storage system is more streamlined than a storage rack because when the kayak is taken out from the ropes, the ropes sit flat against the wall.
As suspension systems are just ropes, they also tend to be a lot cheaper than a kayak rack. The Pelican Store Double Kayak Storage System, for example, can hold two kayaks weighing up to 200 lbs and easily mounts to the wall with hooks.
Inflatable kayaks come out on top when it comes to storage solutions. As they can be deflated and packed into a small bag, they can be stored in a cupboard, under your bed, or neatly in the corner of a garage.
You can also store your inflatable kayak in the same way as a hardshell while it's still inflated. If you do choose to store your kayak inflated, it’s best to release a few PSI to allow room for the air inside the kayak to expand. For long storage periods, however, it’s best to fully deflate your kayak to ensure it doesn’t get damaged while not in use.
Now that we’ve covered some different kayak storage options, let's get into how to store a kayak properly.
The first thing you need to do before storing your kayak is clean it. If you regularly use your kayak, then simply rinsing it with fresh water after each use will do the trick. But, if you’re going to be storing your kayak for the entire winter, for example, we recommend using a mild soap and giving it a proper clean before putting it away.
You should take even more care cleaning your kayak if you’ve just paddled in salt water. Salt water can damage hardshell and inflatable kayaks so rinsing off every crevice will remove any salt water or debris from the kayak’s hull and cockpit.
After you’ve rinsed or washed your kayak, the next thing you need to do is dry it thoroughly. The best way to do this is to leave it outside for five to ten minutes and then dry it off with a dry towel.
Storing your kayak while it's wet can encourage the growth of mold and mildew, especially on fabric components like the kayak seat.
A great habit to get into while washing and drying your kayak is to check it over for any damage. Kayaks can withstand hull damage from bumping into rocks or other debris in the water and although it may not seem serious at the time, it could cause a lot of damage.
Noticing damage as soon as possible will allow professionals a better change of fixing your kayak and getting it back to its best condition. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring potential damage and ruining your kayak beyond repair.
If you have a plastic kayak then you need to think about weight distribution. Storing your kayak vertically leaning against a wall is a big no no as all the weight of the kayak will be concentrated on the kayak’s nose or tail.
This also goes for laying the kayak directly on a flat surface. As the bottom hull of the kayak is more prominent than other parts of the boat, all of the kayak's weight will be centered to one particular area. Over time this will cause pressure indents and shorten your kayaks overall lifespan.
We mentioned before about how you should keep your kayak out of direct sunlight, but this point is so important that we want to highlight it again.
Although kayaks are made for outdoor activities, they, like other personal watercraft, can’t withstand the outdoor elements for long periods of time. The sun can damage the kayaks materials and can also cause discoloration making your kayak look old and outdated.
Storing it in a shaded area is key, but you can also add a tarp or kayak cover for an extra layer of protection.
Finally, if you want to go the extra mile, then a sun protective spray like a 303 UV Protectant will protect your kayak from the sun’s harmful rays. These sprays work in the same way as sunscreen would work for humans and will ultimately prevent your kayak from cracking and fading.
Your kayak may be the biggest and most expensive component to your kayaking collection, but your additional gear and accessories should also be looked after.
Everything you do with your kayak should be replicated on your kayak gear. This includes all paddles, kayak clothing, seats, and additional accessories.
Before storing, make sure you check your gear over, paying close attention to any tears, rips, or dents. Once you’ve got the all clear on their conditions, rinse them off with fresh water and allow them to properly dry through.
Once everything is dry, store it alongside your kayak so nothing gets lost, moved, or broken. We recommended dedicating a bag or drawer to your gear so everything remains in the same place throughout the storage period.
This one is especially important if you’re storing your kayak outdoors. Storage locks will secure your kayak in place and prevent them being stolen off your property. Storage locks can also be used as tie down straps for transporting your kayak on a vehicle, so you really get the best of both worlds.
We have gone into more detail about kayak locks over on 5 Locks to Secure Your Paddle Board. Kayaks and paddle boards are stored and transported in the same way, so these locks are versatile and can be used for kayaks also!
If you live in an area that gets particularly cold in winter, then there are a few extra precautions you may need to take when it comes to kayak storage.
The first is in regards to outdoor storage, and that is you 100% need to cover your kayak to prevent snow and rain build up from touching your kayak and its hardware. And yes, we know kayaks are made for the water, but prolonged contact with water can cause rust, damage, and moisture build up.
If your kayak gets wet and the temperatures drop, it can cause the water on the kayak to freeze, and the thaw out again. This over time can cause cracks in the kayak, damaging it and rendering it almost useless.
In a perfect world, the best way to store a kayak would be in a garage or shed on a padded storage rack system. Garages are great storage areas as they’re dry, shaded, and typically quite large. The temperatures in garages also don’t fluctuate as much as the outdoors so your kayak wouldn’t be exposed to extreme heat or cold temperatures.
Storing your kayak on a padded rack system will prevent damage to pressure points and keep your kayak away from any other objects that could potentially fall and dent the hull. Ceiling racks, wall racks, or freestanding racks are great options which can usually carry two or more kayaks.
If you don’t have access to a garage, spare room, or shed, then storing your kayak outdoors in a shaded and dry area like a porch or patio would also work fine.
Ideally though, you want to aim for indoor storage, but if that’s not possible, use a wall or freestanding storage rack and drape a tarp or kayak cover over the top of your kayak. Make sure the tarp isn’t directly touching the kayak as this could cause moisture build up.
No matter what, do not store your kayak standing up. Singular kayaks weigh roughly 35 lbs, with tandem kayaks being even more, so storing your kayak standing up will concentrate all that weight on the nose or tail of the kayak.
35 lbs or more in one particular area for long periods of time will cause pressure dings and irreversible damage to your kayak.
The best way to store a kayak in the garage is by purchasing a wall, ceiling, or freestanding rack system. If your garage is relatively full with cars or other day to day items, then a ceiling rack system would work best.
Ceiling racks essentially keep your kayak as close to the ceiling as possible, leaving you with the most amount of space in your garage for other items. A wall rack would be next up and although they take up slightly more room than a ceiling rack, getting your kayak on and off the rack is far easier.
Freestanding racks take up the most space but usually can hold two or more kayaks. These racks are great for families with numerous kayaks that need proper storage.
The final option which tends to be slightly cheaper is a suspension storage system. Suspension storage systems can be attached to the wall and hold your kayak up off the ground using ropes or cords. These systems are minimal and lie flat against the wall when not in use.
Although leaving your kayak outside in winter is not the most ideal storage option, sometimes it's all you’ve got to work with. If you choose to leave your kayak outdoors during winter, it’s best to invest in a storage rack system and place it in a covered porch or patio.
We then recommend covering your kayak with a tarp or kayak cover, making sure the fabric isn’t directly touching the kayak itself. Allowing the fabric to touch the kayak could cause moisture build up over time.
Companies have now created inflatable kayaks for those who enjoy travelling with their beloved boat, or for those who don’t have adequate storage space. Inflatable kayaks can be deflated and packed into a small backpack or duffel bag that can then be placed under your bed, wardrobe, or cupboard.
And don’t worry, just because they’re inflatable, doesn’t mean they lack in quality or durability. Inflatable kayaks are just as strong, if not stronger than their hard shell cousins making them an excellent choice for paddlers of all abilities.
We’ve covered some of the best inflatable kayaks over on The Best Inflatable Kayaks of 2022.
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