How to Put a Kayak on a Car?

How to Put a Kayak on a Car?Transporting a kayak on a car roof rack requires careful loading and secure tie-downs. If you’re wondering how to properly transport your kayak on a car, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to safely load and secure your kayak for a hassle-free journey.

When it comes to kayak transportation, having the right equipment is crucial. From roof racks to tie-downs, we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your kayak stays securely in place during transport. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a partner, we’ve got tips for both scenarios to make your kayak loading experience a breeze.

So, let’s dive in and learn how to put a kayak on a car roof rack the right way!

Carrying a Kayak with Two People or Solo

Carrying a kayak can be done efficiently with the help of another person or even on your own. When two people are available, lifting the kayak becomes easier and safer. The grab handles located at the bow and stern are designed specifically for this purpose. Each person should grip the handle firmly, using their legs to lift and carry the kayak. Remember to communicate and coordinate your movements to ensure a smooth and balanced carry.

If you find yourself alone when carrying a kayak, there are still options available. One technique is to place the kayak on your shoulder, ensuring it rests securely and evenly. This method may require some practice and balance, so take your time to get comfortable before attempting to carry the kayak any distance. Alternatively, you can use your arm to support the kayak, holding it horizontally while walking.

Regardless of whether you have another person to assist you or are carrying the kayak solo, it’s important to prioritize your safety and avoid straining your back. Bend your knees and use proper lifting techniques to minimize the risk of injury. Taking these precautions will make the process of carrying your kayak a lot smoother and more enjoyable.

Table: Pros and Cons of Carrying a Kayak

Pros Cons
Two-person carry provides better balance Requires coordination when carrying with another person
Allows for easier transportation over short distances May be challenging to balance the kayak on your own
Less strain on your back and shoulders with proper technique Can be physically demanding

Loading a Kayak on a Vehicle with Help or by Yourself

When it comes to loading a kayak onto a vehicle, having some help can make the process a lot easier. However, if you find yourself needing to load the kayak by yourself, there are still options available to make it a manageable task.

Loading with Help

If you have someone to assist you, follow these steps for a smooth loading process:

  1. Position your vehicle close to the water or a loading dock to minimize the distance you need to carry the kayak.
  2. Both you and your helper should grab the kayak by the hull, with one person at the bow and the other at the stern.
  3. Lift the kayak together, using your legs and not your back, and carefully place it onto the roof rack.

Remember to secure the kayak properly with straps and bow/stern lines after it’s loaded onto the rack.

Solo Loading

If you’re on your own, these methods can help you load the kayak without assistance:

  • Consider using a lift system specifically designed for kayak loading. These systems use mechanical aids to make lifting and positioning the kayak easier.
  • Another option is to use a roof rack with rolling wheels. These racks allow you to roll the kayak onto the roof of your vehicle, reducing the effort required.
  • If you don’t have access to specialized equipment, you can use a towel or blanket as a low-cost solution. Place the towel or blanket on the rear of your vehicle, slide the kayak onto it, and then lift and push the kayak onto the rack.

Regardless of the method you choose, always prioritize your safety and use proper lifting techniques to avoid strain or injury.

Method Description
Lift system A mechanical aid designed to make lifting and positioning the kayak easier.
Roof rack with rolling wheels A rack that allows you to roll the kayak onto the roof of your vehicle, reducing the effort required.
Towel or blanket A low-cost solution where you place a towel or blanket on the rear of your vehicle, slide the kayak onto it, and then lift and push the kayak onto the rack.

Securing a Kayak with Cam Straps and Bow/Stern Lines

When it comes to transporting your kayak on a car roof rack, a key aspect is ensuring that it is securely fastened. By using cam straps and bow/stern lines, you can have peace of mind knowing that your kayak will remain in place throughout your journey.

Cam Straps:

Cam straps are an effective tool for securing your kayak onto the roof rack. Start by positioning the kayak on the rack, making sure it is centered and stable. Next, loop the cam strap under the crossbar and bring it up around the kayak. Insert the loose end of the strap through the cam buckle, then pull it tight until the kayak is firmly secured. Repeat this process on the other side of the kayak, ensuring that both straps are evenly tensioned. Double-check that the straps are not twisted and that they provide a snug fit to prevent any movement during transit.

Bow and Stern Lines:

While cam straps secure the kayak horizontally, bow and stern lines play a crucial role in preventing the kayak from moving forward or backward. Attach one end of a bow line to the front grab handle of your kayak and the other end to a secure point on the front of your vehicle, such as a tow hook or bumper. Repeat this process for the stern line, attaching it to the rear grab handle of your kayak and a secure point at the back of your vehicle. Keep the lines taut, but not overly tight, to avoid putting excessive pressure on the kayak. Bow and stern lines provide added stability and ensure that your kayak stays in place, even during sudden stops or turns.

Additional Tips:

When securing your kayak, remember to check the straps and lines periodically throughout your journey to ensure they remain tight and secure. It’s also important to consider the weather conditions during your trip. If you anticipate strong winds, it’s recommended to use additional straps or lines to provide extra stability. Lastly, always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for securing and transporting your specific kayak model.

Strapping Method Advantages Disadvantages
Cam Straps – Quick and easy to use
– Provides a secure hold
– Adjustability for tension control
– May require additional padding to protect kayak from scratches or damage
Bow/Stern Lines – Prevents forward and backward movement
– Adds stability during transit
– Reduces stress on roof rack
– Requires additional time for setup and adjustment
– Can be challenging to find secure attachment points on some vehicles

By following these guidelines and using cam straps and bow/stern lines, you can ensure that your kayak remains securely fastened to your car roof rack. Always prioritize safety when transporting your kayak to enjoy worry-free adventures on the water.

Tips for Safely Transporting Multiple Kayaks

When it comes to transporting multiple kayaks, it’s important to ensure they are securely fastened to your vehicle. This not only protects your kayaks from damage but also ensures the safety of other drivers on the road. Here are some tips to help you safely transport multiple kayaks.

Use a Rack System

Investing in a good rack system is crucial when transporting multiple kayaks. A rack system provides a sturdy platform for your kayaks and allows you to secure them properly. Look for a rack system that is specifically designed for transporting multiple kayaks, as it will have features like stacker bars or additional racks that can accommodate multiple kayaks.

Utilize Stacker Bars

Stacker bars are a great addition to your rack system when transporting multiple kayaks. These bars allow you to stack the kayaks on their sides, saving space and preventing any potential damage. Make sure to secure each kayak individually using straps and lines, ensuring they are snug but not overly tight.

Secure Each Kayak Individually

When transporting multiple kayaks, it’s important to secure each one individually. This ensures that even if one kayak becomes loose, the others will remain secure. Use cam straps to fasten each kayak tightly to the rack system, making sure the straps are positioned correctly and looped under the crossbar for added security. Additionally, use bow and stern lines to prevent any forward or backward movement of the kayaks.

By following these tips, you can safely transport multiple kayaks to your destination without any worries. Remember to always double-check your straps and lines before hitting the road to ensure a secure and enjoyable journey.


Properly loading and securing a kayak on a car roof rack is crucial for safe transportation. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your kayak stays secure during travel.

Always double-check your straps and lines before hitting the road to prevent any accidents or damage to your kayak. Remember to position the cam straps correctly and loop them under the crossbar for added security.

When transporting multiple kayaks, consider adding another rack to your crossbars or using stacker bars. These options allow you to save space and prevent damage to the kayaks. Remember to properly secure each kayak using straps and lines.

Safely transporting your kayak on a car roof rack not only protects your investment but also allows you to enjoy your kayaking adventures with peace of mind. Keep these guidelines in mind and embark on your next kayaking journey confidently.

Richard Dodds

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