Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partake in the many benefits of boat ownership. Owning a kayak means you can boat without worry about a rental on weekend trips. It’s also extremely easy to kayak locally at paddling spots like those that exist in Boston, New York, and other cities around the country.
However, the task of storing your boat in a tiny apartment can be daunting if you’re considering buying a new kayak or bringing an old one along on your move. Here are a few tips on how to easily store your kayak in your city living space!
Kayak & Canoe Storage Tips
Whether you are storing your kayak inside or outside, it is best to keep some things in mind before leaving your boat for an extended period of time. If you have used the boat in salt water, be sure to rinse it off before long term storage, as sea water can corrode metal parts and otherwise deteriorate the hull.
When not using a kayak for a long period of time, it’s a good idea to unload loose gear, leave hatch straps slack, and remove soft hatch covers. Whether the boat will be inside or outside, be sure to cover the cockpit so bugs, other critters, and even pets don’t try to make a home inside of your kayak!
An important aspect of kayak storage is ensuring that the boat is evenly balanced. An imbalanced boat can cause the shape of the hull to morph or becoming dented over time. It is best to not support a kayak on one end—although if you have to do it this way, rest it on the stern end to put the least amount of stress on the hull. Hang it from a rigging device, which can be bought at sports retailers, or make your own unit easily.
Whether you store your kayak vertically or horizontally, support the weight of the boat evenly by using padded cradles, angled surfaces, or wide nylon straps. Do not hang the kayak from the grab loops or lay it on its side without support.
Best Practices for Storing Your Kayak Indoors
There are only so many options for where to store your kayak in a small apartment. If you’re lucky, your building has a basement, garage, or other storage space where it can be kept out of the way. There are a variety of kits that can be bought to store a kayak horizontally or hanging from the ceiling, or you can find instructions on how to make these units inexpensively online. It’s important wherever your store your kayak inside to keep it away from heat sources like furnaces or hot water heaters, as this will damage the boat.
Before you begin any drilling or hammering into the walls of your garage or storage unit, check your lease to see what your landlord’s guidelines are for altering the apartment. Building a snazzy new wall unit for your boat seems like a great idea unless you will lose your security deposit. If you are not allowed to drill into the walls or ceiling according to your landlord, Cedar Racks makes great kayak racks that stand on the floor. Cedar is also a durable option if you’d like to set one of these stands up outside.
One of the most efficient ways to save space in your garage or other storage space is to suspend the kayak from the ceiling.
This instructional video shows an easy way to rig up your own suspension system.
All you will need is four threaded eye bolts and two cambuckle tie down straps. Simply measure the length between the bulkheads and also the width of the kayak, and screw in each eye bolt to one corner. Hook the strap on each side, and suspend the kayak between the straps. Make sure the straps are close enough to the center of the kayak that the boat does not bow in the middle, since that is the heaviest part.
Another way to suspend your kayak is sideways from a wall. Talic SlingSets are easy to set up and hold boats up to 100 lbs. All you need to install it is a drill and a screwdriver. A variety of other wall cradles can be found at sporting goods stores and are just as easy to mount on the wall.
Living in a city often means living in an apartment building that does not have a garage or storage unit included. This is when you have to get creative with storing your kayak. If you have a back porch, you can install a ceiling or wall suspension set as described above. Be sure to follow the guidelines below about how to protect your boat from outdoor elements.
If you do not have a porch or other option, don’t surrender and decide to get rid of your beloved boat– get creative and rig up a storage system that displays your kayak proudly in your living room! If you’re allowed to drill holes, store it in a sideways sling above your couch.
If you’d rather not permanently alter the apartment, you can also store kayak on its sidewalls with foam blocks or rolls supporting in front and behind the cockpit—however, don’t start treating the boat like another table and put things on top of the boat’s other sidewall. Remember to clean your kayak thoroughly before storing it in the apartment, and if you are consistently using it, you might consider other storage options at a marina or paddling club (explained below).
If you have an inflatable kayak, your storage is easy! Deflate the kayak and store it inside when you are not using it on a regular basis. Cold weather can deteriorate the materials used to make inflatable kayaks. If you don’t have inflatable kayak yet just read this guide about this type of kayaks.
Best Practices for Storing Your Kayak Outdoors
The options for storing your kayak outside in a city living space are only limited to the outdoor resources you have available. If you have a porch, patio, or small backyard, you can install a wall cradle or a freestanding unit like those described above to house your boat.
The most important thing to remember when keeping your kayak outside is to protect it from the elements. While a kayak is a sturdy sporting craft, when it is not in use for several months it can deteriorate if not protected correctly. As stated above, cover the cockpit so bugs, squirrels, or other vermin don’t get inside.
Sunlight can damage kayaks made of any material, so if you can’t keep it indoors at least keep it in the shade. Sun-protective sprays are available and should be applied at the beginning of each season and before storing your boat for any long period of time. If shade in your backyard is limited or the sun shines bright part of the day, keep the boat under a water resistant tarp. Hang the tarp above the boat so as not to cause mold growth in wet conditions.
The winter months can also be detrimental to your boat’s conditions. It’s important to keep the water resistant tarp high enough from the kayak that rain or snow won’t collect in the tarp and weigh down on the hull. To prevent the kayak from becoming dented or scratched, protect it with an awning from falling snow or ice, and strap it securely so it doesn’t blow over in heavy winds. Try hard to keep your kayak from becoming wet during the winter, as if water sneaks into the cracks of the fiberglass hull, it will expand when frozen and crack your boat further.
Make Sure You Secure Your Kayak
If you are keeping your kayak outside or in a public storage space, it’s possible that someone will admire your boat a little too much and take it home with them. Keep kayaks secure from burglary by storing them out of sight if outside in a locked backyard or porch. To be even safer, you can also thread a durable security cable through the wire grab loop and lock the boat to a post or building.
Other Options for Kayak Storage
If you feel your apartment is truly too small to store a kayak, or you would prefer it to be kept closer to the water where you paddle, there are public storage options. Many marinas, paddling clubs, state lakes and beaches, or other recreational facilities where you can rent kayaks offer storage options for varying prices.
Paddling out in the country or in the shade of your city’s skyline can be a great respite from your hectic work week! Hopefully, these ideas for storing your kayak will make it easier to own a kayak and enjoy paddling whenever you are able.