This article covers the best kayak storage solutions. It outlines the different types of kayak storage options as well as recommendations for the best selection in each category. After reading this article you will have a better understanding of the various decision points and considerations before purchasing. Use this page as a resource as you research which kayak storage system best meets your needs.
Table of Contents
Types of Storage Systems
When purchasing a kayak storage system, the first decision point is to determine which type of system you need. In subsequent sections, the following storage systems are outlined.
- Overhead storage
- Wall rack
- Freestanding rack
Overhead storage racks and wall racks work great for garages if you do not mind screwing holes in your wall or ceiling. It frees up a lot of space that would otherwise be taken up by your kayak laying on the floor.
Likewise, freestanding racks are also a great option for storing kayaks on a deck or boat dock.
Overhead Storage Systems
The first type of storage method is an overhead storage system. This is my favorite method because it allows your ceiling to act as additional storage space. In my situation, storing kayaks over the garage door next to the ceiling makes it possible to keep the kayaks completely out of the way.
There are two primary types of overhead storage for kayaks. The first is a hoist based system that uses ropes, straps, and pulleys. Hoist systems are mounted directly to your ceiling joists, or in some cases rafters. The kayak is attached to a system of straps and/or hooks. The kayak is then elevated near the ceiling by pulling a separate rope threaded through pulleys.
The second method is simply a set of nylon straps that wrap around your kayak and hang from lag bolts screwed into your ceiling joist. This system is much simpler but makes the kayak harder to hang.
The Risk of Falling Kayaks
While the overhead system is the most efficient from a space-saving perspective, the kayak falling is a major risk. This is especially true if it is stored over items of value. For this reason, if you choose to store your kayak overhead, buying a cheap system is not recommended. Never store a kayak over a car!
Since the bottom of kayaks are typically slick and the ends are somewhat of a cone shape, the straps can shoot out from under the kayak causing it to fall. Kayaks are typically held by two straps hanging from the ceiling. If the kayak is not balanced between those two straps, the straps can split out to either side. The best way to mitigate is to tie a string between the two straps which will prevent them from going too far in either direction.
Storing a Kayak on a Wall Rack
The second kayak storage method is a wall rack.
Wall racks are a basic storage solution. They are typically a set of two or more hook-shaped supports that are screwed to the wall. Most wall racks come in the shape of a “J” or an “L” with a lip. The basic idea is to screw the two “hooks” to your wall which will support the vessel from underneath.
The hooks can come in varying shapes and sizes. They are an easy way to hang your kayak and get it off the floor.
Using a Freestanding Rack to Store a Kayak
Freestanding kayak storage systems are a great solution for those who need their kayak off the floor but do not want to drill holes in their walls or ceilings.
A major advantage of freestanding racks is their versatility. The racks are not limited to a garage or even an enclosed area. They can be used on your deck, or if you have a dock, it can be used there as well.
The biggest drawback to freestanding racks is they save limited garage space.
Kayak Storage Side by Side Comparison
|Name||Pricing||Type of Storage System||Weight Capacity||Number of Kayaks System Can Hold|
|RAD Sportz Easy Hoist||Check Price on Amazon||Ceiling Hoist||125||Two Kayaks (Two Hoists Included)|
|Extreme Max Kayak Wall Cradle Set||Check Price on Amazon||Wall Hooks||200||One Kayak|
|Rad Sportz Heavy Duty Freestanding Kayak Rack||Check Price on Amazon||Freestanding||175||Two Kayaks|
|Wintek Heavy Duty Wall Hanging Hooks||Check Price on Amazon||Wall Hooks||50||Two Kayaks (Two Sets Included)|
|StoreYourBoard Ceiling Rack||Check Price on Amazon||Ceiling Rack||150||Two Kayaks|
Best Overhead Kayak Storage System
The best hoist for storing a kayak overhead is the “RAD Sportz Easy Hoist”. It is intended for indoor use (such as a garage) with ceilings up to 12 feet high. The hoist handles up to a 125-pound capacity which is plenty for most kayaks.
The basic operation of the system is below. Please use the photo above for reference.
- Hang two pulleys from your ceiling joists
- Run the provided ropes through the pulleys which are used to lift and lower the kayak
- Hooks are attached to the rope
- Two straps are wrapped around the kayak for support
- The straps are held by the hooks
To lift, two separate ropes must be pulled. It is a one-person job, however, it helps if you have two. If you are lifting by yourself, you will need to incrementally lift one side, then the other. A breaking system is used to hold up one end in mid-air while you pull the second rope to lift the other end.
The pulleys hang about 6” from the ceiling leaving plenty of overhead clearance. To maximize overhead clearance, you could consider storing the kayak upside down. The keel of the vessel has a significant dip, and if you are able to safely point the keel upwards it will save you some space.
The pulleys can be mounted 6 – 10 feet apart depending on the length of your kayak. You will need to make sure the pulleys are installed at a distance apart that will balance your kayak. The proper balance is important because the bottoms of kayaks are slick and cone-shaped. As a result, an improperly balanced kayak can slip out of the nylon straps and fall.
The pulleys are a bit on the small side making a larger kayak heavier to lift than it would otherwise be if the pulleys were larger. With that said, the leverage offered by the pulleys takes off what feels like about half the weight of the kayak.
This kayak hoist can be purchased on Amazon where you can read customer reviews to see many other opinions and viewpoints.
Best Wall Hooks to Hang a Kayak
If you are looking for a strong set of wall hooks to hang your kayak, the cradle set by Extreme Max is your best bet. These hooks can hold up to 200 lbs which is more than enough for most kayaks. The hooks are in the shape of the letter “J”. They are 13” hooks measured from the tip of the hook to the flat side that touches the wall.
The hooks are coated in padded foam to protect your kayak from scratches and prevent it from sliding. If the hooks are hung inside and away from the elements the coating should stay intact for years.
Installation is easy. Each hook has two screw holes – one at the top and one at the bottom. There are four screws included and you just screw the hooks to a stud. I would recommend using a power drill to make the job easier.
These will probably not be large enough to hang a canoe but are definitely suitable for a kayak.
All-in-all these hooks are pretty self-explanatory. They are hooks in the shape of a “J” that is screwed to the wall and will “cradle” your kayak. What sets these apart from their competitors are their quality build and being able to hold 200 pounds. Even if your kayak weighs around 50 pounds, it’s better to go ahead and get a pair that are built to last versus those of lesser quality.
Best Freestanding Kayak Rack
The best freestanding kayak rack is the heavy-duty option by RAD Sportz.
The rack truly is heavy-duty. It’s made out of powder-coated steel and can hold two kayaks up to a total weight of 175 pounds.
It is suitable for leaving outside in the elements all summer long. This is ideal if you have a home on a lake and store kayaks on the dock. It also works well for storing kayaks on a deck.
The rack is designed to withstand a normal amount of wind and comes with an anchoring system in case of heavier gusts. The arms also have a covering that is made from UV protected nylon that will help prevent fading in the summer sunshine.
Assembly is straight forward. It comes in two large pieces with the required nuts, bolts, and other hardware. A wrench is even included in case you do not have your own.
If you are looking for a well-engineered freestanding rack this one is a great option. Be sure to view the customer reviews on Amazon if you would like to read some other opinions.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Kayak Storage System
Before deciding which kayak storage solution to purchase, there are a few things to consider. Below is a list of key decision points.
- Type of storage system. Are you storing in a garage or outside? If in a garage, an overhead system or rack will work best. Can you drill holes in the walls or ceiling? If not, a freestanding rack is the best option.
- Installation complexity. Will you be installing yourself, or will you have a helper? Do you have tools available to install? The easiest storage options to install are simple wall racks or freestanding racks.
- Does the rack you are considering purchasing have protective coatings around the hooks? Coatings around the hooks will protect your kayak from scratches and from sliding off the hooks. The coatings typically come in the form of rubber or some type of foam.
- What is the overall quality? As with anything else, you get what you pay for. If you buy a cheap one do not be surprised if it breaks after a year or so. Each system is rated at a certain weight limit. Be sure to offer yourself plenty of excess weight between the rating on the system and the actual weight of your kayak. Always avoid storing the kayak over a car or anything else of value!
The space in our garages without a doubt come at a premium. As discussed in this article, storage racks are an excellent solution for getting your kayak off the floor and free up some space!
I hope you found this article helpful. Best of luck in your search to determine which storage solution best meets your needs.