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Is It OK to Store Your Kayak Vertically?

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in tropical climes, then you are probably subject to needing to store/winterize your kayak. And that can pose some difficulties for those with limited space. 

Storing a kayak correctly is important for extending the life of your vessel. Tips like limiting exposure to elements (sunlight, moisture, extreme temperatures), protecting the hull, and avoiding pressure points are all important. But what do you do when space is limited? Perhaps you’ve been wondering if you can store your kayak vertically. 

Yes, yes you can. 

Advantages of vertical storage

  • Smaller footprint

  • Vertical storage quickly frees up floor space. The amount of the kayak resting on the floor is much smaller than horizontal options.

  • Might allow indoor options not otherwise possible.

  • If you don’t have a lot of room, vertical storage might come into play in a garage, shed, workshop, or indoors as long as the ceiling is high enough. The advantages of having a kayak out of the elements are certainly compelling. 

  • Good for multiple kayaks as they can be lined up.

  • Vertical storage is excellent if you have multiple kayaks but don’t want them stacked over your head/horizontal.

  • Good for short term storage if you want your yak accessible.

  • This sort of storage option works best if you want to keep your kayak(s) accessible. They don’t have to be suspended in quite the same way as horizontal storage, nor are multiple kayaks stacked over your head. This makes them easier to get in and out. 

    Disadvantages of vertical storage

    • Must have high ceilings

    This kinda goes without saying, but if your kayak won’t stand up in the space. . . it can’t be stored vertically. However, if your kayak is less than 10 feet, you might have a flighting chance of finding a place for it in a shed or closet (or certainly a garage).

    • Outdoor vertical options draw more attention; might be more prone to theft

    One danger of outdoor, vertical storage is that the kayak becomes more visible. Those people just passing by are more likely to take note of the clear evidence of a kayak. Unfortunately, this might invite nefarious attention and your kayak might get stolen. 

    • Care must to taken to avoid pressure on sensitive areas of kayak

    This is not unique to vertical storage as it is always imperative to note where the kayak is receiving pressure - from the ground, the straps, etc. With vertical storage, pressure will likely be placed on the smallest area - the bow or stern - of the kayak, so ensure that it is well-padded.

    • Not as beneficial for long term storage

    If you really need to store your kayak for long periods of time, unfortunately, vertical storage might not be the best option. It is still probably best to careful secure your kayak in a horizontal fashion. However, vertical is still a viable option and with proper precautions the benefits can outweigh the concerns.

    How to store your kayak vertically

  • Position

  • Rest on the stern (rearmost point) of the kayak. Place the yak so that the cockpit is facing outward. This is probably the most popular option. But you must take care to pad the stern and make sure it is tilted slight to rest against the wall. Make sure that it is resting securely and not likely to slide or tip sideways.

    Use a rack. There are many DIY racks out there, but it is pretty simple and effective to rack (especially multiple) kayaks. Position your kayak vertically and perpendicuarly to the wall. Rest the kayak on the pegs or arms extending out from the wall. Additionally straps can be used for securing your vessel - keeping in mind pressure points and avoid stress on the hull. Also, be sure to pad the point of the part of the kayak that is making contact (or near contact) with the ground.

  • Temperature

  • Ideally, this vertical storage option is taking place indoors! Being able to maintain an optimal temperature can go a long way in extending the life of your kayak. If you are protected from the elements but not temperature controlled - like a shed or garage, you are still benefitting. Just make sure to add a layer of insulation (kayak cover, blanket, or tarp).

  • Pressure Protection

  • As mentioned above, it is imperative to protect the hull (and nose/tail) from undue pressure. Protect these area with a towel, blanket, or cushion if they are positioned in such a way to bear weight on these areas.

    Hopefully, your kayak sees plenty of time on the water before it needs to be tucked in for a winter rest. But when the time comes, hopefully, you are better able to protect and care for your craft with the optimum kayak storage

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