Winter kayak storage in the Midwest - Tips?

Hi! I live in Chicago, and have two new Pungo 120s. They’ll be stored in the garage. From what I’ve read online, cold temperatures can damage kayaks. I don’t have heat in my garage, and nightly lows can get down to -10F or more.

Interested to know if they should be covered, stored a different way, etc.

Also, I’m reading mixed advice on storing kayaks on their sides long term. Am I risking damage to these Pungos by storing them as shown in the picture?



Side is fine, plastic boat strong there. If you want to get extra cautious flip them to face the other way here and there to even out what side. Just leave them be at the subzero temps, do any flipping when the temps are a bit warmer. If nothing else for your own sake.

Freezing won’t hurt plastic boats unless they are really stiff and you choose that moment to hit them with a hammer. WW boats live under ice and snow all the time, like ours. Under a porch but the snow gets in there. Yours are at least out of the weather.

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If you put a rug or other padding on the floor under the kayak you won’t have a problem. Kayaks in general are not affected by cold although extreme cold may make them a little more brittle and more susceptible to impact damage.

High heat is more of an issue with plastic kayaks where the hull can deform over time if not supported evenly.

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When we bought our house on the cape the PO left a couple of inexpensive poly SOT kayaks for us. He stored them by hanging them under the deck, one rope at each end. Yea, the ends. All summer and winter.

Would I do that with my good kayaks? Nope. They are all tucked in, up against the garage ceiling, with 2" wide straps fore and aft, roughly at each bulkhead. Never gets below 40 degrees in the garage…

But the poly ones don’t really seem to be worse for the wear. I do treat them better… :slight_smile:

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You should be good. It helps to insulate the garage door with fiberglass.

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All of my boats are subject to the cold of North Idaho all winter. Like rstevens15 said, some materials can be brittle while cold, but we should be avoiding impact on the boats anyway.

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Make sure the boats are mostly dry before storing. If there is a lot of water in them, the water will expand when it freezes, which could cause problems.

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Your storage set-up looks fine. One easy improvement would be to buy a hollow pool noodle and cut it into 4 equal pieces and use the pieces to cushion your storage hooks and spread out the pressure on the hull.

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Your garage will be fine. This kayak spends its winters outdoors, sometimes in temps dropping to -20F.

Tom’s suggestion of pool noodles on the storage hooks is a good one. I have them on the hooks in the photo.

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If pool noodles are hard to find this time of year, most hardware stores carry foam pipe insulation in 6’ lengths for a few dollars.


I was shipping a bike that I had kept at my inlaws place in south Florida and stopped into HD for some pipe insulation to pad the frame tubing. Staff there had no idea what I was talking about. They didn’t carry it!

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Odd, even the local hardware has them. Supposed to save energy on hot water usage.

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I live in the same climate. Have always stored my rotomolded kayaks on their sides and canoes upside down with the weight evenly distributed. Have never had any problem in a garage with no heat.


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#becauseflorida :grimacing:

I would think even in Florida they would carry pipe insulation. Condensation on cold pipes can be a real problem as far as mold, mildew, and rot. Major problem in restaurants where they have ice machines and bins. Also a problem with refrigeration lines and condensate drain lines.