Letters from the Vice : DIY Canoe Rack

As most of us move on in our years we choose to get married, buy a house and even have children. With that being said, the trusty pontoon float tube you have used for the past 10 years is not as effective as you thought with a wife and a child or two in tow. So you look to upgrade your water craft. Many factors come into play such as price, maintenance, upkeep and the list could go on and on. At the beginning of this summer I came upon the same dilemma when I decided to purchase a canoe to take my family on some small lake trips around the Western Rockies. So far we have had many adventures and will be having many more as the tail end of the summer is upon us.

The issue is where do we place the canoe between adventures? I could place the canoe in the back of the house on 2 saw horses or just lay it upside down under the porch. Great ideas and I am sure they will work just fine but I am looking to keep my canoe in a safe climate controlled area while I am not using it. You could rent a storage unit but that is just ridiculous or have your single friend put it in their garage where they or any one of their friends could barrow it without your permission. Once again great ideas but ideally the place you want to put your new water craft is your garage. Biggest issue is space and just leaving it on the floor is not going to cut it. So now I am going to help you and myself out with this simple DIY project to optimize your garage space and put your canoe away for safe keeping.

Materials for DIY Canoe Rack

Basic Materials & Equipment Breakdown:

(2) Pulleys

(2) Cleats

(2) Lag Bolts

(2) Carabiners rated to hold the weight of your canoe

(4) 2 inch wood screws

Climbing rope rated to hold the weight of your canoe (I would suggest 50ft which gives you more than enough to use)

Once you have all the materials here is the process:

  1. Find the studs in your garage ceiling. If they are not prominent use a stud finder. Find your first location you want to install a pulley system and mark the location with a pencil.Building a canoe rack
  2. Once you have marked the location screw your first lag bolt into the marked spot. If needed you can pre-drill a small hole to make it easier to screw in your lag bolt.
    Building a canoe rack
  3. Once the lag bolt is in place take a loop of rope or a wrench, see picture, on the lag bolt and try to pull yourself up to weight test it. Once the lag bolt passes your weight test place one of your pulleys on the lag bolt hook.                                              Building a canoe rackBuilding a canoe rack
  4. Install a cleat in a location near your pulley that is both out of the way and easy to access.Building a canoe rack
  5. Once you have the first pulley system in place measure the distance between each location of the canoe that will be supporting the weight with the rope. Along your studs measure the distance from your first Pulley and mark the second location. Then repeat the process of installing the lag bolt, pulley and cleat as described above.Building a canoe rackBuilding a canoe rack
  6. Last but not least measure and cut adequate lengths of rope. Remember measure twice and cut once. The last thing you want is a length of rope not long enough to hang the canoe up.Building a canoe rackBuilding a canoe rackBuilding a canoe rack
  7. Hoist your canoe up and be able to walk through your garage unrestricted once again! Building a canoe rack