Knowing how to properly care for your kayak once out of the water is key to maintaining its longevity and condition, and one aspect of this is how it is stored. Where particularly for those living with limited storage capacity, storing a kayak vertically can be an excellent space saving method whilst also keeping it dry and secure.
This guide will discuss what to consider before storing a kayak vertically and how to set up your kayak’s vertical storage space for both indoor or outdoor conditions.
Why would you store a kayak vertically?
There are several reasons why kayakers would want to store a kayak vertically, but it mainly comes down to three main factors:
- Number of kayaks
Space: Space is a precious commodity; especially if you are living in a cramped apartment in the city. By storing a kayak vertically, you could potentially gain much more storage space for other items in your household.
A kayak stored vertically will use the vertical space that often goes unused in homes instead of horizontal space, leaving room for your furniture, living room, keepsakes, more storage, etc. Plus, if your kayak is stored vertically, you won’t be tripping over your kayak and possibly scratching it up.
Number of Kayaks: If you kayak solo, storing just one kayak is a lot easier that if you have two or more – for couples or those with several specialty kayaks – then storing vertically will greatly reduce your need for large storage space. It will also make maintaining multiple kayaks that much easier by keeping everything tucked nicely away together.
Security: Vertically storing a kayak is one of the best ways to keep it secure and safe. Whether it’s sitting on a stern or positioned on a rack, your kayak won’t tip over from accidental bumps or movement. A steady kayak is a secure kayak!
What to consider before storing your kayak vertically
Even if you’re already convinced about storing your kayak vertically, there are a few things you should consider before getting started.
Choosing a suitable location
Location is perhaps the most important factor that you should consider for your kayak. Will your it be out of the way and away from direct light, heat, and animals?
A kayak that is stored vertically will still need to be in a location that doesn’t hamper your daily movements, but also where is it easily accessible if frequently used.
Additionally, keeping it away from light, heat, and animals, will ensure its longevity. Direct sun and high temperatures break down the material of the kayak leaving it fragile to cracks and breaks. Animals, especially nocturnal critters that have access to it, can chew into the material and wreak havoc on its shiny, new surface.
As for your location options, you have a few to choose from based on your lifestyle:
A garage, shed, or workshop is a fantastic way to store your kayak, keeping it away from the elements, and protecting it from curious animals or even theft. You should never seriously consider just leaving it outdoors in plain sight where it’s neither protected nor secured. If you don’t have access to any of the above outdoor storage options, then your next best choice is to store your kayak indoors.
Indoors is perhaps the safest option for storing a kayak. You’ll always get to keep tabs on it, even during long periods in which you go without kayaking. It’s also the best way to control the temperature and keep your it in an ideal condition for longer.
There are two ways to store a kayak vertically that won’t damage the hull and will ensure that its weight is distributed evenly.
Standing on stern – Having your kayak stand on the stern (with the cockpit facing outward) is the most popular way of vertical storage. With this method, though, you should make sure the stern is padded and tilted slightly so it can rest against the wall. You should also ensure it is secure in order to prevent it from sliding sideways or tipping over.
Leaning against the wall or rack – You can also lean the kayak on its side on the ground against the wall or make use of one of the many models of kayak wall racks.
Wall racks are perhaps the best ways to maximize storage space if you don’t have high ceilings to fit a 12+ ft kayak. Using a wall rack with secure straps on either side of the cockpit will ensure there’s no stress pulling on the kayak hull.
Regulating the temperature in your home is one of the essential elements of taking care of your kayak. Whether you store it vertically or horizontally, it doesn’t matter. Temperature can degrade a kayak quickly if it sustains a degree that is too cold or too hot.
If you store your kayak in a garage within your home, make sure it doesn’t get overly heated. If storing outside year-round in a shed, you’ll likely need to add an extra layer of insulation. A simple form-fitting kayak cover should do. Lastly, if you use tarp, make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the kayak. If so, moisture and humidity can get trapped and create damaging mold.
A crucial aspect of storing vertically is making sure the nose/tail and hull has proper protection. The best way to do this is to tuck a thick cushion, towel, or blanket underneath the stern inside a crate or wedged between a small pallet. To protect the sides from moving, you can affix pegs on both sides of the kayak or secure it via a strap.
Storing a kayak vertically indoors
If you decide to go ahead and store your kayak indoors, then you can either follow the stern position or invest in a handy wall rack. Indoors is the best option for security, protection from animals and the weather, temperature control, and to just have it handy.
When storing indoors, you should always make sure to properly dry and clean after each use. That said, if you plan on using your kayak often, indoors is best but only if you are able to keep up with the maintenance. If you use your kayak sparingly, make sure that you can store it out of the way for longer periods of time until your next adventure together.
Storing a kayak vertically outdoors
On the other hand, if you don’t have space indoors then consider keeping it outside. The storage space outside should be dry, clean, and out of plain view from the street.
Building a rack
There are many models of kayak racks you can buy for a quick fix. But if you have time and desire, head to your nearest home improvement store to pick up a few quick supplies to build a DIY kayak rack!
What You’ll Need:
- 1-inch PVC pipe (10 feet)
- 4x PVC joints
- 3 mounting clamps
When you have the right amount of PVC parts, you can put them altogether to create a 1 by 4 ft frame. Adjust it on the wall as needed, depending on the length of your kayak. This frame should hold a 12-18 ft kayak no problem.
Then, gently place your kayak inside the frame from the bottom up. Make sure the cockpit is always facing out (towards you) and the stern is pointing down. If you hang it wrongly, too much pressure will build up on one area of your kayak which will warp it.
If you are keeping it indoors, there’s no need to cover it unless you want to keep dust at bay. But if you plan to put it outside, you might want to additionally install a tarp or invest in a weatherproof storage cover.
What not to do when storing a kayak vertically
Kayaks, as much as they are durable, can warp, crack, and break overtime without proper care or storage. What you should absolutely avoid when storing vertically is allowing the stern to come in direct contact with the floor.
If you are suspending your kayak, wide nylon straps or padded cradles will be the best way to prevent damage. Storing vertically when it’s dirty, moist, or grimy is also a big faux-pas. The key to successful storage is preparation.
Make sure to remove any accessories or equipment from inside the cockpit as well. Hang-dry any cushions or skirts, rather than letting them stay moist as this will result in mold and bacteria.
Negatives of storing a kayak vertically
Even if there are a handful of benefits and advantages to vertical storage it’s not without its negatives.
For example, it requires ample space within your home. If you don’t have high ceilings, this won’t be possible.
The solution could be to just store it outdoors. However, vertical kayaks outdoors attract more attention, and are less likely to be securely padlocked, making them more prone to theft.
Is it ok to store a kayak on its end?
Most kayak user manuals indicate that it is safe to store a kayak vertically on its stern. However, some argue that doing so overtime, even longer than one day, could cause damage. The trick with vertically storing is to position it in such a way that there’s no pressure on the hull.
A soft cushion and a small pallet board to rest the stern on is ideal for “softening the blow”. This way, the stern isn’t actually resting on a hard surface, but is rather getting cradled as if in a hammock. The kayak should not rest against the wall straight up and down. Instead, pull the stern base out a foot or two from the wall to allow it to gently lay back against it.
Use the vertical storage method if you intend on using your kayak at least weekly or bi-weekly. If not, you may want to choose another option that is better for long-term storage.
Storing a kayak vertically is a relatively simple and quick way to free up floor space, and in a safe and secure location where you can regulate the temperature.
If you have to store it outside, don’t forget to take the extra precautions for keeping moisture and critters at bay. The best part about vertical storage is that it will be readily accessible for when you’re ready to head out on the water for a weekend of adventure.