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How To Haul A Kayak

If you love paddling, then you probably already know that it’s a great way to get fit and enjoy nature. But what can you do to take your kayak with you to some of the best paddling spots in the world? 

Not everyone lives around the corners from a great kayaking spot so if you need to haul your kayak, then we have got a few methods that you can use to transport your kayak from one spot to another. 

We will be looking at roof racks, trailers and truck beds so you can use the best method for hauling a kayak that suits your needs.

How To Haul A Kayak

Methods Of Kayak Hauling

Kayaks are great for exploring rivers, lakes, and oceans. You should be able to load them up easily and transport them safely. So here are a few ways for you to do just that.

Roof Racks

A roof rack is a good option for transporting a kayak because they allow you to carry a lot of weight. They also make sure that the kayak remains stable during transportation. 

However, there are different types of roof racks available on the market today. Some come as part of the vehicle while others are separate accessories. 

The type of roof rack you choose depends on the size of the kayak and how much weight you want to carry.


A trailer is another popular choice when it comes to transporting a kayak. It allows you to move the kayak without having to lift it. This makes it easier than loading or unloading a kayak by hand, especially when you are kayaking alone. 

There are two main types of trailers: flatbed and gooseneck. 

Flatbed trailers are more common, but gooseneck trailers offer better maneuverability. Both types of trailers can accommodate most kayaks.

Truck Beds

If you live near an area where there are lots of hills, then this might be the best option for you. Truck beds are designed specifically for carrying heavy loads like kayaks. They usually have a large opening that helps you load and unload the kayak quickly. 

These are not suitable for all vehicles though. Make sure that the bed has enough space to hold your kayak before buying one.

How To Load A Kayak Onto A Roof Rack

How To Load A Kayak Onto A Roof Rack

When it comes to loading your kayak onto your roof, two people should carry the kayak together because it’s heavy. Having an extra pair of hands helps them lift the kayak.

To lift a kayak onto a roof rack, position the kayak next to – and parallel – to your car, with your bow facing forward. 

Hold the kayak by the hull, not by the handles. Lift the kayak up on a count of three, using your arms, not your back. Slide the kayak down on top of the roof rack, and then gently rest one end on it while pivoting the other end into place.

When the kayak is loaded onto the roof rack, the bow should face away from traffic. 

Kayaks should have some kind of protective material on them when being transported by car. A towel or blanket works great as a pad. Kayaks should also be loaded on the roof rack upside-down to protect them from damage.

The easiest way to remove the kayak from the roof rack is to slide the kayak off the rear bumper. Once the kayak is off the roof rack, slide the kayak into the water. 

Trailers In Detail

A trailer is a great option for transporting kayaks. They are easy to use and can be attached to almost any vehicle. They provide stability and safety during transportation and are less likely to cause damage to your car and kayak than a roof rack.

Like we said earlier, there are two types of trailers: flatbed and gooseneck. They each have different hitches as the gooseneck maneuvers better. So, if you are not already familiar with using trailers, try going for the gooseneck trailer for better maneuverability.  

If you prefer to kayak solo, then a trailer is a way easier method for you to haul your kayak as trailers are much lower down than the roof of your car. 

As kayaks can be heavy, you will have to lift one end at a time into the trailer – a much easier method than trying to lift one end of your kayak onto the top of your car at a time! 

Kayaks should be secured tightly to prevent warping. Once you arrive back home, loosen the straps and then reconnect them to secure the kayaks. Be careful not to overtighten the straps because this could cause damage to your kayak.

Hauling Kayaks With Short Bed Trucks

Short bed trucks have a lot less room than the above methods, but that does not mean you cannot haul a kayak with a short bed truck.

You should haul your kayak with the tailgate down for extra support. The kayak should also be secured by tying them down with at least two tie-down straps.

Red flags, cloths, or plastic should be placed at the end of the boat for safety reasons and because most states legally require you to clearly flag such loads.

You should always haul your kayak with the tailgate down as much as possible because it provides extra support beneath your kayak. Without it, you could damage your kayak and make it harder to use. 

Also, allowing your kayak to hang over can dent the hull or bend it, especially if the weather is hot. The heat will cause the kayak to distort, so this method is only advisable for short distances. 


And those are all the ways you can haul a kayak. 

Depending on your vehicle, you have the option to choose the best method for you. Whether you are concerned about damage to your vehicle or kayak, or if prices are a bigger concern for you, there is definitely a way for you to haul a kayak that suits you best.

Pick a method from above and try it out!

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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