How to Properly Store a Kayak Outdoors

With the summer months upon us, hitting the water becomes more appealing every day. While some folks enjoy going for a swim, others appreciate the thrill and speed of a boat with a motor. A classic and accessible way to enjoy the water, however, is simply kayaking. 

Feeling the cool winds and warm sun as your kayak glides across the surface is something anyone can enjoy. Once your expedition is done, however, you’ll want to make sure that your craft is stored properly. Below, we cover all the tips you might need for properly storing your kayak outdoors. 

Storing a Kayak Outdoors

Whether you are lacking an indoor storage space for your kayak, seek less of a hassle, or just want your craft to be more accessible, storing your kayak outdoors presents its own benefits and drawbacks. 


Most immediately, having your kayak outdoors makes it instantly accessible to bring it right to the shore—saving you time and hassle before you get to hit the water. Benefits to storing your kayak outdoors can include:

  • Increased ventilation: Your kayak will dry faster when in a space with great airflow.
  • Ideal for in-season use: When the weather is nice and you’re looking to sail regularly, you won’t want to waste time bringing it in and out of deep storage. 
  • Making use of space: While space indoors is limited, you can dedicate plenty of outdoor area to keeping multiple kayaks at hand.
  • Vertical storage: Without the restriction of a ceiling, you can turn even the longest watercraft vertically to make the most of your space. 
  • Cons

    While having your kayak accessible is great, outdoor storage isn’t always sustainable. Those who live in mild climates can enjoy storing their boat outside for longer periods of time, but extreme hot or cold temperatures run the risk of causing damage to your boat. Some factors to consider include:

  • Exposure to weather: If your area sees regular storms, high winds can catch an untethered kayak and lead it to get damaged. 
  • Short-term storage: While more temperate climates allow longer outdoor storage, you will eventually have to bring your kayak into shelter to avoid damage from the elements. 
  • What to Avoid

    While making the most of your outdoor space to store your kayak, make sure you’re avoiding some of the most immediate things that will cause damage to your boat. Your craft will do fine in short-term storage outdoors as long as you keep in mind:

  • Moisture: While kayaks are designed to be watertight, storing it in a way that traps moisture can lead to mildew or fungus growing in the hull and eventual warping, if the material allows it.
  • Storing it lying down: A kayak that is resting on its side or its bottom for a prolonged period of time is prone to warping, due to the constant pressure of its own weight. Additionally, being stored with an uncovered cockpit allows debris from surrounding plants and animals to find its way into the boat, soiling and damaging the interior.
  • Storing it on the ground: Being in constant contact with the ground means constant contact with moisture. A low, accessible kayak also makes for a fantastic hiding place for small animals. You’ll want to store your kayak on any variety of rack or hanging apparatus to keep it suspended from the ground. 
  • High-traffic areas: Both for the convenience of the people in the area and for the safety of your boat, avoid storing it in an area where it has a high chance of being bumped or knocked over. The possibility of theft should also be considered, so make sure to secure it to its rack. 
  • Sun damage: Prolonged exposure to sunlight will gradually deteriorate the outside of your kayak, regardless of the material it’s made of. This deterioration can range from the color fading to severe warping that affects its buoyancy. Opt for shade when possible. 
  • Extreme temperatures: If you live in a climate that experiences extreme hots or colds throughout the seasons, you’ll want to bring your kayak indoors during the worst of it. 
  • Consider Your Craft

    Depending on the style of your kayak and the material it’s made of, it may have unique storage needs. The larger the kayak, the more hull and weight you’ll be dealing with; and you’ll want to avoid warping the kayak due to poor storage at all costs. It’s important that the weight of your kayak is evenly supported, and its size is properly accommodated for. 

    Sit-on-top kayaks are best stored deck-side-down, with straps, bars, or planks supporting it at each third of the length of the boat. Sit-inside styles should have their cockpits covered and inner cushions removed (if applicable) when left alone for long periods. Inflatable kayaks can be deflated and condensed for compact storage.

    Regardless of the style of your kayak, you can begin with the same basic rules to ensure that it’s clean, dry, and secure for storage. 

    Steps for Storing 

    1. Clean the Kayak

    After you’ve pulled it ashore, you’ll want to give your vessel a good clean before storing it. Remove any seating, cushions, or fabric interiors and store them (preferably indoors somewhere) to avoid mildew. 

    Scrub the kayak with a mild detergent and a long scrub brush, and then rinse thoroughly with running water. Open the drainage plug to thoroughly drain, and then move it into a sunny spot for it to air dry. 

    2. Store the Kayak

    Depending on the size and shape of your kayak, the structure that you store it on can vary. Your options range from floor racks, DIY kayak racks, wall pegs, hanging suspension straps, or even just vertically up against the wall. 

    However it’s stored, it’s important to make sure that:

    • The weight of the boat is distributed evenly across its supports
    • The supports are padded 
    • It’s not in contact with moisture from the ground
    • It’s out of direct sunlight
    • If any weight is supported by a flat surface, the craft is regularly moved to avoid warping

    3. Secure the Kayak

    Securing your kayak or its rack to a solid structure can make all the difference. Whether it ends up exposed to winds, a clumsy shoulder, or other mischief, having your boat secured will prevent it from being damaged—or worse. 

    Kayak racks can be locked to the exterior of a building or the structure of your dock, adding stability and security. If your boat is supported by a wall, simple pegs can be added on either side to give it a dedicated place to lean without sliding around. Tethers can also be used, but make sure they have enough slack so as to not put pressure on the shell. 

    Contact Us

    After enjoying some time on the water, you’ll want to make sure your watercraft is properly accommodated. Haven Dock & Marine carries all of the dock accessories you may need to make the waterfront the best it can be.

    If you’re in need of kayak equipment, storage solutions, or other dock equipment, find your nearest dealer today and get started. Or, contact us with any questions you may have about storing your kayak outdoors.