How To Strap Two Kayaks To A Roof Rack: Detailed Easy Guide

by Jason | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
How To Strap Two Kayaks To A Roof Rack: Detailed Easy Guide
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Kayaking is a great way to spend time with your friends and family. And if you’ve been kayaking for a while, there’s a good chance you’ve had to transport your kayak on your roof before.

But things get a little trickier when you try to add a second kayak into the equation.

The good thing is, that most roof racks can easily accommodate two kayaks without a problem; the trick is knowing how to do it.

It might throw you off a little bit when your first try, but that’s why we’re here today. 

In this article, I’m going to lay everything down for you so you know exactly what you have to do to strap two kayaks to your roof rack.

If you’re looking to go kayaking with you and your buddy, don’t go anywhere, this article will show how to strap two kayaks to a roof rack.

In case your vehicle doesn’t have a roof rack or you are still doubting about getting one, then perhaps it’s a good idea to know that it’s also possible to transport 2 kayaks without a roof rack.

How Do You Strap A Kayak On A Roof Rack?

Okay, this article is about how to strap two kayaks to your roof rack, but if you’ve never strapped one to the roof, you should probably read this section first.

Understanding how you strap one kayak to your roof will help you when it comes to transporting two of them.

The easiest way to strap down your kayak is to use a roof rack with cam straps. It saves you having to do/learn any unique knots.

If you haven’t got any cam straps, I suggest you buy at least two straps before you attempt strapping your kayak to your car.

So, let’s take a look at how you use them safely:

  1. Make sure your kayak is loaded correctly on your roof rack. The kayak should be placed in a central position and run parallel with the car.
  2. Take your cam strap and position the buckle, so it’s resting on the side of your kayak and to the side of one of the crossbars. Then toss the other end of the strap over the kayak.
  3. Walk around to the other side of your car, grab the strap and wrap it underneath the crossbar and chuck the strap back over. Make sure you wrap the strap to the inside of the bar so it can’t slip off.
  4. Walk to the other side of the vehicle and wrap the strap back under the rear crossbar. Again, make sure it’s wrapped on the inside of the rear crossbar. Place the strap through the cam buckle and cinch it down.
  5. Repeat this process on the other crossbar.
  6. Go around and tighten all the straps. Make sure they are snuggly in place and not too tight. If the straps are too tight, you can deform the plastic on your kayak.
  7. Tie off all the loose ends of the straps just below the buckles to prevent them from flapping around in the wind.
  8. Go around the kayak and give it a shake to make sure everything is securely in place.

If your vehicle happens to have a luggage rack, then consider watching the following video:

Things You Need To Think About Before You Strap Two Kayaks To a Roof Rack

Okay, before you get started strapping your kayaks to the roof rack, there are a few things you need to consider.

And in this section, I’m going to list them all:

  • Space Available On The Kayak: Depending on how big the roof rack is, you can fit your kayaks on top of your car. You’ll need a minimum of 24 inches.
  • Your Car’s Capacity: Every vehicle has a weight limit you need to consider before you stick your kayaks on top. Most can manage around 165 lbs, including the roof rack, so you need to check out.
  • Check The Law & “Rules of The Road”: Local laws can defer in regards to overhang, securing loads, and kayak transportation. Make sure you’re 100% legal before transporting your kayak.
  • How Much Can Your Roof Rack Hold: Not all roof racks can hold the same capacity, so you need to make sure yours can handle the weight. You can always opt for a kayak roof rack to offer more security and ensure it can handle a second kayak. If you haven’t got the money for a new one, check out an aftermarket roof rack to save some cash.

Remember, it’s essential that you check out the above considerations before you transport your kayak; you don’t want to get into trouble.

How To Strap Two Kayaks To A Roof Rack: The Step-By-Step Guide

You know how to strap one kayak to your roof rack, but you don’t know how to strap two kayaks to your car. 

So, let’s talk you through the whole process from start to finish: 

Place The Straps

When you’re transporting one kayak, you can get away with placing it down first, but moving two is a different ball game. Having two kayaks on the car roof and trying to position the straps around them can be super tricky.

This is why the experts suggest that you place your straps before placing your kayaks on the car roof rack.

Take the straps and thread cam straps under each crossbar, and make sure you position each strap to the middle of the crossbar. 

Just make sure the straps can’t get twisted, and you can reach them with ease.

Get The First Kayak On Your Roof Rack

Once you’ve got all the straps in place, it’s time to get the first kayak ready for loading onto the rack.

So, how do you do this:

First, get someone to help you lift the kayak onto the roof rack and gently place it in position. When you have it in place, throw the straps around the kayak, thread it under the crossbar and throw it back to the clasp.

Do this on both sides and gently tighten; not too much though, you might want to reposition later on.

Get The Second Kayak On The Roof Rack

Now you’ve got the first kayak loaded up; it’s time to get the second kayak sorted out. Lift the second kayak the same way you did the first one.

Once it’s up there, you want to try and leave enough space in-between the kayaks, so they don’t rub together as you travel. If there isn’t enough room, try to reposition the first one to allow a bit of space for the second kayak.

Follow the same steps for securing the second kayak as you did with the first one.

Secure Both Your Kayaks

Now all the kayaks are in place and partially strapped down; it’s time to tighten things up. Go back to where you started from and ensure the positioning is good. If it’s not, make your minor adjustments to get everything spot on.

Once you’re happy, go around and start tightening the straps. Make sure it’s secure but not too tight; you don’t want to damage the kayak.

Wrap The Loose Ends

Once everything is tightened up, double-check everything is secure and tie any loose ends. You don’t want them flapping around in the wind. You can tie the loose ends to the crossbars to get them out of the way.

Triple-Check The Kayaks

Once everything is sorted out, it’s time to get on the move. But, you should pull over somewhere after the first 10-15 minutes of the journey?

Why?

Because if something is going to come loose, it’s probably going to happen while you’re driving, no matter how tight it was when you started.

Windy weather can play havoc on your kayaks, so pulling over to check will help you see if everything is still okay.

Walk around the car and give the kayaks a shake test to ensure the front and rear straps are still good to go. If everything is good, you can carry on your journey. 

How Do You Transport Two Tandem Kayaks?

Many people wonder if the process for transporting two tandem kayaks works any differently, but luckily, there’s no difference.

The biggest problem you’ll have is getting the kayak on the car roof rack due to the extra weight. You should watch out that the kayaks are centralized and have an equal amount sticking out of either side.

Another thing you should check out is the restrictions for having overhanging items on your car; you don’t want to get pulled over. 

Key Insights & Takeaways

I hope this article has helped teach you how to strap two kayaks to a roof rack.

If you follow the guidelines laid out above, you’ll have no issues transporting two kayaks wherever your need to go.

As you can see, it’s not much different than strapping one kayak to your roof; you just need to make sure the spacing between the kayaks is there.

The most important thing to remember is to make sure the kayaks are secure before moving. Give them a wobble test to see how secure they are, and after 15 minutes of driving, pull over and check again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Stack 2 Kayaks On Top Of Each Other?

It has been known, and while many people think it’s safe to do so, I personally wouldn’t unless it’s my only option. That said, it’s not uncommon at all to see two or more kayaks stacked on top of each other.

How Do You Tie Down Two Kayaks Without A Roof Rack?

So, you haven’t got a roof rack, but you still need to transport your kayak. Well, you have the option of putting your seats down and trying to fit it in the back, but that’s only good if you have a long car.

If you want to put it on your roof, you can place down some pool noodles to protect the roof and then strap it down through the rear window. You can check out our article about how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack here.

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Hey, my name's Jason, and before I was a writer, I worked as an outdoor activity instructor where I took groups kayaking and camping. Now I use my personal experiences to share tips and tricks I've learned over the years. For as long as I can remember, I've been passionate about the outdoors, and now I want to share that passion with my readers.