How To Haul A Kayak

Load and Tie Down your Kayak

Hauling your kayak is not the most difficult task in the world, but you need to know how to do it properly or there could be some dangerous consequences.

The simplest way to haul your kayak is by using a roof rack or making your own roof rack using pool noodles, metal poles, and ratchet straps. Once you have a roof rack, you can use ratchet (or cam) straps to tie down your kayak.

Through this method, you will not need to know or learn any knots –you will just need to feed each strap through the buckle and cinch them – easy! Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Tying The Side-To-Side Straps

  1. Start by loading your kayak onto the roof rack.
  2. Move the kayak until it is centered between the crossbars on your vehicle, and that it runs perfectly parallel with your car.
  3. Use a ratchet strap and place the place the buckle so that its resting on the side of your kayak two inches above and 3 inches to the side of the crossbars.
  4. Throw the other end of the ratchet straps over the kayak.
  5. Walk to the other side of your car and grab the end of the ratchet strap.
  6. Loop it under the crossbar and throw it back over the kayak.
  7. Ensure that the strap is on the inside of the place where the crossbar and vehicle connect so that the strap doesn’t slip off the end of the crossbar.
  8. Walk back to the side you started on and loop the strap under the inside of the crossbar and into the ratchet buckle to cinch it down, but not too tightly yet.
  9. Repeat steps 1-8 with the other side of the roof rack. If you have a 3 bar roof rack, do this for the middle crossbar too.
  10. Tighten all of the straps until they are snug but not too tight, as too much tension could deform your hull (if it is plastic) or crack it (if it is fiberglass).
  11. Tie off the ratchet strap ends below the buckles, and then tie the slack to your crossbars. This provides additional security for the buckles but also stops the straps from flapping when you drive.
  12. Shake your kayak from side to side to ensure that it is secure.
Tips for Hauling a Kayak

Tying The Stern And Bow Straps

No matter how well you tie the side-to-side straps for your kayak, you should also always secure your kayak at the stern and bow, particularly if you will be driving longer distances on the freeway or in high wind situations. Using ratchet straps, this is how you tie your stern and bow securely:

  1. Pass the ratchet strap through the grab handle at the bow (front) of your kayak.
  2. Bring it to the front of your vehicle and pass it through the tow point.
  3. Pull the strap through until the ratchet buckle is near the tow point and pass the loose end through it.
  4. Tighten the strap until it is snug, but be careful not to tighten it too much.
  5. Tie the loose end of the strap below the ratchet buckle to provide additional safety.
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 5 with the stern (back) of your kayak.
  7. Pull your kayak backwards and forwards to ensure that it is secure.

Tips For Hauling A Kayak

Keep Things Simple

Wrapping straps all over the place and trying to tie fancy knots may look great, but keeping it simple is normally the quickest and most secure method of hauling your kayak

Use A Ladder

If you have a tall car or you are shorter, keep a stepladder in your trunk so that you can easily reach the straps without having to climb your vehicle.

Twist the Straps

By twisting your ratchet straps between the kayak and the crossbars will stop the straps squealing and vibrating when you drive.

Lock Your Straps

You can purchase ratchet and cam straps with a lock that needs a key to be unfastened. This is great if you will be stopping along your journey for fuel or to eat. If you will be leaving the kayak on your vehicle unattended for any length of time, a locking strap will keep your kayak safe and secure.

Check The Straps

If you will be driving for a few hours, stop and check on the straps at least every 45 minutes. Additionally, after 15 minutes of driving, stop and check that the straps are secure.

Final Thoughts

It is very simple to haul your kayak once you know the correct way to do so. Now that you have the steps above, you can travel anywhere to conquer rivers and lakes you have never paddled on before.