How To Strap a Kayak To A Roof Rack?

Anyone who has ever drove off with their coffee on the roof of their car can attest to how easily a perfectly nice morning can be ruined. However, your kayak going off the roof on the highway is surely a greater catastrophe.

That’s why it’s critical to securely strap and secure your kayak to your vehicle’s roof. Fortunately, once you’ve done it a few times, it’s an easy procedure. We’ll take you step by step through the process below.


Step 1: Roof Rack and Kayak Carrier should be installed

If you already have a roof rack and kayak carrier, you can skip this step. (If you’re interested in transporting a kayak over short distances without a roof rack, see our guide here.)

Finding a roof rack that suits your car is the most important factor to consider. To get a list of racks that will work for you, enter your year, make, and model into our fit guide. You have a few alternatives when it comes to kayak carriers.

The best carrier for you is determined by the size and weight of your boat, the number of kayaks you wish to transport, and how convenient a setup you desire. Foam block carriers or crossbar pads can be wonderful low-cost choices if you only want to tow your kayak on occasion.

These attach to your kayak’s crossbars and provide sturdy, protective padding for it to rest on. A specialized kayak carrier is a preferable alternative if you want to tote your kayaks more frequently and need something more secure. The most popular styles are J-style and saddle-style carriers.

Step 2: Kayaks should be loaded onto crossbars or carriers


Place your kayak on your crossbars or carrier and lift it up. The kayak’s front should be facing forward.

In general, your kayak should be centered on the roof of your vehicle. If you’re transporting two kayaks, or if you’re using a J-style carrier that mounts closer to one side, there are some exceptions.

Step 3: Cam Buckle Straps Secure Side-to-Side

In this stage, you’ll secure your kayak to whatever form of a block, pad, or carrier you have, as well as your crossbars.

Toss your cam buckle strap over the kayak and loop it around the crossbar on the opposite side. Then toss the strap’s end back over the kayak. (Many straps include metal buckle covers to keep them from scratching your car or watercraft.)

Last but not least, fasten the strap to the cam buckle. The goal is to tie the strap tightly around the hull of the kayak to keep it from slipping off your crossbars. Loop the strap around the carrier rather than the crossbar on the backside of the kayak if you use a J-style carrier.

Pull the strap firmly enough to keep the kayak secure, but not so tight that it ruins it. Any surplus strap should be secured you don’t want it flapping about in the wind while you’re driving.


Is it possible to lift a kayak with just one person?

You might be able to carry your kayak on your own if it’s a smaller, lighter model. This will be accomplished by hoisting it onto one shoulder.

Should kayaks be facing inward or outward?

Always flip your kayak over and lay it on its side on your crossbars.

Do kayaks have an easy time flipping?

Many people believe kayaks are easily flipped over, yet they are much more solid than they appear.

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