Show me your rack!

Hope my headline grabs some attention/feedback without offending anyone. :slight_smile:

I read a lot of posts about hauling boats, but not too many about storage, other than hanging. (I can’t paddle more than one at a time)

I need to make a rack for multiple canoe (3) and kayak (2) storage, with room for expansion.

It will probably be in the garage, but may end up outside as a stand alone building/pavilion. I live on the shore of Lake Erie, (waters about 200 yards away) so cold and snow load are a big concern.

I have a couple of ideas, but know that there are some very creative people on this site, and I’m sure there are a few good options that I’m missing.

Please share some pictures/descriptions of your storage racks for multiple boats.

Hold on a bit.
I am in the middle of building one for my own after deciding that I can’t build it in my basement due to a post holding up my first floor being in the way.

I’m building a 18’ kayak shack underneath my deck. It’ll be about 3’ off the ground and will be made of 5 “U” shaped members made using cut 2x4s and basic hardware. It will be enclosed on the top and sides with weather resistant plywood and then I’ll be stapling or nailing a mesh (like on a screen door) on the bottom to allow for ventilation and water to drop but keep most bugs out. The deck and cover on the top will keep out most of the snow and it’ll be covered from the sun/UV and rain yet still be ventilated from below. I can build a door with a lock on it too.

I can take a picture of it when I’m done but I just finished putting together the 5 U members and need to mount the casters on them (for me to roll the kayak in/out).


I uesd a eight foot wide shed

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 9:38 PM EST –

from Coverit. Massachusetts snow loads are of no concern to me. quanset style roof. I store sea and ww kayaks

My rack (design borrowed from Charles River Canoe and Kayak, thanks Dave, Bryce and Larry)uses 2 4x4 uprights pressure treated with the ends buried 2.5 feet! into the ground. I used a gas rental one man post hole digger

two pressure treated 1 x 6 run between the uprights on either side, about 4 feet high, connecting them. they end flush with the outer edge of the uprights. Attached with good quality deck screws.

High grade 5/16th bolts hold on a total of 6 2X4s arms which directly support the boats. Each arm extends on either side of the uprights so my rig holds six. The arms are at heights of about 6.5,4.5, and 2,75 feet. the bolts go through the 2X4 then the 4x4. I used a 1/4 inch drill bit to drill the holes, then drove the bolts in using a drill driver set up. The machine screw threads in the bolts provided plenty of drive, no slop in the holes, and a ratchet or powered bolt driving set-up makes it fast enough. Washers and nuts hold it together The bolts are set about one inch off center in both the horixontal and vertical axis so the arms resist torquing in any mode.

Then I used six lengths of two inch tubular webbing and side release buckles suspended fron the ends of the arms buy a screw eye and a grommet in the webbing. Wrapped aound uprights. Arms and 1X6s should be padded with indoor outdoor or whatever.

ON the upper two sets of arms I slide the boat in on the lower arms, click in the buckle, and tighten the webbing to lift the hull off the arms.

ON the lowest level I can take the boat in on the ground with my boat "wheels", then buckle up the straps and lift it so that I never lift the boat by hand. You must leave extra height on the lowest level to do this.

1. I would have bought the 10 foot wide shelter, but I had width restrictions. If you go for the eight foot shelter you will have to get the top arms really close to the roof/wall, With the added width of your boats the 10 footer will be a big help.
2. the weakest point in my system is the fact that the wood will rot where it is stuck in the ground. but I did not want to use concrete.

Try these…

Scroll down to Kayak/canoe racks…

Since these can be mounted on an existing trailer they can do double duty…mount them on a trailer and park the trailer in a shed…


Buy the racks and use them stand alone under a tarp type shelter…

I like the first idea myself…at some point you will want to transport the boats to other places than the Lake at your door…all you have to do then is hook up and go…

Garage rack…

I have a rack that is hung (mostly) from the beams in the garage, that I can park my car under! Part is cantilevered where the door prevents hanging. Look at my photo link above, and scroll through. They will be better than my trying to explain it. The verticle and horizontal load carring beams are held together with 1/4" bolts. The other beams are screwed together with number 10 deck screws.

Also, I slide a couple of wood bulkheads into the kayak to keep it from denting while sitting on the rack. Alternately, you could mount them on their sides.

There is room for 2 wide tandems, or 3 touring kayaks. Right now I just have the Loon 160T on it. If you have 5 boats, they are going to take up a lot of your garage.

Anyrate, for my set up, I can pull in the car and park it under the kayak and rack. I can pull the kayak out and put it on the Suburban, with the car parked in the garage.

Good luck with your project. Send us photos when it comes together.



I would love to see that when you are through. Please keep us updated on your progress. I’m in the same situation, no room in my garage, but lots of room under my deck.

Here’s a question: Does storing your kayak outside in the winter (especially here in MN) detrimental to the kayak? They will be covered from the snow, but in the bitter cold.

yeah, should take me another week or two, as I don’t work on this project on the weekends (usually out somewhere) and sometimes afterwork is too hectic).

As far as the kayaks in winter. I haven’t heard of anything with fiberglass or plastic in severe cold.

Of course, in winter, when I’m not paddling, I can always store the kayak inside, but for summertime, it’s too much a pain for me to move it in and out all the time.

I’ll try to get some pictures up when it’s finished…


If I had it to do over again, I’d go with one of the Coverits with a rack inside. I’ve covered our rack since I took this photo, but this will give you an idea of the construction:

Thanks for all the responses so far!
Keep them coming, your ideas, pics, and links have already helped.


Since a permit is required for EVERYTHING in my neighborhood, I spoke with the local building inspector. It seems I can build a giant swing set, park a junk car, or erect as many little plastic play houses as I want, but not build a storage shed for my boats. He did NOT find it funny when I mentioned, I was willing to hang a swing from it.

So I guess whatever I do it will have to be inside the garage.

c2g- Is that PVC pipe capping the crossbars?

yes, pvc (eom)

Here is mine…
Boats stay outside all year. Each time I get back from paddling, the boats get washed, cleaned,dried and wrapped in the tarps and locked up.

Third boat is on a separate rack and also has a tarp wrapped around it.


garage storage
My ugly, but practical garage solution:

and, this is what you love to have

but I have that 24’ surfrigger canoe hanging diagonally across my garage.

Simple A-frame rack
I’ve got pics of mine on Webshots at:

The rack album is on the second page. You can easily modify the basic design to work with whatever size boats you have.

as nystrom’s rack is moveable
perhaps no permitting is necessary?

I like it…
It not a structure, its a Giant Saw Horse.

So no permits!

Just set up two for your fleet across from each other.


Hey Jay
I’ve thought about an under deck storage system, but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll probably do an in garage wall mount.

I would like to see what you are working one though. Where in North Jersey are you? I’m just over the border in NY.

check this out…
All you have to do is put some casters on it and wheel it in and out of the garage… Has room to grow.

The saying is true
Great minds really do think alike.

I was also considering making a moveable rack that I can pull in and out of the garage as space, and weather conditions demand. No permits needed!

It will probably look quite a bit like the one doubledipper shows, but with some of your other ideas too.

I will add casters to one end with some type of handle on the other so I can move it like a wheelbarrow, but not have it slide around when loading or unloading boats.

I’ll cap the crossbars with some type of plastic to prevent chipping of wood and damage to my boats.

I’ll add some straps, so I can adjust the weight distribution, and keep boats from moving when I’m rolling it around.

Thanks for all the help. You guys rock!

I’ll post pics. when I’m done.

Are you going for the kayak forklift? Seeing your rack and then seeing that you want to put castors on it. I started to brainstorm. If there was a way to install like say a car jack (manually operated) on the rack to lift the rack up and down, you’d be able to slide (using the castors) and the arms under your roof rack on the durango. Then unstrap the kayak and use the jack to lift the kayak off the rack and onto your storage. Release the air in the car jack and lower the whole thing and then wheel it into the garage. Wouldn’t that be cool? Would need thin enough “arms” to fit above the roof but below the kayak…


Fat Elmo’s rack

– Last Updated: Aug-18-06 5:00 PM EST –

Wha Ho, Pilgrims;

Here be Fat Elmo's rack-o'-canoos (an' one wooden 'yak) under me deck. Still got another one in de cellar.

Fat Elmo