Think about getting a Kayak, logistics of storage and transportation limiting factor

I paddled canoes a bunch as a kid and rented a kayak once or two. I took a sea-kayaking lesson last weekend and I’m taken another one this coming week. I like paddling sports and I’m considering maybe looking for a used sea kayak (hoping for something decent in the $1k-2k range). But I worry about the logistics of transportation and storarg.

I read that indoor storage is best but my garage is 18’ long. a 17’ kayak would take some work putting up some kind of gig somewhere to hang it and then it’s tough to get around the garage. I could hang it outside under the family room where it would be completely protected but it would get cold New England temps in winter (down to -5 on a bad night). And of course I’d have to figure out how to hang it safely. I don’t want to roach something I dropped $2K on because I didn’t hang it properly.

Then there’s transportation. I drive a Camry with no racks. I have a ton of old Thule stuff from my windsurfing days but only the bars would be reusable; I’d have to spend a couple hundred to get the compatible ends for the bars. Of course I’ve heard you can just put pads on the roof and run tie-down webbing through the doors. I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Then there’s a bow and stern line for safety. There are no tie-down points on the bumpers or under the front or back of the car. I’ve seen those things that are loops with a slug at one end you put in your hood and truck to give you tie downs. Is that going to work for safely transporting?

(I do have access to the Venza we handed down to my son which does have bars built-in. I’ll have that at least until he takes it to college in a year or two. But I’d still need bow and stern line tie downs.)

Are these insurmountable obstacles to owning a kayak? I don’t want it to be a PITA to move and store as I’m busy and will be lucky to use it a dozen times a year when I have some free time.

Any tips for storage and transportation?

Nothing’s insurmountable if you really want to do it.

My 16-foot kayak is stored indoors at another location over the winter. I keep my 14-foot boat in my back porch, next to my firewood, for winter river paddling when/if snow conditions allow. Winter temps sometimes get down to the -20/-30F range Not hung; it sits on a couple of DYI stands made from old wood folding deck chairs. Covered to keep the snow off. When it’s that cold, I don’t go near it as I don’t want to bump it (it’s a thermoformed boat). Our winters are at least five months long and it’s survived two winters with no storage issues. Not even a dead spider in the cockpit.

For tie downs, I use a Seattle Sports Quick Loop under the hood; my Honda FIT has a tow hook in the rear so I use that for the stern tie-down. One also available in front but it’s easier to use a hood loop. Very safe and secure.

If you have a wall next to that protected family room area, you could install wall hangers to hold the kayak. Just need to place them so the boat is supported at the bulkheads. Lots of options for safe storage.

My philosophy is to get the shortest, lightest kayak that meets your intended uses. That kayak will be easier to store, load and unload, launch, and (often) paddle. It will also get used more often. Each extra foot makes a difference for all of these things, so don’t added unneeded length without good reason. Why get 17’ if 16’ will work? Why 16’ if 14’ will work? There are seaworthy kayaks from 13’ to 18’.

All of the issues you raise are surmountable, but first you need to clarify your intended use of this kayak. Where will you paddle (ponds, lakes, flat rivers, whitewater, sheltered ocean, open ocean)? How long (day trips vs camping)? How many hours a day will you be on the water for a typical trip? What are your priorities (speed, efficiency, stability, etc.)? What is your height and weight?

I wouldn’t store the kayak outdoors, so it needs to fit in your garage without hogging the space and without being difficult to get the kayak out. For transportation you need bars and something like the Thule Glide n Set. Those are always available on Craigslist at low prices. Two straps across the middle plus bow and stern straps are essential. Hood loops for the bow strap are very effective. Under the hood there are often holes in the frame where you can attach a loop.

Hood and trunk tie-down loops:

In this video, scroll to 2:10 to see holes where a tow hook can be attached.
Forum thread on this issue:

One thing which may make things easier is open u your considerations on kayaks. Unless you are doing long distance paddles or week-long expeditions, you might be able to get away with a shorter boat (14-16 foot), which would be easier to store. That might make storing in garage easier.

Storing outside is fine, even in freezing water, so long as you don’t have any water in the boat.

The hood loops @Rookie talks about are good options for front tie down.

I am not big on foam blocks on a roof, as they don’t seem as secure as I would like. But f you do go that route. what people often do is tie the foam block on to the boat first, before it is on the car. Then move entire setup on to car and use another set of straps to attach to the car. Requires more straps, but people have said is more secure. The foam blocks should also work fine when you can use the Venza- they will pop right on to the cross bars.

Yeah, I guess 17’ is long especially for the local ponds and rivers but the ocean trips around here want to see you with at least 16’ and two water-sealed compartments.

I scoured the front and back end of my Camry looking for thing like those little boxes where the screw-eye tie-downs go in and can’t find anything.

I would definitely get the trunk tie-downs for bow and stern lines unless I can find tie-down points.

I don’t get why some people say outdoor storage is fine and others say it isn’t. Aren’t fiberglass sailboats pretty much the exact same technology and they all sit out all winter?

@l2t said:
I don’t get why some people say outdoor storage is fine and others say it isn’t. Aren’t fiberglass sailboats pretty much the exact same technology and they all sit out all winter?

Probably better with a fiberglass boat than polyethylene, but as someone who has a boat mounted to the roof of his truck about 50% of the time in the summer, you’ll need to accept some serious fading. I’ve thought about a cover I can put on there while driving, but I’m not sure the benefit outweighs the hassle.

I don’t see a problem storing a boat outside if it’s protected from the sun, rain, temperature extremes, bugs, dirt, and whatever else. It’s just much easier to accomplish all of this indoors. That’s why we build houses.

@l2t said:

I don’t get why some people say outdoor storage is fine and others say it isn’t. Aren’t fiberglass sailboats pretty much the exact same technology and they all sit out all winter?

As Peter (who is an ACA certified kayak instructor) advised, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with storing a kayak outdoors so long as there’s no water in the boat. Open the hatches and wipe out the boat, as well as the cockpit, making sure it’s dry and you’re good to go.

I stored a rotomolded kayak outdoors under the garage eves for two years, summer and winter. The boat was fine, as is the kayak I store under a covered porch during our long winters, sometimes in subzero temps.

All you need to be concerned with is supporting the boat at the fore and aft bulkheads. And keep a cockpit cover on it so critters don’t make it their winter abode.

One qualifier: if you live in an area which receives heavy winter snow, you want to store it where snow will not accumulate on the boat.

I keep all my yaks outside. Cockpit covers and silver tarp folded on top so it’s double no problem dry in the spring even if I never used the boat all winter. Tarp past the seams and bungee them on. Stand made from wood with 4" wide webbing at two points. Two poly. one thermo-formed, 4 composite kayaks. Boats are stored outside all the time.

I have left my poly boats outside in the New England winter with no issues. The composites were placed into a covered storage area.

Rodents are your number one enemy
If you store outdoors check each week that they have not moved in
Before we had inside storage we had issues of rodents chewing through cockpit covers
And if you have lots of snow make sure it’s elevated off the ground. I snowshoed on top of a buried boat once

Just bring the hatch covers inside. Boat can stay outside just fine, if worried about critters you can rig up a cover or the hatches. And cockpit covers.
Hood loops for bow tie downs.
You don’t have to hang it, anything that gets it of the ground will work.

Hope you get your transport and storage issue figured out. It drove me crazy for a few days. Probably didn’t choose the best option(transport inside the van) but it works for the present and hopefully the next couple of years.

Four eye-bolts in the ceiling of your garage, attach ratchet straps on each set, put the canoe on the floor on top of the ratchetstraps and ratchet it up to the ceiling out of the way and safe

An 18ft garage is longer on the diagonal.

@l2t said:
Yeah, I guess 17’ is long especially for the local ponds and rivers but the ocean trips around here want to see you with at least 16’ and two water-sealed compartments.

Needing 16’ or longer is a very old school thought process, which I find often exists within clubs of older paddlers.

For safety, you are right that sea kayaks should have 2 (or more) sealed compartments behind bulkheads. Those sealed compartments also need to be of a large enough size to float the boat high enough that a paddler re-eneters the flooded cockpit and the combing is still above the surface (otherwise you could never pump out the boat).

Historically, the first sea kayaks were all on the longer side - that 16’ or longer (with a few relatively rare exceptions like Necky Looksha Sport and Mariner Coaster). Boats were made to do multiple week duration camping trips. But as time has gone on, there are less and less people doing these long trips, and more people doing only day trips. So some 10ish years ago, manufacturers started making day-touring class boats - kayaks in the 14-16 foot range that have plenty-large sealed compartments and meet all of the other safety and design attributes of a sea kayak. Examples of these are Dagger Alchemy, Dagger Stratos, P&H Delphn/Aries, Valley Gemini, Jackson Journey, etc.

These day touring boats can be just as sea worthy as their longer brethren, so what is the advantage of each size? Longer kayaks generally go faster, track better, and can carry more gear. Shorter boast are more maneuverable, lighter, easier to transport and store, and cheaper. So, if I was going to do a long camping trip where I needed the gear space or was doing a long paddle with people who all paddle fast (more than 15 miles), I’d probably borrow a 17’+ boat. But for everything else I do, I am perfectly happy in my day-touring boats. Even when I teach or guide at a place that has a selection of boats of different sizes, I generally reach for the day touring boats.

So there are reasons to chose a 16’+ boat, but I find that most trips people do don’t require them. But of course, if the people you paddle with say you need one that long, then maybe it is easier to get the longer boat rather than fight the battle on boat sizes.

Side note 1 -There are some boats that are actually crossovers between rec and day touring, and these may not meet the safety requirements that sea kayaks do. Necky Looksha 12 comes to mind as an example. They have 2 small sealed compartments, and often large cockpit openings (say Seals size 2.2 or larger, if you look at the Seals size guide)

Side note 2 - The other safety item that most look for on sea kayaks is deck perimeter lines (non-stretch lines) that can be used to hold on to a boat. If people are very old school and have kayaks that are more than 10-15 years old, they may not have deck lines on their boats. This would make it harder to rescue them. On many of my local club coastal paddles, these boats would not be allowed. Makes me shake my head to see someone poo poo a day touring boat for perceived safety concerns when they have a significant safety issue on their boat.