Home > How To > A Complete Guide To Transporting Your Kayak

A Complete Guide To Transporting Your Kayak

Once you’ve bought your first kayak, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the excitement of your first jaunt on the water.

kayak carrier for car

In fact, in the excitement, you may have actually forgotten one very important thing. How exactly are you going to transport your kayak?

Ultimately, kayaks are pretty large vehicles so you need some way to transport them. Thankfully, we’ve written this guide to help you to know how to transport your kayak.


If you’re a bit tight on space, one option is to simply buy an inflatable kayak to take with you. This won’t cost you as much money, and there will also be no need to buy things such as roof racks and such.

person with dog in inflatable kayak

All you need to do is roll it up and stick it in the trunk. You can then take it out of your car when you’re ready to use it. If you’re a beginner to kayaking, this is certainly a good choice.

You will just need to monitor the kayak to ensure that there aren’t any punctures on it before you go out on the water.

Buy a Trailer

The other thing that you can do if you need to transport your kayak is buy a trailer. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a particularly affordable option, so it’s best to do this if you intend to make kayaking a long-term hobby.

It is a good idea to invest in a trailer for transportation though, especially if you aren’t happy with the idea of modifying your car so that you can have a roof rack, or if you have a few different vehicles that you may transport the kayak with.

Trailers are also handy if you want to transport other things, such as camping gear or bikes.

There are some considerations that you need to make if this is how you intend to transport the kayak, however. Namely, you will need to ensure that you have enough storage space at home for the trailer when it isn’t being used.

red and green kayaks on a trailer

You will also need to ensure that the vehicle already has a hitch, since you won’t be able to use the trailer without one. Make sure that you check the amount of weight that your vehicle can deal with too, and choose a trailer based on that. 

Roof Rack

The most common option when it comes to transporting a kayak is using a roof rack. You will usually see these in the form of J bar racks.

As the name suggests, these roof racks come in the shape of a J and they are designed to keep the kayaks in place on the roof while you’re moving.

person putting a kayak on a car roof rack

You’ll need extra gear to install them onto your vehicle, though they’re fairly affordable. You can also get crossbar and side rail roof racks.

Alternatively, you can get temporary inflatable roof racks, which may be an option. A roof rack is a good choice if you want a permanent transportation system for your kayak. All you need to do is load the kayak onto your vehicle using the right gear, and you’re ready to go.

Extra Tips

So what other things should you keep in mind when transporting a kayak? These are just a few things to know.

Take Your Time

When you’re setting up your transportation option, make sure that you’re careful and take your time.

person driving with kayaks on their car roof

Rushing is most certainly not a good idea, since the result could be that your kayak isn’t properly secured in place which in turn can result in things falling off.

This is pretty dangerous! If you are going to be traveling with your kayak, make sure that you set it up on your car the night before if you possibly can. This means that you aren’t unnecessarily rushing and making potentially dangerous blunders.

Always Check Your Gear

When you’re using gear to tie down your kayak, it’s essential that you regularly check in to ensure that the gear is still good to use. Using gear that has rusted or frayed is a bad idea, since it could break while you’re out on the road.

This could be incredibly dangerous, both for your boat, you and the other people around you on the road. Double check any straps or screws, and replace anything that needs to be replaced.

Be Careful When Driving

If you’re using a car to transport your kayak, you should make sure that you’re careful when driving. This is not the time to be showing off how quickly you can drive – ease off that gas pedal a little bit.

people driving with kayaks on their car

Make sure that you take it slow when you have your kayak in tow. If you can, you or a passenger in the vehicle should have a quick glance at the kayaks to ensure that they aren’t bouncing around and that they are facing in the right direction – they should be pointing straight ahead. It’s important to be safe.

Bring Extra Gear

Being prepared is essential when it comes to traveling with a kayak. Make sure you bring extra gear, like tie-down devices with you. You never know when something may unexpectedly break.

In this case, it’s best to expect the unexpected. The straps can be handy for other things too. 

Follow the Rules of the Road

Always check the road rules in relation to your state or the place that you’re visiting. For instance, there are certain countries in Europe that require you to have at least three points of contact between the kayak and the vehicle you’re driving.

person stopped for train crossing with kayaks on roof

The last thing that you need is to be pulled over by law enforcement because you were ignorant of the rules. Prepare in advance instead! 

Final Thoughts

Transporting a kayak doesn’t need to be difficult!

Thankfully there are a lot of different transportation methods out there for you to use, so you’re sure to find something that’s a good fit for you and whatever size your kayak is.

Add comment