There’s nothing quite like spending a day out on the lake paddling around in your canoe. But when you’re done for the day, you need to know how to store it properly so it’s ready to go for next time. Here are some tips on how to store a canoe in your garage.
What You'll Learn Today
How Do You Store a Canoe in a Small Garage? Canoe Storage Tips to Try
Another benefit of storing your canoe in the garage is that it gets it out of the elements. Sunlight and harsh winter weather can both degrade the materials used to build a canoe. Keeping your canoe outdoors also leaves it more vulnerable to theft.
The garage is the perfect storage place for a canoe – but there are a few steps you should take before stashing it to make sure it’s taken care of.
Should a Canoe Be Stored Upside Down?
First things first – what position should you store your canoe in?
You don’t have to store your canoe upside down but there are a few reasons why it might be a good idea.
Storing the boat upside down on the gunwales can prevent the hull from becoming distorted or flattened. This often occurs when the boat is stored on its side or on flat ground.
This is why it’s a good idea to store the boat upside down regardless of how long it’s going to be out of the water. Even if you’re just leaving it out overnight and plan to use it the next day, storing it upside down will let the gunwales carry the weight.
How Do You Hang a Canoe in a Garage?
Using a canoe hoist is a great way to stash your boat up and out of the way. While you can always stash your boat on blocks or sawhorses, this takes up a lot of real estate in your garage – space you might need for other items.
To store a canoe in the garage, you can use a free-standing rack, a wall-mounted rack, or even a ceiling-mounted rack or ceiling hoist. Whichever you choose, this will get the canoe off the ground and help protect the hull from damage.
You can even build your own hoist system. Here’s a quick video to walk you through that process:
Whichever system you use to elevate your boat, use a harness system with wide straps. This will enable the weight of the boat to rest on its gunwales. Usually, three straps are all you need – place one on the stern, one on the bow, and one in the center. That way, the weight of the boat will be evenly distributed to prevent falls and damages.
Clean the Boat First
Although you don’t need to do much to winterize your canoe, as mentioned earlier, there are a few steps you will want to take to make sure the boat is ready for long-term storage.
Clean the boat first. Remove any items you have kept in the canoe and rinse the canoe, inside and out, with a garden hose. Wait a few minutes so that any caked-on mud has a chance to soften.
Then, you can wash it with a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush. Rinse it again so that all soap is washed away, then use a towel to dry the boat as much as possible.
If you have a canoe made out of fiberglass, Kevlar, or a similar material, adding a coat of wax might be necessary. This will reduce how well grime and plants stick to the canoe hull the next time it is in water. It also reduces friction so that paddling your boat in the water isn’t as tiring.
After cleaning (or while you’re cleaning, if you’d like), give it a thorough inspection. If you happen to notice a wear spot or scrape, you can touch it up with pain that’s specifically made for the material out of which your canoe is crafted (usually this is a plastic polymer or something similar).
That way, you don’t have to worry about doing any repairs when you pull your boat out for the season and you don’t have to worry about any damages getting worse.
If you use your canoe often in saltwater, be even more diligent about cleaning it. Saltwater can degrade hull materials and seriously corrode metal parts.
Store it Out of the Sun
Whenever possible, stash your canoe out of the sun. The garage is the ideal storage spot for a canoe because it is much better than keeping it outside but you still don’t want to put it in front of a bright window.
Make sure your canoe is kept in the dark! The ultraviolet light of the sun will fade the color of your boat over time. Sunlight can also degrade the hull material, regardless of whether it is epoxy-coated wood, fiberglass, or plastic (aluminum is about the only material that is safe).
Watch for Water Issues
If your garage is heated, you won’t have to worry too much about this. However, if you plan on storing your canoe in an unheated garage, know that regular freezing and thawing can damage a fiberglass boat.
Water, if it has seeped into the seams, cracks, or joints in the hull, will expand and contract as it freezes and melts.
Extremely cold temperatures can also damage deck plates and wood gunwales.
Keep an eye out for these damages and check with your manufacturer to see if there are ways you can prevent them with regular maintenance.
Prevent Hull Damage
Storing your canoe upside down is one of the best things you can do to prevent hull damage but it’s not the only thing you need to keep in mind.
Plastic hulls are the most likely to be damaged by uneven weight distribution, but wood and fiberglass boats can also be harmed. To prevent this, make sure the weight of the canoe is spread out over its entire length when you store it.
Use the wide nylon straps we mentioned before or even padded cradles or angled surfaces to match the curve of the hull. When you store your canoe upside down, don’t just leave it on the ground. Instead, elevate it. Storing it with all the weight on the ground is too harsh on the gunwales.
Don’t Store Near a Water Heater
…or any other source of heat, like a furnace. Make sure the canoe is kept away from any heat or light in the garage to prevent warping and discoloration.
What is the Best Way to Store a Canoe?
The best method for storing a canoe will vary depending on what the canoe is made out of, among other things. Aluminum canoes can be stored outdoors without any cover while those made out of wood or other materials, like Royalex, need a bit more care.
Now that you know how to store your canoe, get out there and enjoy the summer! Hopefully, these tips have helped make the process much easier for you. And if you have a kayak to store as well, here is our guide.