Kayaking is a fun and adventurous activity that you can enjoy both alone and with friends. But the most annoying and often the most difficult part of this is getting the kayak to the water. If you have never done this before, then you are in for a tough time, especially if you are kayaking without any friends.
If the waterbody is far from your house, you cannot just carry the kayak. You need a car and all the car accessories to safely anchor the kayak as you drive to the kayaking spot. Thankfully, there are many different ways to hoist a kayak to your vehicle.
In this article, we will go through a few ways you can safely transport a kayak without scratching or wearing down the hull in the slightest.
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How to Carry a Kayak
Carrying a kayak by hand is relatively simple and straightforward. However, you would want at least one other person to help you out. That way, each of you can carry it from one side. Dragging the kayak by lifting from one side only can scratch the hull.
If your kayak comes with a carry handle, this task is extremely easy. Most kayaks, despite their appearances, tend to be light. So you can lift the kayak by grabbing the handles on one end while your friend lifts it from the other end. Make sure you are both facing the direction where you are going. Backpaddling is not the way to lifting a kayak.
In fact, you and a partner can carry two kayaks simultaneously this way. Both of you should get in the middle with two kayaks on either side. You can use one hand per handle of the kayak. Some units even feature extendable handles to make them easier to carry.
If you own an inflatable kayak, on the other hand, you can transport it safely without any help. This type of unit deflates and takes the appearance of a simple backpack that you can put on your back. Then, when you reach the water, you can simply inflate it and start out on your kayaking adventure.
Although not recommended, you can still carry a kayak alone. However, it can be quite difficult or even impossible if the boat is too heavy. If you do have to carry it alone, you need to lift it on your shoulder. The last thing you want is to drag the boat as the hull might get damaged.
For better protection of your shoulder, you should wear your PFD. It would give you a layer of padding where you can rest the kayak. Additionally, you want to protect your back and try to distribute the weight evenly so that you do not have to deal with any backaches.
How to Transport a Kayak on a Vehicle
Transporting a kayak on a vehicle is a must if you live far away from the waterbody. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways to do that.
Everybody wants to carry the kayak on the SUV or car without scratching but you might have to make a few additional investments for your car before you can safely transport your kayak on it.
Firstly, you want to check the roof of your car and see if it comes with any type of attachments. In the unfortunate event that you have a bare roof car, you have to buy some type of rail or track attachment where you can safely attach your kayak for easy transport.
If you have a pickup truck, you can also hoist your kayak there without any hassle. But make sure you tie up the kayak properly on the truck bed so that it does not slip out as you are driving. Most people usually take this approach as it requires no additional investment, and getting the kayak on a pickup truck is relatively hassle-free.
There are a few different attachment options for transporting a kayak on a vehicle.
- Side rails
There are two types of side rails that you can find for your vehicle, raised and flush. As the name implies, raised side rails feature two rails that are raised slightly above the roof, running in parallel to the door. On the other hand, flush rails do not have a slightly raised design. Raised rail designs are usually better as they offer better stability for the kayak.
Tracks are as simple as they sound. They are quite similar to rails but have longer channels and slots. These are a great option to get if your car does not already come with pre-installed tracks. In terms of stability, they offer a better experience than rails because of the slots.
- Fixed points
Fixed points typically come pre-installed in vehicles where you can install a different attachment. However, they can also be used to transport different objects, including a kayak. The fixed points in a car are usually hidden under a plastic cap, so make sure you check the roof of your car carefully.
Tips when Transporting a Kayak
Now that you understand how you can transport a kayak, a few tips will help you get the most of it. Transporting a kayak the wrong way can lead to damages to the boat or even risk accidents.
The first step to do that is to make sure you fasten it with high-quality ropes. You do not want to use ropes that scratch the finish of the kayak. But you also need to make sure the ropes will not snap because of a bumpy ride.
You also want to drive carefully if you have a kayak anchored to the roof. Take turns slowly, and always see your surrounding before making any sudden moves.
Furthermore, while loading your kayak on the car, you want to ask for help. Securing a kayak to your vehicle solo is not the best way to go.
Transporting your kayak is the final step before you can start out on your grand adventure. With our help, you should now have no trouble paddling your boat to the sunset.