How to Haul a Kayak?

How to Haul a Kayak?Learn the proper techniques and equipment needed to safely haul and transport your kayak from one location to another. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure a seamless journey for your kayak.

When it comes to kayak transport, it’s important to have the right knowledge and tools. Whether you’re heading to the nearest lake or planning a kayaking adventure, knowing how to properly haul your kayak is essential.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about transporting a kayak. From carrying a kayak by hand to putting it on a vehicle and tying it down securely, we’ve got you covered. Plus, we’ll also explore options for loading multiple kayaks and transporting a kayak without a roof rack.

So, if you’re ready to hit the road with your kayak in tow, let’s dive in and learn the best practices for kayak hauling and transport.

Carrying a Kayak

When it comes to carrying a kayak, there are different methods depending on whether you have a partner or are carrying it solo. If you have a partner, the easiest method is for each person to hold one end of the kayak by the grab handle. This distributes the weight evenly and allows for better control while carrying.

If you’re carrying the kayak by yourself, you can use a shoulder carry method. Start by positioning yourself next to the kayak and place one hand on the grab handle and the other hand on the side of the kayak near the cockpit. Lift the kayak onto your shoulder, using your body’s strength to support the weight. Walk slowly and carefully, keeping the kayak balanced on your shoulder.

It’s important to protect your back when carrying a kayak. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than straining your back. If the kayak is too heavy to carry by hand, consider using a kayak cart. These carts have wheels and allow you to easily transport the kayak over longer distances without putting strain on your body.

Carrying a Kayak – Summary:

  • With a partner, each person holds one end of the kayak by the grab handle
  • Carrying solo, use a shoulder carry method, lifting with your legs and keeping the kayak balanced
  • Protect your back and consider using a kayak cart for longer distances

Carrying a kayak requires proper technique and consideration for your own safety. By following these methods and using the right equipment, you can easily transport your kayak from one location to another, whether you have a partner or are carrying it solo.

Putting a Kayak on a Vehicle

When it comes to loading a kayak onto a vehicle, having a helper can make the process much easier. With two people, each person can hold one end of the kayak and carefully place it on the rack. This ensures a balanced and controlled movement, minimizing the risk of damage to the kayak or the vehicle.

However, if you find yourself without a partner to assist you, there are still options available to load a kayak by yourself. The method you choose will depend on the type of rack system you have.

If you have a lift system or rolling wheels attached to your rack, you can use these features to your advantage. Simply position the kayak near the rack, secure it in place, and then activate the lift or wheels to guide the kayak onto the rack. This takes much of the physical strain out of the loading process.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a lift system or rolling wheels, you can utilize a low-cost solution by using a towel or blanket. Place the towel or blanket on the rear of your vehicle, allowing it to hang over the edge. Then, position the kayak alongside your vehicle, making sure it aligns with the towel or blanket. Finally, carefully lift and slide the kayak onto the rack, using the towel or blanket as a sliding surface. This method requires some finesse but can be effective if done correctly.

Table: Comparison of Loading Methods for Kayaks

Method Pros Cons
Assisted Loading with a Helper Easier and more controlled loading Requires an additional person
Lift System or Rolling Wheels Reduces physical strain on the loader Requires a rack system with these features
Towel or Blanket Slide Low-cost solution Requires careful maneuvering

Tying Down a Kayak

When it comes to securing your kayak for transport, using cam straps is one of the most effective and convenient methods. Cam straps are designed to provide a tight and secure hold, ensuring that your kayak stays in place during your journey. To properly tie down your kayak, follow these steps:

  1. Position your kayak: Place your kayak in the center between the crossbars on your vehicle. This will help distribute the weight evenly and prevent any unnecessary movement.
  2. Thread the straps: Take one end of the cam strap and thread it through the front grab handle of your kayak. Repeat the same process with the other strap and the rear grab handle.
  3. Tighten the straps: Pull the straps tight to secure the kayak in place. The cam buckle mechanism will hold the straps securely, preventing any slack or looseness.
  4. Double-check the security: Before hitting the road, it’s important to double-check the security of your kayak. Ensure that the straps are tightly secured and there is no movement or shifting of the kayak.

In addition to using cam straps, it’s also recommended to use bow and stern lines for added security. These lines help prevent any forward or backward movement of your kayak, especially during high winds or when driving at high speeds. Make sure to attach the bow and stern lines to sturdy anchor points on your vehicle or trailer.

Benefits of Using Cam Straps

Cam straps offer several advantages when it comes to tying down your kayak. Here are a few key benefits:

  • Strong and secure hold: Cam straps are designed to provide a tight and secure hold on your kayak, ensuring that it stays in place during transport.
  • Easy to use: The cam buckle mechanism makes it quick and easy to tighten and release the straps, saving you time and effort.
  • Durable and weather-resistant: Cam straps are made from high-quality materials that are resistant to wear and tear, as well as weather conditions such as rain and UV exposure.
  • Adjustable length: Cam straps are typically adjustable in length, allowing you to customize the fit to your specific kayak and vehicle.

By following these tips and using cam straps, you can securely tie down your kayak and transport it safely to your desired destination. Remember to always check the security of your kayak before hitting the road to ensure a smooth and worry-free journey.

Loading Multiple Kayaks

When it comes to transporting multiple kayaks, there are a few options available to ensure a secure and efficient journey. One method is to add a second rack to your crossbars, allowing you to carry multiple kayaks side by side. This is ideal for those who frequently transport more than one kayak and want the convenience of having them all in one place. Another option is to use kayak stacker bars, which allow you to stack the kayaks on their sides, taking up less space. This method is particularly useful when you have limited space on your roof rack.

Before loading multiple kayaks, it’s important to consider the width of your boats and crossbars to ensure a proper fit. Measure the width of your kayaks and the distance between your crossbars to determine whether they can be safely loaded side by side or if stacker bars are necessary. Keep in mind that the weight distribution should be balanced to avoid any issues during transport.

Table: Comparison of Options for Loading Multiple Kayaks

Method Pros Cons
Adding a second rack
  • Convenient for carrying multiple kayaks
  • Kayaks can be loaded side by side
  • Easy access to all kayaks
  • May require additional installation
  • Increases wind resistance
  • Limited space for other gear
Kayak stacker bars
  • Saves space on the roof rack
  • Allows for carrying multiple kayaks
  • Easier loading and unloading
  • Requires proper positioning and securing
  • May limit access to lower kayaks
  • Potential for scratches or damage

Whichever method you choose, make sure to secure the kayaks properly using straps and tie-downs. It’s essential to check the stability and tightness of the load before hitting the road to prevent any accidents or damage. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations for loading and securing your specific kayak models.

By utilizing the right equipment and techniques, you can transport multiple kayaks with ease and peace of mind. Whether you opt for a second rack or stacker bars, ensure that your kayaks are securely fastened and that you adhere to all safety precautions. With proper loading and securement, you’ll be ready for your next kayaking adventure.

Transporting a Kayak Without a Roof Rack

If you don’t have a roof rack, there are alternative methods to transport a kayak. One option is to use an inflatable kayak, which can be deflated and easily stored in the trunk or backseat of your car. Inflatable kayaks are lightweight, portable, and convenient, making them a great option for those without a roof rack.

To transport an inflatable kayak, simply deflate it and roll it up. Most inflatable kayaks come with a carrying bag, making it easy to transport and store. Once you reach your destination, you can quickly inflate the kayak and be ready to hit the water.

Another option for transporting a kayak without a roof rack is to use a pickup truck. If you have a pickup truck, you can secure the kayak in the bed using straps or bungee cords. Make sure to properly secure the kayak to prevent it from shifting or falling out during transport. If you’re concerned about potential damage to the kayak or the bed of your truck, you can use a tailgate pad specifically designed for transporting kayaks.

Comparison of Kayak Transport Methods

Transport Method Pros Cons
Inflatable Kayak Easy to store and transport
Lightweight and portable
No need for a roof rack
May not offer the same performance as a traditional kayak
Requires inflation and deflation
Pickup Truck No need for a roof rack
Can transport multiple kayaks
Can be used for other purposes
Kayak may get scratched or damaged
Limited space in the truck bed

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so consider your specific needs and circumstances when choosing a kayak transport method without a roof rack. Whether you opt for an inflatable kayak or utilize a pickup truck, both options provide flexibility and convenience for transporting your kayak to your desired destination.


Transporting your kayak safely and securely doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following these kayak transportation tips, you can ensure a safe haul and protect your valuable watercraft.

First and foremost, always remember to prioritize safety. Protect your back by using proper lifting techniques and avoid straining yourself. Carrying a kayak by hand can be manageable with a partner or by using a shoulder carry method, but if it’s too difficult, consider using a kayak cart to ease the load.

When it comes to securing your kayak for transport, using high-quality cam straps is essential. Make sure to center the kayak on your vehicle’s crossbars and secure it tightly using two cam straps. For added security, especially during windy conditions or freeway driving, utilize bow and stern lines to prevent any movement or shifting of the kayak.

Whether you have a single kayak or multiple kayaks to transport, having the right equipment is key. Consider adding a second rack or using stacker bars to accommodate multiple watercrafts. If you don’t have a roof rack, alternatives like inflatable kayaks or using a pickup truck can provide convenient options for transporting your kayak.

Remember to always double-check the security of your kayak before hitting the road. Take a moment to ensure the straps are tight, the kayak is properly centered, and all additional lines are securely fastened. By following these tips and best practices, you can have peace of mind knowing that your kayak is safely secured for transport, allowing you to focus on enjoying your next adventure on the water.

Richard Dodds
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