How to Put a Kayak on Car Without Roof Rack

February 28, 2024

If you don’t have a roof rack, you can still transport a kayak safely and easily. To do this, you will need foam camping pads or sleeping pads and ratchet straps. These straps will protect your car’s roof from scratching while also keeping the kayak secure on top of it. They can be purchased from many hardware stores or online.

You’ll also need a pair of cam straps, also known as ratchet straps, which are long sections of hard wearing nylon that have adjustable buckles attached. You’ll be able to find these at most hardware and automotive stores. Make sure you get enough to secure both your kayaks as well as the bow and stern lines.

To begin, place the pads on your vehicle’s roof and ensure that they are properly spaced. You should place the front pad 4-6 inches from your kayak’s cockpit and the back one about 6 inches behind the cockpit. Next, place the kayak on top of the pads. Once you have the kayak positioned, thread the ratchet strap through each carry handle and around both pool noodles. Once positioned, crank the ratchet until the strap is firmly tightened to the point where it can’t be moved by hand. Be careful not to over tighten the strap as this could damage the hull of your kayak.

Lastly, attach the bow and stern lines to your kayak using the bow and stern grab handles. Then, secure the end of the stern line to your car’s rear anchor points and the other end of the bow line to the front of the car using the other grab handle. Once everything is secured, you should be ready to go! Make sure to stop every 15 minutes or so and give the kayaks a tug to make sure they are firmly in place.


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