How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

Here you’ll find step-by-step guidelines on how to strap a kayak to a roof rack and tips to enhance smooth loading, offloading, and safety on the road.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 14, 2021

Kayaks offer superb recreational pleasure while on water but can be quite a handful while on land. Besides imposed regulations Trusted Source Canoeing and Kayaking | Town of Harvard MA A wonderful segment of the mainstem Nashua River runs from Still River to Groton, approximately 17 miles, with a single portage around the beautifully restored Ayer Ice House Dam. www.harvard-ma.gov on kayaks and canoes, tying a kayak on a roof rack is a critical concern for kayak owners.

Hence, as a kayak owner, you need to familiarize yourself with how to attach a kayak to a roof rack safely. We have compiled a step-by-step guide that will help you solve any issues on how to strap a kayak to a roof rack. You ought to be confident that you have done an excellent job avoiding accidents while on the road. Additionally, tying a kayak correctly can mitigate the risk of damaging your car or even the canoe. There is also a detailed discussion based on the type of roof rack in use.

What Type of Roof Racks Do You Have?

If you are not residing beside the lake, you should have a type of roof rack clinging to your mind. There are numerous types and designs that have been made using durable materials such as plastic. Some have been furnished with cushions to attenuate damage to your car. Before we look at how to tie a kayak on a roof rack, let’s look at the prominent kayak types:

J-Style

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

It has a sturdy design and can fit with multiple vehicle roof profiles. It allows you to tie your kayak from the car’s side.

Saddles

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

They are horizontal racks where the kayak sits during transportation. This design provides the largest surface area for the kayak to sit on than any other type. Loading is conducted from the rear of the car.

Crossbars

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

They enable the attachment of kayak racks to your vehicle. They are trailblazers for many types of roof racks.

Pads

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

They are either foam or inflatable. Pads are one-step roof racks that do not require the incorporation of other hardware.

Rollers

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

Their main merit is that you can easily load your kayak on the car.

Equipment You’ll Need

Preparation is imperative when tying a kayak on the roof rack. Here is a discussion of the essential equipment required:

  • Roof rack: There are numerous types and brands to choose from. You can select the desired roof rack based on your vehicle’s roof orientation and personal preference.
  • Tie-down straps: Normally, you are required to have straps for each crossbar. Straps with cam buckles can be a top priority as they help with tightening without tying knots.
  • Padding: Padding types are important to prevent damage to your car roof and kayak. Inflatable roof racks may not require padding as they also act as padding.
  • Bow tie-down straps: They are essential in securing the front and back of your kayak. You can also deploy strong ropes and tie on the front and back of your vehicle.

How to Strap Kayak to a Roof Rack?

Every kayak owner may have wondered how to put the kayak on the roof rack at some point in life. Although there are other options for transporting kayaks without a roof rack, using a vehicle’s roof rack is recommended, especially for enhanced safety. The following step-by-step guidelines will ensure that you have a seamless activity every time you tie the kayak on the roof rack.

1. Spread the Kayak Straps Over Your Car’s Roof Rack

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

You are required to spread the straps over each bar. Take caution to ensure that the buckles on the ends of each strap don’t damage your car by scratching. Place each strap underneath each bar and leave the straps laying them flat against your vehicle.

Confirm that the straps are not loose. You should tighten them in case they are loose. Though there is a variation in handling racks, most of them require an Allen wrench.

Additionally, depending on the number of kayaks you intend to transport, the number of straps is prone to increase. If you are tying a heavier or long kayak, you can incorporate a load extender to boost efficiency. It will also provide extra stability during transport.

2. Place Your Kayak on the Roof Rack

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

Now it is time to load your kayak for tying. Depending on the type of roof rack, there are various conditions to consider. For instance, loading the kayak directly to the crossbars may require putting the kayak upside down, while pads and rollers need placing the kayak right side up can bring desirable results.

Another key factor is whether the kayak will face the front or rear. This depends on the type of kayak. In most cases, such as the 10-foot lightweight, the front of your kayak should face forward. You should also position it at the center of the roof rack unless you are planning to transport more than one kayak. You may also require help if the kayak demands extra effort.

3. Secure Your Kayak

How to Strap a Kayak to a Roof Rack Right: Step-by-Step Guide

Now let’s look at how to tie down your kayak. After placing your kayak on the roof rack, use tie-down straps to secure it. You can use cam straps as they do not require knots when tying. Cam straps are also recommended as they are easy to adjust when tightening.

Additionally, the type of roof rack will determine how you strap down your kayak on the roof rack. One strap will apply to each crossbar. Ensure that the strap is not twisted and tighten it against your kayak. After tightening the kayak to the crossbar, loop the loose strap end several times and secure it.

4. Reinforce the Kayak Sturdiness

The kayak should be completely sturdy on the top of your vehicle. You are required to reinforce security by tying your kayak on the front and back of your vehicle. Tie-down straps or ordinary ropes can serve these roles.

Tie one end to any suitable handle on your kayak and secure it on the tow hook of your car. Tighten the straps in a moderately tight tension. This should also apply to the stern end of your kayak.

How to Strap a Kayak to a Soft Roof Rack?

The steps are similar to a hard rock rack, but there are minor adjustments. Rather than securing straps on the crossbar, loop the straps on the soft roof rack’s fastening points. This will allow you to loop the cam straps through. Also, confirm that the straps are tight and secure.

How to Strap a Kayak to an Inflatable Rack?

Inflatable racks have different mechanisms of tie-down as they lac fastening points. After loading your kayak on the car’s roof, open all the doors of your car. Pass the buckle of your strap over the top of your kayak through the front door. Do the same with the other strap. They should be parallel to the racks. You can also choose to pass the buckles through the windows.

Secure your kayak by tightening the loose end through the buckle until you achieve the desired tension. Repeat this process on your back doors and ensure that the kayak is sturdy and placed in the center of your roof.

Useful Tips on Tying a Kayak

Different kayak construction materials will highly determine the tension you apply when securing your boat. For example, you can pull your straps extremely hard for plastic boats as they can withstand the tension.

This may be a risky move for composite or fiberglass kayak materials. However, you should ensure that your kayak is strapped tight enough for safe transport.

  • You should also conduct final checks to ensure that everything is up to par. This may include factors such as too much tightening or excess strapping that can block your view during driving. Moreover, checking whether the straps are fastened appropriately can promote safety during your ride.
  • Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road can attenuate the risk of accidents. Also, it’s recommended that you refrain from sudden braking and making hasty accelerations. It may impose pressure on your fastenings which may be dangerous for your security.
  • For long-distance drives, you can have several stops to check your fastenings. They are subject to loosening, which may cause accidents and serious damages on the road. After arrival, it would help if you called for assistance when offloading the kayak. This may be important, particularly in large kayaks or when transporting several.
  • You can also check out some storage racks to keep your boat safe. This will ensure that your kayak is safe when you take it home. There are also storage racks that have been fitted with cushions to offer extra protection.

Final Thoughts

According to the New World Encyclopedia Trusted Source Kayak | New World Encyclopedia Traditional kayaks typically accommodate one, two, or occasionally three paddlers who sit facing forward in one or more cockpits below the boat’s deck. www.newworldencyclopedia.org , kayaks have a long history as indigenous people in the Arctic regions first used them. Since then, they have gained popularity and developed into modern designs. We have discussed the nitty-gritty aspects required on how to strap a kayak to the roof rack.

Familiarizing with hot to tie your kayak on the roof rack is imperative in uplifting safety when driving. It also has other significant advantages, such as curbing damage to your vehicle or kayak.

There are also other crucial tips to consider while tying the kayak on the rooftop. They include checking the fastenings, maintaining distance from other vehicles on the road, and regular stops in case of long-distance travel. As such, you can have safe travels and seamless loading and offload of your kayak.

References

1.
Canoeing and Kayaking | Town of Harvard MA
A wonderful segment of the mainstem Nashua River runs from Still River to Groton, approximately 17 miles, with a single portage around the beautifully restored Ayer Ice House Dam.
2.
Kayak | New World Encyclopedia
Traditional kayaks typically accommodate one, two, or occasionally three paddlers who sit facing forward in one or more cockpits below the boat’s deck.
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