The hobby of kayaking, be it for fishing, hunting, and/or exploration, is a favourite pastime for many. Consequently, a lot of emphasis is on purchasing a kayak rather than its aftercare. By only focusing on one aspect of kayaking, neglect of your vessel soon leads to costly repairs.
Kayaks are meant for the water, not land, therefore the right type of storage is vital. Subjecting it to extreme cold and/or heat isn’t advised, nor is leaving it on the rack whenever not in use. This is why many choose to store theirs in a garage.
To safely store your kayak in a garage, you need to have ample space available and opt for an off floor solution. Kayaks shouldn’t be stored on a hard surface. This can damage the hull of your vessel and lead to cracks and dents.
Most owners typically decide upon an overhead solution, simply because of how much space it saves by elevating your kayak. Nevertheless, while overhead storage is favoured, there’s also upright solutions, such as free standing racks and/or wall mounts.
What Are Your Options?
Every garage, regardless of its size, has a limited amount of space. As a result, the ability to store your kayak in the preferred way can become difficult to achieve.
What is more, even if you have the right amount of space, other factors need to be considered in order to maintain your vessel and keep it water-worthy, e.g. humidity. The reason temperature, humidity, and so forth needs to be considered is due to the materials kayaks are made from.
Be your kayak wooden, a composite material, fibreglass, and or plastic, the natural elements of our world, both indoors and out, will create wear and tear upon your vessel. Most of the time, these elements are kept to a minimum, mostly when your kayak is in use.
However, if you store your kayak incorrectly, such as outside in direct sunlight, the heat can warp and degrade it considerably. In the case of humidity, wooden kayaks in particular are at risk due to moisture damage and thus shrinkage.
As you can see, while space is undoubtedly a factor in deciding where and how you store your kayak in a garage, there’s many other issues that garages can cause if they’re not adapted into a climate idealised for kayak storage.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Storage Solutions
The obvious advantage of a rack is that it allows you to store your kayak in a way that evenly distributes the weight of it, which is a crucial part of maintenance. Another reason owners choose this solution is because of how accessible it is — if you use your kayak regularly, you’ll be able to move it with greater ease.
However, while a rack will keep it slightly elevated, it will also take up more room. This can be a problem for those with limited space available. Moreover, the cost can be between £100-£200, assuming you don’t have one custom made. Therefore, while racks have their uses, they’re not the cheapest option.
Wall Mounted Rack
Similar to floor standing racks, wall mounted ones offer a reasonably accessible solution. However, in this instance, it’s one that frees up a lot of garage floor space. There’s also the beauty of you having a fixed solution which only needs a one-off installation, and for a more affordable price.
On the other hand, while you don’t need lots of floor space, you do need lots of wall space; you need to have it positioned away from the garage door and/or shelving. What is more, you need to ensure the fixtures are extremely secure, and that the rack arms are padded to avoid any damage to the kayak exterior.
If you need to save space, there’s few options better suited to your storage needs than an overhead pulley system. It’ll provide an uncluttered setup, help to keep your kayak away from hard surfaces, and ensure distributed weight at all times.
Of course, with such a setup, most kayak owners advise purchasing a pre-made overhead kit as opposed to a DIY job. This is simply because confidence and security are crucial to avoid nasty falls and irreparable damage to your vessel. Moreover, by having your storage overhead, accessibility is hindered, and so not a wise option for frequent kayakers.
Upright Wall Strap
Akin to wall mounts, wall straps allow you to store your kayak safely, while keeping your floor free. However, unlike a wall rack, strapping your vessel in an upright position also frees up valuable wall space as well.
The disadvantages of this however, are that you need to be very precise with positioning. Your kayak must be upright with the stern resting on ground, supported by padding underneath. What is more, you need to keep the straps secure but without them being too tight due to natural expansion of materials due to changes in temperature.
You could argue that a rack is a stand, especially if you opt for a floor one. Nevertheless, while the two are similar, kayak stands often have the advantage of being portable. This is great for those who want the freedom to alternate where they store their vessel, as well as being easy to setup and cheap.
On the flip side of this, they take up a lot of room. You need to have adequate space around the stand as well as room for the stand itself, thus making this a storage solution fit for those with disposal garage space. In addition, there’s also the argument that they’re not as secure for long term storage.
Heaters and Dehumidifiers
Alongside the physical storage of your kayak, you need to purchase equipment that will maintain a sustained, temperature controlled environment. This can be difficult to achieve for those storing their kayaks at home, but by purchasing both a heater and dehumidifier, both extremes of weather will be taken care of.
Heaters are needed if you live somewhere cold. The reason being is that extreme cold can freeze any residual water still left in the intricate crevices of your kayak, which will cause contractions and expansion of the material. Prolonged exposure to such conditions will damage your kayak, and shorten its lifespan.
Investing in a heater is reasonably cheap if you look at the cost of simply purchasing one. However, costs can rise in the form of electricity bills. Therefore, you need to be mindful of the long term cost of additional heating.
In regards to a dehumidifier, these are a crucial investment for hot and damp climates. As we’ve touched on before, prolonged moisture is the enemy of any kayak, especially wooden ones. Therefore, you want to remove extra moisture from the air. Much like with heaters, the cost of purchasing can be affordable, while the running of it can soon become costly.
This is why some owners pay for their kayak to be stored elsewhere. Unfortunately however, this option is only available to those who have the money to do so, which is why ultimately, finding ways to store your kayak at home is preferred.
How You Should NOT Store Your Kayak
Given everything already covered, the notion of what is considered bad kayak storage will already have formed in your mind. Nonetheless, reiteration of poor practices will help ensure nobody makes unnecessary mistakes.
Kayaks shouldn’t be stored where it’ll be exposed to the elements. This is why so many choose to store their kayak inside instead of outdoors. Furthermore, you never want to rest your kayak on a hard surface. These vessels aren’t designed to bear their full weight on a hard surface, meaning that prolonged storage on its hull will cause severe damage.
You should also never store your kayak without cleaning it first, simply because poor storage solutions will only exacerbate the grime of a neglected vessel. Owners should drain water, wipe off excess dampness, keep fabric interiors separately stored, and utilise specialist equipment, like sun protection spray, once or twice a year.
Lastly, poor fixtures for suspension of your kayak will result in damage, be that because strapping has been tied too tightly, or because the wrong studs have been used. If you feel you can’t create a safe, secure, and sturdy storage solution by yourself, you need to purchase one.
DIY projects will prove cheaper, but they’re also time consuming and run a greater risk of going wrong. No matter which way you go, DIY or purchased solutions, making sure to correctly setup your storage solution is the key to success.
Garages provide multiple ways in which you can safely store your kayak. Suspension or freestanding solutions will allow your kayak to sit in an ideal position when not in use.
Nevertheless, to reap the most benefits from choosing the correct storage system, regular and continued kayak maintenance is needed. Neglecting the immediate aftercare of your vessel will result in damage, even if you set up a secure storage system; the two elements of care must be used together, not as an either/or.