Outdoor storage advice - rain cover?

Hello. I am almost certainly overthinking this but here goes:

I got a used royalex Penobscot 16 recently- hull looks solid but paint is faded, and the wood was rotted out likely from being stored on the ground upside-down in the wet wet wet Pacific Northwest. Gunwales are royalex, not wood though. I’ve got seats and all new wood on the way, but I’m thinking of how to store it going forward. I do not have indoor space.

Easiest for me would be a couple of sawhorses. It will be against the house in a shaded area with some tall trees so I am not too worried about UV. I was thinking of rigging a tarp over it (we love tarps up here) , but since the canoe is obviously waterproof, this may be pointless if it’s upside down… or should I worry about the moisture?


1 Like

Given the humidity, I’d protect it with 303 and leave it in the sun.

Get if off the ground and out of the sun. A tarp would not hurt. Keep the snow off it.
Most canoes will collect moisture in the ends when they are upside down.

Wood seats and thwarts are tucked up inside the boat and should be fine. Keep them varnished.

Hang in straps upside down and tarp it.

Less than 40 bucks makes two stands.

Maybe throw some mothballs in it when it’s upside down.

1 Like

It probably goes without saying but, be sure to remove the tarp every now and then to make sure there’s no mold or critters that have found their way inside.

Tarp roof not wrap
tarps wrapped around the boat discolor it and trap mold onnthe wood
Livery boats on Maine don’t have wood gunwales but all are outside covered by feet of snow
Its the wood you want to care for

If the boat is in the shade that’s all that really matters; I’ve stored fiberglass and kevlar boats in the woods (mostly shady) for years with zero issues. I suggest placing the sawhorses 3-4 feet from the ends to make it easy for the canoe to support a snow load (my boats have had 3 feet on snow on em). Just wipe on some 303 a few times a year. After you cut your new wood parts to size I suggest that you varnish or thoroughly oil the cut ends to make them more weatherproof. You don’t need a tarp roof unless you want one. Congrats on your Penobscot.

I agree with @TomL and several other posts above; you want to protect it from sun, not rain. A tarp might induce rot by keeping moisture in. Getting it off the ground and out of the sun are the main priorities. There is still some UV from the sky but nowhere near as much as from direct sunlight.

I just cover the tops of the kayaks. No wrapping.

1 Like

Here is what I do. Upside down summer shade winter some sun. The racks I built are slightly angled and I drilled a small quarter inch hole in both deck ends to let the water that runs down the hull enters the gunwale and drains down to the deck to get out. No covering the snow/rain wont hurt the hull or gunwales and the air flow year round under the boats is a good thing. The flip down arms on the rack just make it much easier to load and unload along with flipping the canoe over by myself to work on it.

1 Like

Sun eats everything except stone.

1 Like

I know it eats tarps a lot faster than it does boats. :canoe:

Tarps are 20 -25 bucks 6’ x 20’ boats a bit more :flushed: Tarps last two years even longer if I reverse them. I fold a 6 x 20 lengthwise.


I live in a very heavy industrial area, and while rain itself isn’t a problem, the crap the rain carries down will build up more than you’d expect. A nearby road will have the same effect.

If you decide to tarp it, don’t let the tarp turn into a sail if the wind shifts.

1 Like

My boats live outdoors by necessity, also. I treat them with 303 periodically but supplement that with these covers from Amazon, which also protect from pine sap and bird poop. They run a bit small.

Tarps usually 6" short. So 20’ is really 19’-6"

Garbage bag if short

My Tripper is about 45 yrs old, give or take, has been stored everywhere. The only issue has been the Mad River gunnels, ash, from Jim Henry, rotted out, hard to find ash nowadays, but I pieced some together. The hull itself is just as good as it was when I unwrapped it from the rock in the Millers, it was a free boat. So, do not worry about weather, just give it some shade, and do not sell it, there are no more being made.

I am assuming you’re also in the PNW, where I marveled at how moss grows on the freeway (mostly on the traffic barriers and pavement joints) when I first moved here.

Rigging a tarp over your canoe (acting as a roof, not in contact with it) would keep it cleaner and drier, and would also keep the ground underneath drier, reducing the humidity in that little area.

On the other hand, tarps aren’t that sturdy and can catch wind, so fixing your torn or pulled-free tarp might become a hassle all its own.

Up to you, I guess.

Agree with everyone that has said:

  1. off the ground for airflow
  2. sun eats everything eventually, especially plastics, so better to cover than not
  3. tent the tarp, not wrap. Contact will discolour the hull, and tenting can let the snow slide off rather than accumulate.

Also to add, if theft or vandalism is a concern, build a lockable box. I’ve built a 17’6” x 30” x 3’ boat locker out of free/scavenged shipping pallets, fits a 17’ and 15’ kayak, both

with rudders, with room to spare. The roof is solid to protect from falling objects like tree limbs, and it’s got a tented tarp on the inside (tarp ends are open, locker ends are closed).


Call the Old Town. They are the best source because they know the material.