Whether you’re bringing a kayak home from the store or taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s important to know how to safely and conveniently transport your kayak.
A roof rack, also known as a kayak rack or a kayak carrier, can be used to transport a kayak. It’s perhaps the most critical piece of equipment you’ll need in order to move your kayak easily and safely from one location to another.
Nevertheless, having a reliable rack won’t be beneficial if you don’t know how to tie up your kayak properly.
Essentials You’ll Need to Tie a Kayak to a Roof Rack
- Cam Straps: The aim of having these is to hold down your kayak securely. Two straps, measuring approximately 12 feet long or longer, are required.
- Bow and Stern Lines: A non-stretch rope that’s also water-resistant can be used, but specialized ratcheting lines can simplify the job.
One line for the stern and another for the bow are normally required. However, this might vary depending on how wide and long your car and kayak are.
- Crossbars: A crossbar covers the length of your vehicle’s roof. Most of them have bars that move from the front of your car to the rear, but this can vary depending on the type of vehicle you have.
- Padding: The most secure kayak rack systems are those that are attached to crossbars and that cushion the kayak in a J or V shape.
Loading a Kayak on Your Vehicle
Before you start tying a kayak to a roof rack, you need to consider exactly how you’ll be loading the kayak on the rack.
Loading the Kayak on Your Own
There are people who can easily use their muscles to load a kayak onto a vehicle. However, for those who can’t do this, here are some alternative ways you can load a kayak on your own:
- Purchase Rolling Wheels: Using a rack with rolling wheels is one way you can easily load your kayak. Place the bow of the kayak in the rear rack cradle, take up the end, and move the kayak into the front cradle using the rolling wheels. Rolling wheels are more cost-effective than roof racks that have built-in lift mechanisms.
- Utilize a Lift System: Kayak racks that have built-in lift systems make loading the kayak a breeze. They usually extend from the top of your car to the side, allowing you to hoist the kayak up more easily.
Raise the roof rack system to the top of your car after the kayak is securely placed and fastened. Although these racks are expensive, they work well.
- Use a Blanket or Towel: Consider putting a blanket or towel on top of the back of your truck. Next, set the bow of the kayak on the blanket or kayak for a cost-effective solution. Lift the stern of the kayak and push it up onto the roof rack.
Loading the Kayak with Help
You can load your kayak to the top of your car once you’ve installed the roof rack, added the padding, and prepared the kayak straps. With two people, loading a kayak becomes much easier. Here are some steps on how to do it:
- Use the grab handles to carry the kayak with one person at one end. Place the kayak parallel to your vehicle as the bow faces the front of the vehicle.
- Lift the kayak by the hull on both ends and place it at the top of the vehicle. Avoid using your back to lift the kayak. Instead, use your legs to lift it up.
- Position the kayak directly on top of the rack, and then carefully place it down on the roof rack. The sort of rack you have determines the optimum placement position for the kayak.
Loading Multiple Kayaks
You can load up more than one kayak onto your vehicle if you have adequate space. Ensure that you have a sufficient number of straps for this. Here are a few suggestions for transporting multiple kayaks:
- Additional Racks: Getting additional racks will allow you to easily transport another kayak, but this is dependent on how wide your kayaks are, as well as how wide your crossbars are.
- Stacker Bars: Stacker bars could be the solution you need if you’re attempting to have several kayaks stacked on top of each other. Stacker bars make it possible for you to turn the kayaks on their sides to save room.
Stacker bars are most commonly found on lightweight, smaller whitewater kayaks, although they can still be found on touring and recreational boats.
How to Tie a Kayak to a Roof Rack
Cam straps are the most convenient way to secure a kayak to your vehicle because no special knots are required. You can simply pass the straps through the buckles and then fasten them. Follow the steps below on how to tie down the kayak:
- Ensure that your kayak is positioned properly between your vehicle’s crossbars and parallel to the vehicle.
- Obtain a cam strap and place the buckle some inches overhead as well as to the side of the crossbars on the side of the kayak. Toss the other end of the straps across your kayak.
- Move to the opposite side of your car and pick up the other end of the strap. Loop this end underneath the crossbar, and sling it back over your boat. Make sure the strap is underneath the attachment point of the crossbar and the vehicle.
- Return to the other side of the vehicle and loop the strap’s end below the crossbar. Fasten it to the cam buckle and tighten it firmly. Ensure the strap is on the inside of the attachment point between the crossbar and the car. Repeat this with the other crossbar.
- Obtain a cam strap and place the buckle some inches overhead as well as to the side of the crossbars. Drape the strap over to the other end of your kayak.
- Adjust both straps until they’re snug.
- Underneath the cam buckles, knot off the strap ends that might be hanging out, then bind any of the crossbars to any excess strap. This reinforces the cam buckles and keeps the slack from flopping around when driving.
- To guarantee that the kayak is securely tied down, grab each end and rock it to see how stable it is.
Securing the Bow and Stern Straps
It’s always a good idea to tie the kayak’s bow and stern to your vehicle through ratcheting, particularly if you’ll be traveling in strong winds or on a highway. Installing ratcheting bow and stern lines can be done as follows:
- Use the ratchet to fasten the line’s end to a secure position on the kayak’s front, like the grab handle.
- Connect the line’s other end to a strong area on your car. You can use a hood loop strap to create a solid location if you can’t find one. Avoid tying down your vehicle’s tie-down straps to plastic car parts.
- Tighten the line by pulling the loose end down until it becomes snug. Make sure you don’t overtighten.
- Underneath the ratchet, knot up the loose end of the line.
- Repeat these steps with the stern line.
Here are some additional tips to follow when tying a kayak to a roof rack:
Maintain a Straightforward Approach
While using complex knots and looping straps in various directions may look interesting, simplicity is typically the quickest and safest option when it comes to tying your kayak to the car rack.
Twist the Cam Straps
Adding a modest twist to the cam straps can help reduce unpleasant strap vibrations as you drive.
Use a Ladder
If you have a tall car or are short in size, get a small ladder to help you reach the straps and position the kayak better. You can even keep this ladder in the back of your car for whenever you need it.
Utilize the Trucker’s Hitch
You can use rope as an alternative to ratcheting bow and stern lines and cam straps or if you don’t have them. The trucker’s hitch should be both water-resistant and non-stretch.
After you’ve been driving for a while, get out of the car and tug on the kayak to ensure it’s still secure. The straps may become unfastened so it’s best to check that they’re still secure.
Different Types of Kayak Roof Racks
There are all different types of kayak racks available on the market. We’ve listed some of the most common racks below.
A J-Cradle kayak carrier is a common option for transporting kayaks. You can load your kayak from the side of your car using these racks, which feature a base and a “J”-shaped holding arm.
The kayak will be placed at an angle on its side, which frees up a lot of space on your roof for additional luggage, kayak deck bags, equipment, or whatever else you need to transport. J-racks are normally quite solid racks that will firmly support your boat. They’re also great for large boats.
Saddles are a durable, long-lasting storage option for your kayak. The base of your kayak is held in place by a series of pads that link to crossbars or a roof rack.
Your kayak is positioned with its entire width squarely on your car roof. One or two pairs of saddles can be used to support a kayak on this kind of rack.
Crossbars are strong, robust bars that are attached to your vehicle’s roof, either using roof rails or other hardware used for mounting. Just about anything can be attached to them. You can also directly attach your kayak to the crossbars. There are multiple manufacturers that produce crossbars.
The benefit of utilizing rollers is that they make loading and unloading your kayak much simpler. To use them, have the rollers at the back of your car’s roof and hoist the front part of your kayak onto the rollers. After doing this, roll up the rest of your kayak onto the rack.
Using temporary padding to construct a roof storage option for your car is a simple and straightforward process. Padding can be attached to your automobile in a variety of ways, including running straps through your car’s side windows.
Your kayak, equipment, or belongings can be fastened down and transported on top of the pads. Padding is ideal for shorter trips and kayaking trips that happen every now and then. They’re also a great option for people who don’t need or want to put a permanent roof rack on their car.
Several kayaks can be stacked on your roof using stackers. Using this style of roof rack, the manner in which your kayaks will be placed will leave plenty of roof space for other items.
The stacker is a robust post-like component that connects to your crossbars. All you have to do is rest your kayak against it and secure it. Smaller vessels, such as whitewater kayaks, benefit from stackers.
When traveling with a kayak on your vehicle’s roof, make sure you secure it appropriately in order to ensure that it doesn’t fall off or get damaged during the journey. For this reason, it’s important that you learn how to tie a kayak to a roof rack.
After you’ve done it more than once, tying down your kayak becomes simple. Nevertheless, it’s always important to double-check that it’s firmly fastened down before you leave.
We hope that this article has helped you learn how to tie a kayak to a roof rack! For more useful kayak information and tips, please keep exploring our site!