How Do You Attach a Kayak to a Roof Rack?

Are you planning a kayaking adventure but not sure how to transport your kayak safely? Attaching your kayak to a roof rack is a great solution for transporting your kayak to the water. In this article, we will guide you through the process of attaching a kayak to a roof rack.

Step 1: Choose the Right Roof Rack

The first step in attaching your kayak to a roof rack is to choose the right roof rack for your vehicle. Make sure that the roof rack you choose is compatible with your vehicle and can support the weight of your kayak.

Step 2: Prepare Your Kayak

Before you attach your kayak to the roof rack, make sure it is properly prepared. Remove any loose items from inside the kayak and ensure that all openings are sealed. This will prevent any damage or loss of items during transportation.

Step 3: Position Your Kayak on the Roof Rack

Position your kayak on the roof rack with the bow facing forward. The bow is the pointed end of the kayak. Make sure that it is centered on the roof rack.

Step 4: Secure Your Kayak with Straps

Using two straps, secure your kayak to the roof rack. Wrap each strap around the hull of the kayak and through each side of the roof rack. Tighten each strap until it is snug and secure.


  • Use high-quality straps designed for securing kayaks.
  • Always double-check that each strap is tight and secure before driving.
  • Avoid over-tightening straps as this can damage both your kayak and roof rack.
  • If carrying multiple kayaks, stack them on top of each other, securing them together before strapping them down.

Step 5: Attach Bow and Stern Lines

Attach bow and stern lines to your kayak. These lines will provide additional security to prevent any forward or backward movement during transportation.


  • Bow and stern lines are especially important when driving at high speeds or on windy roads.
  • Loop the bow line through the grab handle at the front of the kayak and attach it to the front of your vehicle.
  • Loop the stern line through the grab handle at the back of the kayak and attach it to the back of your vehicle.

Step 6: Check Your Set-Up

Once you have attached your kayak to your roof rack, double-check that everything is secure before hitting the road. Give each strap, bow line, and stern line a gentle tug to ensure that they are tight.


  • Check your set-up periodically during transportation to ensure everything remains secure.
  • Avoid sudden stops or turns while transporting your kayak as this can cause it to shift or become dislodged.

In conclusion, attaching a kayak to a roof rack requires proper preparation, positioning, securing with straps, attaching bow and stern lines, and checking everything is secure. By following these steps, you can safely transport your kayak to your next adventure.

Photo of author

Daniel Bennet