Kayak Storage Considerations
Especially for those with more compact homes or limited storage space, optimizing the placement of a kayak is key to staying organized and keeping it accessible. What some might not think of, however, is that storing a kayak incorrectly can cause damage that affects its performance. Here are a few tips to consider when finding a place for your boat to live in an off-season or between uses:
Limit exposure to sunlight, moisture, heat, and cold. All of these elements can be damaging to the hull of the kayak and can warp, degrade, and damage it over time. Cool, dry places with minimal light exposure are prime conditions to preserve the integrity of your vessel.
Look for space in your shed, garage, or interior closet if storing indoors. Keeping your boat inside offers maximum protection from the elements, but be sure to stay wary of placement near windows, as the UV rays can still pose a threat inside. Sheds and garages are good options as long as they are properly insulated and don’t have any leaks.
When storing outdoors, make sure to protect against moisture and sunlight. Not everyone has the interior space to store a kayak, so stowing it outdoors can be a viable option. If you have a covered carport, deck, or overhanging eaves, store your boat underneath them with a tarp. Hanging or suspending the tarp over the boat as opposed to wrapping it up in the tarp is preferable to avoid mold or fungal growth. Just make sure your tarp is secure and won’t collapse if anything collects on top of it.
How to Store a Kayak Safely
In addition to storing your kayak under the correct conditions, it’s important to consider how you’ll be securing it in said location. Most employ a suspension or rack system to support the boat, but there are other factors to consider in order to maintain the overall condition of your kayak.
If using a rack, be sure to store the kayak on its side or hull-side up—protecting the bottom of the boat is crucial to preserving the vessel’s water performance. This is why some prefer a suspension system, as it can be tricky to balance the kayak in a way that preserves the hull. There are suspensions for kayaks specifically, but you can create your own with wider webbing straps. Make sure you’re facing the hull towards the ceiling, and have straps wide enough to support the kayak without going through the grab loops.
You should also avoid pressure points and distribute the boat’s weight evenly regardless of your storing method. It doesn’t need to be as strapped down and secure as you put it on your car, so go a little looser than you’re maybe used to. Supporting it one third of the way down from either end is ideal for weight distribution preserving the curve of the hull. Long-term pressure from straps can damage the kayak’s shape, so these factors are important to keep in mind.
Regardless of which securing system you’re using, just think about what works for your space in making your kayak easily accessible. You don’t want it so secure or out of the way that you won’t end up using it, so keep that in mind when storing your kayak. It also doesn’t hurt to get into regular habits of cleaning, airing out, and re-finishing the exterior with protection or conditioning sprays to ensure your vessel is well-maintained and ready-to-use the next time you’re in the mood for a paddle.