Travel Tips

How To Transport a Kayak Without a Rack

Well a newbie in kayaking has a lot of questions. Routing the journey of a kayak with its paddles, or surf boards and accessories could be tedious.

In this article, I am trying to simplify the process of how to transport a kayak without a rack? You can transport a kayak by tying it on a car (with roof rack or without roof rack), load it on a pickup truck, and put it on a convertible. You can choose whichever way is convenient to you.

Without an easy to transport kayak, it can be quite difficult to retrofit your car to move the kayak. Hovering a kayak over any transportation vehicle would require meticulous efforts. If you have someone to help, ask to hold the handles of either bow or stern, carry it to the car and install it on the top. If you are travelling alone, you can pick up the kayak by both the hand and clench it in your either arm; the cockpit should face the outer side and the kayak must be parallel to the ground. Now let’s turn to how to transport a kayak without a rack?

How to transport 2 kayaks without a roof rack

How to transport a kayak on a car without a roof rack

If you have a car and yet not in favour of buying a roof rack, you would find yourself trapped in the question, how to transport a kayak without a rack? It’s simple! 

All you need are some materials like Pool noodles, and Ratchet/cam straps. Place the Pool noodles horizontally and attach them on the roof of your car. Install your kayak on the pool noodles upside down.

Open your front and rear doors, secure the kayak with ratchet straps by passing one set of ratchet straps from one side of the Kayak and join the straps inside your car. You can use the cam buckle or ratchet buckle to tighten it and secure it on the car.  

Don’t forget to fix the bow and the stern tightly. Have the bow and stern lines and join them in a buckle.

You can find a detailed article on how do you transport a kayak without a rack and how to effectively tie the kayak down on How To Tie Down A Kayak Without A Roof Rack .The article also describes how to tie the kayak on the roof rack. 

While unfastening the kayak, make sure that you do it carefully. Haste can damage the kayak as well as your car. Ask for help if you are travelling alone. It’s an exercise for those who are not acquainted to it.

Have patience because this will take time to reinstall the kayak again. Transporting a kayak without a roof rack requires installing, de-installing and reinstalling everything.

How to transport 2 kayaks without a roof rack

Can I put two kayaks on top of my car? Undoubtedly, Yes! You can put two kayaks on the car roof. Your job is to get Pool noodles or foam blocks, Ratchet straps and stainless steel polls.

Place the aluminium or stainless steel rod and the straps in the hollow space of the noodles. Place them on the top of the car and secure them the straps inside the car.  This procedure is just like the one given above. Now place the kayaks on the pool noodles. Secure them with the ratchet straps.

Secure the bow and the stern by other two sets of ratchet straps for each side. You can even join the two kayaks by tying them with a rope.

I strongly suggest you to go through my article How To Tie Down A Kayak Without A Roof Rack for better understanding. You should be very cautious while tying them down. 

As an alternative you can use inflatable kayaks. These kayaks would be easy to carry. Now moving from how to transport a kayak without a rack? Let’s see how do you transport a paddle board without a roof rack?

How do you transport a paddle board without a roof rack

The surfers might have come across the question, how do you transport a paddle board without a roof rack? These boards can be transported by a car or through bicycles.

Let’s discuss the method to tie down surf boards on the roof of the car. For this you need foam blocks (2 or more) or pool noodles and ratchet/cam straps. You can buy these foam blocks from paddleboard stores. All you need to check is there stability and thickness. These foam blocks give grip to your paddleboards.

Onboard your surf board!

  • First keep the foam blocks on the roof of the car with a good distance. Best place to install them is on the rear and front of your car. They give your board a better hold. 
  • Place the board upside down (horizontally) on the foam blocks. Keep it at the centre of the foam blocks. Take care of the fins; ensure that they are at the front end. 
  • Now use the straps to secure them on the car. Ensure that you surround the board with the straps where the foam blocks are. 
  • Lock both the ends by a ratchet buckle inside the car. For this open the doors and buckle them up. Twist the straps to avoid the wuthering sound.

There’s always a choice to everything. Inflatable boards are such boards that you can easily carry along. You can deflate them while travelling and inflate them while surfing. An important point to be noted is that the many times you inflate and deflate the board; there is an increase in its wear and tear chances. Hence make sure you don’t overuse them. Don’t forget to keep your inflatable boards safe at home when not in use.

After this, unbuckle the board; keep the entire material safe in the car. They would be needed for reinstalling the board after surfing. Hope you got answer to how do you transport a paddle board without a roof rack?

How to transport a kayak in a pickup truck

How to transport a kayak in a pickup truck

If you are wondering to transport your kayak in a pick truck, here is the answer to how to transport a kayak in a pickup truck.

Assuming that you have put the rubber mat in the truck, now lift the kayak by a trolley or by yourself carefully. You need straps (maybe ratchet straps or any nylon straps) to fix the kayak on the floor. If you have hitch bed extender, install a cross bar and keep the kayak on them.

If you are using a truck bed, I suggest you to have anchors attached on the bed. These anchors will help you in tying the straps around the kayak. I would recommend you to have a bed. You can even join anchor holes on the sides of the truck. 

Put the straps through anchor holes and wrap them around the kayak. First tie the bow and the stern by putting the straps through grab handles.

Fix it tightly because the bow and the stern are the major parts that would keep the kayak stable. Now run the straps over the kayak from side to side and buckle them in the ratchet clutch. 

Remember to check the kayak time to time while driving. Drive at a moderate speed. Put a red flag on the hung-out part of the kayak to direct other drivers. 

How to transport a kayak on a convertible without a rack

Convertible cars are very tricky. You can use the Hitch T bed extender for your convertible car and run the straps around the kayak.

You can use pool noodles at the front windshield to avoid any damages. Pull up the straps from the bonnet or under bonnet hooks to the bow handles. Do same with the stern, pull the straps from rear under-hooks to stern handles. 

If your kayak is 12 foot then you can strap it by lowering the backseat. Keep the kayak upside down. Keep the bow at the front end; strap it there with the cam straps.

Then do same for the rear end. You can strap them cross sectional as well. I hope you have got the answer to how to transport a kayak on a convertible without a rack.

Unfasten them carefully and keep all the materials in the car. Always drive at a moderate speed and don’t forget put a red flag at the end.


I hope you have got the answer regarding how to transport a kayak without a rack?

Transporting a kayak isn’t difficult if you take calculative steps and go proper with proper materials. Make sure you don’t damage your kayak in the process. You can always opt in for a roof rack though it is expensive.

Also Read: What To Wear Kayaking Guide

If not, such simple hacks make your day. If you are travelling long, fasten the kayak properly and check back after sometime. If you have any other hacks regarding this, let us know in the comments. Stay safe and stay updated!

Hi, I'm Bhavesh Bhati thanks for visiting my blog! I've been traveling and exploring epic locations around the world for the last four years. I'm always looking for real adventures like treks, waterfalls, and Offroading!

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