How to Store Kayaks and Canoes

Jon Fesmire |

Do you enjoy kayaking down the river or taking your canoe out on a nearby lake for a few hours? Then while you’re not using it, you’ll need to store it safely.

Let’s start with the obvious. Don’t just leave your boat in your backyard. It will be subjected to the elements and could get stolen. Leaving your canoe or kayak out in the sun, rain, or snow can subject it to changing weather conditions that can dry out parts or encourage the growth of mold.

Here’s how to store your canoe or kayak in a self storage unit, which will afford better protection.

Cleaning Canoes and Kayaks

To clean your kayak or canoe, fill a bucket with hose water and some mild soap. Get a clean sponge, too. Hose your boat down and wipe it clean with soapy water. Make sure to wash off any debris. If you take your boat out in salt water, wash off all remaining salt.

Check your boat for cracks and other damage and make repairs. There are kayak and canoe repair kits on the market. For more serious damage, call an expert. Let it dry thoroughly and protect it with UV spray.

The above instructions apply to both canoes and kayaks, but we have specifics for each boat type as well.

If your canoe has wooden gunwales, after they dry, apply gunwale oil before applying the UV spray. Make sure the seats are secure and undamaged. Secure, repair, or replace seats, if necessary.

For kayaks, separate the parts before washing them, including the main body and the hatch cover, and let them dry separately.

Options for Storing Your Boat in Self Storage

When you store your canoe or kayak, it’s important to do so in a way that allows the boat to keep its shape. You can store a kayak upside down, upright, or on its side, while canoes should only be stored upside down.

To store a kayak on its side, you’ll hang it on a wall. Kayak wall hangers are available online.

To hang your boat right side up or upside down, you’ll hang it from the ceiling. You can get boat ceiling hanger systems online as well. Some come with a pulley that allows you to more easily lift the boat from the ground to the heights of your garage or storage unit.

If you have any doubts about how to hang your boat, check your manual or visit the manufacturer’s website.

Why to Use Self Storage

One problem with storing your boat in a garage is that summers may get hot and humid, potentially warping any wood in your boat and allowing mold to grow. Winters may get down to freezing temperatures with dry air, which can cause various parts to contract and crack.

As such, unless you live in an area with a steady, temperate climate year-round, we recommend keeping your boat in a self-storage unit with climate control. This will keep the temperature and humidity in safe levels for all your belongings, boats included.

You can also retrieve your boat whenever you’re ready to go out and enjoy it on the water. Most facilities are open reasonable hours, but compare several facilities to find one that works on your schedule.

Following these suggestions, you’ll be able to keep your canoe or kayak in great shape for years, allowing you to enjoy them whenever you want to head to a river or lake.