The Easy Way To Transport A Kayak Without A Rack

Written by Ryan Moore

Maintaining your kayak properly requires a lot of care. And this must also be considered when you are trying to move your kayak from place to place. Yes, many people usually forget that they might have to move the heavy mass of a kayak at all. But even if you have plans to keep your kayak stationed at a place, you would still have to transport it from the point of purchase.

So then, how can you manage the task all by yourself? The first and easiest way is to carry the kayak on a roof rack. But the fact is that you might not have this available. And of course, you can’t possibly hoist up a 13ft kayak on your back all the way to your destination. Thus, the question is how best can you carry and transport a kayak, bearing in mind that you do not want to get it damaged or scratched on the way. Well, read on to find out more!

Important tips to note about kayak transporting

First of all, before any attempts made to transport your kayak using a vehicle, it is very important to be aware the level or amount of weight which your vehicle can carry. Thus would help you take some caution, and avoid overloading an otherwise small car. Note also that you should take your time while setting up your vehicle for kayak transport. Otherwise, you might leave some detail out and cause yourself some trouble eventually.

Also, you need to be careful about the conditions in which you’ll be driving the vehicle. It is advisable to transport your kayak on a clear day, with no rainfall or snowfall. If it is a windy drive or across a rough terrain, then you might have to take extra care while transporting the kayak. After you must have covered these, now we can discuss the method most suitable for transporting your kayak without using a rack.

Think Pool Noodles!

It is really interesting how the basic pool noodles can come in handy for a task like this. Yes, pool noodles can be affixed to a vehicle in order to aid the transportation of a kayak with ease. This can be done quite easily by taking the following steps:

  • Place the pool noodles securely on the vehicle rooftop, in a horizontal position.
  • Pass the ratchet strap through the holes of the pool noodles and let them go around the vehicle from inside.
  • Hoist up your kayak, preferably with the help of an extra pair of hands.
  • Place the kayak gently on the pool noodles placed on the vehicle rooftop. The kayak should lie face-down so that it remains stable and balanced through the trip, even if it is windy!
  • Once set securely, tie down the kayak to the rooftop with firm straps, across the kayak over the roof and through the inside of your vehicle. The doors have to be open to tie it up, of course.
  • Observe the position if the bow and stern and ensure it is balanced.
  • Drive carefully to your destination, watching your rear mirror constantly at bends, turns and reverses. You do not want your kayak bumping into people or things or causing an accident.

Usually, the pool noodles simply function like a roof rack, and so you don’t need more than two or three of them. Although some feel safer by increasing the number of pool noodles used, because pool noodles might not look very sturdy for the weight. But you really don’t require more than two of them in carrying a regular-sized kayak. Just ensure that the pool noodles you use are heavy-duty ones, so that they don’t get flattened out immediately. You would most likely have to trim the pool noodles at the sides because they are usually longer than the width of a vehicle.

Well, if you are genuinely worried about the kayak falling off your car roof due to its imbalance, or you fear that the weight of the kayak might damage your car, what can you do? There is another option that you can check out.

Transport using Kayak Trailers

If there is one thing that is designed to help in transporting your kayak, it is a kayak trailer. These are becoming increasingly popular today, and quite safer too! With a kayak trailer, you do not have to carry the whole weight of a kayak over your vehicle. It is closer to the ground, and there is a lesser risk of bumping into something or scratching the vehicle. Another benefit of a kayak trailer is that you can transport more than one kayak at a time, thereby saving yourself the stress of multiple trips, especially for long-distance trips. In fact, a kayak trailer also saves you the cost of getting straps. They mostly come with straps and you can easily attach them to your vehicle. This is a very good option if you intend going a long distance, or if you need to transport your kayak for a vacation or camping adventure.

Try out Foam Blocks!

Similar to the pool noodles, another material that comes in handy in transporting your kayak is a Foam block. Interesting, right? Foam blocks are surprisingly very stable and quite easy to use. The method of foam blocks is just like the method for pool noodles. This is a very suitable method for local transportation within the state. However, if you are going interstate, ensure you follow all the road safety regulations and local laws, and also travel extra carefully with your kayak overhead. The basic technique useful in setting up foam blocks for kayak transport is given below:

  • Get two foam blocks and set them on the vehicle rooftop.
  • Place the kayak atop the foam blocks and ensure it is properly placed.
  • Tie up the kayak securely with straps. Take the straps over and around the kayak from through the open doors.
  • Once secured, you can easily transport the kayak to your destination.

It is very advisable when transporting a kayak across states to use bow and stern lines too. Although, some people go against this, it helps to hold the kayak straps more firmly. This would help you avoid getting your kayak and foam blocks ripped away in the wind while driving interstate. Without bow and stern lines, your kayak feels bouncy on your rooftop, and would most likely fly off with a sudden gust of wind. This doesn’t just damage your kayak, it can do serious harm to other unsuspecting road users

Furthermore, it is always wise to use a cockpit cover while transporting your kayak, no matter the method of transportation, you should cover the cockpit to prevent different debris or moisture from flying into the kayak. If you do not use one, then you would have to periodically check the kayak all through your trip.

Can I transport my kayak by carrying it inside the vehicle?

One other option that is worth mentioning here is the option of carrying your kayak inside the vehicle. Although this might be quite difficult, it is not impossible. If it is a big vehicle such as an SUV or a truck, it is possible you can load the kayak inside by folding down the second row seats. Although this might not be the best idea if you want to avoid any damage to the kayak. If you are driving long distance, this option might not be very advisable. Obviously, a kayak cannot fit into all kinds of vehicles, so you shouldn’t try this method with smaller cars at all.

The fact is that, for some people, kayak transporting is no issue at all. While for some others, accidents and damage is a constant fear. But with the right safety measures in place, you need not bother so much about transporting your kayak. It is always advisable to get an extra company, preferably someone who is knowledgeable about transporting luggage. Also, if you a just learning to drive, it is better you do not embark on the task all by yourself. Although, resourceful people find the task a pretty easy DIY.

Finally, don’t forget that your driving pace is a key factor in ensuring you transport the kayak safely. Driving too fast is a recipe for disaster, especially when you’re weighed down by luggage, at allows for more wind pressure. By keeping all these in mind, kayak transporting becomes such a smooth task that leads to enjoyable kayaking.

About the author

Ryan Moore

I like to write about Kayaks.

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