Despite kayaks gliding smoothly on water, they can be challenging to deal with on land. After you’ve maneuvered your kayak onto the top of your car, double-check that everything is properly secured prior to embarking on your excursion.
While it can be difficult to secure a kayak to the roof rack if you’re doing it for the first time, it’s a crucial step to avoid damaging your boat, automobile, and accidents on the road.
Transporting a kayak on the roof of your vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful. Fortunately, after you’ve done it a couple of times, it becomes an easy process.
Equipment Needed to Strap Down a Kayak
It’s usually a good idea to be prepared before you begin the process of strapping down your kayak. This way, you won’t need to keep running off to grab something else in your garage. Here are some of the essentials you’ll need:
- Roof Rack: Roof racks come in a variety of styles and brands. The kind of roof rack you choose to use will most likely be determined by your own preference and the type of vehicle you have. Nevertheless, having crossbars to keep your kayak secure can be beneficial.
- Tie-Down Straps: Cam buckle straps are great for strapping down kayaks because they have a strong buckle for tightening with no need for knots. Two straps are normally required, one per crossbar. If you want to utilize the straps for the bow and stern tie-downs, you’ll require four of them.
- Kayak Carriers: Kayak carriers will be useful if you need to transport more than one kayak since they allow you to hold a kayak on its side. This makes it possible for you to carry additional equipment. Certain roof rack carriers are padded which means that they can be used together with roof racks. However, they aren’t always required.
- Padding: Having some form of padding can be beneficial. Padding will help keep your car roof and kayak protected. Foam cushioning, such as pool noodles, can also be used as a substitute for padding. However, if you have an inflatable roof rack, you could strap down your kayak without padding because the roof rack can serve as padding.
- Bow and Stern Tie-Down Straps: These will be used to attach the front and back of your kayak to your vehicle. It’s best to utilize strong tie-down straps or rope with cam buckles, similar to the ones you’ll use to secure your kayak to the roof rack.
How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack
1. Get A Kayak Carrier or Roof Rack
The best carrier for you is determined by the weight and size of your kayak, the number of kayaks you wish to transfer, and how efficient the configuration is for you. It’s best to not use roof racks with larger types of kayaks. If you need to find more information on your kayak, read the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Kayak carriers are available in a variety of styles. A foam block carrier is a wonderful choice if you don’t have a roof rack or you don’t need to transport your kayak very often. These blocks are both light and inexpensive.
Crossbar pads are another cost-effective solution if you have crossbars. These solutions allow for quick, momentary installation, which means you won’t have to modify the top of your vehicle permanently. Another widely used form of carrier is the J-style carrier.
These types of carriers link straight to your crossbars but are smaller compared to other carriers, allowing you to accommodate more equipment on the car roof. They’re more of a long-term option and are usually preferred if you intend to transport your kayak on a regular basis.
You could also use a load extender for heavier and longer kayaks to boost your setup’s weight capability and provide greater stability for your kayak. If your kayak is large or you find it difficult to load it by yourself, a carrier that has a built-in load assist might be a good option. A load assist device will make loading your kayak much easier.
2. Load Your Kayak on the Roof Rack
Prepare to load the kayak onto the roof rack. If you’re securing the kayak to the roof rack’s cross bars, turn the kayak upside down on the carrier.
Having a plastic boat placed hull-side down could result in indentations, which could compromise your boat’s capability to track properly. You may put the kayak on the roof rack right-side up if you use kayak carrier padding or additional fittings such as hooks or rollers.
The kind of kayak you have will determine whether it’s best to face the back or the front. Whitewater kayaks should be placed backward first, with the front combing up against the back crossbar.
The kayak will be forced up against the rear crossbar due to the air pressure caused by the wind. To distribute weight evenly, center a canoe on the crossbars while mounting it on the roof rack.
This will help keep your boat steady when you’re driving. Position your kayak’s widest areas over the locations where you’ll be tying it down. You can prevent the kayak from drifting back and forth as you travel by fastening it at its widest sections.
3. Strap the Kayak to the Crossbars
Wrap the straps around the kayak until it gets to the other side of the roof rack. This should be done after the boat has been placed on the roof of the vehicle and you’ve placed the straps around the bars.
The purpose of doing this is to prevent automobile damage or a smashed window. Draw the buckle end of the strap, making sure it stays over the bar, then loop it around the car’s end and then back over the kayak.
Allow this end to dangle loosely as you tug on the other end to lengthen it. After doing this, toss over the non-metal end to the side of the boat. The goal is to have the straps over the kayak without causing damage to the vehicle, kayak, or yourself.
4. Secure the Bow and Stern Straps
After you’ve fastened the sides of your kayak, you may proceed to the back and front. You’ll require a set of bow and stern straps for this step.
Bow and stern straps will prevent your boat from slipping off the rear of the vehicle. There are various kinds of bow and stern straps available, each with its own attachment mechanism.
Temporary Anchored Straps
There are straps that have temporary anchors that you can secure by tucking them beneath your hood or into your trunk. These straps can then be attached to the car’s protruding loops. It’s important to keep anchors far from any sources of heat underneath your hood.
Straps that have hooks, which normally attach to your vehicle’s chassis, hitch, bumper, or tow loops, are also available. They can be fastened to temporary anchors as well.
Whatever sort of tie-down you select, start by securing the strap to the bow of your kayak. Each strap should be looped around or through the bow’s attachment point. If your kayak doesn’t have a point of attachment, you have a few possibilities.
Fasten the hook to a secure spot on your car if you’re using a strap that has a hook. If you’re using a bow/stern strap that features an anchor loop, pass it through the loop. After doing this, secure it through the buckle.
It will be necessary to tie a tight knot in your strap if you lack a buckle. To avoid stressing out as you drive, it’s best to make sure that the knot is low enough for you to reach, but also high enough for you to see it when driving. All spare straps should be bundled and secured.
1. Tie Up the Kayak Straps
You’ll have to tie up your kayak straps in order to keep them from swinging in the wind and thrashing against your car.
Loop every strap around the section of the roof rack that hooks to the car to secure your kayak straps. Afterward, either knot the ends of the straps against the other straps or slide them under them.
2. Final Checks
Before embarking on your journey, you’ll need to double-check your bow and stern ropes, cross straps, and a few other things. To begin with, walk around your automobile and double-check that all of your straps are securely fastened.
Make sure to leave enough space between your car and other vehicles on the road when driving. Try not to brake or accelerate too quickly, since it will put excess strain on your straps. If you’re driving a great distance, make several stops to conduct checks.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Roof Rack
1. Durability and Strength
A roof rack failure is one of the quickest ways to ruin an excursion. A poorly structured rack might not cut it if you intend to drive on rough terrain. Check to see if the rack manufacturer produced equipment that has been tested in severe environments.
It’s a good thing if a rack is strong, but it’s not ideal for it to be too heavy. Most kayak roof racks are made of heavy materials, but you don’t have to compromise on strength when considering the weight of the rack.
A properly engineered rack made from aluminum will be much lighter than steel. An aluminium rack can also provide load-bearing capacity and greater strength.
When purchasing a roof rack, size is an important consideration. Don’t buy a roof rack before making sure it fits your vehicle. Roof racks are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate various automobile sizes.
A wide roof rack will expand your car’s storage capacity as well as provide a stable platform for transporting any equipment. Evaluate the roof rack size that’s appropriate for your vehicle. A good roof rack shouldn’t prevent the automobile from fitting into the garage or prevent the doors from closing as they should.
4. Type of Rack
Kayak racks come in a variety of styles, spanning from permanent to temporary options. Roof racks vary in cost and installation methods, with more durable racks being more expensive. Determine the type of rack you require while making purchasing decisions. Remember to choose the one that will provide you with the best results.
5. Accessories You Will Need
Take into account the accessories you’ll need before purchasing a roof rack. Kayak carriers, bike carriers, roof baskets, and baggage boxes are examples of diverse accessories you may need. Every accessory has a distinct function and can come in a variety of sizes.
The number of attachments you can have on your rack will be determined by the width of your crossbar and the size of your vehicle. You can’t buy a roof rack for your automobile without first deciding what accessories you’ll need.
When traveling, a roof rack is a perfect place to keep your kayak. As a result, making the right decision on a roof rack is critical to having a good time on your adventure. When purchased from the correct manufacturer, roof racks are easy to use and can last a very long time.
Whenever it comes to maintaining road safety, knowing how to strap a kayak to a roof rack is also crucial. Before you leave for your trip, double-check that your boat is secure. The kayak straps must be snug enough that it won’t slide off onto the road, and you shouldn’t have any loose straps swinging around.
We hope that this article has helped you learn how to strap a kayak to a roof rack! For more useful kayak information and tips, please keep exploring our site!