Building Canoe Storage

I have an Old Town Discovery 164 that is about 26 years old and stored outside. I have it stored on the side of my home that receives very little sun. I have it stored on the gunwalls on simple horses. It works.

I am currently in the market for a second canoe about the size of a 169 and will probably end up with a shorty solo canoe in the future. I would like to build a storage system for the 3 canoes. Looking for advice and images! Pics are so important.

The storage will be close to the home and of course off the ground and canoes resting on gunwalls. What I’m envisioning is basically an A frame consisting of 3 levels facing a symetrical A frame and coming up with a base and some framing to strengthen and keep it square. 2x Pressure treated should last the rest of my life!

Anyone have pics of something like this? I’m all open to any advice.

How about a pair of 6x6’s and some fold down brackets? Small footprint, it gets out of the way when you have the boats off and you could reuse the brackets later if your needs change.

One option (not cheap, but USA made and aluminum)

I have my two boats on simple brackets I made from PT 2x4 and have mounted to two trees that are spaced perfectly in my backyard

I needed to store a 32’ C6 cedar strip voyageur canoe, much too long for my garage, so I built a canoe house for it. I made it modular from 4 sections of 8’ shelters, so it could be moved to its final storage place in pieces. the canoe is stored upside down on its gunwales resting on crossbar 2x4s. With a little minor lifting off the supports, it can be wheeled out from the end of the shelter. (after I remove the scrap wood lumber stored underneath)

My overflow from the garage is on this rack outside. Its about 15 years old & is getting near a rebuild. These canoes have spent their lives outside. The bottom two came to us new - the Sawyer in 1990 and the Novacraft in 2005. The Rendezvous on top is a rescue boat with a '91 tag date. Its been with us since about 2007. Our dog really likes the dry dirt under the canoes.

Thanks for the ideas. Please keep them coming!

The primary support posts are 4x6 mounted in concrete against the house.
The bottom arm that you can’t see has a 90° support anchored in the ground. It has 3 boats on it now.
I left the upper arms supported only at the primary; easier to load and unload.

If you search YouTube you’ll find a bunch of ideas. Perhaps this one?

Deep sunk 4x4s seem to work.

Most paddleheads have built racks over the years. Be careful which site you chose. I have had snow come off a roof and do some light damage. Consider the north side of a building or under a tree for shade. anything that gets you off the ground and is sturdy will work. Lately I have been using old tipi poles sunk in the ground. Ground contact rots canoes. I keep a couple on a trailer in the shade.

Thanks for all the ideas. String posted a pretty simple one that would fit my space on the side of the house well. Thanks!

String, how far apart did you space the posts? Did you find that spacing ideal? Or would you do it differently? Basically what worked and what didn’t when you built yours?

The posts are 8’ apart. My boats are 12’, 14’, and 16’. I store them hull down and have no problem with deformation.
Hard to see but there are nylon straps holding the boats off the arms on the upper two. On the lowest boat supports I have them padded with strips of floor mat. Keeps the red paint off the boats.
I learned rack building by doing it. This is my 3rd. The first was a bit wobbly, the second was eaten by carpenter bees. The red paint is for concrete and carpenter bees don’t like it. This rack will outlast me.

Thanks for the info, string. Your rack is ideal for the location I have.

Glad to help.


Yesterday was a beautiful sun filled day in the 70’s. I got to work on a similar storage rack to yours. I built my home on a small mountain and had to blast. I was really lucky I was able to dig through the rock and get to 16" depth. Couldn’t get to 18: due to large rocks.

I ended up using a full bag of quickrete in each hole.
I went wider to add some medium size rock and extra concrete. Once the quickcrete cured I added the 2x4x8 bracing and I was relieved it’s pretty solid in all 4 directions.

I only screwed the bottom arms for now. Each arm will get outdoor adhesive and two 3/8 x 6 galv bolts and washers on each side. Shouls hold for many many years. Heaviest item will be my OT Discovery 164 at about 89lbs.

A lot of work going on at the moment on the side of the house. The dogs don’t seem to care.

Good looking dogs!
Blast, as in explode?
That rack isn’t going anywhere. Got some bug proof paint?

Thank you! Dogs are the best. Yes, Sir blast as in blasting a full walk out basement. The rock is all granite here. I sold about 15 dumptrucks (20 yarders) of stone and used a lot for rock walls and the front of the house on the porch. Porch is wide (35ft). Crazy how everything is rock here. I’m in Southern Dutchess County NY.

I’ve been here 17 years and so far we just don’t get those wood eating insects. I do get ants but not carpenter ants. I have an old timer who comes by with a puffer and hits 2 locations outside he found years ago and I don’t see ants anymore.

What I get is heavy wind straight up a valley that has killed my roof and facia in the rear of the home. Many winter days of 40 + mph. A few higher. The canoe rack is perfect in the location it is as the house breaks the wind up that valley. And the little sun it receives on that side is early am at sunrise only. Good location for canoes.

1 Like

I second the PVC racks. Wood is getting expensive too. I built one where the ends are all glued in but the long ones connecting them aren’t. This way I can take it apart when I move the boats from the garage to storage. I use a screw in each end of the long ones as a means of a mechanical attachment so it won’t slip out. Unscrew to take apart. Easy.

Be careful when using PVC in extreme temperatures, especially if carrying heavy boats or using long spans. At high temperatures PVC will sag and with very low temperatures PVC becomes brittle.

I’ll skip the PVC. Wood for me, Sir. I made the cut of the taller post and everything came out level and equidistant form the house. I saved a few $$ by using 4x4x6 instead of 8’s. Just a few dollars but defrayed the cost of the galvanized hex bolts and washers.

Overall, rather happy and expect it to last a few decades.

1 Like