Canoe storage outside

-- Last Updated: Jul-08-07 7:12 PM EST --

I don't have room in the garage to store a canoe. I live in Illinois (cold winters and hot summers). I wondered if I could protect the canoe well enough if I had a good canoe cover? I guess I could also build a wood cover to go over the whole thing.

Would this be adequate to protect a Kevlar canoe? Anything better that I can do?


mine is under a tarp
I keep mine on sawhorses with a large vinyl tarp over it. The tarp is supported by electric conduit posts soit doesn’t lay on the boat. Also it is angled like the side of a tent so snow and water runoff.

Is it important to have ventilation?
The tarp idea sounds good. Is it important to have ventilation too? I was thinking it may help to protect from water, sun and snow while having some space for ventilation too.

Googled an answer:
Canoe Storage

Like any piece of gear, the better you maintain your boat, the longer it will last. Proper storage is key in the effort to protect your canoe from the sun, weather and theft, and to prevent uneven weight distribution and maintain hull integrity. And the longer you store your craft, the more important proper storage becomes.

* Quick Read

* Storing indoors is best (of course).

* Avoid sun and weather.

* Use straps or cradles to distribute weight in order to prevent bending or deforming the hull.

Protecting against the sun

Sunlight can degrade just about any canoe hull material, from fiberglass to plastic to epoxy-coated wood (only aluminum canoes are safe). It can also damage wood gunwales and deck plates, as well as cause painted surfaces to fade or crack.

* The best way to protect against sun damage is to store your boat inside.

* When that’s not possible, store your boat in a shaded spot.

* If no shade is available, use a tough, weather-resistant tarp or cover that’s suspended above the hull (contact with the hull may promote mold or fungal growth in wet conditions) and entirely covering the boat.

A note on protective UV coatings

Sprays like McNett UV Tech can be applied to fiberglass, plastic and vinyl-skinned boats to significantly add to their from-the-factory UV protection. Apply a generous coating at the beginning of each season and prior to storing your boat for any long period of time to help shield it from sunlight and oxidation.

Protecting against the weather

Prolonged exposure to weather can cause some hull materials to oxidize and/or degrade.

* Again, storing your canoe indoors is the best protection (although it still may be susceptible to extreme cold—see below).

* If you store your boat outside, make sure it’s protected from precipitation and that rain and/or snow can’t collect in the tarp and press down on the hull.

* If you store your boat outside or in an unheated building, be aware that repeated freezing and thawing can cause damage to fiberglass boats if water has seeped into seams, joints or cracks in the hull (it will expand and contract as it freezes and melts).

* Extreme cold and/or weather can damage wood gunwales and deck plates. Be sure to maintain all the wood pieces on your canoe as recommended by the manufacturer.

Protecting against theft

The best way to protect your canoe against theft is to store it inside.

* If you store your boat outdoors, keep it hidden from view as much as possible.

* Position it so that it’s difficult for a thief to grab it quickly and run.

* In high crime areas, thread a durable security cable through a sturdy part of the boat (like a thwart or carry handle) and connect it to a post, fence or building.

Protecting against hull damage

Most canoe hulls will deform or bend over time if exposed to uneven weight distribution. Plastic hulls are the most susceptible to damage, but fiberglass and wood-hulled boats can also fall victim over time.

* Spread out the weight of the canoe over its entire length whenever you store it.

* Support the boat at several points along its length, using padded cradles, angled surfaces and/or wide, nylon straps that match the curve of the hull.

* Practices to avoid include:

o Storing your canoe upside down on the ground, which is too harsh on the gunwales.

o Supporting your canoe from its ends only.

o Standing it up on one end.

o Hanging it from its grab handles or thwarts.

o Laying it down on its side on a flat surface for long periods of time.

o Storing it near a significant heat source like a furnace or water heater.

Additional storage tips

* If you paddle in salt water, be sure to rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water before you store it. Salt water can degrade hull materials and corrode metal parts.

* Maintain all wooden gunwales and deck plates following the guidelines of the canoe manufacturer. Failure to do so may cause these pieces to dry out, crack, warp or weather during storage.

Royalex Cold Cracking
I thought this was interesting regarding Royalex canoes being damaged in cold weather:


  1. Before storing your canoe for extended periods, place the canoe upright in a garage or

    under a tarp for about a week to allow water to drain from under the capped gunwales.

    Clean and apply 303 Protectant to the hull and Watco Oil to the trim.
  2. DO NOT STORE YOUR CANOE ON THE GROUND. Store it upside down on a rack or saw

    horses, in a dry place away from sunlight, heat, and extreme temperature changes. Protected

    outside storage is fine but moisture must not be allowed to accumulate between the rails and

    hull; cover the canoe, keeping the cover from touching the hull to prevent possible staining.
  3. When bringing your canoe out of storage, re-apply Watco Oil to the trim and wipe the hull

    with 303 Protectant.


    Royalex® shrinks approximately 1” for every 100° drop in temperature. Because wood has

    a significantly lower rate of contraction, wood trimmed Royalex canoes are especially

    susceptible to a condition know as “cold cracking”. Cold cracking occurs when the hull

    contracts significantly more than the trim. The hull will develop cracks at the points where

    a fastener, i.e. a screw, affixes the rail to the hull.

    The following will reduce the risk of cold cracking†:
  4. Do not store your Royalex canoe in temperatures below 32°.
  5. Store your canoe indoors.
  6. Store the canoe upside-down to allow water to drain from the hull.
  7. Remove the screws from the outwale 24” from the stems of the canoe.

    † Cold Cracking is not covered by Bell Canoe Works warranty

Probably won’t try outdoors after all…
After some Googling on the subject, I guess storing a canoe outdoors is a bad idea. I should have done that before I posted my question here.

I’ll have to convince my wife that I REALLY need to hang that canoe in the garage after all :slight_smile:

At the end of the season, clean your

canoe/kayak and give it an inspection. If

you notice a scrape or wear spot

through the exterior color layer, touch it

up with Old Town paint. This will protect

the sub layers from the harmful effects

of ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet light from the sun may

fade the color in time. If possible, store

your boat out of the sun. A garage is


If you must store your canoe or

kayak outside, do not cover it by laying

a tarp directly on it. With the heat of the

sun, the tarp creates an oven that can

damage, distort, or discolor the hull. A

tarp, properly suspended above the

boat, will protect the boat from ultraviolet

light. Simply leave an air space to

allow for air circulation.

Canoes should always be stored upside-

down. Put on garage rafters, saw

horses, blocks or in slings suspended

from the ceiling.

Kayaks should be stored standing on

one end or on their sides. If stored outside

with the possibility of water getting

inside, we recommend an Old Town

Kayak cockpit cover. Another option is

to store it upside-down. Upside-down

storage should be in slings or “cradle”

type saw horses to help prevent hull distortion.

If you must store your boat outside,

we recommend you tie it down. Strong

winds can catch the underside, flip it,

and cause damage.

If you have the space
It’s great to have indoor space but I won’t keep a $20,000 car outside all winter so I can keep a $500 canoe in the garage space. Just MHO.

Great point
I’m not sure I will have space in the garage and may HAVE to store outside after all. Thanks for your advice.

Never seen any stats on it, but I’d have to venture a guess that most of the canoes in the world live outside. Boats with wood gunwales are more at risk and need to be kept dry as well as out of the sun.

Mine live on racks under the deck. A wood gunwale boat just joined the fleet, and it will have to have a tarp or some poly sheeting over it to keep the wood from rotting

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, Md.

kayak storage
can I store plastic kayak outside in cold and snow