How to Transport a Kayak | A Comprehensive Guide to Transport Kayaks

If you are looking for new experiences and memories in different places, don’t let the inconvenience of transportation stop you. Don’t miss the chance to add a dose of adventure to your life; learn how to transport a kayak so that you don’t depend on someone else to carry it out.

People who have adopted kayaking as one of their favorite hobbies or who practice it as a sports specialty and have achieved their goal have to understand how to transport a kayak.

Taking a kayak on the roof of a car is easy. You can do it by placing it on one of the foam blocks or a luggage rack. Foam blocks have the virtue of being economical but are only correct for shorter trips with the car traveling at lower speeds and average weather conditions.

On the other hand, a kayak roof rack is more credible and makes it easier for the user to load and secure the kayak with more simplicity than foam blocks. Transporting a kayak also requires using one of the straps or ropes to fix it to the car.

How to Transport a Kayak

Fit the kayak on top of your car on one of the foam pads or the roof bars. The kayak should be parallel to the Vehicle and, if on the foam pads, the other way around.

  • Use at least two straps with buckles to hold the kayak on the roof, running across the car’s width and placing them as far apart as possible. Adjust the straps and check for tightness by lifting the kayak and moving it from side to side. The kayak should not raise the roof and should have limited room for maneuver. As an option, use ropes to tie the kayak to the top and evaluate how safely it is connected.
  • Tie a string from the front of the kayak to the front bumper. Also, do it from the back of the kayak to the rear bumper. This step is suggested for longer trips.
  • Tie off loose ends of the straps or ropes.
  • Check the position of the kayak after five to 15 miles of driving. If the kayak is loose or has shifted, change its place, and tighten the straps or ropes.
How to Transport a Kayak

Kayak transport ideas to the Vehicle

The first thing to do is to transport the boat to the transport that will bring it to the lake, river or sea where will use it.

To take your kayak to the transport, we suggest the participation of two people. All of them must hold a handle. These are fixed to the boat’s ends, that is, to the bow and the stern.

The two people must see and walk in the direction where they have to take the kayak. Even two people can transport two boats at the same time without any inconvenience. They only have to hold one grab handle in each hand.

Assuming you are alone, you can place the kayak on your shoulder. To carry it correctly, position yourself on the boat’s left side, look at it, and bend over. Take the leading edge and pull it up to your thighs using both hands.

Hold the boat by the inside of the cockpit with your right arm and you continue to hold the ship by the edge with your left arm. Lift the kayak slowly and place it on your right shoulder.

It would help if you found a position that prevents the kayak from moving forward or backward. Look for stability. If you find that carrying the kayak alone is difficult, you can also use a wheelbarrow to guide you.

how to transport a kayak without a roof rack

Placing the kayak in your Vehicle

Before placing your kayak on the transport where you are going to transport it, keep in mind to have the next elements:

Crossbars: These are the bars that run vertically across the roof of your transport.

Bars or padded luggage rack: The particular bars for transporting kayaks are placed on the crossbars and are the ones that accept to hold the boat. They must be covered with foam or material that prevents the ship from being damaged.

Ropes: We suggest using non-extensible strings that are water-resistant to hold the bow and stern well. Always carry a spare to a kayak trip.

Cam straps: They accept to fix the kayak in the central part.

how to transport a kayak on a small car

Steps to follow

First, arrange all the previously mentioned elements on the car’s roof.

With another person’s support, hold the radical house handles and place the kayak next to the transport. It is considered that this parallel to this.

Hold the kayak by the hull at the ends. Lift it until you get it on the support on the roof of the car. Finally, adjust the ropes and straps until you get a stable hold. Assuming that you have to place the kayak on the top of the Vehicle by yourself, you can choose between an automated lift system or a wheeled stand.

Although you are looking for a much more exerting and economical option, you can place a blanket or bulky cloth on the back of the transport roof. Then put the bow of the kayak on it and push it forward at the end to place it on the stand. You can set the kayak upside down or upside down.

When you verify that it is based on the car’s roof rails and parallel to the Vehicle, you can continue to tie it.

Tips for tying the kayak

We suggest using a ladder to make it much more straightforward and practical to get the straps, make the moorings, and adjust the transport roof’s kayak.

Do not make complicated knots. This can make it more difficult to untie them when you need to get out of the kayak.

Once you have finished the ties, check that everything is set up correctly. And after precisely 15 or 20 minutes of moving, stop and look again to make sure the ropes and straps are still attached right. Sometimes they can get loose.

how to transport a kayak in a truck

Tips to keep a kayak in excellent condition

If you want to keep your boats in good condition longer, you have to follow these recommendations:

  • Clean the kayak before putting it away. Use fresh water and soap. Make sure that it is dry and that it does not have traces of elements that could decompose.
  • Avoid leaving it outdoors or in a region where it gets too much sunlight. The astonishing thing is that it is under a roof in a dry and dark space. You can also put a cover.
  • You don’t have to hang the kayak by the handles at the ends. The highlight is that you place it on a stand.
  • Do not place the kayak on the ground. This applies to both storage and use. It can suffer from scratches or blows from stones.
  • Inspect the hull and all the elements of the kayak before and after use. This way, you will have the possibility of discovering any damage.
  • One of the best ways to move and store your kayak is upside down.
how to transport a kayak on a small car

How to Transport a Kayak: FAQ

Can you transport a kayak on a car?

Yes! The simplest way to load a kayak in a car is with two people. That means one person in each radical load the kayak by the handles. Then place it on the side and parallel to your transport with the bow facing the front of the car.

How do you do this without a rack?

You can find these straps in hardware stores or car stores, and you will need between two and five sets of them.

  • Step 1: Place and secure the pool noodles on top of your car.
  • Step 2: Lift your kayak and place it on top of the pool noodles.
  • There is more.
  • Step 3: Tie up the kayak with the Thule straps.
  • Step 4: Secure the bow and stern.

Should kayak be transported upside down?

Yes, in general, you can transport the kayak in the following ways on the one hand, when using the J-type kayak carriers. On the other hand, (upside down) when carried directly on the bars. – Right side (upside down) when using blocks or flat systems for kayaks holes.


Among the last reasons to transport a kayak, we can include some convenient tips:

Don’t make it too tricky: having useful knots and rolling up the straps in all directions may seem reasonable. However, someone questions that and keep things simple. It is often the fastest and safest way to do it.

Use a ladder: If you are short and have a tall vehicle, keep a small ladder inside your car that you can use to make it much easier for you to reach the belts.

Add a twist: a simple twist on the timing belts can help avoid annoying belt vibrations while driving a cradle.

Belt locking: You can purchase locking timing belts that can only be unlocked with keys. This gives you great comfort when you leave the boat in the car to go to a store or restaurant. If you leave your kayak for a long time, you need a more secure solution, such as a cable lock.

Also, learn to the tie-down strap, also known as “trucker’s tie down straps.” If you don’t have straps or slings on the bow and stern, you can use a rope instead to slide. Make sure it doesn’t stretch and is waterproof. And learn how to transport a kayak in a truck belt, so the strings are tight.

Stop and check: after about 15 minutes of driving, stop, and tug at the kayak to make sure it is still safe. Sometimes the ratchet strap can become loose while driving.

All these tips will be handy when living your kayaking adventure and having your items safe.

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