two red kayak sit in a kayak storage rack on the wall underneath indoor steps.

How to Store a Kayak in an Apartment

Wondering how you’ll need to rearrange your apartment to accommodate your kayak for the season? Homeowners and renters alike have several options when it comes to storing their kayak at home during the winter. While apartments and other small spaces present their own unique challenges, you’ll still be able to find creative ways to keep your kayak safe and out of the way during the winter months so that it’s ready for the water in the spring!

There are several ways to store your kayak in an apartment, including wall storage units, suspension systems, ceiling mounts, and short-term floor storage. Regardless of your storage decision, you’ll want to make sure your storage location is climate and moisture-controlled to prevent any structural and aesthetic damage to your kayak. Winterizing your kayak–inspecting, cleaning, drying, and storing it–are also crucial steps to extend the longevity and durability of your kayak during off seasons. 

Sure, planning to store a kayak in an apartment may take a little extra creativity and some quick renovations to your living space, but it doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Here’s what you need to know as you think about storing your kayak in an apartment.

two red kayak sit in a kayak storage rack on the wall underneath indoor steps.

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How do I Prepare my Kayak for Apartment Storage?

Preparing your kayak for seasonal or long-term storage is an important step to making sure your kayak is ready to grab and go when the next kayaking season begins. In the boating world, the process of preparing kayaks and other boats for seasonal storage is called winterization. Winterization helps extend your kayak’s longevity and durability, and fortunately, it doesn’t require too much of your time. 

Whether it’s apartment storage, garage storage, or outdoor storage, the winterizing process is pretty much the same. Here’s what you’ll want to do before you plan to bring your kayak into your apartment for the off-season:

1. Inspect Your Kayak

Check your kayak to make sure it’s in great condition before you store it. This means checking to make sure bungee cords and ropes are tight, elastic, and unfrayed. Replace any hardware that may have been damaged, loosened, or lost during the previous season. Fix any dings, scratches, or holes that may create problems next time you’re on the water.

2. Clean Your Kayak

Hose your kayak down and scrub all surfaces, including the hard to reach areas under the seat and in storage compartments.

3. Make Sure it’s Truly Dry

Remove any excess water from your kayak after cleaning. Sponges, paper towels, or even fans will work when drying your kayak.

4. Figure Out Kayak Storage

Find the best storage solution that’s right for your specific apartment space. Keep reading below to find out more!

What Options Are There to Store a Kayak in an Apartment?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to kayak storage in apartments and other small indoor spaces like garages. Depending on your space, some options may work and others may be completely out of the question. 

It’s also about personal preference and the particular space you’re working with. If you rent and want to reduce the number of fixtures drilled into your walls, you may want to consider storage options that require fewer nails and drills. If your floor space is already limited, you may want to consider suspensions or ceiling mounts that allow you to store your kayak in the unused ceiling space in your apartment. 

Whatever option you pick, just remember that the ideal kayak storage option is one where you can evenly distribute the weight of your kayak.

Here are the top picks for apartment kayak storage that you may want to consider:

Wall Rack

This option involves using screws, a level, a drill, and the rack itself. There are plenty of rack storage options, so take measurements of your kayak to make sure your racks are the right dimension. If you have ample floor space, you could also consider a floor rack.

Wall Sling

You can buy a wall storage sling online or create a DIY sling. You’ll need to drill a few small hooks or hardware into the wall above where you plan to store your kayak. Then, loop your slings and attach them to the hooks or hardware. Slide your kayak in between the loops so that the body of the kayak sits balanced inside the straps.

Floor Storage

This is a solid short-term solution, but you’ll probably want to avoid this as a long-term solution since vertical storage can add pressure to the section of your kayak on the ground, which can lead to deformities over time. If you do go with this option, make sure there’s plenty of padding between the stern of your kayak and the floor. You can also use a strap to secure the kayak against the wall.

Suspension System

 Popular places for suspension systems include rafters or ceilings, especially if floor space is limited. Pulley systems are especially secure, but keep in mind that they may require more technical set-up and a decent amount of drilling.

Ceiling Mounts

Ceiling mounts are similar to suspension systems, though they’re designed to store your kayak bottom side up and closer to the ceiling for maximum space efficiency. Most ceiling mounts will require you to screw 4 eye bolts (2 in the front and 2 in the back on either side of the kayak) into the ceiling and then use short suspension cords to support the kayak’s weight in the front and back.

Whatever option you pick, make sure it’s something you can live with (or possibly around) for several months!

a red kayak and a red and white kayak sit hull up on a white wooden rustic barn with peeling paint. These kayaks are stored for winter

How Does the Indoor Climate Impact Kayak Storage in Apartments?

Apartment storage comes with its advantages. Unlike outdoor storage which requires extra precautions to guard your kayak from harsh weather conditions, apartment storage is much more predictable and temperate. 

Of course, it’s always a great idea to be mindful of your apartment’s temperature and the placement of your kayak in your apartment. When you’re deciding on the right storage location for your kayak, you’ll want to keep in mind moisture levels, temperature, and UV rays.

Consistent contact with moisture, especially salt water, can cause structural damage despite your kayak’s tough outer material. 

Small living spaces with basements or attics may sound like ideal places for kayak storage. However, the temperature in these spaces are often less regulated, which can cause problems down the road. On the one hand, heat can impact your kayak’s long-term performance since high temperatures cause the material to expand and, with long exposure, crack. On the other hand, plastics exposed to cold weather for lengthy durations of time become brittle and are more susceptible to cracking. And with cracks comes water leakage, which is the last thing you want to deal with the next time you take your kayak out for a spin.

Believe it or not, ultraviolet rays can cause materials to become brittle over time. Plus, storing your kayak in a sunny space can also strip your kayak of its color.

What’s the Best Way to Transport my Kayak Inside?

You’ve probably been thinking about how you can rearrange your apartment to rehome your kayak for the season, but have you thought about how you’ll initially transport your kayak from its current storage location to the inside of your apartment?

Transporting your kayak safely into elevators or up stairs will probably be the second trickiest part of storing your kayak, if not the first. Maneuvering your kayak in a way that keeps it safe from falling or scrapping any walls or floors is the main goal during this move. 

Dragging your kayak might be tempting, but try to avoid this if possible. Plastic kayaks can be dragged on grass or sad for short distances without risking major issues. However, avoid dragging fiberglass or composite kayaks since rough surfaces can easily create holes in the material. 

If you’ve got friends or family in the area, see if they’re around to give you a hand with moving and set-up. If it’s just you making the move, here’s the most efficient way to transport your kayak:

  1. Grab it: From the ground, grab the side of the cockpit closest to you.
  2. Slide it: Lift the kayak towards you and slide the bottom of the boat onto your thighs.
  3. Reach: While it balances on your thighs, reach to the other side of the kayak one hand at a time and grab the other side of the cockpit.
  4. Rotate: Lift and rotate the kayak up onto your shoulder.

What Other Considerations are There for Storing Kayaks in Apartments?

Pets and young children are other factors you’ll want to take into account when you’re thinking about storing a kayak in an apartment. Floor and wall storage options may invite pets and kids to play inside a kayak’s small spaces. To avoid this, buy a cover to prevent pets and animals from crawling into your kayak’s small spaces and consider strapping your kayak against the wall to keep it from toppling over unexpectedly. 

At the end of the day, living in an apartment or small space doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy owning a kayak! With a little creative thinking, prepping, and reorganizing, you’ll be able to find a storage solution that works for you and your space. 

For other tips like these, check out our kayaking tips page so you can be even more confident getting on the water. 

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