How to Store Your Plastic Kayak

Colorful kayaks and canoes by the lake on a sunny day.

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The longer a person kayaks the more boats they tend to collect. This poses a kayak storage problem, as not many people have unlimited space to arrange boats. Usually, kayaks end up stacked or standing up in a garage or backyard, collecting dust, and getting deformed in the process. Here’s how to store plastic kayaks to do the least amount of damage to your boat.

Use Multiple Contoured Padded Supports to Store Your Kayak

Despite being the most durable of all kayak materials, plastic kayaks easily deform when pressure is applied to contact points or under its own weight for extended periods of time. This is how kayaks develop flat spots, dents, or a deformed shape.

Therefore, the ideal kayak storage plan is to support them from underneath their hull at multiple padded points. The best way to do this is to hang the kayak from the ceiling of your garage, shed, or storage area. Use more than two straps, preferably wide ones. If only two straps can be used, keep the straps away from the ends so that the kayak doesn’t tend to sag in the middle over time. A second choice of hanging the kayaks is to rest them on a rack or shelf on foam kayak supports, again at multiple points.

Lastly, if you must store your kayak just laying it on the floor, which is the worst option of all, place the kayak on its side. Allow it to lean up against a wall, railing, deck, or fence. Be sure to place something soft underneath where it where it contacts the ground. A towel will work in a pinch. Then, every-so-often flip the kayak over onto the other side. This will prevent a flat spot from developing and if it already formed, it will enable it to pop back out again. It's amazing how that works, actually.

Keep Your Kayak out of the Elements

Excessive heat causes kayaks to droop when stored. Some people worry that extended periods of freezing temperatures will break down the plastic and cause their kayak to become brittle, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The sun’s UV rays can cause a kayak to fade and, in extreme cases, damage the plastic. Therefore, the best option is always to keep your kayak stored out of the elements in a climate controlled environment. Of course, that isn’t always an option for most people.

If you must store your kayak outside, be sure to observe the first suggestion above and keep the kayak covered with a UV protected tarp. Also, cover up the cockpit either with a fitted cockpit cover or a large garbage bag with a drawstring works well also. When you go to inspect your kayak in the spring, you’ll be glad not to find any snakes, lizards, bees, spiders, chipmunks, or squirrels living inside of it.

Lock Up Your Kayak

If you aren’t storing your kayak inside, be sure to lock it up. It’s a sad fact that people do steal kayaks. For sit-on-tops, run a cable or chain lock through the scupper holes. For other kayaks, lock them through the grab loops. Sure, grab loops can be removed or cut, but the idea is you’re trying to make it difficult for would-be thieves from getting your boat.

Concluding Thoughts

While plastic kayaks are much more durable than their composite counterparts, it's just wise to keep them in good condition. The steps above will ensure that any damage caused to your kayaks actually happen in the pursuit of kayaking and not while your kayak is sitting on the sideline. And, if you put a little time in upfront and come up with a cool way to hang your boats, you may gain some of that valuable square footage back for other things.