How Do You Secure a Kayak to a Roof Rack?

If you are an avid kayaker, then you know the importance of having a secure and safe way to transport your kayak. One of the most popular methods of transportation is by using a roof rack on your car. In this tutorial, we will go over the steps for securing a kayak to a roof rack.

What You Will Need

Before we get started, let’s take a look at what you will need to secure your kayak to a roof rack:

  • A kayak
  • A roof rack
  • Two cam straps or tie-down straps
  • Two bow and stern lines (optional but recommended)

Step 1: Prepare Your Kayak and Roof Rack

Before you start securing your kayak, make sure that both your kayak and roof rack are clean and dry. This will prevent any dirt or debris from scratching or damaging your kayak during transportation.

Step 1a: Positioning Your Kayak on the Roof Rack

Position your kayak onto the roof rack in such a way that it is centered and evenly distributed. This will help ensure that it is well balanced during transportation.

Step 1b: Attaching Bow and Stern Lines (Optional)

Attaching bow and stern lines to your kayak is optional but recommended. These lines help secure the front and back of the kayak to prevent any movement or shifting during transportation.

To attach these lines, simply tie them to the front and back handles of your kayak, then attach them to either side of your car’s bumpers or tow hooks if available.

Step 2: Secure Your Kayak with Cam Straps or Tie-Down Straps

Cam straps or tie-down straps are essential for securing your kayak onto the roof rack. These straps should be placed over the top of your kayak, then looped under the roof rack bars and pulled tight.

Step 2a: Placing Cam Straps or Tie-Down Straps

To place these straps, simply position them over the top of your kayak, then loop them through the roof rack bars. Make sure that they are evenly distributed on each side of your kayak to ensure that it is well balanced.

Step 2b: Tightening Cam Straps or Tie-Down Straps

Once you have positioned the straps, pull them tight until they are snug against your kayak. Make sure that there is no slack or looseness in the straps as this can cause your kayak to shift during transportation.

Step 3: Check Your Kayak and Straps

Before you hit the road, it is important to double-check that everything is secure and safe. Give your kayak a gentle shake to make sure that it is firmly attached to the roof rack.

Also, make sure that all of your cam straps or tie-down straps are tightened and secured properly. If you notice any looseness or slack in the straps, readjust them before hitting the road.


Transporting a kayak using a roof rack can be a safe and efficient way to get your boat from one location to another. By following these simple steps for securing your kayak, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable kayaking experience every time!

Photo of author

Michael Allen