Loading a Kayak on Your Car

May 21, 2020 by sitontop_kayak

Loading a kayak on a car can be tricky especially if the kayak is heavy, 14’ or longer and/or if you have a tall car. 

Here’s one of my favorite methods for loading and transporting a kayak on your car. If you have a rack such as Thule or Yakima, consider getting the extender attachment which allows you to extend one rack bar out over the pavement. 

If you don’t have the extender then a rack bar that extends over your car can work as well. 

Start out by setting up your cam straps so you can throw them over the boat and bars once the boat is on the rack. This is essential if its windy – you want to make sure the boat is secured as soon as it’s on top. 

Place a yoga mat or old foam camping pad on the ground a few feet behind your car and in line with the extended rack bar. 

Place the bow of the kayak on the extended bar and the stern on the yoga or camping pad. 

Making sure the kayak is solid and is not going to slide, walk to the stern – carefully lifting it up, and push the kayak onto the top of the car-rack.

Once the kayak is on-top, adjust it as needed to be tied down. I like my boats to be just above the side of the car so my straps will be secured down vertically vs at an angle which helps prevent boat sliding. 

Secure the kayak to the rack with your cam straps. If you struggle to tighten the straps, it’s ok to put your weight into it vs just pulling with your arms.  Be careful with bending or ‘oil canning’ the hull of plastic boats.

Next Skill: Learn how to secure your boat to your car .

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