Hunting and fishing require a lot of gear for anyone that does it on at least a semi-annual basis. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there were 11.5 million participants in hunting and 33.1 million participants in fishing in 2016. Given the popularity of the hobby, many garages across the country need a place to store all the hunting tools, clothes, bait, spray, camping or RV gear, and cleaning supplies.
A proper storage plan keeps all of your valuable equipment in a secure place to help it retain its effective usage. This prevents other clutter, dirt, or critters from damaging items. You will also be able to access everything you need in one place, instead of searching across the garage or house for it.
In today’s post, we will offer some of our ideas for optimizing your garage to be the ultimate setup for storing your hunting and fishing gear.
The main component of any garage workshop is the workbench. This is the area you will use for trip preparation. Cleaning hunting equipment and fishing rods, knife sharpening, preparing fishing tackle, and fly tying are just some of the activities that need a functioning workbench area.
Size is one of the main factors to consider when choosing a workbench for your hunting trip preparations. A cleaning mat for the tabletop can span close to six feet long and you’ll want plenty of extra space for additional tasks. Gun vises and skinning knife sharpeners are also workbench essentials that can require about the same amount of space.
A long workbench will give you all the space you need for gun cleaning, bow and bowstring maintenance, fishing rod cleaning and preparation. This space will also give you a dedicated spot for all your preparation so you won’t have to spend the time constantly moving all your gear.
Slatwall and cabinets around the workbench can provide quick access to cleaning kits and supplies. This also means you won’t have to worry about misplacing your supplies and gear as each item will have its own spot.
The centerpiece of a fishing workbench is the fly tying station. If you have one of these, you can position it at the center of the bench or to the right and leave the remaining space for organizing tackle.
For the space above your workbench, you either have the option of hanging shelves over the bench or slatwall.
Using Slatwall to hang your different lures, hooks, and fishing lines keeps everything within easy reach if you have to re-organize your tackle with new supplies frequently. You could also use slatwall to hold a rod or two. We recommend using a separate fishing rod holder since it will hold more rods and won’t take up all the space on a slatwall.
An advantage of shelving overhead or underneath the workbench is the ability to store multiple tackle boxes and keep fishing gear out of sight. If you have cabinets surrounding your workbench, the same advantages apply. Cabinets will hide the boxes entirely and make it appear tidier than an open shelf.
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The garage is probably the darkest area in your home besides the attic. Since you will be working in it, you’ll want to put serious thought into your lighting setup.
First, ditch the fluorescent bulbs and invest in large LED overhead fixtures. Here’s why:
- They shine much more brightly and illuminate the entire garage.
- 50%+ more energy efficient per bulb.
- They last anywhere between twice as long to a lifetime longer than fluorescent bulbs.
- Work without issue in below freezing temperatures.
Next, you may also want a work lamp attached to your workbench to provide closer lighting for cleaning out small equipment. Any desk lamp or small overhead light will work fine for this, whether it clamps on to the workbench or just sits on top. Although, you’ll probably want an LED lamp for the same reasons above.
If your workbench includes cabinets above it, then you can look for some under cabinet lighting instead of a desk lamp. There are plenty of LED light bar options from Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Storing Your Gear
The next step to creating your garage workshop is adding storage systems to the rest of the space. With hunting, the main things you want to consider with storage is a system that is lockable and designed to hold long items like fishing rods, bows, and more.
Keep Smaller Items and Valuables in Cabinets
Where and how you store your items makes a difference on how long your gear will last, if your items will be safe from children and pets, and the ease of finding exactly what you need when you need it. This is where cabinets come into play.
Cabinets are a great place to store hunting and fishing gear including:
- Bear spray
- Duck Decoys
- Trail Camera
- Pop up blinds
Cabinet drawers make it easy to store:
- Cleaning kits
- First aid kits
- Bowstring Wax
- Ear protection
Most hunting clothing and footwear is durable and should withstand storage conditions in the garage if hung properly in a dry area off the floor. Keeping them in an area where they won’t get damaged in the offseason means your gear will last longer. If you don’t have cabinet space in the garage, you may want to consider storing hunting clothing indoors.
An important feature of garage cabinets is the ability to lock them. No child or pet will accidentally get into something they shouldn’t. If you left your garage door open for the day your items would still be safely locked away.
Store Kayaks and Other Fishing Gear Overhead
Depending on how extensive your fishing hobby is, you may need a place to store kayaks, canoes, float tubes, and large fishing tackle boxes. The best way to keep large items out of the way from your workbench area and from taking up room is utilizing ceiling space for storage.
An overhead rack allows you to store a canoe or kayak across its entire hull and lay it on top of the rack, instead of hanging it on its side. This evenly distributes the weight of the hull and prevents bending and deformation over time, which is an issue when hanging canoes and kayaks by their ends only, storing them on their sides, or upside down. An overhead rack can also store padded cradles that hug around the curvature of the canoe to prevent damage.
A popular way to store fishing poles is attaching them to pole holders. They are affordable and aren’t a difficult DIY project if you choose that route. The holders can then be mounted on anything, like the wall, ceiling, or on the floor with the rods positioned vertically.
Shelving Allows More Room For Bulky Items
A shelving system allows for more flexible storage of larger items, since you aren’t restricted to cabinet box dimensions. This makes them an excellent choice for storing your camping supplies. Tents, chairs, coolers, sleeping bags, tarps, sleeping pads, and dutch ovens are all bulky items that are easier to store in an open space like a shelf.
Additional items for hunting like targets, tree stands, and lead sleds may also be too large for cabinets and best stored on top of shelves. With Monkey Bar Garage Shelving, you also have the option to hang tools from the bars and hooks, or attach wire baskets and buckets to the bars for easy access to smaller hunting supplies, like broadheads, illuminated nocks, field tips, Allen wrenches, and more.
Optimizing the Garage Environment to be a Proper Storage Area
If some of your gear is a bit more delicate, it may benefit from being stored in a more insulated and temperature-controlled environment. Depending on how extensively you renovate the garage with insulation, heating, and cooling, it can easily become a $10,000 project.
But that’s a project deserving of its own post. For this post, we’ll provide some ideas to individually consider and, if you think they’re necessary, they will give you a starting point for further research.
If you live in an area with high humidity, these can prevent mold growth, corrosion on tools, and warping of wooden items.
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It only takes one of these to keep your work area cool on a hot day in the garage.
A space heater can be expensive to run all the time to keep the garage warm. However, it is nice to have when you are working inside the garage on a cold day.
Relatively inexpensive option to help seal out moisture and a great combination with a dehumidifier.
This is the main material you would use for fully insulating the garage. It’s an entire project on its own and can require a substantial investment. For most of your stuff, you probably won’t need to go this far for storing gear that is made to weather the outdoors.
Insulation and temperature control aren’t the only pieces to improving the environment of your garage. Safety precautions and maintenance play a significant role in keeping the space in shape for storing your valuable gear.
The number one concern is access to dangerous items. Lock up hunting weapons, ammunition, and spray inside cabinets or lockers to keep them out of reach of children. You may want to secure any delicate, expensive gear like trail cameras behind locked doors as well.
The other safety precaution is protecting against fires. Keep a fire extinguisher inside the garage. Check all power cords and ensure none of them are frayed or cracked. Use a cord protector or duct tape to prevent critters from chewing on cords. Make sure flammable items are kept away from plugged in electronics like fans, lights, and space heaters.
As with any workbench, things are bound to get messy at some point. Having cleaning supplies on hand will save the hassle of having to fetch it from somewhere else in the home. Leave some space on your shelves or cabinets to store some of the following:
- Pumice cleaner
- Rags and shop towels
- Bristle push broom
- Pressure washer
- Trash can
Most of the above items will help clean messes on the floor and workbench from string, liquids, opening new packages of supplies, and so on. If you have an epoxy floor, you’ll only need a broom or vacuum, trash can, and rag since accidentally staining your floor shouldn’t be an issue.
Hunting and fishing are exciting hobbies that benefit from having an effective storage layout. Both have their off-seasons and your supplies and equipment last longer when they’re all organized together in a secure area.
Hopefully, these suggestions and images were helpful for your garage layout plan to make it the ultimate workshop and storage space for hunting and fishing.
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