Need ideas for safe gear storage at home

I need suggestions for safe storage of my gear. Not for my canoes or paddles, but tents, pfds, cooking gear, chairs, tarps, misc, etc. I need to protect the gear from moisture, high summer temperatures, critters.

I have a wood storage building on piers, and an old corrugated tin garage, but neither is critter proof, and the garage roof leaks. I’ve been keeping the good gear in the house, but need the space.

I also have a porch that isn’t completely weather proof, but has room for storage if I could come up with an idea for keeping the gear safe from critters and moisture.

Any suggestions?


Plastic Storage Bins
My storage space is a bit more weatherproof than yours, but I still keep most of my stuff in these:

Water-resistant, clean, and difficult for anything smaller than a squirrel to get into.

Lately, upon returning from a trip, I’ve been cleaning my gear and repacking it in its respective drybags and stowing the works in large storage bins, ready for my next trip. Saves scramble time later.

Good Luck!


Whatever you use, add desiccant packs
With the high humidity, sealing up your stuff in waterproof boxes might still result in kinda stinky boxes of gear. You can get reusable desiccant tins from pro photo suppliers such as B&H Photo or Calumet.

Rubbermaid bins are good, IF you get the kind that are high in rubber content and flexible to low temps. The harder, more brittle ones crack easily, in my experience.

You could also build plywood lockers using boat construction techniques (epoxy as adhesive and sealer, then varnish for UV protection). Add some good gaskets to seal the openings.

What pikabike said…
…about plywood is similar to the storage solution I came up with.

Using available materials around the property, I constructed a large plywood box, sealed the corners with silicone, used weatherseal around the lid, and scattered a few mothballs inside to keep bugs out. It is stored inside my canoe shed so I haven’t coated it with epoxy or waterseal, but I intend to (one of these days). It’s big and heavy though, so I’m not gonna be moving it around unless I put wheels and a handle on it. It has worked marvelously. All my stuff fits in it, all in one place, when I’m ready to go I just load the contents of the box into my truck and I’m on my way. I keep a trip list in the box and check it off as I load and unload it.

I hope you take a canoe trip soon and submit a trip report, I enjoy reading reports about Texas rivers.


Critter Proofing
You can get a material called hardware cloth - not a cloth at all, but a fine screen wire mesh, and use it to line anything you need critter-proofed. It’s commonly used for lining wooden garbage bins, for example - way too tough for anything to chew thru. Tacking it over any potential point of entry should keep things safe…

Tarp the garage…
get a silver tarp large enough to cover the roof, and cover it Katrina style…

Consider hanging shelf brackets from the rafters, and putting the bins and boxes up off the floor of the buildings, close to the ceiling to reduce the critter traffic…

My storage method
I live in a northern state and store my camping and some of my paddling gear in metal storage cabinets purchased at estate sales for around 15-20 dollars.

One with adjustable shelves and the other with a rod for hanging.

All my outer paddling clothes go on padded hangers. Also from e-sales. Dry suits and neoprene.

When storing my knee high Chotas, I take apart a cardboard box, cut a rectangular piece for each boot, form it into a circle and place near the ankle area. Boots don’t get any creases from ‘fallover bends’ and they are assisted in airing and or drying out.

Hope you get some good ideas from our fellow paddlers.

Best of luck!

We use the exact same boxes
and they work great.

They also make for handy carrying your stuff. Just throw a particular bin or bins in your car and you are good to go.

We use them for our bike stuff too

They keep critters as well as moisture out

Don’t get the cheap ones. Get RubberMaid. the cheaper ones will crack as they get older.

As far as larger stuff like chairs, etc. Most people at docks and marinas, now use the large plastic ones that come in all shapes and sizes. You can get them at Lowes and Home depot and they go all the way from small to mini sheds.



I’ve thought about getting these …

– Last Updated: Aug-05-09 8:55 AM EST –

..... someday for semi-outside storage , but they are expensive if purchased new . It is possibble to find them used for sale . Ther are many different makers of these things , not just the link .

General name for them is a dock storage box . They are really tough and come in various sizes . You might want to keep an eye out for a couple of them used .

thanks everyone…
I like the idea of buying or building an attractive cabinet with the proper seals. I have room on my screened porch, and the dessicant packs are also a good idea.

I’m already using several huge rubbermaid cargo boxes with lids and wheels…the only problem is they are in my dining room, and I’m afraid to store the important gear in the garage or storage building, due to heat, critters, and moisture/mildew.

It is not possible to critter-proof the garage. Nor is it possible to make it completely moisture safe. Even with the roof leak repaired, the sides don’t go all the way to the ground and water comes in when it rains. It is very old, and probably survived our major hurricanes due to the dead termite bodies sticking to it. It is so old that some of the foundation slabs under the support posts are slabs of tree trunks. Really.

Even though my cargo containers have lids and latches, I don’t trust them to keep chewing or nesting critters out. I could store them on my porch, but that isn’t going to look much better than having them in my dining room, plus I still think mildew would be a problem, so I really want a different solution.

Thanks for the suggestions.


Dock Box
I keep a dock box on my pontoon boat. It contains pfd’s. The box sits on the boat, uncovered, 24/7, rain or shine and the pfd’s stay dry and no critters get in.

Try looking for a old chest type freezer
They are all metal, insulated and can be bought cheap, especially if they don’t work. I would add a locking device, new door seal and get a dehumidifing rod that they sell for gun safes and you should be good to go for your gear.