How Do You Transport a Kayak on a Roof Rack?

If you are an avid kayaker, you know the importance of transporting your kayak safely and securely. One of the most popular ways to transport a kayak is by using a roof rack.

A roof rack provides a stable base for your kayak to sit on while you drive to your destination. In this article, we will discuss how to transport a kayak on a roof rack.

Step 1: Choose the Right Roof Rack

Before transporting your kayak, you need to make sure that you have the right roof rack for your vehicle. There are many different types of roof racks available on the market, and each one is designed to fit specific vehicles. You can either purchase a universal roof rack or look for one that is specifically designed for your vehicle model.

Step 2: Prepare Your Kayak

Before loading your kayak onto the roof rack, you need to prepare it properly. Start by cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt or debris that may scratch the paint on your car. Next, remove any loose items from inside the kayak such as paddles or life jackets.

Step 3: Load Your Kayak onto the Roof Rack

Now that you have prepared your kayak and chosen the right roof rack, it’s time to load your kayak onto the roof rack. Begin by positioning your kayak parallel to your car with one end facing forward and one end facing backward.

Next, lift one end of the kayak onto the roof rack and position it so that it sits in the cradles provided by the roof rack. Then lift up the other end of the kayak and place it into position in its cradle as well.


  • It’s always helpful to have a second person assist you in loading and unloading your kayak.
  • If possible, load your kayak onto the roof rack with the help of a step stool or ladder to avoid damaging your car’s paint.

Step 4: Secure Your Kayak

Once your kayak is in position on the roof rack, you need to secure it properly. Begin by securing the front and back of your kayak with tie-down straps. These straps should be threaded through the front and back grab handles of your kayak and then secured to the roof rack.

Next, use additional tie-down straps to secure your kayak from side-to-side. These straps should be threaded through the roof rack and around your kayak so that it is held securely in place.


  • Always make sure that your kayak is secure before driving away.
  • Check the tie-down straps periodically during transport to ensure that they remain tight.

Step 5: Double-Check Everything

Before hitting the road, it’s important to double-check everything. Make sure that all tie-down straps are tight and secure, and that your kayak is properly positioned on the roof rack.


  • Double-check everything again after driving a short distance to ensure that nothing has shifted during transport.
  • If you are traveling a long distance, stop periodically to check on your kayak and make any necessary adjustments.


Transporting a kayak on a roof rack can seem daunting at first, but with proper preparation and execution, it can be done safely and securely. By following these steps, you can ensure that your kayaking adventure starts off on the right foot.

Photo of author

Daniel Bennet