Loading a Touring Kayak on a Car

Loading a Touring Kayak on a CarTransporting your touring kayak on a car can open up a world of adventure and exploration. Whether you’re heading to a nearby lake or embarking on a cross-country kayaking trip, loading your kayak onto your car is the first step to an unforgettable experience. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of safely and efficiently loading your touring kayak onto your car, ensuring a secure and hassle-free journey.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Loading

One of the most important aspects of loading a touring kayak on a car is having the right equipment. J Bar Roof Racks, also known as cradle racks, J hooks, or J racks, are a popular choice for safely transporting kayaks. These racks can be easily installed on your car’s roof and provide a secure and stable base for your kayak. They can fit a range of crossbar shapes, including round, square, and oval. J Bar Roof Racks typically come with mounting hardware and tie-down straps, making the installation process straightforward and easy.

J Bar Roof Racks are designed to hold the kayak securely in place during transportation. The J shape of the racks ensures that the kayak is held on its side, reducing wind resistance and allowing for a more streamlined load. The racks also have padded arms to protect the kayak’s hull from scratches or damage while in transit.

When choosing J Bar Roof Racks, consider factors such as the size and weight capacity of your kayak, as well as the compatibility with your car’s roof rack system. It’s important to select racks that can support the weight of your kayak and are designed to fit your specific make and model of vehicle. Additionally, ensure that the racks are easily adjustable to accommodate different kayak sizes and shapes.

Comparing J Bar Roof Racks to Other Options

J Bar Roof Racks Cradle Racks J Hooks J Racks
Securely hold the kayak in place Provide a stable base for the kayak Easy installation and adjustment Compatible with various crossbar shapes
Protect the kayak from scratches Allow for a streamlined load Support different kayak sizes and shapes Can be used with different vehicle makes and models
Designed for optimal weight capacity Ensure safe and efficient transportation Offer durability and long-lasting performance Provide peace of mind during travel

Installing J Bar Racks

Installing J Bar Racks is a relatively simple process that can be done at home with just a few tools. These racks are designed to fit a range of crossbar shapes, ensuring compatibility with various car models. To get started, follow the step-by-step guide below:

  1. Carefully unpack the J Bar Racks and lay out all the components. Ensure that you have all the necessary parts, including the J hooks, mounting hardware, and tie-down straps.
  2. Position the J hooks onto the crossbars of your car’s roof rack system. Make sure the hooks are evenly spaced and parallel to each other.
  3. Use a wrench to tighten the bolts and secure the J hooks to the crossbars. Be sure to tighten them enough to prevent any movement during transportation but avoid over-tightening, as this could damage the racks or crossbars.
  4. Once the J hooks are securely attached, double-check their alignment to ensure they are perpendicular to the crossbars. This will provide a stable base for your kayak.

By following these simple steps, you can install J Bar Racks on your car and be ready to load your touring kayak with confidence.

Loading the Kayak on the Car Roof Top

Once the J Bar Racks are installed, you’re ready to load your touring kayak onto the car’s roof. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure a secure fit:

  1. Position the kayak in the center of the racks, with the open cockpit side facing outward.
  2. Slant the back of the kayak against the longer side of the J Hook.
  3. Use the provided straps to secure the kayak to the racks.
  4. Flip the straps over the top of the kayak and tighten them in one spot.
  5. Ensure that the kayak is tightly secured by giving it a firm shake to test its stability.

Proper positioning and strapping are crucial to prevent any accidents during transportation. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a safe and hassle-free journey.

Positioning the Kayak

Positioning the kayak correctly is essential for a secure fit on the car’s roof. Placing it in the center of the racks helps distribute the weight evenly and maintain balance during transit. Ensuring that the open cockpit side faces outward allows for easy access when unloading the kayak.

Strapping the Kayak

Use the provided straps to secure the kayak to the J Bar Racks. Flip the straps over the top of the kayak and tighten them in one spot to create a firm hold. It’s important to check that the kayak is tightly secured by giving it a firm shake to test its stability.

Additional Tips

  • Keep the side of the strap with the cam buckle or ratchet end short to prevent it from damaging the car’s door.
  • Make sure the kayak is centered and positioned properly before tightening the straps.
  • Double-check the tightness of the straps before hitting the road.
  • Consider using bow and stern straps for added security, especially during long journeys or when traveling at high speeds.

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can confidently load your touring kayak onto your car’s roof and embark on your kayaking adventures.

Securing the Straps

Once you have positioned your kayak on the J Bar Racks and tightened the straps over the top, it’s important to properly secure the straps to ensure a safe and secure transportation. The type of straps you use can make a difference in the effectiveness of securing your kayak. Cam buckle or ratchet straps are popular choices due to their ease of use and ability to provide a tight and secure fit.

When securing the straps, make sure they cross through the longer J Hooks and loop under the roof rack itself. This will help distribute the weight of the kayak and maintain stability during transport. Take the time to learn how to use the straps correctly, as tightening them may require some practice and finger dexterity. Loop the straps under the car rack and position the buckle or ratchet on a flat area of the kayak for added protection against wind and easier tightening.

Securing the loose ends of the straps is also important to minimize flapping and vibrations caused by the wind. You can use Velcro straps or bungee cords to keep the loose ends tidy and out of the way. This not only prevents potential damage to your vehicle but also ensures a smoother and quieter ride.

Remember, properly securing the straps is crucial for a safe and worry-free journey with your kayak. Take the time to double-check the straps and connections before hitting the road. By following these steps, you can be confident that your kayak will stay securely in place, allowing you to focus on enjoying your adventure.

About Bow and Stern Straps

Bow and stern straps play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of your kayak during transportation. These straps are not meant to tighten the kayak further onto the car but rather prevent it from thrusting forward or backward in sudden braking situations. It’s important to tie the bow and stern lines taut but not overly tight, especially for fiberglass kayaks that can crack under excess tension.

When attaching the bow strap, secure it to a tow hook or latch under the bumper or hood of your car. This connection point provides the necessary strength to hold the kayak in place. The stern strap should be attached in a similar manner, ensuring it is connected to the car itself and not just the roof rack. This double anchoring setup provides added stability and peace of mind during transit.

Proper Installation of Bow and Stern Straps

  1. Begin by positioning your kayak on the car’s roof rack and securing it with the J Bar Racks and straps, as outlined in the previous sections.
  2. Make sure the kayak is properly centered on the roof rack and the J hooks are securely holding the kayak in place.
  3. Attach the bow strap to the front of the kayak and secure it to a reliable connection point on your car, such as a tow hook or latch under the bumper or hood.
  4. Repeat the same process for the stern strap, ensuring it is connected to a secure point on the car.
  5. Once the bow and stern straps are in place, give them a firm tug to ensure they are taut but not overly tight.

By properly installing and securing the bow and stern straps, you can significantly reduce the risk of your kayak shifting or moving during transit. Remember to check the straps periodically during your journey to ensure they remain tight and secure. With these additional safety measures in place, you can confidently transport your kayak and enjoy your outdoor adventures without worrying about potential accidents or damage to your equipment.


Transporting a touring kayak on your car can be made easy and secure with the right techniques and equipment. By following these car loading tips, you can ensure a smooth journey and protect your kayak from any potential damage during transportation.

First and foremost, choosing J Bar Roof Racks is a reliable option for securely mounting your kayak on the car’s roof. These racks provide a stable base and can fit various crossbar shapes, making installation a breeze. Additionally, they come with tie-down straps that help keep your kayak in place during transit.

Once the J Bar Racks are installed, it’s important to position and strap the kayak correctly. Placing the kayak in the center of the racks with the open cockpit side facing outward and securing it tightly with the provided straps ensures stability. Remember to properly secure the straps by looping them through the J Hooks and under the roof rack, preventing any movement caused by wind or vibrations.

For added safety, don’t forget to utilize bow and stern straps. These straps are crucial in preventing the kayak from shifting forward or backward during sudden braking. Make sure to attach them properly to the front and rear of the kayak, connecting them to the car’s tow hook or latch for maximum security.

With these tips in mind, you can confidently transport your touring kayak on your car, knowing that it is securely loaded and protected for your next outdoor adventure.

Richard Dodds

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