How To Transport A Kayak With A Roof Rack


Kayaking is a popular outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Kayakers use a variety of techniques to move through water, including paddling and sculling. Kayaking can be used for recreation or as a form of exercise. 

It is a great way to see scenic areas and enjoy the outdoors. It is also a great way to learn about the environment around you and meet new friends. There are many different kayaks available, so anyone can find one that is comfortable and suitable for their needs. 

You can’t kayak without a kayak but transporting the kayak can be a hassle. Transporting kayaks is important as you may want to explore a different body of water not close to home or go back home after a thrilling adventure to take a break. 

There are several different ways to transport a kayak and each has its advantages and disadvantages. A roof rack is the best way to transport a kayak.

Not only is it easy to install, but it also provides a sturdy platform for transporting your kayak. Roof racks are one of the safest ways to transport your kayak. 

Additionally, roof racks can be modified to fit almost any vehicle, so you’ll never have to worry about finding the right one for you. A roof rack can hold any size kayak and provides stability while in transit. 

Plus, if you have a car with a roof rack, you’re already set up to transport your kayak whenever you want. In this article, we go into detail on how to transport a kayak with a roof rack.

The Gear You’ll Need

Once you’ve made up your mind to transport a kayak with a roof rack, it is time to get the accessories you will need to make the desire a reality. 

Some of the basics include a kayak, a roof rack, and carabiners or straps. You’ll also need some tools like a Phillips head screwdriver and a wrench.


If you want to transport a kayak with a roof rack, you should, first of all, have the kayak that is to be transported. If you don’t already own one, you can borrow one or hire one for your adventure.

Several kayaks exist on the market each with its advantages and shortcomings. If you prefer to have a kayak of your own before embarking on the trip, do your research and pick a kayak that suits you.

Roof Rack

A rooftop rack that will fit your kayak is another gear you will need to transport a kayak. Kayaks are not the only thing you can transport on a rooftop rack-think about your camping and fishing gear when shopping for one.

A good rooftop rack should be able to carry both your kayak and any other bulky gear you may need while out camping or fishing. When shopping, make sure to read the reviews and compare prices before making a purchase. 

The type of kayak and its dimensions should also be considered before purchasing a roof rack to ensure a perfect fit as some kayaks have bulkheads that prevent them from fitting in typical roof racks. 

It is also important to ensure that the roof rack fits your vehicle. Once you’ve made the purchase, you will have to install the roof rack on your vehicle roof.


Kayaking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it can be difficult to transport a kayak and all of its gear. A roof rack can make transporting a kayak much easier, but it’s important to use straps to secure the kayak to the rack. 

This will keep the kayak from moving while you’re driving or riding in your car. You should ensure the kayak straps are secured and check on them periodically to be sure they are still secure.

Loose straps can lead to the kayak falling off the rack and apart from damaging the kayak, it could result in an accident.


If you’re looking for a way to transport your kayak with a roof rack, a vehicle with a flat surface to put the kayak is the way to go. This includes cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Vehicles with flat rooftops are recommended because they provide a stable surface for installing the roof rack.

These vehicles are also typically able to handle the kayak on their roof easily and can make good speed on the road without damaging the watercraft. 

If you don’t have a vehicle, you can always borrow or hire one. Don’t let anything stand between you and those wonderful kayaking adventures on the water. 

Screwdriver And Wrench

If you’re planning on transporting your kayak with a roof rack, you’ll need a wrench and a screwdriver to tighten or loosen the bolts that secure the roof rack to your vehicle. 

This is particularly important if you are just installing the kayak rack on your vehicle’s roof. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see what size wrench and screwdriver you need.

You may also want to bring a hammer if the screws are too tight to turn with just the wrench. The screwdriver and wrench will also be handy should you decide to remove the kayak rack from the vehicle.

Kayak Lifting Device

If you’re looking for a way to transport your kayak with a roof rack, you’ll need to look into a kayak-lifting device. These devices attach to the roof of your car or truck and help you lift your kayak up and over the vehicle. 

They are simple machines that help you set your kayak on the roof rack without breaking a sweat. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so be sure to find one that will fit your needs.

If you are strong enough to lift your kayak to the vehicle’s roof, you probably don’t need a lifting device. If you are not that strong and don’t have a lifting device, you can just get a neighbor or friend to help you out.


Tarpaulin is a must-have gear when transporting your kayak on a roof rack. It’s a thin piece of fabric that you attach to the kayak using zip ties or carabiners. 

The purpose of a tarpaulin is to protect your kayak from scratches and dents while it’s on the roof rack. Tarpaulin also provides a waterproof cover and can help protect your kayak from the elements (the sun’s ultraviolet rays, the wind, rain, moisture, etc.) on your trip. 

Make sure you measure the width and length of the tarpaulin before purchasing it. This is to ensure it fits your kayak properly. The role of the tarpaulin is to keep your gear safe and dry so it has to cover the gear well for it to work.

Install The Kayak Rack

Once you have all the required accessories, you are almost ready to transport the kayak in your preferred method. The first thing to do is to install the kayak rack on the roof of your vehicle. 

The screwdriver, wrench, and other such tools are useful here. You should have done research and gotten and roof rack that fits both your vehicle and your kayak. 

Following the manufacturer’s instructions, install the kayak rack as required. Make sure it is well-fitted to the vehicle’s roof and cannot detach itself on the road. 

If you are not sure how to go about it, you can get someone who has done it before at a local kayaking club to help you install the roof rack. Once the kayak rack is installed, you are ready for the next step.

Putting The Kayak On The Roof

Putting the kayak on the rooftop and ensuring it stays there for as long as you desire is the next step. It is explained below.

Lift The Kayak Onto The Roof Of Your Vehicle

You first have to lift the kayak onto the installed roof rack. You can accomplish this yourself if you are confident you can easily carry the kayak onto the roof rack. 

Do not try to carry the kayak if you so much as doubt your ability to successfully lift it without sustaining injury. This is because the kayak could fall and get damaged or even injure you. 

It is advisable to use a kayak lifting device to accomplish this task. If you don’t have one around, you can get someone nearby to assist you in lifting the kayak to your vehicle’s rooftop.

Center It On The Roof Rack

The next step is centering the kayak on the roof rack. Make sure the watercraft is well balanced before securing it with straps. A well-centered kayak will be easier to secure and stand less chance of falling off the roof should the straps become undone.

Secure The Kayak In Place

Next, you secure the kayak with straps. The kayak should ideally have places the straps can be attached to make this easier. 

If your kayak doesn’t have these, you can always attach anchoring points to it. The kayak should be strapped down as tightly as possible. Start by securing the front and back of the kayak to the roof rack system. 

Then use the straps to secure the sides of the kayak. Make sure that the kayak is level before you drive away. Securing the straps is of grave importance as should they get loose, your kayak could get damaged or worse cause an accident on the road. 

You should be security conscious and secure the kayak tightly to the vehicle. We’ve previously established that a good roof rack will not only carry your kayak but other gear.

For the first few times though, it is advised to only secure your kayak on the kayak rack. When you are sure the rack is strong enough and can handle the extra weight, you can then start securing other gear with your kayak. It is better safe than sorry.

Driving With A Kayak On The Roof

Once the kayak is well secured on the roof rack and your gear is in order, you are ready for your trip. Take special care when driving, especially around curves and in bad weather

Be careful on the road adhering to all traffic rules and leaving a little space between you and the vehicles around you at all times. It wouldn’t do for them to lose control and damage your vehicle and possibly your watercraft. 

It is also a good idea to be informed of the rules regarding kayak transportation where you are living, along your journey route, and your intended destination. 

This will let you be prepared to handle whatever scenario might play out on the road and ensure you don’t break any laws and have to halt your trip for those reasons. Once at your destination, pack the car appropriately to avoid damaging the kayak or your vehicle. 

You can then go on and prepare for an exciting trip on the water. Keep safe kayaking practices in mind, dress to keep yourself warm, wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), be always aware of your surroundings, and make sure you are hydrated on the water.

Kayaks can be transported from one place to the other in several ways but roof racks are one of the easiest and safest ways to accomplish this. 

Kayaks can be transported on a roof rack with some simple steps. After obtaining all necessary accessories and installing the kayak rack, employ these steps.

  1. First, depending on the kayak, it should be placed upside down on the rack, making sure that it is secure.
  2. The straps should be tightened so that the kayak does not move.
  3. The kayak should be secured to the car with a rope or strap. If the kayak is well secured to the kayak rack, you must make sure the roof rack is in turn ell secured to the roof of your vehicle.
  4. Make sure that the kayak is visible to other drivers. If they can see it, they are less likely to collide with your vehicle.
  5. Drive with caution and heed all kayak transportation and traffic regulations on your trip.

By following these steps, kayaks can be transported safely and easily. If you have any questions, be sure to consult with a professional before attempting to transport your kayak.

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