carry a kayak on a car

Is It Easy to Carry a Kayak On the Top of Your Car?

Last updated on August 8th, 2021

Congratulations, you bought your new kayak, you can enjoy great outdoor adventures. But how are you going to transport it to the nearest river or beach? For first-timers, transporting your kayak can be an overwhelming process. However, with practice, it will get easy with time.

You can use several methods to carry your kayak, depending on which you find convenient. Kayaks also vary in their sizes and shapes, so you need to know the right gear you need to carry them on your vehicle. Here are some tips on how to carry your kayak on top of your car.

Transporting One Kayak and Multiple Kayaks

Do you intend to transport on the kayak or multiple kayaks? You need to consider this if you are transporting the kayak on top of your vehicle. Transporting a single kayak on top of your car is easy when you have a standard roof rack. However, you need to have the right padding to protect your kayak. 

If you are transporting multiple kayaks, then they will not fit side by side on your car. You can load the kayaks using a kayak rack on their edges so that they can fit well. You can find many kayak racks to suit the shape and size of your kayak.

How to Transport Your Kayak On Top of Your Car? 

Transporting a kayak on top of your vehicle is easy, but you need to prepare your vehicle first. I have outlined a detailed guide on everything you need to carry your car on your vehicle. First, you need to understand the different types of roof types.

1. Different Types of Roof Racks

Having a roof rack is essential because it prevents your kayak and the car from unnecessary scratches. You can find different types of roof racks to suit your vehicle’s roof. Some common types include:

Bare roof: This roof doesn’t have any points for attachments suitable for bare roof vehicles.

Side rails: You can find them as flush or raised depending on your liking. Raised side rails feature two running rails that are parallel to the door. They also have a space between the car’s roof and the rails that can fit your hand. However, flush rails do not have this gap.

Gutters: These are ridges that pass through the top of the door on both sides of the car, but they are uncommon in vehicles. 

Fixed points: These are four attachment points hidden and covered by plastic caps for easy access. You can bolt roof racks on the points to provide a sturdy load limit and excellent finish. The ridge protrudes a little from the side of the car to offer roof rack anchor points.

Tracks: They refer to long slots or channels parallel to the door on the roof’s outer edge. You can choose to add in your vehicle when you buy it while others come factory installed.

After knowing the roof types available, the next thing is to choose the right roof rack that suits your car. Some common roof racks you can consider include:

  • Soft rack
  • Hard rack
  • Pads
  • Tie-down straps
  • Bow and stern lines
  • Rack accessories

2. Loading The Kayak

After gathering the necessary equipment, you can now load the kayak on your vehicle. You can get help from another person to lift the kayak from the ground to the top of the vehicle. Loading the kayak on your own can be challenging, but the process is simple if you have the right loading accessories.

3. Fasten The Kayak

After loading it on your car, you need to fasten it with the tie-down straps. How you will fasten the kayak will depend on the type of roof rack you have. Avoid pulling it too tight because it will warp your kayak. Once you ensure all the fastenings are secure, you can now drive your car safely.

How to Transport a Kayaks Without a Roof Rack?

If you bought your kayak and realized you don’t have a roof track, you can still transport your kayak using these methods.

  • Pool Noodles

You need to get some essential items like pool noodles, ratchet strap, and tie-down straps. After that, follow this procedure to transport your kayak.

Place the pool noodles around 24 inched from each other. Have one at the front, in the middle, and on the rear roof. If the noodles don’t align well with your car’s design, you can trim them using scissors. 

Next, put the kayak on your car solo, but you can seek help if it is too heavy. Ensure you turn it upside down and place it on the pool noodles. You can make adjustments to ensure the kayak is in place.

Put ratchet straps on the kayak’s hull and hook the ends correctly to hold your kayak in place. Avoid overtightening the straps because this can damage the hull and the car’s top. Tie down the stern and the bow since you don’t have a roof rack. Secure the grab handle and the back of the kayak to keep in place during transportation.

  • Using Foam Blocks

Apart from pool noodles, you also transport your kayak with foam blocks. Place the blocks on your car’s roof and then lift the kayak and place it on the blocks. After that, secure it well with straps.

  • Using Trailers

Alternatively, if you don’t have a roof rack, you can transport your kayak with kayak trailers. This method doesn’t require you to lift the kayak and it also leaves the top of your car-free for carrying other items. You only need to select the best kayak trailer depending on the type of vehicle or the number of kayaks you intend to carry. Many kayak trailers come with straps to help you secure the kayaks.

Final Words

Kayaking is a great experience that helps you reach unexplored water sources. You can enjoy great adventures in the waters, especially if you have the right kayak. If you need a quality kayak, you can check a detailed guide on picking fishing kayaks here. I hope with the above tips and guide, it will be easier to carry your kayak on your car. 

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