Questions & Answers:
1. What types of kayak racks are there?
There are generally 4 types of kayak racks to choose from – J-Cradles, Saddles, Stackers, and Temporary Pads. Familiarize yourself with each one of them in accordance with the type of kayak you have and the type of vehicle on which you will be transporting it.
The J-Cradles is perhaps the most sought-after kayak roof rack on the market due to its versatile shape. This rack has a side-loading mechanism that clears up space for you to place other items on the roof. If you have the right support system, you can quickly load and unload your kayak and reap all the benefits of this secure and stable option. For a narrow roof, however, this type of roof rack is not optimal.
The saddle roof rack is the perfect choice for those planning on transporting one kayak at a time. It involves either a single cradle or two interconnected cradles that can be adjusted according to the width of your vehicle’s roof. As this type of a roof rack offers a large surface area for your water gear, it works great even in the stormiest weather conditions when safety is at stake.
For transporting multiple kayaks at the same time, consider looking into the Stacker roof rack. Unlike other supporting tools that hold your kayaks horizontally, this one holds your kayaks vertically and on their sides. As a result, you have more space for fitting several kayaks instead of just one. With the correct installation, you won’t have to worry about your equipment slipping off during the transportation process.
The easiest kayak racks to install and remove are hands down the temporary pads. They consist of straps that can be placed around the inside and the outside of your car’s roof that are designed to securely hold your gear. These straightforward racks have foam or inflatable padding attached to them, which makes them the most favorable variant for short trips.
2. What should I take into consideration before purchasing a kayak rack?
Frankly, there are a couple of points you have to pay attention to before you commit to purchasing a kayak roof rack. They comprise the number of transportable kayaks, the type of vehicle, the rack’s material, and the cross bar system.
Although it goes without saying that the bigger the number of kayaks you are planning on transporting, the bigger the dimensions of the kayak rack should be, outdoor enthusiasts still make the mistake of shoving too many kayaks in relatively small racks. You should always keep in mind that it is better not to take your chances and risk loading your car’s roof with a multitude of kayaks in hopes that you will be able to safely transport them. Road hazards happen more often than you would think, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Small cars will fit one to two kayaks, while the bigger vehicles will certainly be able to accommodate a couple more kayaks. It is recommended for you to take the necessary measurement of your vehicle’s roof before you research the roof rack that will handle multiple kayaks with no issues.
Ensuring the quality of the kayak rack’s material is high is just as important as purchasing the tool in the right size. Aluminum and plastic fasteners should not be exploited by kayakers in any circumstances in order to avoid unexpected detachments. It is better to invest in a more expensive model made of steel and coated with a rust-free layer that will eliminate the risk of accidents on the road.
Not every vehicle has a cross bar system installed onto its roof that is required for the rack attachment. If yours doesn’t, you will have to purchase the cross bar system that will be compatible with the roof rack you are planning on using. For vertical transportation of the water gear, make sure your rack’s height is in line with the roof’s height to avoid any loading or unloading challenges.
3. How many kayaks fit on a roof rack?
Standards roof racks can comfortably fit 2 kayaks that are further fastened for security purposes. This capacity is the most common on the market and is the one preferred by the majority. That being said, there are roof racks that can fit up to 4 kayaks, particularly those stored sideways and in the vertical position.
Some argue that you can squeeze an extra kayak or two in the regular 2-kayak roof racks, but we don’t recommend taking this risk. Surely, there are additional fasteners you can purchase to tie down more kayaks, but while it may go well the first time, there is no guarantee you won’t damage your water gear along the way.
4. How do I tie down my kayak to the roof rack?
Nine out of ten times the manufacturer includes the tie-down instructions for you to follow when securing your kayak to the roof rack. They specify where anchor points are located so that you securely attach your equipment via a simple loop that goes around the kayak’s body. Your kayak should be tight enough to not slip off while you are driving, yet not too tight so that it can do severe damage to the boat.
To strap the kayak by its front and back, tie the bow to the hooks of the tow and repeat the same steps for the stern line. Installing a hitch might help in securing the stern line and achieving the right balance of your boat when on the roof. Note that any loose ends have to be tied up in a couple of knots in order for them to not get caught during the transportation process and cause your boat to flee.
5. How do I load my kayak onto the roof rack?
You might think that it’s impossible to load your kayak onto the roof rack without assistance, but with guidelines from the product creators, it is completely doable. The most often met sliding bar comes in handy as it takes the weight of the kayak off your body during loading. This bar can then be put back in place once the gear is loaded and the kayak securely fastened to the roof.
If you don’t find the lift assist system installed into the rack, you will have to take on the task of lifting the equipment yourself. Check for the kayak to be free from water and other gear before you load it up onto the roof. You can place a sheet on the car’s roof to avoid scratches during the loading process. Once your kayak is on top of the vehicle, follow the tie-down instructions from the manufacturer and you will be good to go.
6. How do I safely transport multiple kayaks?
The more kayaks you transport, the more careful you have to be with securely loading them into the roof rack. You must have a good number of fasteners and ropes to tie your gear down as well as you can. When driving, it makes sense to go slower than usual if you know that you have got multiple pieces of equipment attached to your vehicle. We recommend you avoid highways at all costs and not undertake any overtaking maneuvers in order to steer clear from any potential accidents.
If you already have a kayak rack or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.