Have you ever gone to load your kayak by yourself, only to find that it's…
Having your own kayak is great, as it allows you to head out into the open waters to enjoy many adventures whenever and wherever you feel like it.
The only problem is, none of these things are possible if you cannot first get your kayak to where you plan to use it!
Kayaks are quite large, and also extremely heavy, so it stands to reason that you’ll need to make use of your car to get your kayak around. But how do you actually carry a kayak on a car? Is there a special way to put it there?
Do you need any special devices to hold it in place? And is it even safe to carry a kayak on a car? What do you do if you have a very small car?
These questions are probably spinning around and around in your mind, and they have very likely brought you right here, to this article.
So we’ve decided to help you out, to get you some answers, so that you can find out exactly how you can carry your kayak on your car safely and enjoy the open waters. Read our quick guide below!
Do You Have A Roof Rack?
The first thing you should make sure to consider is whether your car already has a roof rack system, and what type of roof rack it is.
Many roof racks are perfectly suited to holding on to kayaks, and there are also many types of racks that are designed especially for kayaks.
If you have one, or you are planning on buying one for your car, make sure to use it, and follow all of the instructions properly. There is quite a range of racks out there, so make sure to choose wisely.
Most roof racks are very simple to use and will come with all of the important components necessary to hold your kayak in place for long-haul journeys.
If you don’t have a kayak rack, don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways to carry your kayak on your car that just require a little bit of care and imagination. But before we get to that, there is one more thing to consider…
How Big Is Your Car? Will Your Car Be Able To Hold A Kayak?
Before attaching your kayak to your car, you should make sure to take note of how big your car is, and what type of vehicle it is.
Depending on how big your car is, you may need to place the kayak in a very particular way, in order for it to be secure.
Luckily, kayaks will fit on a massive range of cars, so you most likely won’t have to worry that your car is too small or too big.
Roof racks can also help to make more awkward car shapes more accommodating to kayaks, so if your car does prove to be too small, you may want to invest in a roof rack.
Even if you have a very small car, you can still comfortably secure it to the roof for the duration of your journey.
Many people opt to have the tail end of their kayak hanging out from the trunk of their car, but this is recommended only for people with larger cars.
If, when allowing your kayak to hang out from the trunk, more than half of it is poking out, then it would pose far too much of a risk.
If more than half of the kayak is hanging out then it risks falling out mid-journey, which could cause an accident for any drivers behind you on the road.
If you have a pickup truck, you can more easily store it in the truck bed with just a few tie-down straps.
So, you should always aim to secure your kayak to the top of your car, no matter the size, but you should only allow it to hang out from your trunk if your car is big enough. And if you have a pickup truck, make sure to make use of the truck bed!
How Do You Transport A Kayak Without A Kayak Roof Rack?
Though a roof rack definitely makes the act of carrying a kayak with a car much easier, it isn’t completely necessary, and you can still get the results you want with just a bit of ingenuity.
First, you will want to make sure to grab two things: padding, and ratchet straps. You are going to want to make sure that there is a layer of padding between the kayak and your car so that your car does not end up damaged.
You might want to consider using foam blocks. A ratchet strap features hooks that secure tightly to one another so that you can wrap your straps around the kayak to secure it down to the car.
Step 1- Pad Your Car
To start, grab your padding solution and place it on the top of your car. You will want to make sure it is the right size so that it does not obscure your windshield or your rear window. Once you have placed the padding down, secure it with a ratchet strap or two.
Step 2 – Place Your Kayak Carefully
Once you’ve placed your padding, simply ease the kayak onto the roof of the car. It is best to ask for some assistance with this step so that you don’t run the risk of dropping the kayak and damaging your car.
You should be aiming to place the kayak with the cockpit facing downward, and with the front and back pointed ends of the kayak pointing down.
Step 3 – Secure The Kayak
Don’t worry, we’re almost close to done! Once your kayak has been placed in a suitable position atop your car, simply bind it down with more ratchet straps.
Pass the straps over the kayak and through the windows of your car until they each create a tight loop that holds the kayak down. Do this as many times as you see fit.
Be sure not to go overboard when tying your kayak, as they and other plastic boats can easily be deformed.
Step 4 – Keep The Kayak From Moving
Now that you’ve tied the kayak down it won’t move from side to side, but there is still a slight risk of it slipping out forward or backward while in motion.
In order to keep your kayak from moving backward or forward, simply grab another few ratchet straps and pass the extra straps through the grab handles of the kayak and then secure those straps to the straps you tied earlier until they have a strong and unyielding grip.
And there you go! You’ve now secured your kayak without having to use any roof rack equipment!
Kayak storage and transportation can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With a roof rack or just a little bit of careful planning, you can store a kayak easily on the top of any car, no matter the size!
If you want to carry your kayak in another way, such as allowing it to poke out slightly from the trunk, just make sure that your car is the right size and has enough storage space.
If more than half of your kayak is poking out, then you run the risk of facilitating a car accident!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need To Tie Down Front Of Kayak?
You don’t technically have to tie down the front portion of your kayak, but you really should aim to. The likelihood of your kayak slipping out of its position while in transit might be low, but it could still very well happen.
Thus, to mitigate the chances of any accidents, you should make sure to tie down the front of your kayak.
Can You fit A 10 Ft Kayak In An SUV?
Most SUVs will be able to comfortably accommodate a 10-foot kayak without any issue. However, SUVs can vary slightly in size, so this may not always be the case.
How To Transport 2 Kayaks Without A Roof Rack?
It is possible to transport 2 kayaks without a roof rack. Just follow the standard procedure for securing a kayak to a car roof, but just make sure to accommodate 2 kayaks.
You will likely need more materials, such as more straps, to tie down your 2 kayaks, which could potentially cost more. If carrying 2 kayaks, it would likely be worth your while to purchase a kayak roof rack.