How to Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack? 2022

One of the main concerns while buying a Kayak is how to transport it. As a kayak is large, it can’t be carried inside a car. Or can it? Well, it can unless the Kayak is inflatable or foldable. There are many ways you can take your Kayaks to the place you want. Some are a bit expensive, and some are very cheap and easy.

And today we are going to tell you exactly how to transport a kayak without a roof rack. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can transport your Kayak.

Transport a Kayak without a Roof Rack (Step by Step)

There are several ways to transport your Kayak without a roof rack. Which one you will choose will depend on what resource do you have and what you want to do. Some useful and easy ones are listed down below.

  1. Pool Noodles or Foam Blocks: Using pool noodles or foam blocks is the most popular and less resourceful one. As they are made out of foams, they provide soft support for the Kayaks. The basic idea is to create a temporary roof rack for the Kayak. So, let’s go through a step-by-step process on how to make one.
  • First, place the pool noodles or foam blocks on top of your car. Put 2 or 3 foam blocks or pool noodles at each end of your vehicle.
  • Place your Kayak on the pool noodles or foam blocks. It’s better to put the kayak face down. That way, the Kayak will be more well-balanced.
  • Once settled, tie down the Kayak and the roof of cars with firm straps. The straps should come over the Kayak and will through inside your vehicle. The doors should be open while tying. But the straps can also go through the window. But the car door is more firm.
  • Tie the straps firmly and make sure the Kayak will not fall, especially while driving and turning your car.
  1. Kayak Trailer: Kayak Trailers are a beneficial addition if you have to transport multiple Kayaks or don’t trust pool blocks or foam blocks. They might be a bit costly, but they provide excellent benefits for carrying manifold Kayaks or better balance and safety. They are very popular with Kayaking enthusiasts as it gets rid of the hassle of multiple trips. They very easy to use and can be strapped perfectly. They are also an excellent option if you are planning to go on a long-distance journey.
How to Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack
How to Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack

Transporting Portable Kayaks

 The followings are some Kayaks if you want portable Kayaks. In this case, you don’t need to carry them over the car.

  1. Inflatable Kayaks: Inflatable Kayaks are general portable Kayaks. As the name suggests, these Kayaks are bloated before use. You can carry them in your car when the Kayaks are deflated. Then inflate them when you reach your destination. Use a pump to bloat the Kayak. But make sure the Kayaks are bloated enough to float. It is a very cheap option, but it requires quite some time and energy.
  2. Folding Kayaks: Recently a type of floatable Kayaks is invented. These Kayaks are carried around by folding them like origami. Oru Kayak is making these Kayaks That are foldable and can be carried around wherever you go. Oru Kayaks comes with different models. You can choose which one fits your purpose. They are very lightweight but pretty sturdy.

Important tips to note before transporting Kayak

Here are some tips for transporting Kayak.

  • Make sure you have enough time to load your Kayak into your car. If you hurry up the process, you might make mistakes.
  • Check your Kayak straps often while traveling. From time to time, make sure they tightly strapped and nothing came off loose.
  • Carry extra straps with you. You never know when you might need one.
  • Be careful when driving. Slow down when you are about to make a turn.
  • Be aware of the amount of weight your car can carry. If your Kayak weighs more than recommended, please avoid overloading your car. Also, load less weight than recommended.
  • When you are making plans for Kayaking, avoid days when it can rain or the is dark.

How to Tie a Kayak Down the Right Way?

The right way of tieing down a Kayak is by using cam tie-down straps. They are easily found at hardware and sports stores.

  • First, place the Kayak center in the middle of the roof rack to balance the Kayak.
  • Tip the Kayak to the front. So it leans on its keel.
  • Take the strap under the bar to the opposite side of the Kayak.
  • Bring both the unsecured end and the cam end over the Kayak towards you. In that way, you have two parallel straps going across the Kayak’s deck. Adjust the cam to the top of the gunwale.
  • Now take the loose ends under the bar. Then through the base to top. And cinch it down.
  • Repeat 3-5 for the second bar. 
  • Now tighten both straps.
  • Finally, strap down the cinch tightly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a roof rack for the Kayak?

Roof racks are not essential for transporting Kayaks. But they are easy to transport kayaks. They also provide firm support for the Kayak. If you don’t have roof racks, you can buy Kayak trailers, which carry more than one Kayak. u003cbru003eYou can also DIY roof racks where the alternate for roof racks are pool noodles and foam blocks. But roof racks can hold your Kayaks tighter, and tieing down a Kayak is very easy.

How do you transport a kayak alone?

To transport a kayak alone, start with the Kayak on the ground and stand in front of it. Bend your knees down in a squatting position. Grab the cockpit’s side closest to you and slide it onto your knee so that the Kayak rests on your knees. Lift the Kayak from the opposite side of the cockpit as you stand up. Finally, rotate the Kayak onto your shoulder so that the rim rests on your shoulder.

How fast can you drive with a kayak on the roof?

The speed limit with a kayak on your car depends on the ratio of the weight of the Kayak and your vehicle. If your Kayak is small and lightweight and your vehicle is big enough, you don’t need to worry about the car speed as long as you follow the speed limit and tie down the Kayak firmly. As the Kayak’s weight increases, you will need to go slower. On average, 70-75 mph isn’t too much. But make sure the Kayaks are tied down.

Should Kayak be transported upside down?

The Kayak should face upside down, which solves some problems. When cinched down, the body of the Kayak can be indented easily. The curved structure will make the Kayak tip to one side. These problems can be solved if the boat is upside down.

What kind of roof rack do I need for a kayak?

There are four types of roof racks for Kayaks. Temporary pads are soft pads that are strapped over your car roof. They are used when you don’t have any side rails or crossbars. If you want to carry two Kayaks, you might want to get either saddles or J-cradles. On the other hand, stackers are used for two or more than Kayaks.

How do you put a kayak on a roof rack by yourself?

First, put a strap on along the side of the roof rack. Drag the Kayak and place it beside the roof rack in a parallel way. But keep distance from the Kayaks. Next, you want to pull up the Kayak from the cockpit and rotate it onto the strap. And now you push the Kayak from the other side and set the Kayak on the roof rack.

What is the best car for transporting Kayaks?

The best car for carrying Kayaks are trucks. They have a broad space for carrying not only Kayaks but also other bags and stuff. But an estate car is good enough as long as it has a wide roof. Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Golf Estate, Citroen Berlingo XL are perfect for carrying Kayaks. They also take less fuel for taking heavy objects.

How do you transport a kayak on a small car?

A small car is not that recommended for carrying Kayaks. But if there are no other options, there some extra steps for carrying Kayaks. Firstly make sure, the Kayak is not so big as the car that it causes accidents. Get a roof rack and do not extend the roof rack past the side mirror. u003cbru003eFor 14 feet or longer Kayaks, you will need 24 inches wide roof racks. If your car doesn’t have that width, you can use a roof rack that extends sideways. Twist the straps firmly. So it doesn’t screech while driving. And speaking of driving, steer slowly and carefully to make sure you don’t cause any accidents.

Can you fit a kayak in an SUV?

Traveling when a Kayak is inside the car is not a very good idea. Most Kayak enthusiasts don’t advise this stunt. Even an SUV is not big enough to hold a Kayak inside it.


Today we have seen some easy ways to carry your Kayaks anywhere you want. Of them, the pool noodle option is the most budget-friendly and DIY-friendly. But a Kayak trailer is the most stable. But if you have a roof rack for your car, that is the best option for carrying your Kayaks. And most importantly, drive safe. You don’t want your fun plan to be the cause of someone getting hurt.


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