How to Make an Outdoor Kayak Storage Rack




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This is a light weight Kayak Storage Rack that can be moved into the garage in the winter and down by the river in the summer. We needed a way to store the kayaks all year round. This rack was designed to hold 3 kayaks remembering it is best to store kayaks on their sides or upside down.

Dimensions: (39” W x 42” H x 54” L)

The dimensions are made to support the kayaks at a distance of 4 feet. It supports our smallest kayak at 6’ long and the biggest at 8’6” long. As 2 of our kayaks belong to our young daughters, we wanted to make sure they could get their kayaks on and off the rack by themselves. Since the top kayak sits just 3 feet off the ground, this rack makes it easy for everyone. The ends also serve as a place to hang lifejackets to dry.

FYI - The top portion can be constructed identical to the bottom to accommodate 4 kayaks, if needed.

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Step 1: Kayak Storage Rack Materials

Materials for the storage rack:
24 feet of 2 inch PVC black pipe
8 – 2 inch T joints
8 – 2 inch 90 degree elbow joints
PVC cement
10 feet foam insulation tubes
Duct tape or cable ties

Step 2: Cut Your PVC Pieces to the Proper Lengths

Cut the PVC piping into the following
- two 48-inch pieces
- two 30-inch pieces
- two 17-inch
- four 15-inch
- four 12-inch
- six 6-inch
- ten 3-inch pieces

Step 3: Build the Base of the Rack

Dry fit the following – do not use cement – make sure the rack fits your kayaks

There are 2 Two Ends of the rack – be sure to build 2 bases

- Attach the two 15-inch pieces into a T joint
- On each end, attach an elbow joint
- On the top of the elbow, insert a 3-inch piece

Step 4: Now Let's Build Vertically

- From the top of the T joint in the base, insert a 17-inch piece
- Attach a T joint on top of this (pointing towards the middle).  This piece is going to receive the 48 inch pipe to tie the ends together.
- Attach a 6-inch piece on top of the T
- Attach another T joint (again pointing towards the middle) This piece is also going to receive the 48 inch pipe to tie the ends together.

Step 5: Now Let's Build the Top of the Kayak Rack

- Attach a 3-inch piece to the top of the T joint
- Attach another T joint (same direction as the base T joint)
- From the top T joint, attach two 12-inch pieces (these should be horizontal to the ground)
- On the ends, attach the elbow joints
- Insert a 3-inch piece to the top of each elbow pointing upwards (same as base)

- Carefully attach the 2 ends of the rack by spanning the middle using the two 48-inch pieces

Step 6: The Rack Should Loosely Look Like This.

Step 7: Make Adjustments and Glue It Together

Ensure all the pieces fit snugly. Then gently place your kayaks on the rack. Now is the time to make any adjustments. Once you are sure the rack will suit your needs, you are ready to take the rack apart and begin cementing the pieces. Be sure to apply the cement to both pieces of each joint.

Pay attention to the direction of your T joints!  Once you insert the pieces, you will only have a few moments to ensure it is on properly.

Once the rack has been rebuilt, you can measure, cut and attach the insulation tube. This will serve to protect the kayak. It is inexpensive and easy to replace when needed. You will need to secure the tube in place with either duct tape or cables ties.

The rack can be weighted down with water in the tubes or tied to cinder blocks, if needed.

See you on the water!  Enjoy!

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17 Discussions


3 months ago

I would have to opt for Todd W Meyer's square frame design to avoid the singular center supports and the weak cantilevers. (PVC fittings are not indestructible under stress, exposure to weather and degradation of the plastic, and canoes can be heavy.) The things I would add would be 4 more lower cross member supports to keep the lower boats off the ground due to the inherent shapes of boats and something to hold the paddles (as per payasonegro's build.). A tarp could be more easily added as well for winter storage if the whole structure is stable enough to survive it.


4 years ago on Introduction

This looks like just what I need however I would like to make this rack for 4 kayaks. Do you have a photo of the 4 kayak version? Also, where can I get the black PVC pipe and fittings you recommend? I checked Lowes and Home Depot online but they don't seem to carry them.

1 reply

Reply 3 months ago

Paint the white with spray enamel. (be creative! :) ) I don't believe rigid PVC comes in black, only white.


Question 4 months ago on Step 7

It says to have 2 30” pieces but I don’t see where they go according to instructions.

Todd W Meyer

1 year ago

I built this canoe & Kayak rack using schedule 40 - 2 inch PVC. I changed up the design a bit by modifying the length of the pieces. I have a 14'6" canoe that I want to put on top with Kayaks on the bottom. Cut list is: 2x60", 2x19", 2x12", 8x18", 10x3". Material list is: 3 x 2" sch 40 PVC pipe 10 ft. in length. 1 x 16 oz. can PVC cement "Heavy Duty". 8 x 2" PVC tees. 8 x 2" PVC elbows 90d. 8 x 2" PVC caps. My total cost for this material was $104.60 out the door at my local Home Depot. You will see in my photos that I had originally purchased 4 lengths of PVC, but like others have pointed out, the original cut list had several extra pieces listed that are not needed. I returned one and used three 10 ft. lengths of PVC with what you see in the photo below as my only scrap. This project took me about an hour to make the cuts and dry fit everything. About another 45 minutes to glue it all up. Note: don't glue the bottom end caps on - you will want to fill the base with water to give it a little bit more weight and stability...


2 years ago

what type of tools do you need to cut the PVC pipes?

Thank you



2 years ago

I made this today after finding the post through google images, saved a lot of time finding this instead of designing one myself. Turned out nice the materials cost 57.00 for white sch-40 PVC and glue cement. I have two fairly heavy kayaks on this, it's holding them fine but not quite as strong as I expected. Nice project


3 years ago

I ended up using the 40 inch pieces for one leg of the base, then added paddle holder opposite the long bottom pieces on the top.


3 years ago

A job well done indeed. I really admire creative minds who can transform everyday objects into something way more useful than I can ever imagine what PVC pipes can achieve. I have been storing my kayaks on their sides side-by-side and they take up too much floor space in the garage. This rack will definitely help to save some space storing them vertically instead.


3 years ago

Very nice job guys.

If I can find a free place I'm going to try this PVC storage system for my kayaks in my garden. thanks for posting … great idea! more ideas i found here


5 years ago on Introduction

ok I know this was 4 months ago, we just got our kayaks and i was looking to build this. I see the parts list and then the cuts/ individual sized pieces. there seems to be too many pieces where are the 30" pieces and the 4 extra 6" pieces used????

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

you do not need the 30" pieces and you need only 2-6" pieces for this design


Reply 4 years ago

Agreed! Not sure why they listed the 30" pieces kept think I had done something wrong. Also, is there a difference in black and white pvc? I didn't see any black. I used 2" heavy gauge white. Seems sturdy enough.