Kayak cover - better than a tarp?

Right now I am storing my two kayaks on padded hooks on the back wall of a ‘pole-barn’ with a 15’ tarp draped over them. (14’ Eddyline Equinox & 12’ Skylark, just S. of Ft Worth, TX)

I’m not happy with draping a tarp over them - the super humid mosquito-dense under-tarp is not thrilling, and heavy rain still mud-splashes them.

I’m looking for recommendations, I see some sleeve-type fitted covers with draw strings, etc. but they’re not particularly cheap so I wanted to ask first. What do you guys like for covering your kayaks?


I have a couple of Danuu covers and a custom made cover from Red Leaf Designs. I’m in Florida so my covers get a lot of abuse, but it’s worth it to keep the kayaks out of the sun. For storage only I think the Danuu covers are great - they fit loosely and are easy to put on and off. The Red Leaf cover is a stretchy, form fitting cover designed for travel as well as storage. It does cover the whole kayak and is machine washable if it gets dirty.

Some mulch or better yet crushed stone or gravel under the kayaks will go a long way towards preventing the splashes when it rains. Two of my kayaks are subject to this as well but as I store them at a friends’ place for free I can’t really complain - I just cover the composite one.

I bought sufficient yards of a Sunbrella type material to cover my kayaks. One is stored on a dock in full sun. Here’s a photo of that boat taken October 2018, after the dock was pulled. I use bungee cords to keep it wrapped around the boat. The fabric has done a great job protecting the boat from bugs, sun, rain and snow. It’s breathable and dries quickly. Also washable and I use 303 Fabric Guard on it each spring. Best of all, it’s easy to put on and take off.

Sadly, today that beach is covered by the rising lake level, including three of the bottom steps of the deck staircase.

Fitted kayak covers can be great, but the kayak must be completely dry inside and out before closing it up. In addition, if it is humid when putting the kayak in the cover, there is the risk of condensation forming if the temperature drops. Either situation can lead to mold and mildew.

Rather than draping them, if you cover them with a larger tarp that is not in contact with the kayaks and allows plenty of air circulation would be my suggestion, basically tenting them. If the tarp extends to the ground along the side, or as been suggested, you put gravel under the kayak, it will prevent mud and dirt from splashing on it.

rstevens15 has a good point - fitted covers that are watertight can cause problems with moisture, mildew and even osmotic blistering. The fitted cover I have is a non-waterproof polyester that doesn’t trap moisture, but wouldn’t keep rain out of the cockpit either. It blocks the sun and dirt which is what I need in my situation.

@rstevens15 @Brodie

Yeah - that’s an issue. It’s really high humidity here and we get very stormy rainfall - so I guess I’d be better off ‘tenting’ them. Just want to keep them clean-ish, not trap the moisture!

We’ve been talking about maybe laying the bottom of the tarp in the hooks for the lower boat, so that it’s ‘tucked in’ underneath, the back would still be open against the shed wall, but it could still trap a lot of humidity… (still don’t feel like I have a good solution).
Maybe I need to go to a light cloth instead of the plastic tarp - in 15’ x ? idk if I can even find it though - maybe use bed sheets… (does this sound random/desparate?)

If it’s open front and back by 2-3’ or more you should get plenty of circulation while still keeping the boats clean and dry.

Those look nice, for both boats I’d be out about $300+, so there’s a pause moment there… (sailboats are holes in the ocean where you throw your money, not kayaks, right?)

When I used to store them outside I used the 20’ by 4’ light canvas painters’ tarps to cover them (I pick them up at Sherwin Williams paint stores when they have their regular 40% off sales.) The canvas is breathable though it would eventually stain and mildew from dampness, but they can be machine washed and a little bleach takes out the funk. I would store the boats inverted (cockpit down) on stacked old tires or sawhorses and with breathable cockpit covers to keep out the critters – I’ve stitched up the covers using Sunbrella type outdoor furniture fabric, treated with 303.

Local Sherwin store has 15x12 for $37 - may check it out - thanks for the post.

haha, well this is my home, so yeah, I agree…

Humidity isn’t the problem (except possibly for mildew) but water held against the hull can cause blistering. I think this is only an issue on composite kayaks with gelcoat - I certainly wouldn’t worry about it on a plastic boat and your Eddylines should be immune to that problem as well.

Cheers! That’s much nicer than our Sunfish and Laser we were scooting around in a few years ago - looks like a lot of fun!

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I just realized that you can see my Dagger Stratos “marina kayak” under its Danuu cover in front of the sailboat. It lives on a simple wooden rack since we can’t leave anything on the docks.

I’d put mine inside the pole barn. But… Install a couple three hooks on the pole barn wall three feet above the boats, spaced for your tarp grommets, and hang a plastic tarp on them that would go to the ground if the boats were not there. It’ll make a lean-to roof over your boats. Hang something heavy (a brick) on each of the bottom corners. That will let enuf air through, and spiders will turn it into their condo and eat the skeeters for you too.

That’s a clever idea, the issue would be the additional floor space in my ‘pole barn’ which is used for my mowers - I could manage some lean-to tent effect, if I hung the tarp higher above the boats like you say - the idea has merit.
Thanks for posting.