The first of the two photos above shows a canoe rest along a portage trail. The second illustrates another of Dan's simple and elegant designs. Either could be adapted to suit a variety of craft, and if there are other paddlers in your apartment complex, you could team up to approach the building's owners for permission to erect something similar — at your expense, of course. Just be sure that you have good locks!
It might also be possible to store one or more boats on your balcony, if you have one, though you may need to rig a cathead or davit to lift the boats into place. These are still common sights on traditional Dutch townhouses (click on the link and scroll down the page to see an example), but I can't say I've come across too many in the States. Still, nothing ventured…
Are you having no luck with your super or your building's owners? If so, it's time to stop into the nearest outfitter's shop to see if they have any suggestions. Maybe a local paddling or rowing club leases storage for their members — many rowing clubs have boathouses right on a nearby river — or the outfitter himself might even rent you some space on his racks. Once again, if you don't ask, you won't know.
Still getting nowhere? Then you'll probably have to…
No, I'm not saying you should give up paddling and take up knitting. Not that there's anything wrong with knitting, of course. In fact, if you like wool socks — and I do — the two activities complement each other wonderfully. Instead, I'm suggesting that you weigh the merits of fabric folders, bolt‑together sectionals, and inflatables. The much‑maligned "rubber duckies" and fragile stick‑and‑string kayaks of yesteryear are no more. In fact, determined paddlers have been running easy‑to‑moderate whitewater and even crossing oceans in folding kayaks since the first decade of the last century, while modern inflatables can tackle just about any drop you'd dare to try in a hardshell. (At least any drop I'd dare to try in a hardshell.) Moreover, folders and inflatables are truly boats you can stuff in a bag. That's a Sevylor solo canoe in the green sack in the photo at the very start of this article. And the red duffle in the shot above conceals a Pakboat folding kayak, small enough to store on a shelf and light enough to tow behind a bike.
Not convinced? Or are you a hardshell diehard? In that case, take a look at sectional craft: canoes and kayaks that come apart for storage and then bolt (or clamp) together to paddle. I can't help you here, I'm afraid. I've absolutely no sectional experience. But you can always let Bing or Google be your guide, using the search strings "sectional kayak" or "sectional canoe." If you do, you'll discover that although take‑apart canoes are rare beasts, indeed, breakdown kayaks are a little easier to come by, and some, like the Nimbus Horizon‑S, are truly elegant craft. Once you find a model you like, your storage woes will be over for good. The problem is solved.
Storing boats between trips can be a surprisingly big job, particularly if you own more than one. And it's an even bigger job for apartment‑dwellers, for whom even the smallest of small boats looms very large indeed. What's the solution to the big boat–small space problem? Three words: Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. It's easy enough to say, of course, but it's often hard to do. Still, our readers have shown us just what can be done, and the range of possibilities is a lot wider than I'd have guessed. Thanks, folks! And good luck to all spatially‑challenged boaters everywhere. Remember: Where there's a will, there's almost always a way.
To read the complete Paddling.net forum thread on the subject of boat storage for apartment‑dwellers, just click here.
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