How to Safely Transport Your Kayak

Kayaking is a water sport that has existed for thousands of years, and its popularity continues to grow. With the right kayak and equipment, you can enjoy various fun activities, customize your adventures, and explore exotic new locales. In addition, kayaking has impressive health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular fitness, agility, and coordination, making it an excellent way to stay active and healthy.

However, transporting your kayak from one place to another can be challenging. Even for skilled kayakers, maneuvering a fragile gear-filled boat can be daunting. Thus, it is essential to take several important safety considerations when transporting your kayak. Whether driving it yourself or utilizing a third-party service, knowing how to transport your kayak correctly is vital for its safe relocation and the preservation of your gear.


Preparing the Truck for Transporting a Kayak

Before deciding on a mode of transportation for your kayak, it’s essential to know its size, weight, and length. You’re good to go if you have an SUV or truck that can fit more than one kayak along with its necessary equipment. Otherwise, you may need to use a third-party service, such as a moving company, to transport your kayak safely and securely.

To ensure your truck is adequately prepared for the job, follow these guidelines:

Use a rubber mat to prevent slippage: Lay it underneath the kayak before strapping it in to prevent slippage inside your truck bed. This will help keep the kayak from sliding or shifting while you’re driving, providing an extra layer of protection and security during transport. It will also protect your truck bed’s finish and prevent any scratches or dents that could occur if the kayak moves unexpectedly while on the way. The added safety of rubber padding helps ensure that your cargo arrives intact and safe.

Use good straps, not bungee cords: Use proper straps instead of bungee cords to ensure excellent stability while driving. This decreases the chance of the kayak falling off or shifting in an undesirable way during transit. The proper straps can also help reduce shock from bumps in the road, giving travelers extra peace of mind. Double-check that all hooks, locks, and other components of the strap system are correctly locked into place to avoid any mishaps on the road.

Secure the stern and bow: Proper security measures are essential to prevent an unsecured kayak from shifting or flying off the roof during highway driving. Secure your boat with quality ratchet straps and mount it on the roof rack to ensure it doesn’t move in transit. Double-check your work and add extra straps as insurance rather than relying on one strap for support.

Transporting One Kayak

Transporting one kayak can be tricky, especially if trying to fit it into the standard pickup truck bed. Follow these tips to transport a single kayak safely:

Position the kayak in the truck bed: To ensure your kayak is secure and won’t shift during transport, choose the proper positioning method for your specific vehicle setup. Put the bow, or front end of the kayak, up against the truck’s cab and enlist help to slide it in if needed. Lifting your kayak into your truck bed may require assistance from one or more friends.

Place the stern in the front left corner and align the bow with the tailgate: This balance helps minimize wind resistance, decrease fuel consumption, and keep the kayak stable and secure during transit. It also ensures you’ll have a more excellent range of visibility while driving, allowing you to observe your surroundings safely. Properly situating the kayak will also make unloading it from your vehicle easier.

Use the roof rack: The easiest and safest way to transport a single kayak is to use a roof rack or two if you have a wide kayak. A simple-to-install, adjustable roof rack will firmly secure your kayak in place throughout the entire journey, ensuring its safe arrival at your destination. It also protects your kayak from dirt and debris accumulating during transport. You can easily transport your solo kayak with the right roof rack and careful equipment placement.

Following these guidelines, you can safely and securely transport your kayak and ensure its safe arrival at your destination.

Transporting Two Kayaks

When transporting two kayaks, take extra precautions while loading and unloading. Here are some tips to make the process easier and more secure during transport:

  • Position the kayaks side-by-side in the truck bed. This is an excellent method for ensuring that both pieces of equipment are safely held in place to prevent loss or damage. Before transferring the kayaks into the truck’s bed, ensure the tailgate can safely keep them in place without slipping.
  • Secure each kayak separately. Ensure that each kayak is securely strapped down before driving off. If only one kayak is strapped down, the other can easily shift and cause a dangerous scenario. To do this, evenly distribute the weight between the kayaks to balance them while driving around curves and corners. Then, use tie-down straps or rope and locking carabiners to attach each kayak firmly. Make sure that none of the straps are too loose or too tight. Double-check all the bindings before starting your journey for peace of mind and a safe voyage.
  • Use foam padding. To protect the hull from getting scraped or scratched due to vibrations caused by movement and to cushion any rattling while in transit, reducing the potential for further damage.

If there is no other way but to transport the kayaks on your vehicle’s roof rack, don’t forget to apply foam padding between the base and the kayak’s hull to prevent any damage.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, be sure to take the necessary precautions to secure your kayak properly when transporting it. By doing so, you can avoid potential damage and accidents. With the right equipment and techniques, you, together with your kayak, can ensure a safe and successful journey.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.