How to Store Kayaks
How to Store Kayaks

So you want to get some Kayaks but not sure where or how to store them in your garage well here are your solutions. 

Storing Kayaks can be a problem due to the size of the kayak. There are many options out there but the best one I have found is to hang them on the ceiling of your garage or shed. I looked at plans to make a kayak hoist system but I found that with the extra pullies, the kayak would hang slightly low. 

Having a kayak rack for the garage means I can get my canoes off the ground and stores them above your head attached to the ceiling. The direct ratchet strap method of hanging kayaks worked best for my setup.

DIY kayak hoist pulley system tools and parts needed:

You first need to find the studs or joists in your ceiling to screw the eye bolts into. The simple way to do this is with a stud finder.

This DIY kayak hoist pulley system may seem like a daunting task, but it really is a simple process that shouldn’t take you more than ½ hour.

kayak hanging from garage ceiling

Zircon Stud Finder

Stud finders also called Internal capacitor stud finders, use an internal capacitor plate to hang kayak hoist stud finderdetect changes in the dielectric constant of the wall.

Newer 5 in 1 Stud Detector uses intelligent microprocessors and HD LCD Display, to find the center and edge of Wood, AC Wire, Metal Studs, and  Joist Pipes.

But all you need to know is as you move the stud finder as you find an edge of the stud it will beep. Mark this spot then move some more till the beeping stops this is the other edge of the stud. Mark this as well.

We will now drill a pilot hole smaller than the diameter of the eye bolt you are about to screw in. You will need 2 holes for the front of the kayak, and 2 for the back. These are where your snatch straps or rope will tie onto.

Screw-in your eye bolts and give them a good pull to make sure they are in the wood securely.

The Zircon e50-FFP Stud Sensor is an all-time favorite of mine. it has leading Edge-Finding sensors and can also detect with AC Wires which makes it very safe. As an electrician, I use it all the time before drilling into a wall or ceiling. The last thing you want to do is drill into a water pipe or electrical wire.

DIY kayak garage storage

Kayak Ratchet Straps:

storing kayaks I use Ratchet Straps for car roof racks to tie up my kayaks. It is super easy to load them into the roof using the following instructions.

  1. Create a loop with one of the straps and hook them up. Attach the other strap to one other eye bolts and let the other end hang down.
  2. Pick up your kayak and slide it into the first strap loop you made.
  3. Move to the back of the Kayak and lift it up and hook in the other strap, you may need a chair or ladder depending on the height of your ceiling. 
  4. Now pull on the snatch strap end and it should start to pull the kayak up to the ceiling. Alternate front and back till it’s secure.

These chair hanger eye bolts are the best around and are very strong.

stainless chair hangers

Premium Ratchet Tie Down

To secure your Kayak to the ceiling of your garage you will need some premium ratchet tie-downs. Now you don’t want something that could possibly slip over time as it can be a safety hazard. These tie-downs from Vault cargo management are a best seller.

Features include

  • Many happy customers, and lots of reviews that this ratchet tie-down is the best they’ve used.
  • Heavy Duty Industrial Straps – To keep your load secure
  • Molded on rubber ratchets – Rubber-coated hooks and ratchets to protect your equipment
  • 1-inch wide x 15 feet long

vault cargo tie down ratchet

Choose confidence with your new Vault Cargo Management Ratchet Tie-Downs and you’ll never have to worry about your kayak again. Easy to put up and easy to remove.

Another option is to use cam buckle tie-downs. These don’t have a ratchet but just a quick release buckle. To tighten them up, you only need to pull on the strap.

Kayak storage ideas outside

  • In a garden shed
  • Under an outside table
  • On top of an unused table

Kayak storage ideas outside

Kayak garage storage ideas

There are many options for storing your Kayak.

  • Ceiling mount with straps
  • Wall mount with hooks or straps
  • On top of an unused table
  • Inside the roof space
  • Ask your neighbor if they have room. Fee use of the Kayak for their trouble.

How to store a kayak in an apartment

kayak in apartment

This is the hardest of all options to store a Kayak, as apartments are often small and have very limited access. You may be able to open a window or garage door to pass the kayak through if you are unable to bring it up the stairs.

A hoist system is another idea if you live on the upper floors. Most people will have at least one garage so storing your Kayak in there may be the best solution.

Or you can go the budget way and get an inflatable Kayak. These will deflate down to a small package. There are some more details at the end of the article about inflatable Kayaks.

Make sure that if you do have to store a Kayak in an apartment you fully wash it down with fresh water. Make sure it is fully dry before you bring the Kayak into the apartment. Old smelly stale water at the base of the Kayak will stink out the apartment block of flats if you don’t.

How to store a kayak vertically

If you are limited for space you can store your Kayak vertically. Place a soft pillow on the floor so the nose of the Kayak won’t be damaged by the weight.

Use straps bolted onto the wall to prevent the Kayaks from falling over if they get knocked. Safety is very important as the Kayak weight can be over 35 pounds (16kg) for a single kayak or 65 pounds (27 kg) for a tandem kayak.


Kayak storage racks for garage ceiling RAD Kayak

rad kayak hoist system ladder storage

Now if you want to buy a ready-made lift system check out the RAD Easy Sports hoist system. Specially designed for Kayaks, Canoes, and Ladders you can have the peace of mind that your large objects are secured out of the way. 

This DIY kayak hoist pulley system is ready to go. All that is needed is to mound the supplied bolts into the rafters of your ceiling. It’s the same process as screwing in the eye bolts that we mentioned earlier. Just use a stud finder and all will be good.


  • Easy to install
  • The pulley system makes it easy to lift up evenly with reduced effort.
  • One person can hoist a canoe, kayak or ladder


  • Cannot lift the kayak all the way to the roof due to the pulleys system.

Rad Kayak Canoe Hoist Lift Garage Storage features

  • Rubber-coated straps and hooks – These are designed with a rubber coating to protect your Kayak or canoe from scratches. These durable straps ensure that your kayak is fully secured and will not fall down. 
  • Very simple to install  – Mount the hoist to your ceiling roof joists using a stud finder. With only a minimum of basic hand tools, you can have your kayak hanging in your garage ceiling in no time.
  • Suits all kayaks up to 125lb. in weight. This is the best-selling kayak hoist that all the other manufacturers are trying to copy.  This is apparently the original RAD kayak hoist.
  • For indoor ceilings up to 12 ft. high. Once the kayak is strapped up high you will free up so much floor space you can buy another car.
  • A safe secure locking mechanism will prevent accidental release. No one wants to come home and find their kayak has crashed to the floor. The Rad Kayak Hoist system is safe enough and high enough to park your car under.

Thanks to Brady Adventures for the great info on installing the RAD Kayak Hoist


Cleaning Kayaks

If you use your kayaks in freshwater try to not use a soapy solution as any residues left can harm the local wildlife, fish, etc. 

Kayaks should stay fairly clean, usually, I just have to hose any sand or mud off. Saltwater will dry and cake salt crystals, so it’s best to hose down your kayaks as soon as possible. Leave your Kayaks in the shade to dry off. Full sun can damage the polyethylene over time. 

As most of the modern Kayaks are made of rotomolded polyethylenethis makes them strong and light. They are very easy to clean and will resist scratching. Make sure to clean and dry your kayak before storing it on the ceiling.

Repairing Kayaks

If you have a small crack on your Kayak, you could just use a soldering iron or a heat gun, with a small melting attachment to re-melt the plastic around the crack to close the gap. Two-part epoxy can also be used on the inside to strengthen the cracked part.

If it is a vinyl inflatable kayak you can use a Vinyl patch to repair the puncture.

Intex Challenger K1 Kayak, 1-Person Inflatable Kayak

Another option if you don’t have any room to store a Kayak is to get an Inflatable Kayak. This one from Intex is a two-person explorer K2 which is actually very good.

  • Fast, Nimble, and durable this kayak is made of a strong welded material with a nice design for added safety on the lake.
  • The seat is designed for comfort and maximizing space up front, the inflatable I-beam floors add extra stability.
  • Included cargo net to store extra gear, and a grab line on both ends of the kayak.
  • The inflatable kayak comes with 2x 86-inch aluminum oars, a repair patch kit. and a high-volume manual hand pump.
  • It measures 10 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet (W x H x D), with a light 30-pound weight and 400-pound maximum person capacity.
  • Once deflated it can store away under a bed, or on a shelf in a garage. This saves lots of space that a normal kayak would normally take up.

This blow-up kayak is made out of strong vinyl material, so you can be assured it’s puncture-resistant and can take a pounding. Intex Recreation has over 40 years of experience making water beds, blow-up boats, and pool liners so they really know their stuff.

I like the fact it has a cool printed design, along with a tie-off grab rope. This goes most of the way around the edge of the kayak. This makes it easy to get into and to tie off next to a jetty or boat.

The hand pump is the high-volume type, which can quickly pump up this inflatable kayak in under 5 minutes. Quicker if you let the kids do it. Have fun.

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