Trying to strap two kayaks to a factory installed roof rack or aftermarket roof rack without roof rack attachments can be a challenge. Most roof racks will easily support and carry two kayaks at a time if they are placed on the roof rack using the proper method. This article will explain the steps for safely and securely strapping two kayaks to a roof rack. Some steps require further explanation. Click the heading of these steps for a more in depth explanation and a photo illustrating the procedure mentioned.
Moreover, different types of kayaks and different car models might require adjustments to these steps, so it’s always important to adapt based on your specific situation. Reading the manufacturer’s instructions for both your car roof rack and your kayak is also crucial to avoid damaging either during transportation.
01. Understand the Procedure to Strap Two Kayaks to a Roof Rack
Straps must be placed on the roof rack before the kayaks. Once the kayaks are on the roof rack it becomes difficult to get the straps into place. Also, the kayaks must be strapped down to the rack individually. Whenever two or more kayaks are strapped using the same straps you run the risk of them shifting during the drive and having the kayaks slip through the straps.
It’s also essential to remember that the strapping method will differ depending on whether your kayaks are sit-on-top or sit-inside models. The former are typically heavier and more stable, so they need a more secure strapping process. The latter are lighter and may require padding on the rack to prevent scratches.
02. Place The Straps on the Kayak Roof Rack
Place two straps on each cross bar of the roof rack. Bring both straps to the middle of the each crossbar. The two straps that are the front crossbar should be resting on the middle of the windshield. The two straps that are on the rear crossbar should be resting against the middle of the rear window. Make sure they are not twisted and that you can reach them, particularly the ones on the front windshield.
Take note that there should be a strap on each side of where the kayak will be resting to ensure an even distribution of pressure and to maximize stability during transport.
03. Place One Kayak on the Roof Rack
Place a kayak on one side of the roof rack. You may need to try it in different positions to find the best way for your kayak to sit on the car. Keep the kayak as far to the driver or passenger side as you can.
When placing the kayak, ensure that the hull (the bottom of the kayak) is resting on the crossbars. This is typically the strongest part of the kayak and will help to distribute the weight evenly.
04. Strap the First Kayak to the Roof Rack
Throw the straps over the kayak and secure the straps. Leave the straps loose at this point as you may need to adjust this kayak once you place the other one on the rack.
Remember that the straps should be snug, but not too tight. Straps that are too tight may damage the hull of the kayak.
05. Place the Other Kayak on the Roof Rack
Place this kayak on the roof rack and push it up against the other kayak. If there is plenty of room on the rack you can leave a gap between this kayak and the first one. If you are tight on space, adjust the other kayak so that you make room for both kayaks to fit on the roof rack.
Do not force the second kayak onto the roof rack if it doesn’t seem to fit. Doing so may cause damage to either the roof rack or the kayak itself.
06. Strap the Second Kayak to the Roof Rack
Throw the straps over the kayak and secure the straps. Tighten these straps so that this kayak is securely fastened to the kayak roof rack.
Again, be careful not to over-tighten the straps. They should be firm but not deforming the shape of the kayak.
07. Tighten Down the First Kayak
Go back to the first kayak, ensure its position is still good, and tighten the straps down. If its position is off or it doesn’t want to sit on the rack correctly you may need to loosen up the other kayak and reset them both.
Re-adjusting may seem like extra work, but this is key to ensuring a secure and balanced load. The end goal is a safe and secure transport of your kayaks, so take the time needed to get it right.
08. Wrap the Kayak Straps Up and Recheck the Kayaks
Give both kayaks and the roof rack a check to make sure you’re happy with how they are sitting. Wrap the straps up around the cross bars of the rack to ensure they don’t blow in the wind.
Before setting off, take a step back and visually assess the situation. Are the kayaks level? Do they look securely fastened? Do any straps look like they could be more secure? If anything seems off, make the necessary adjustments. Once you’re on the road, make a habit of stopping after the first few miles to recheck your kayaks. Changes in wind resistance and movement can cause shifts that weren’t apparent when the car was stationary.
Strapping two kayaks to a roof rack might seem intimidating at first, but with a little patience and care, you can securely transport your kayaks to and from your paddling destinations. Always remember that the goal is not just to transport the kayaks, but to do so safely without causing damage to the kayaks, the roof rack, or your vehicle.