The Best Way For Storing Kayak Outside The Safe Way: How-To

by Jason | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
The Best Way For Storing Kayak Outside The Safe Way: How-To

So, you’re thinking about buying a kayak, or you’ve already got one, the problem is, you don’t have enough room to store your kayak inside.

And that leads you to another problem…

You’re not sure how to store kayaks outside without damaging them? Well, luckily, you’ve come to the right place; I’m here to help you find your kayak storage solution.

In this article, I will introduce you to the ultimate guide for storing kayaks outside. But, before we get into that, I want to answer some questions you might be having.

Sound good?

Great, let’s get into it:

Is It Okay To Store Your Kayak Outside?

For many people storing kayaks outside is the best option when it’s in season. 

You don’t want to store the kayak in the water, but you want it more accessible so you can head straight out to the river quickly.

That being said, you have to make sure you store kayaks correctly so you don’t cause more damage than you have to. So, where should you keep your kayak?

Here are a few great options:

  • Under a roof or eaves
  • On a covered porch
  • Under a tarp and off the floor
  • With a kayak cover
  • Under a deck

And if you keep on reading, I’m going to show you everything you need to do to store your kayak safely.

How Do I Protect My Kayak From The Outside?

Protecting your kayak from the outside is a vital aspect to consider. There are many things you need to consider when you’re storing your kayak outside, and in this section, I’m going to talk you through a few of them.

Let’s take a look:

  • Store the kayak off the floor using an outdoor storage rack.
  • Lock your kayak to something to prevent theft when it’s left outside and make sure it’s out of sight.
  • Protect your kayak from direct sunlight. If exposed to UV light, it will damage the exterior and possibly warp the kayak. You can use a sun-protective spray to help prevent any damage.
  • Make sure you remove any fabric storage compartments or seats and store them separately. Bugs love damp fabric, and it will become infested over time.
  • Don’t wrap the kayak too tightly in the tarp; you don’t want direct contact. Moisture can get underneath the tarp and make it musty.
  • Protect the cockpit of the kayak from pests and rodents. Find something to seal the cockpit and place a few moisture-absorbing packets inside.  

Following these minor procedures will protect your kayak from outside dangers. They don’t take long to complete, but they will add a longer lifespan to your kayak.

Can Kayaks Be Stored Outside In The Winter?

It can get far too cold to go out kayaking when the winter rolls around. And this is the time where you need to think about your winter storage solutions.

But can you store the kayak outside for the winter months?

Well, you can, but it’s not really advised. The cold weather can leave cracks in your kayak if you’re not careful. 

It’s definitely suggested to keep your kayak indoors… if you can. The problem is:

Not everyone has the space to keep their kayak indoors or can afford to leave it in a storage facility. So, what should you do?

If storing your kayak outside is your only option, then there are a few things you need to think about when it comes to winter kayak storage.

The first thing is to cover it with a UV-protecting tarp. The sun can cause far more damage than the cold, so keep it protected.

Next, you need to store it somewhere where snow or trees and cannot fall on it. The last thing you want is to wake up to a crushed kayak.

And finally, try and find somewhere that stays reasonably warm. In cold temperatures, the plastic can become very brittle, which is something to consider.

Here are a few more tips for properly storing your kayak outside in the winter:

  • Make sure you fill all the cracks; if water freezes inside the cracks, it can cause a lot of damage to your kayak.
  • Elevate your kayak to stop any small animals from getting inside. Animals are looking for shelter in the winter, and your kayak will make the perfect home. You should also add a cockpit cover to the kayak.
  • Make sure you store it in the correct position. If you have a plastic kayak, you should keep it on its side. If it’s a composite kayak, it should be on its side or upside down.
  • If your kayak was wood trim, loosen the screws to prevent unwanted cracks.
  • Remove all the hatch and neoprene covers, so it has open-air flowing inside.
  • Remove the float tank plug.
  • Make sure you keep your kayak clean and maintain the boat before storing it away. 

The Complete Guide For Storing Your Kayak Outside

Okay, I’ve given you a few tips for storing your kayak outside, but in this section, we’re going to cover all the bases. 

If you follow all the steps I’ve laid out in this guide, you’ll have no trouble storing your boat outside.

Let’s take a look: 

How To Choose The Right Location For Storing Your Kayak

Finding the right location to store your kayak outside is the key to success. And there are a few things you need to think about, like the elements and thieves. Let me explain what makes the perfect locations:

Watch Out For Moisture

You might not think about storing your kayak away from moisture because you spend so much time in the water.

But here’s the thing:

If you don’t take the proper steps to protect your boat from moisture, you can damage your kayak in the long run. Things like mold and fungus can degrade the structural integrity of the kayak.

Keep It Out Of Plain Sight

An essential aspect of finding the right spot to store your kayak is that it’s out of sight. And of course, it might not be the easiest thing to do in your garden.

At the very least, you should lock your kayak to something that can’t move to deter any potential thieves from taking advantage. Some people say you should use a steering wheel lock across the cockpit of your boat.

Make Sure Your Spot Doesn’t Get Any Sunlight.

One of the quickest ways to damage your boat is to leave it out in the sun. UV rays can cause extreme damage to your kayak, no matter what material it’s made from.

Try to keep your kayak out of direct sunlight when you’re storing it outside. Using things like kayak covers, tarps, or decking can go a long way in protecting your kayak.

Kayak Storage Locations: Where To Store Your Kayak Outside

I’ve given you some ideas on how to find the right place to store your kayak outside. But in this section, I want to provide you with some location ideas:

A. Under Your Decking

If you have one under your decking is a fantastic place to store your kayak. And there are a few reasons for this:

  1. It doesn’t receive sunlight
  2. You have a lot of mounting options to keep it off the floor

There are a few ways you can use the deck to store your kayak, but it depends on how tall the storage area is underneath. If it’s tall, use a ceiling mount or pulleys; try using a wall mount if it’s too short.

B. Use A Freestanding Option 

If DIY isn’t your thing, then you might want to go for a freestanding kayak rack. The great thing about them is they can store multiple kayaks and have plenty of spare room for your accessories.

To make things better:

They usually come with wheels, making it easy to move around when you need to. And if you have a big enough tarp, you can wrap it up to protect the boat against the rain, snow, and sun.

C. Try Using Your Fence

If you have sturdy fence posts, you can build a kayak stand to help keep it off the floor. All you have to do is connect a wall mount to it.

Just make sure you evenly distribute the weight so you don’t damage the fence in the long term.

D. Make It Yourself

This option might not be for everyone because it requires a lot of work and DIY experience. But, if you haven’t got any of the options above available, it might be your only option.

How you want to do it is up to you. You might decide to put two fence posts in a hole and connect a wall mount to that.


If you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to try and build your own version of a freestanding kayak rack. The choices are endless; it all depends on how willing you are.

For inspiration, here’s an example of a DIY PVC kayak rack:

How To Store A Kayak Outdoors

Okay, you know where to store your kayak, but you don’t know how to keep it. So, in this section, I’m going to show you precisely what precautions you should take and how to store a kayak:

Make Sure You Clean Your Kayak First

Cleaning your kayak before storing it away might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s definitely something you should take care of before putting it away.

There could be all sorts of stuff leftover on your kayak after you’ve been paddling, and you need to get that grime off.

Depending on how dirty your kayak is, it will determine how hard it’s going to be to clean. It might just be a simple case of hosing it down with some water. But, if the dirt is a little more stubborn, you might have to put some elbow grease into it.

If you’re storing it away for an extended period, make sure you use some soapy water and give it a good clean to keep your kayak in good condition.

Use A Proper Storage Rack

I’ve mentioned some of the options you have above already, so I’m not going to go too much into it.

The most important reason for keeping the kayak off the floor is to stop mud animals from getting inside and damaging the boat.

Positioning Your Kayak For Storing

Most of the time, it’s best to store your kayak with the hull facing up. Doing this will prevent your kayaking from hull damage.

Unfortunately, some kayak mounts only allow you to store your boat on its side. And this is okay; just remember to flip it around every month or so.

Spread The Weight Evenly

When you store the kayak on a kayak mount, you must ensure the weight is evenly distributed. Hulls can easily deform over time with uneven weight distribution.

Try to store your boat evenly on either side and make sure that it’s padded with something soft on the pressure points. A good rule of thumb is to support about one-third of the weight from each end.

Strap Your Kayak Down

You should 100% make sure it’s tied down if you’re storing your kayak outside. If the strong winter winds pick up, you don’t want it blowing all over the place.

Make Sure It’s Covered

Remember, leaving your kayak outside to contend with the bad weather is never a good idea, so make sure you wrap it up.

Use a tarp or a kayak cover to keep the element off your kayak; just make sure it’s not too tight; it needs to look more like a shelter.

Things You Have To Avoid When Storing Your Kayak Outside

Before I leave you, I want to talk about a few things you need to avoid when you’re storing your kayak outside. This will stop any damage from being caused to your kayak while it’s left out:

Avoid Leaving Your Kayak on The Ground

Kayaks aren’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is cause unnecessary damage. If you chuck your kayak on the ground and leave it there for the winter, you’re going to come back to a damaged kayak.

The wet ground/mud and freezing and thawing can really take it out of your kayak; make sure you use a rack and store it off the ground.

Avoid Letting Wildlife In

Rodents and other pests will love the look of your kayak as their new nesting spot. Which is another reason you should store your kayak off the ground.

Many people like to add a cockpit cover to their kayak to stop any critters from making their way into your kayak to nest.

If you plan to seal the kayak, make sure you add some moisture-absorbing pads to stop any mold growing inside.

Don’t Leave The Kayak Unlocked

You need to protect your kayak against thieves. As mentioned before, kayaks are expensive, and having someone steal them from you will break your heart. There are different ways to lock up your kayak depending on what model you have, so make sure you check it out.

Key Insights & Takeaways 

Storing your kayak inside is the best option, but you have to work something else out when you haven’t got the space. And that’s why finding the right kayak storage solution is no easy task.

And that’s where this guide can help you. By following all the simple steps above, you’ll be able to store your kayak properly outside without the fear of causing damage.

The most important thing to remember is to keep the sun off the kayak and keep it raised off the ground. And finally, make sure you evenly distribute weight so you don’t warp the kayak. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should I Cover My Kayak In The Winter?

Yes, you should definitely consider covering your kayak in the winter to prevent damage to your kayak. Just make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly; you want air to get to the kayak.

Is It Bad To Store A Kayak Standing Up?

Storing your kayak vertically is possible, but it’s not recommended for long periods. If you’re keeping your kayak standing up, never do it for more than one day.

Should I Get A Kayak Cover?

You don’t need a kayak cover, but it really does help. A kayak cover helps to provide protection from the elements. 

How Long Do Plastic Kayaks Last?

Due to the UV resistance of high-density polyethylene, you can expect your plastic kayak to last around 12 years. That being said, you need to make sure you protect your kayak as much as possible, which is where this article can help you.

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Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.