How To Transport A Kayak Without A Roof Rack – Learn It Here!

How To Transport A Kayak Without A Roof Rack

Kayaking is a fun adventure. It is another way of experiencing the waters in a very convenient manner.

However, not all of us can immediately do this endeavor whenever we wanted. It is not like that all of us are living nearby lakes, rivers, and seas. In fact, it is safe to say that the majority of us are living in urban settlements.


Because of this, there's a need for us to carry and transport our kayaks at our prescribed destination. It may sound easy at first, but once you are dealing with a 14-foot kayak, you will definitely scratch your head. The problem gets even bigger because you stumbled to the fact that it is difficult without a roof rack for this kind of kayak.

Fortunately, you can always learn how to transport a kayak without a roof rack. This guide was specifically written by me to teach you that skill.

Therefore, if you are stuck in such predicament, I do encourage that you check out this tutorial. Let's get started.

Of course, it is completely possible to bring your kayak to any destination that you want even if you don't affix it to the roof rack. The latter is indeed useful when it comes to transporting this item. However, this doesn't mean that they are strictly mandatory.

But before you can achieve this feat, there are some things that you need first. Here are they:

Ratchet straps - These are the lengthy parts of the industrial-grade nylon that are connected to buckles. This kind of design enables them to wrap objects so that they can be held in place. You can find a ratchet strap on automotive stores or any local hardware nearby you.

For this application, you need around three to six sets of these straps. The longer your kayak is, the more of these things that you need.

Pool noodles - You see, having pool noodles is essential in tying down your kayak securely to your vehicle. Fortunately, finding this item is not difficult as they are being sold by both hardware and outdoor retailers.

However, regular pool noodles cannot tackle this job. Instead, you need a heavy-duty option. Ensure that it is thick and durable. The pool noodle has to encompass the entire width of your vehicle sufficiently.

How to Transport A Kayak Without A Roof Rack: Step-By-Step Guide

Once you have ratchet straps and pool noodles at your disposal, transporting your kayak even without the help of a roof rack is completely possible. Check out the procedures so that you won't get lost at all.

Step One: Attaching the Pool Noodles

Before anything else, you want to ensure that the pool noodles are in the proper shape and position in your vehicle. Problems would arise along the way if the pool noodles were not secured correctly. It can cause the kayak to fall off to the ground. That's a sight that you don't want to see.

The pool noodles have to be placed in the roof without any noticeable protrusions. If there are excess noodles, you just have to trim them.

Specifically, the noodles have to be present in the roof for every one to three feet. It just depends on the size of the roof of your vehicle. But to be on the safe side, you have to start placing the pool noodles on the middle.

Pool noodles are essential because they serve as the base of the kayak. They can act as the resting pod of the boat while you are traveling. At the same time, the pool noodles can protect the roof your vehicle from getting abrased.

You can check this video for an in-depth pool noodle tutorial:

Step Two: Initial Placement Of Ratchet Straps

The ratchet straps are the one that will secure your kayak in your vehicle. They can be installed easily in your car once the pool noodles have been appropriately set already.

Thread a single set of ratchet strap in the gap that is present in the hole of the middle of the pool noodles. After this, you have to pass the strap inside your vehicle through its doors.

If the fit of the straps is already snugly, you can secure and lock them securely.

Step Three: Boarding the Kayak

Now is the perfect time to lift your kayak aboard the roof of your vehicle. If you can manage the weight of your kayak, it is best that you do it alone. But most of the time, freshwater and touring kayaks are bulky and heavy. Therefore, you need the muscles of two to three people to accomplish this task.

In any situation, you have to make sure that the kayak has been flipped. It should not be placed as it is or its sides against the roof. It is the cockpit that should be at the base.

Make sure that the center of the kayak is placed against the middle pool noodle. Just like what I have said earlier, the pool noodles are the ones that will protect your vehicle from being scratched by the kayak while you are traveling.

This one is an awesome trick on how to board the kayak by yourself!

Step Four: Locking the Kayak

If the kayak is already in the correct placement, you can already secure it. In this process, you have to make sure that both the front doors and rear doors are open.

You need to slide one set of the strap in the front doors so that you can run them over to the front of the kayak. Once done, you can already lock the straps. You should do the same in the back of your kayak.

You should not also forget to twist the straps whenever you are strapping the kayak. In this way, the friction of the kayak and straps won't cause unwanted sounds while you are driving on rough terrains.

Also, do not forget to remain gentle on your kayak. You don't want to over-tighten the strapping process because it can damage both the boat and your vehicle. Furthermore, the buckles and lock should be placed in places that you can reach easily.

Step Five: Securing the Front and Back of the Kayak

You also need to prevent the kayak from continually moving back and forth. Yes. You have stopped the kayak from moving sideways. However, the procedure that I have stated above is still not enough to keep the boat unmoving.

You don't want your kayak to fall off in the front or back of your car, especially if you brake suddenly. To prevent this from happening, you have to use another set of ratchet straps and pass them in the carry handles or front toggles of the kayak. After this, you should slip the straps under the vehicle through the help of a hook or carabiner.

Of course, you should also do the same thing in the back portion of the kayak.

Wrapping it Up

As what you have seen, it is entirely possible to move your kayak without the help of a roof rack. While it is true that a roof rack is always the convenient choice, there are instances where are deemed unusable or unavailable. In these moments, the skill of tying a kayak without the rack is a necessity.

I hope that this guide has taught you how to transport a kayak without a roof rack. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section.

You can also check out some of the related tutorials that I have made:

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