How To Transport A Kayak

Kayaking on the water is one thing, but transporting your kayak to the lake or beach is another if you don’t have the right equipment to hand.

For the safety of you, other passengers, and your kayak, it’s important to transport your kayak in the safest way possible.

In this article, I will cover how to transport a kayak safely. So, when you’re ready to hit the water, you know exactly what you’re doing!

Keep reading to find out more.

How to transport a kayak

How To Transport A Kayak

Before you hit the water in your kayak, you need to be able to safely transport it on your vehicle. So, what do you need to transport a kayak?

A single kayak is super easy to transport with a standard roof rack. Roof racks and transport equipment are an investment into your new hobby, so choosing a high-quality kit is important.

Investing in a high quality roof rack will not only protect your kayak or canoe, but will also protect your vehicle from inadvertent damage. 

In addition to a roof rack, you will also need straps to secure your kayak in place. Tie-down straps, also known as ratchet straps are absolutely essential when it comes to securing your kayak to your roof rack.

These straps are durable and are made out of strong material designed to hold down cargo or equipment during transport. In addition to this, these sturdy straps will deter thieves and will provide you with peace of mind when you briefly leave your kayak unattended on top of your vehicle. 

However, it’s important to mention that while tie-down straps are more durable than rope, you will still need to regularly check them for wear and tear.

You will need to replace them if they start to show signs of wear and tear or become damaged. In addition to this, you should make sure that you invest in spare straps to ensure that you’re never in a bind without them!

To transport a kayak, you will need to:

Carry the kayak – When carrying your kayak to your vehicle, it’s easiest with two people. Each person can grab a handle and lift the kayak up this way. However, if you’re by yourself, you can get the kayak onto a shoulder or follow one of the methods I go into further down below.

Load the kayak on your car or other vehicle – The easiest way to place your kayak on top of your roof rack is with the help of a friend. Pick up the kayak by each end and place it onto the rack.

When lifting your kayak, always make sure that you lift with your legs, not your back. Place the boat so it’s directly above the rack, then set it down gently on the rack. 

Secure the kayak to the roof rack – Using tie-down straps, you will need to secure the kayak to your vehicle. Pull the straps tight, check the kayak is secure, and you’re ready to hit the road!

Loading A Single Kayak By Yourself 

There are a variety of different ways you can load your kayak onto your vehicle by yourself.

Use a lift system – If you know that you’re going to be kayaking alone frequently, you’d benefit from a lift system. These are kayak racks with integrated lift systems that make loading the kayak onto your vehicle super simple.

Generally speaking, they tend to slide from the top of your vehicle down to the side so you don’t have to lift your kayak as high as you would without one. A downside of using a lift system is that they tend to be on the pricier side.

Invest in rolling wheels – When loading a kayak by yourself, you could also try rolling wheels. Rolling wheels are generally less expensive and allow you to set the bow of the boat into the rear rack cradle, pick up the stern end and roll the kayak forward into the front cradle.

What To Avoid When Transporting Your Kayak

Never use rope to secure your kayak – You should never try to improvise with an old piece of rope as this will increase the risk of your kayak becoming dislodged whilst you are driving and could cause an accident.

The most serious risk is that if you use rope, your kayak or canoe may come loose as you are traveling. In this circumstance, your kayak could be damaged, destroyed, or cause a car accident if it falls off your vehicle into the road.

Never drive too fast – When you’re traveling with a kayak, you’re traveling with precious cargo! Always make sure that you leave with plenty of time, as you shouldn’t be traveling at the same speed as you would without it.

It’s important to take your time, and make sure that you aren’t accelerating too quickly or driving. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Never leave spare tie-down straps at home – This is a big one! Never leave your spare tie-down straps at home. No matter how often you inspect and check your straps, you will run into trouble at some point in your life, and you better hope you have your spare straps with you when you do.

If you don’t have spare straps, always make the investment, as it is an inexpensive insurance policy. If a strap breaks when you’re on the road, you will be stuck on the side of the road with your vehicle and your insecurely attached kayak. Always play it safe and take spares with you in your car.

In Summary 

Transporting your kayak to and from the water is simple once you have the right equipment!

Always make sure that you’re investing in a high quality roof rack and tie-down straps from a reputable source and make sure that you pack spare straps with you on every kayaking trip. You never want to be in a position where you’re stranded with a kayak insecurely attached to your vehicle.

Happy kayaking!