How to Strap Two Kayaks to a Roof Rack

If you’ve been kayaking for a while, you’ve probably figured out how to transport your kayak by strapping it to a roof rack. However, what happens when you suddenly have to strap two kayaks? That might throw you off your tracks and make you wonder how to proceed.

Well, don’t worry. Tying two kayaks is difficult only until you get the hang out of it. So, if you’re looking for help, today we’re going to talk about how to strap two kayaks to a roof rack.

What do you need to strap two kayaks?

Let’s first begin by making a list of what we’re going to need to secure two kayaks to a roof rack:

  • Four cam straps – they need to be a couple of feet longer than the required one, and it’s an excellent idea to purchase several of different length
  • A suitable roof rack
  • A helping hand to load the kayaks on the car
How to strap 2 kayaks to a roof rack

How to strap two kayaks to a roof rack?

In just a moment I’m going to offer you step-by-step instructions on how to strap two kayaks to a car roof rack. However, keep in mind that you might have to improvise depending on your kayak type and roof rack.

#1 Check if you have enough space

The first thing you have to consider is your roof rack. The available space on the rack would determine the possible positions for placing the kayaks. You can:

  • Add a second roof rack to the crossbars. In this way, you can transport two kayaks side by side. However, it depends on the width of your boats because if they are too wide they won’t fit well on the rack.
  • Consider stacker bars. If you have wide kayaks, you might strap the kayaks on their side to save space. These are suitable for short, whitewater kayaks.

#2 Place the straps

Most of you would probably place first the kayak on the car roof rack. That will work if you’re strapping one kayak. If you’re dealing with two, it would be difficult to position the straps around the vessels. That’s why experts recommend that you put the straps first:

  • Check that the crossbars aren’t loose. If they are, tightened them.
  • Take the cam straps.
  • Thread a cam strap under each crossbar.
  • Position each strap to the middle of the crossbar.
  • Ensure that the straps can’t get twisted and that you can reach them easily.

#3 Get the first kayak

After you’ve taken care of the straps, it’s time to get the first kayak and load it on the rack. So:

  • Find somebody to help you lift the kayak to the car roof.
  • Each person grabs the vessel by the hull. Do not use the grab handle.
  • Lift the boat, position it above the rack, and gently lower it down. Watch this video if you want to see exactly what to do.
  • You’d want to keep it as far towards the driver’s side (or the passengers’) as you can so that you have enough room for the second one.

Next, you position the straps correctly:

  • Throw the cam straps over the kayak.
  • Do not cinched them yet because you might have to adjust the position.

#4 Get the second kayak

Follow the same procedure described in step №3 to load the second kayak on the roof rack. If there is enough space, you might leave a gap between the two, but if you lack room, keep them as close as possible without damaging either one. Also, remember that both vessels should be centered on the rack.

#5 Secure both kayaks

After you’ve ensured that the second kayak is placed well, it’s time to strap it down. So:

  • Throw the two straps over the second kayak.
  • Cinched the straps.
  • Make sure that the kayak is secured tightly to the roof rack.
  • Go back to the first kayak, tighten/cinched the straps, and check that it’s secure.

If your vessels are not sitting well on the rack, you will have to untie them and start over until you find the right position. Watch this video for more information.

#6 Wrap the loose ends

Once you’ve got everything tied down, do a double check to make sure that the kayaks don’t have move around a lot. After that, you can wrap the loose ends of the straps around the crossbars. You don’t want them blowing in the wind.

#7 Re-check the kayaks

Once you start driving, it’s an excellent idea to stop after 10-15 minutes to check if your vessels are still secure. Even if you’ve done everything right, it’s still possible for something to get loose while driving, especially in windy areas.

As you can see, strapping two kayaks to a roof rack is not so different than tying one down. You just have to find the right position for your vessels so that they are stable and secure. You can watch this video for more ideas on how to position the boats.

What do you think about these tips on how to strap two kayaks to a roof rack? How do you transport your kayaks? Share any additional advice you have in the comment section.

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