For the average outdoorsman, one kayak is enough to enjoy yourself out on the water. However, for those looking to share their outdoor adventures, you’ll need to know how to strap down two kayaks on a roof rack.
Most roof racks will have space for two or more kayaks, but ensuring they stay still while you drive is another story. No one wants to spend more money replacing a busted kayak that fell off during transport. Regardless of who is coming along during your travels, learning how to keep your kayaks safe will keep any expensive mistakes from happening going forward.
The Common Mistakes People Make When Strapping Down Kayaks
While securing kayaks can seem intuitive, there are a couple of mistakes folks commonly make when loading up their car.
The first common mistake folks make when strapping kayaks on a roof is by placing the kayaks on the roof before the straps. Kayaks, being bulky, will get in the way of where you need to place the straps to secure the boats. It’s easier to get the straps secured first before loading up the kayaks. The other mistake involves using one set of straps for both kayaks. This setup can allow the kayaks to shift while you drive, causing them to bump around or fall off the roof of your car. Using two sets of straps lets you get a tight cinch on the kayaks, keeping them from moving.
The Best Way to Strap Down Two Kayaks
To keep your kayaks from slipping around while on your roof, follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure you secure your kayaks and keep them safe:
Ensure You Have Enough Space
Before loading up your car roof rack, double-check that you have enough space for transporting kayaks. Your car’s capacity for roof storage will tell you whether you can load up two kayaks right away or if you will need another crossbar to secure the kayaks next to one another. Another option for your car roof rack would be stacker bars. These devices let you store the kayak on its side instead of its button, potentially letting you fit two wide kayaks on top of your vehicle.
Place the Securing Straps
Before placing any kayak on the roof of your car, you’ll want to get the securing straps in place first. Kayaks are bulky and can get in the wait of the securing points you’ll need for your straps. To place the straps, check the crossbars and tighten them if needed. Thread a cam strap under each crossbar and position them towards the middle of the crossbar. Let the straps hang off to the side where you can reach them and ensure that they won’t tangle up later.
Strap In The First Kayak
With the straps ready, your roof rack is set for the first kayak. After getting some help to lift the kayak onto the car roof, position the kayak towards the driver’s side of the car. Toss the cam straps over the top of the kayak and place them into position to cinch down later.
Strap In The Second Kayak
Before cinching the cam straps, load up the second kayak onto your car roof. You’ll use the same steps mentioned above. However, be mindful of your spacing. You don’t want to slam the second kayak into the first one during loading or positioning or else you can damage the hulls. Also, ensure that you get the cam straps into the right position without cinching them down in case you need to move any of the kayaks first.
Secure the Kayaks
With the kayaks loaded, secure the tie-down straps from earlier to the crossbars. There should be two straps minimum securing the kayak to the roof rack. Don’t leave any slack on the two straps so that you can transport the kayaks safely and securely.
Check For Loose Ends
With the kayaks secured, take the ends of your cam straps and tuck them away. An easy way to do this is to tie off the ends of the straps to the front crossbar or rear crossbar, whichever one is closer. By tying these ends down, you create another anchor point for your kayaks and keep the straps from flailing about when driving or hitting something like your rear window while on the road. Also, give your kayaks a small jostle with your hand to ensure they don’t move too much.
Double-Check Your Work After Driving a Bit
With the kayaks held in place by the front and rear straps, give your work a test drive. It’s a good idea to stop 10 to 15 minutes after you start your drive to verify your work and see if the kayaks have shifted to one side or otherwise moved out of position.
Some Extra Tips to Tie Down Kayaks on Your Roof
Outside of knowing how to secure your kayaks to a roof, there are some other things you might consider:
- Cut pool noodles for your crossbars to prevent the kayaks from bumping into the metal
- Dry off your kayaks before strapping them to your roof to increase the lifespan of your straps
- Look for frayed ends or busted buckles before using straps
- Always tuck or tie off loose ends of your strap to prevent surface damage to your
Strapping two kayaks onto your roof racks doesn’t start with the boats, but instead the cam straps. Getting the separate straps into position first means you have access to them after placing the heavy kayaks on your roof rack, making it easier to tighten everything down. Just make sure that you keep an eye and ear out for your kayaks while you drive. There’s no harm in pulling off the road and moving or retying the straps if it means no more damage comes to the boats. From here, you can enjoy the outdoors with your friends and loved ones without worrying about losing a boat between trips! Feel free to check out some of our other kayak articles if you need help with any other kayak questions.