Ceiling Hoist

-- Last Updated: Dec-11-10 8:03 AM EST --

My best option for canoe storage would be suspending it from the garage ceiling. I would have to lower/raise as necessary to use each time but that would be ok. It will be safe from theft and from the elements. The canoe will go to the ground and back up.....not loading it to a vehicle. Tell me what you did and what system. I prefer an electric winch type if that is available. The load will be light. 35-80lbs. Will most likely get a Kevlar UL...but a used Aluminum canoe is not out of the question. TIA. Frank

Garage Gator

– Last Updated: Dec-09-10 9:07 PM EST –

I used this to store my kayak rack. Drive in unlock the rack and then hoist to the ceiling.


Here are some pictures:


Nice job themp

– Last Updated: Dec-09-10 9:16 PM EST –

That is what I want. My garage is about 20x20 with a 10'ceiling. I could DIY but would like to get an experienced installer. Wonder if a garage door company will install something like that. I'm Googlin'

I use a couple of these

One for kayak, one for small Trailex aluminum trailer (around 90 lbs). These things used to be around $90 when I bought them several years ago, a very good deal then.



Once they are up I put rope slings underneath for safety redundancy should the hoist brake let go (as well as additional support). This would be less easy to reach with a higher ceiling, though a solution to that wouldn’t be too difficult to come up with.


Here’s my system.

– Last Updated: Dec-10-10 1:30 AM EST –

I have four of these in my garage, and have built two for friends. The ones in my garage lift each boat by means of winching a single rope, but the details are not fully provided in this set of photos. The double-rope winching system that's illustrated here is not ideal, but does the job.


I would strongly recommend against an electric winch. Why pay a minimum of $150 for an electric winch when for $18 you can get a hand-crank winch that has more than 10 times as much capacity as you need and is every bit as fast? If you want the ultimate in simplicity, you can eliminate any fuss with rope-routing by using two hand-crank winches, one for each end of the boat. I prefer to make one winch lift the whole works though. The number of pulleys you need and the complexity of rope-routing will depend on "the particulars" of your situation. With plenty of space and a high-mounted pair of hand cranks, you could get by with as few as two pulleys. Of course you can do the same with must one winch. My first boat hoist used a single rafter-mounted hand crank and what's become my standard "forked-rope system" (one rope winds on to the winch drum, but that rope forks into two for supporting the boat by two points), and just two pulleys, but I needed to stand on a step ladder to operate it. The method I use now would require a minimum of three pulleys (sometimes more, depending on the details), but the winch is at a more convenient height.

For anything but an aluminum boat, I'd recommend using hangers that support the boat on its gunwales. The supports that I use are a wrap-around style that support the boat on its gunwales but function as hangers, suspended from above by a rope. You can attach or remove them from the boat in about 30 seconds for each. Mine attach to temporary sawhorse legs for supporting the boat off the floor when not acting as ceiling hangers, but you can do the same thing by putting a five-gallon bucket or milk crate under each of them when you lower the boat.

Now that’s what I call engineering!


– Last Updated: Dec-10-10 3:00 PM EST –

I installed two of the 2-point Harken hoists a couple of months ago for two wooden sea kayaks I had built: http://www.paddling.net/buyersguide/accessories/showProduct.html?prodID=345&manfID=79&cat=

The boats were around 40 lbs each and the hoists worked quite well. I believe the weight limits are based on what the average person could comfortably lift. I suspect that the hoists would be plenty strong enough to safely handle more weight.

These hoists do not come with any kind of winch. As Eric said, a hand crank winch with a simple clutch will serve nicely it you don't want to hoist them up by hand. If you buy one of these and don't have a winch, buy a cleat to secure the excess cordage and to provide a safety backup in the event the small clutch that comes with the system fails.

I found these available through a supplier at a quite substantial discount. I very much doubt that I could have assembled anything cheaper from parts, unless I happened to have all the parts already at hand.

Pricey hoists
Yeah, I agree that the hoists I’m using are kind of expensive now, which is too bad.

Your setup is nice, but it depends on a good place to put the crank where you can work both it and steady and possibly guide the boat with your free hand so it doesn’t foul on stuff near walls, etc. on the way up and down. No good place for that in my garage where my boat is hanging, as I wanted it as close to the side wall as possible. I could have used such a hand crank for the trailer which is closer to the center of the garage but it was an easier decision at that point to simply buy another electric hoist for it since I liked the first one I bought so much.

Lots of different ways to do this stuff, and the engineering is part of the fun.


wow-some great ideas here!
I had tossed away the idea. Thanks to you guys I’m revisiting it!

Guiding boat with free hand not needed

– Last Updated: Dec-10-10 3:46 PM EST –

Someday I should post more photos of my setup. For the boat that's right alongside the wall, there's an extra set of ropes attached to the hangers which are slack when the boat is up at ceiling height, but are attached to a 2x4 across the rafter stringers, about 3 feet off-center from the lifting ropes. As the boat is cranked down, those off-center ropes gradually take up more and more of the load, so that the boat moves farther and far away from the wall as it comes down. When the boat reaches the the bottom of it's drop (about 30 inches off the floor), it actually overlaps halfway beneath th boat that it had been hanging next to. This allows me to have shelves, a welding table and welder, and other stuff along the wall right under the place where the boat hangs, but because the boat goes up and down on a diagonal, it won't hit that stuff when going up or down. Like you say, "engineering is part of the fun", and there's usually a solution to just about any problem. Someday I'll post a video of that boat being raised or lowered, just to show that this is a whole lot more simple than it might appear.

As far as finding a "good place" to put the hand crank, if you have walls, you have a good place. The crank need not be anywhere near the boat. It can be anywhere in the room. That's what pulleys are for.

I'm not "knocking" your system, only suggesting to the original poster that spending a lot less money usually makes pretty good sense.

Another 3 canoe lift system

I have a system with many similarities to yours. I have two 2X4 with one under each end of my 3 canoes. The 2X4’s are supported by ropes at the ends. Each of the 4 ropes go up through support pulleys and then on to guide pulleys. The guide pulleys line the rope up with the winch. I also needed one go around the light bulb pulley. By lifting the canoes from a board that is below the canoe they can be raised until they touch the garage celling or the beam down the center of the garage in my case. The garage door opens over top of my canoe endand almost hits the support ropes. With some parts out of a old wash machine, a go-cart sprocket and chain, angles form on old furnace, and a old garage door opener I made my own winch. This system has been in continuous use for over 20 years with only minor adjustments for rope stretch. I have had as much as 170LB on it but with that much weight sometimes the break cannot stop a load that is already coming down.


Ceiling hoist
Check my blog. It isn’t on there now, but I’ll write a piece on how mine is set up along with pictures. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so you’ll probably have to take all the info you get and design your own system based on where beams are, their load bearing capability, whether it will have to be lowered onto the floor, a cart, or best, if room and clearance will allow you to lower the canoe right onto the car-top system. I should have it on there by sometime tomorrow. Today is the Army-Navy game!!!


Simplified ceiling storage:
It amazes me how much some of you seem to be willing to spend to get your 50 pound kayak a few feet off the floor. Some old roof tie down buckles, a few feet of 1" webbing, and a few hooks and ring bolts does a great job. I usually let down to saw horses, but you can also let down and lift off the roof rack just as easily. If any would be interested, I would be glad to email a few photos showing how simply and inexpensively this can be done. I have four kayaks individually hung in this manner, and use them several times a week. But hey, it’s your money!

In my case, here’s why

– Last Updated: Dec-11-10 1:13 PM EST –

For a few dollars and a couple of hours spent "right now", I will never again have to deal with shuffling back and forth, adjusting first one strap and then the other, over and over, while raising or lowering the boat. I've watched people do that, and in most cases it's tedious. Second, hanging a canoe by straps isn't such a good idea. You should use rigid supports under the gunwales. Getting a canoe hoisted without any specialized hardware, with support points being well away from each end, AND supporting it on rigid gunwale supports can be done without a hoist using the method you describe (I've done with canoes I've stored temporarily for friends), but it's a major pain, involving endless shuffling of rope around rafters and though holes in the support blocks, and lots of incremental knot adjustments (buckles for strap users and people who can't tie knots). There's a big difference between properly supporting a canoe by its gunwales with such a simple method and simply looping straps around a kayak. Ever see how the dealers bring plastic kayaks to a show? They pile them up inside the back of a truck like a load of dead salmon. You won't see them bring canoes that way.

The bottom line is that my viewpoint is "similar but different" to/from yours, in that, especially for canoes, I can't understand why anyone would want to do things the hard way, over and over again for the rest of their life, when building something to make the job easy and accident-proof only needs to be done once. Besides, if you are the type who builds such things, it's not a terrible chore and it's one of the cheapest pieces of "paddling gear" in the toybox.

Handy Hooker Canoe Kayak Hoist
Purchased 2 of these several years ago to hang 2 canoes from the garage ceiling.

They have worked wonderfully. Easy to install - I have a drywall ceiling in the garage, finding the joists was the most difficult part of the install. In an open ceiling I imagine I could have had both installed in one hour - it took me about 2 hours.

Canoes can be lifted and lowered by one person.

I’ve been very pleased. See reviews on this site.