How to build a canoe or kayak rack

By Wayne LennoxWayne Lennox



A couple of rickety old sawhorses. That’s what passes for a winter storage system for my canoe. And during canoe season, I just park it upside down on the beach. I didn’t invest a lot in that canoe—in fact, I don’t even like it much—so I don’t lose sleep over UV deterioration, or weather damage to the thwarts, or even a limb falling on it. Certainly, a better model— the kind that many cottage folks have— should be better protected. It’s the owners of those boats who have been asking us to feature a storage-system project for canoes and kayaks.

The design and engineering challenges for this project were many. We wanted it to store four individual crafts, whether
canoes, kayaks, sailboards, or even rowing shells. It should be stable on sloped cottage waterfront, as well as provide the boats a basic measure of security and a roof for some protection from sun, weather, and tree debris.

Store four of your favourite watercraft on this rack, and protect them from the sun and falling debris from surrounding trees.

Click here to download the plans.

The article was originally published in April 2010


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Feb. 27, 2015

10:58 am

I built this rack using the CL plans about 4 years ago, except that I put a shingle roof on instead of the slat roof (which I'd seen warp on other racks), and didn't bother scalloping the braces. Also, I built it a few feet longer than the plans, so as to cover a sea kayak and rowing shell. With the extra weight of the roof, I guy-wired the corners down with aircraft cable. Great so far!


Jul. 16, 2014

3:26 pm

Similar situation. I am also attempting to print the plans for the canoe/kayak rack without. success. I am also a registered subscriber, but loaned my April 2010 magazine which was nor returned. Have I any recourse to obtain this material?


Aug. 7, 2013

7:44 pm

I too would like to download the plans for the kayak rack, but cannot!


Jun. 23, 2011

11:02 am

One more... If you don't build the roof you should have it done in 2 days.


Jun. 23, 2011

11:00 am

I'll also add that it is VERY important to use a straight board with no bow for the ridge board. I wasn't playing attention and put one up with a bow in it and eventually had to replace it as I couldn't get the rafters and braces on.


Jun. 23, 2011

10:58 am

I've built this stand complete with roof. It took me 4 days, only required help with the roof. I did not use the chains for leveling as it wasn't needed for my property, instead I used 4x4 bracing. Also having built it I would suggest replacing the 55" long 2x4 with 83-3/4" long 2x4 that run the full length of the 4x4 legs. When the roof is attached the legs get awfully bendy, the extra support would be needed. So instead of one 10' 2x4 get two 8' 2x4. Also the "sandwich" supporting the ridge board needs more than just screws holding it together. I used 4" timberlok fasteners. Finally you do NOT need 500 of each screw type. You'll need approximately 250 3.5" #10 screws, 250 2" screws and NO 3". You can see pictures of mine here , including some that may help with laying out the rafters. Because I wasted a few hours figuring this out :).

Cottage Life

May. 24, 2011

2:27 pm

Our apologies, thanks for spotting that. It's been fixed now.


May. 24, 2011

1:20 am

Would like to download the kayak rack plans, ...but the link doesn't work. SY


May. 23, 2011

8:50 pm

I too tried, also no success. Would Cottage Life revise this site please? VS


May. 23, 2011

8:41 pm

I have been trying to download the plans for the canoe or kayak rack with out success. I have set up an account and am a subscriber to cottage life, Help!

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Wayne Lennox