How to Transport 2 Kayaks

How to Transport 2 Kayaks Safely

So, what’s keeping you from jumping on the kayaking bandwagon? It’s a fantastic form of exercise, not to mention a great way to get outside and enjoy all Mother Nature has to offer. If you’re like most people considering this water activity, you might be worried about how to transport 2 kayaks safely. Don’t let this issue hold you back. Let’s explore some of the best ways to get your kayaks to the water, so you can get out there and paddle!

When Transporting Two Kayaks Is Easy

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pick-up truck with a bed large enough to transport 2 kayaks? For people who are this lucky, there are still some rules you need to know to ensure safe transport.

Using a Pick-Up Truck

  1. Always transport your kayaks with the tailgate down, letting them stick out over the end of the gate. Having the tailgate up and the kayaks resting on it allows too much air to circulate, possibly causing them to lift and fly out.
  2. Use ratchet straps to loop through the D-rings on the truck bed floor and the around the side carrying handles of the kayaks.
  3. Tighten securely, but not so much that you are crushing the sides or the hull of the kayak.
  4. Make sure you have secured a ratchet strap around the parts that protrude off the end of the tailgate to prevent sliding. Loop the strap through the carry handles on the ends of the kayaks a few times for extra security.
  5. Put a red flag on the parts of the kayak that extend beyond the tailgate.

Tips for Using This Method

  • Protect your kayaks and truck bed with a rubber bed liner. The liner will also prevent the kayaks from sliding.
  • Purchase good quality ratchet straps with heavy clasps to protect your kayaks.
  • Don’t crank the straps too tight. This action can damage the hull of your kayak.

When Transporting Two Kayaks Seems Difficult

Well, we don’t all have trucks to make transporting awkward kayaks easy, but hauling kayaks with a car or SUV doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to know your options.

How to Transport 2 or More Kayaks

Your vehicle will either have a roof rack or not have one. The following are solutions for both types of cars.

How to Transport 2 Kayaks Using a Roof Rack

If your vehicle has a roof rack, you still need to know how to use it properly. It would be best if you did a few things to have peace of mind before hoisting those kayaks to your rooftop.

  1. If you are not purchasing a mount, then investing in a set of foam blocks that fit over the rack rails will protect your kayaks from scratches and prevent sliding. These blocks are relatively inexpensive and easy to attach and remove.
  2. Specific accessories such as J-Cradles and stackers are usually necessary to transport 2 kayaks. These mount accessories generally come with ratchet straps, and they easily attach to the roof rails. A quality mount for multiple kayaks will cost somewhere between $100 and $200, but they are well worth it.
  3. Saddle-style mounts are also options that securely attach to the rails and carry your kayak with the hull upright. Like J-cradles, these accessories usually come with ratchet straps. Saddle-style mounts are mostly used to haul a single kayak.
  4. If your roof mount does not come with ratchet straps, then it is important to purchase quality straps with heavy, secure clasps.
  5. Loop the straps through the side handles of the kayaks and under and around the rack’s rails.
  6. Use more straps over the top of the kayaks, but be careful not to tighten them down too much because they could damage the hulls of the kayaks.
  7. Be sure to buy some marine-grade rope to attach to the stern and bow, so the kayaks don’t slide from front to back. Attach the rope to the carry handles on the front and back of the kayaks and then again to the towing spots under your bumpers. Crank the straps so there is no movement when you shake the kayaks.

Tips for Using This Method

  • Twist the ratchet straps a few times before hooking them and cranking them down. This action prevents the flapping and whistling that might make for a long trip.
  • Have someone hold the kayaks in place while trying to adjust the straps, so they are securely and safely positioned on the roof.
  • Always give the kayaks a little shake after securing them to make sure there is little or no movement.
  • Some rack styles may require a universal mount adapter that lets you add attachments to its bars. You might want to research your vehicle’s rack style to know if one of these universal adapters is necessary for your roof rack style.
Transporting 2 Kayaks

How to Transport 2 Kayaks Without a Roof Rack

Having a roof rack provides space between the rooftop and the kayaks, which makes looping the ratchet straps a breeze. But what if you don’t get that space because you don’t have a roof rack for your kayak?

You could always purchase an aftermarket roof rack, but that seems a little excessive if you don’t need it otherwise. Don’t worry, here is an inexpensive and simple solution.

Using Pool Noodles

It might seem unconventional, but using pool noodles to create a kayak rack on top of your vehicle is an ideal solution for transporting two vessels.

To ensure the project goes smoothly, you need to assemble your materials first:

Making the Pool Noodle Rack

  1. Thread the ratchet straps through the holes in the middle of the noodles.
  2. Gently glide the poles through the noodles as well.
  3. Place the noodles on the roof: one near the back, one near the front, and one in the middle.
  4. Open the vehicle doors and bring the two ends of the straps together and fasten.
  5. Tighten the ratchet straps, so the pool noodles are snug and secure on the roof.

Positioning the Kayaks

  1. If your vehicle is wide enough, the best position for the kayaks is flat, upside-down, and side by side. However, they should not stick out wider than your side mirrors.
  2. If this position is not possible, turn the kayaks on their sides, making sure the middle of each kayak rests on the middle noodle.
  3. Push them together for stability.
  4. For both positions above, place the ratchet straps over the kayaks in the same back, front, and middle areas as the pool noodles.
  5. Run the straps through the side carrying handles of the kayaks, wrapping them once. Continue to attach the straps by passing them through the doors the same way you did when attaching the noodles. Fasten the clasps and begin tightening until the kayaks are secure. Do not over-tighten or you could damage the kayaks. Be sure to twist the straps a few times before buckling them to prevent flapping and whistling in the wind.
  6. Use some marine-grade rope to secure the bow and stern by threading through the front and back carry handles and wrapping the line a few times. Then securely attach the rope to the front and back towing spots on your vehicle.

Tips for Using this Method

  • Have someone hold the noodles in place as you are trying to attach them to the roof, so they end up straight and in the right spots on the rooftop.
  • Have someone hold the kayaks in place as you are strapping them down and tightening the straps.
  • Before taking off, give the kayaks a good “shake” from several angles to ensure there is no movement.
  • When traveling, get out and check the kayaks and straps every 30 minutes or so. Many factors can affect their stability, and it’s good to be extra cautious.
  • Buy good quality ratchet straps for added peace of mind.

It’s Not Too Difficult to Transport 2 Kayaks

Don’t let worries about transporting kayaks prevent you from getting them or using them as much as you would like.

With a little research, you can find the best mounts and products for your particular type of roof rack. Even if there’s no roof rack, many people have used the pool noodle method to securely transport their kayaks.

Once you successfully load and carry your kayaks the first time, it will seem easy. The most important thing to remember is to get out there and have fun.