Nothing can stress than figuring out how to transport a canoe or kayak to and from water. However, most paddlers consider this before purchasing a vehicle. Canoes and kayak can fit in virtually any car, including SUV and trucks, but it is pretty easier on some cars than others. Here is a guide on how you can secure your canoe or kayak on the roof rack. When in doubt, refer to the manual that came with your roof rack or car.

Lay the Straps Over the Roof Rack

Laying the straps over the kayak truck rack is the first step to securing a kayak or canoe to your car. However, be careful to ensure that the buckles do not scratch your vehicle. Then thread each strap around and underneath the roof rack and let the canoe lay flat against the car. Most kayak straps have two ends, where one features a clump or metal buckle while the other don’t. It is advisable to rest the clamped end against the roof rack so that it doesn’t damage your paint. The non-metal end can hang along the body of the vehicle. Be sure to check the crossbar of the roof rack so that they don’t loosen. Roof racks can vary, but they can be tightened using a wrench.

Place the Canoe on Roof of Your Vehicle

The next step should be placing the canoe on the roof of your vehicle. You can’t place your boat into hitch cargo carrier, it’s only for lawn mowers. If you want it to lie across the crossbars of the roof rack, face it upside down on the roof rack. Avoid placing a plastic canoe or kayak hull-side so that you don’t cause indentation. While you can still move your plastic boat, indentations can affect the ability of your boat to track straight. Consider placing the canoe right-side-up if you want to put it on special attachments and carrier pads such as rollers or hooks. Whether your kayak is better facing rear or front depends on its nature and material. For example, a sea boat can be more aerodynamic when bowed, as this is how it will be riding in water. Again, the less resistance you can create, the better gas mileage you can get. Recreational boats are less defined from rear to front, so opt for either way. Experts recommend placing whitewater boats backward first and then pull the cockpit so that you don’t comb it against the back crossbar. Then the kayak will be kept up against the rear crossbar by the air pressure.

Pull the Straps Over the Kayak

After placing the boat on top of the car and securing straps around the roof rack, pull the straps over the canoe to avoid breaking windows or damaging the vehicle. While it can sometimes be challenging to pull straps over a large vessel, doing it with precision is worth the extra effort. Pushing the buckle on will ensure that the straps don’t slip off the bar. Then walk the straps around the roof rack and over the kayak or canoe. You can get more length by letting the non-metal end hang freely as you pull on the metallic end. That’s a sure way to get straps over a kayak or canoe without damaging yourself or your vehicle.

Secure the Straps

After positioning the canoe on the roof and laying straps over it, strap it down. However, make sure that straps are lying flat against the vessel and that they are not crossing each other. The next step is to slide each strap so that the buckle lies against the boat. Take the other end of the strap underneath the crossbar and bring it so that it can meet the buckle. Pull the button on the clamp so that the threat strap up through the buckle. Then create a slot where the strap can fit through. Then pull the straps in a way they can meet the slack. After threading the canoe strap through the buckles, tighten them up. Pull each strap down so that all straps can slide through the vehicle’s roof. Fasteners are designed to allow the straps to slide through against any resistance surface. Loosening a belt is a simple as undoing a strap and pushing the button up. Your plastic canoe or kayak can seem to compress while tightening the straps, but don’t worry as it will regain its form once you unstrap it. However, it is advisable to loosen your plastic kayak if you plan to leave it on top of your vehicle overnight. That can help prevent imminent damages.

Tie the Straps Up

The next step after strapping your boat to your vehicle is to tie straps up. That will help prevent your canoe straps from whipping against the vehicle and flapping in the wind. You can achieve this by wrapping each strap around the roof rack attached to the car. Then wedge or knot the end of the strap under or against the rest of the straps. Once that is done, your canoe should be secure and ready to hit the road.

It is essential to tie a kayak securely on the roof of a car before transporting it. That can ensure that it doesn’t come off during transit or get damaged. Tying down a large boat can seem complicated, but with these tips, everything should be straightforward. Take time to secure your kayak to the crossbars before taking off. Look for the right padding for your rack. Padding can ensure that your vehicle’s roof doesn’t damage your canoe. There are a variety of padding materials, including those that can wrap around the bar and sit on the top of the roof. You can order rack padding at a local retail store or online. Look for straps designed for tying down boats to make your work easier. Straps that come with buckles can allow you to tighten your kayak to the roof rack without damaging your vehicle. You will need stern lines and bows so that your boat doesn’t get detached from your car while in transit.


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