Balancing things on a car roof is not a biggie, but things sliding off the roof and splashing your day with a sense of frustration definitely is. Strapping a kayak on top of the car is an easy task if you know how to do it properly.
It is therefore important to properly attach and secure your kayak to the vehicle roof. Luckily, once you’ve done it a few times, it’s an easy process. Follow the step-by-step instructions below and find out how!
Useful Steps To Attach Kayak To Roof Rack
Some kayaks are heavy and unwieldy – especially rigged fishing kayaks. You must consider what is the best method of transportation for you, your kayak, and your vehicle.
Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to tie your kayak to the car roof.
1. Install Roof Rack and Kayak Carrier
Most kayak transport needs can be met by adding an aftermarket carrier system. A carrier system includes the bars and feet (adapters) that attach the system to your particular vehicle.
Poles can be used individually or as a base for additional kayak racks and accessories. The most common systems are made by Thule and Yakima. These types of racks offer the greatest weight capacity and are the safest way to attach kayak to roof rack.
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2. Load the Kayak Onto Crossbars or Carrier
Regardless of which system you use, you still have to physically put the kayak in or on it.
This may seem difficult and awkward at first, but you’ll find that it gets easier with repetition and you’ll eventually find what works best for you and your situation.
But a little help never hurts. If you ask can I put the kayak directly on the roof rack, the answer is no.
3. Secure Side-to-Side with Straps
When using straps with auto-locking buckles, always put a half-clutch in the straps after tying them up to ensure that the strap will not come loose even if the buckle comes loose and could damage the kayak. So make sure the kayak fits snugly, but don’t go overboard.
4. Secure Ropes and Tighten
Always push and pull the kayak well before setting off to ensure you are safe. As a general rule, if you can rock the vehicle without the kayak moving on its pole then you are fine. If the kayak slides back and forth on the bars or in the straps, you will need to go back and tighten the straps
How to carry a kayak
You can carry a Kayak with the help of your partner or by yourself. However, there is a process for that.
- You can grab a hold of the stern on one end and instruct your partner to hold the other end.
- Then gently lift the both with steady hands. And face a similar direction.
- Then slowly move ahead with your partner keeping the pace.
Tips for Carrying a Kayak
- You must keep the knots in a simple tie.
- Use an elevator or a ladder for putting the kayak on top of the vehicle
- Securing the cam straps is a must and you should be aware of the different styles that is used to tie this.
- Take regular breaks to ensure it is hitched
How to Put a Kayak on a Vehicle
Regardless of which system you use, you still have to physically put the kayak in or on it. This may seem difficult and awkward at first, but you’ll find that it gets easier with repetition and you’ll eventually find what works best for you and your situation.
But a little help never hurts. So here is a list of products that can help make carrying the weight a little easier.It is entirely possible to strap a kayak onto the roof of a small car without a roof rack.
However, you should always make sure to put something between the roof and the kayak for insulation.Companies are now making accessories to bring your kayak up onto your roof.
One such product is Thule’s Hullavator, this hydraulic auxiliary support folds down the side of the vehicle where the kayak is loaded at waist height, and the whole folds back onto the roof with the help of mechanical assistance.
Loading a Kayak With Help
You can load the kayak with the help of your partner or friends.
- Carry the kayak from both ends
- Grab a hold of the rear and the rim
- Set it down upon the vehicle, gently
Loading a Kayak by Yourself
To load a Kayak by yourself is only possible if it is not too heavy. You can utilise a lift or pulley system. These are commercially sold but expensive.
You can also try out wheels which are comparatively cheaper. They operate by lifting the rear crack and the stern crack. Use a DIY method by putting a sturdy blanket or towel underneath and utilise the pull to lift the kayak.
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Loading Multiple Kayaks
If you have enough space on your vehicle then you can easily carry two kayaks.
- You can add a second rack for holding more kayaks. Attach the racks to the crossbars and make sure it is stabilized.
- Stacker bars are another way of carrying multiple kayaks. You can put the kayaks side by side and secure them with cam straps
How to Tie Down a Kayak
- Keep It Simple: Using fancy knots and tie wraps in every way might look cool, but how to secure kayak to roof rack? Just tie simple but strong knots.
- Use a ladder: If you’re smaller and/or have a tall vehicle, keep a small stepladder in the back of your car that you can use to make reaching the seat belts that much easier.
- Add a twist: One simple rotation in the cam belts can help eliminate annoying belt vibration while driving.
Tips for tying down a kayak
- Lock the belts: You can buy ratchet straps, which can only be unlocked with a key.
- Know the trucker hitch: If you don’t have cam straps or ratchet bow and stern lines, you can use a rope instead.
Frequently asked questions
Q1- Should you use ratchet straps on a kayak?
Yes, you can attach one.
Q2- Do you have to use bow and stern tie-downs for kayaks?
You can use one if you like.
Q3- How fast can you drive with a kayak on the roof?
You should not risk driving fast as it may result in accidents.
Q4- Which direction should kayak face on car?
The Kayak should be upfront on the car.
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