A Guide to Kayak Outdoor Storage in Winter


Except you have a knack for extreme winter kayaking, the winter season is a time when many kayakers put away their boats until springtime. Winter can reduce the lifespan of your kayak due to the combination of moisture and cold temperature.

As a matter of fact, knowing how to store your kayak when it is not in use at any season is very important. So, if you a new owner, learning how to store your kayak is as important as learning paddling techniques.

Furthermore, if you reside in a place where the winter season is usually wet or cold, you need to learn how to store the kayak outside during that period. Well, since that is exactly why you are reading this article, we will provide various options that you can adopt.

Why Is Winter Tough on Kayaks?

Below are reasons why winter is tough on kayaks if you store them outdoors:

1. Freeze-Thaw Cycle

The freeze-thaw cycle is the major force behind the creation of cracks in big granite boulders. So, if they can split rocks, can you imagine what will happen to your kayak?

If your kayak is not properly stored during winter, the contraction and expansion of ice and snow can break the rotomolded plastic. This will eventually lead to leakage and a need to make major repairs when springtime comes.

2. Critters

In the same way humans love to stay indoors during winter, all of nature’s creatures will also be in search of warm places to stay. Many families of squirrels or mice spend their winter underneath overturned kayaks.

However, the challenge with this is that critters chew up the foam seats, the rubber hatch covers, and the bungee straps. They use the materials to insulate their burrows and you will not be happy by the time you overturn your kayak after winter.

3. Snow Load

The heaps of snow that will settle on your kayak can place so much weight on it when stored outdoor without a cover. You can decide to include snow clearing off your kayak in your daily routine. But you may fall behind on your routine if you live in an area with heavy annual snowfall.

Therefore, the extra weight from the snow can cause your kayak to bend, dent, or crack. Because kayaks are not built to handle so much weight, they can get damaged when excess snow builds on them.

While staying indoors for the winter, you can visit the Kayaking Temple website to find kayaking tips for beginners and pros alike.

The Dos and Don’ts of Kayak Storage

8 Different Kayak Storage Ideas (Get that thing off the ground!)

You need to learn how to care for your kayak, both on and off the water. So, here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to storing kayaks.

Store It above Ground Level

The ideal way to avoid having a lot of snow on your kayak is to store it above the ground. Even when you do not have so much snow on it, leaving the kayak on the ground for a long time can dent the bottom. Additionally, storing the kayak above the ground can reduce the likelihood of damage from critters.

Don’t Just Leave It Outdoor

As we mentioned earlier, there are different reasons why you do not leave your kayak out in the cold. The extra load from snow can completely collapse it or create large dents. Also, the freeze-thaw cycle can crack the plastic, resulting in the need for major repairs.

However, this does not mean that you cannot store the kayak outside. You have to protect it in order to increase its lifespan.

Do Find a Way to Cover It

You have to find a way to cover your kayak outside. This will protect it from rain and snow. As you already know, moisture can cause serious damage to your kayak.

But there is more; your kayak will be free from pinecones, falling leaves, and other kinds of debris that come with the winter season. More so, your boat will be free from snow load, making it easy to clean and prepare when it is time to paddle during the spring.

Don’t Store PFDs, Seat, and Other Accessories in It

Storing PFDs, seats, and other accessories in your kayak’s cockpit may come as a natural thought. It helps to keep everything in one place. And it is not a bad idea if you plan on storing the kayak indoors. But when you have to store it outdoor, those accessories will become insulation materials for critters; they love to chew on foam.

Additionally, the accessories can rot or mold if they become wet. Therefore, your accessories need to be left indoor while the kayak is hanging outside.

Clean the Kayak before Storing

Even if you need to store your kayak and travel during an emergency, you need to clean it thoroughly before storing it. This will help to reduce the effects of dirt, salt water, dust, and other debris that may be sitting on the surface of the kayak.

Now, if your kayak is not very dirty, a simple hosing may be enough. But scrubbing gently with warm water and soap can help to get rid of any grime that may be stuck on the kayak.

After cleaning the kayak, ensure that it is completely dry before putting it in storage. Storing a wet kayak can increase the chances of mildew or mold developing inside. You may want to watch this video on cleaning your kayak after use.

Ideas for Kayak Storage During Winter

We have discussed the dos and don’ts of storing kayak. Let us share some tried and tested storage solutions.

1. Place It on a Stand and Cover with Tarps

One of the easiest and affordable ways to store your kayak outdoor is by placing it on a portable kayak stand. This stand is designed for the kayak to stay on top with the cockpit and deck facing up. But it is better to flip the kayak during winter.

This will prevent moisture from entering the storage compartments or the cockpit. Also, it will reduce the chances of a tarp tearing or ripping in those places where there is nothing underneath to support it.

2. Cover It on a Fence or Sidewall

A great way to store your kayak outside is by mounting it on the wall. This will keep it off the ground and it will stay overturned so that moisture will not build up in the cockpit. If you go with this option, you need to install racks into the fence beams or the frames on the sidewall of your building.

However, you need to note that this cannot be tried on fences that were made with thin materials or drywall. This is because the racks can rip out of the wall when ice or snow settles on the kayak.

3. Under a Deck

Kayak Storage | Kayak storage rack, Kayak storage, Outdoor gear storage There are different ways to store a kayak under a deck. But this depends on the deck’s setup and the amount of walking space that is underneath it. You can use a kayak stand or prop the kayak on some blocks just to get them above the ground.

4. Use a Kayak Rack

You can keep your kayak on a kayak rack if your wall or fencing is not reliable. This is a very cost-effective option as it can be done as a DIY project. However, you can also purchase a pre-manufactured rack.

You can check out https://www.pinterest.com/shanekibble/kayak-storage/ to find more ways to store your kayak outside.


In this article, we identified the various reasons why winter is tough on kayaks and provided some dos and don’ts of kayak storage. We also presented a few ideas on kayak storage during winter. We hope that you have gained value from the information we have shared.



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