How To Lock A Kayak To A Roof Rack - Expert Explain

How To Lock A Kayak To A Roof Rack – Expert Guide

How To Lock A Kayak To A Roof Rack? Imagine your new kayak being stolen for not being appropriately locked! An unlocked kayak can be quite appalling to thieves. That is why it is important to keep it locked and safe from thieves.

You can easily fold an inflatable kayak and put it in your backseat. But locking a hard shell kayak can be a bit challenging. You always need to be alert about your kayak’s safety. And to ensure it, you have to follow some steps.

In this article, we will enlighten you on how to lock a kayak to a roof rack. At the end of this article, you will know enough to keep your kayak safe.

Why you should lock a Kayak to a Roof Rack

Keeping the kayak inside your house or in the garage is arguably the safest. But everyone does not have a spacious garage. Moreover, a hard shell kayak is not feasible to be kept indoors.

While going to a kayaking adventure somewhere far, you will most likely carry it on your car roof. When you stop by at a hotel to sleep, you will leave your kayak on the car. It is vital to ensure that your kayak is secure on the roof rack when you hit the road.

Hence you should know how to place the kayak on rack properly and lock it. You do not want to ruin your trip worrying about leaving your kayak unattended.

How To Transport A Kayak Without A Rack

Keep your Kayak Secured on the Road

When you place a kayak on a roof rack, simply tying some knots are not enough. Owning a pretty vehicle like a kayak comes with its responsibilities.

Starting from placing the kayak on your roof rack to locking it up, you need to follow a fixed set of steps. Otherwise, you may end up hurting yourself or damaging your expensive vessel.

Firstly get yourself a roof rack engineered for all weather conditions. Make sure that loading and unloading a kayak from the rack is a breeze. Keep an eye on the product material as well. You will be using the rack on every paddling trip. You can use camp straps or a combination lock to tie the kayak to the roof rack.

How to place a Kayak on a Vehicle

Carrying a kayak with two people is pretty simple. Each person will grab an end of the kayak with a grab handle and face the same direction.

If you are solo, wear your PFD to add padding in your shoulder. Face the left side of the kayak, squat down and grab the edge of the cockpit closest to you with both hands. Pull the edge up to your thighs, grab the inside with your right arm and lift the kayak on your right shoulder. Find a balanced position and move towards your car. Always make sure to bend your knees and keep your back straight.

If the kayak is too tough to carry on your own, you can always use a cart with wheels.

Position the kayak at the center between the crossbars of your car. The proper position usually depends on the shape of your rack.

How to tie down a kayak

After placing the kayak, you need to know how to lock a kayak to a roof rack. You can use cam straps to hold your kayak down securely. You will require two twelve feet or longer cam straps.

Using the cam strap position the buckle to the side of one of the crossbars. Afterwards toss the other end towards your kayak.

Walking towards the other side of your car, take the strap and wind it underneath the crossbar. Move towards the first side again and repeat the process. After the loop has been strapped into the camp buckle, girth it. Remember to place the strap to the inside, where the crossbar attaches the vehicle. Go through the same process with the next crossbar.

Fasten both the straps tightly. Shake the kayak sideways to ensure its security. Avoid doing complicated knots. It will consume time while unloading the kayak.

Use a Combination Lock

how to lock a kayak to a roof rack

You can also use a combination lock to tie and secure your kayak on the roof rack or trailer. Always remember to set up a unique combination. Try purchasing a lock which will look complicated to the thieves.

Slide each lasso around the bow and stern of your kayak. Pull the lassos at the middle section of the kayak to tighten the lock. 

Insert the combination lock, and your kayak is all safe and sound.

In case of a sit on top kayak, you can thread the cable lock through the scupper plug holes. After unloading the kayak, remember to keep the plugs inside the car.

Get your kayak insured

Sometimes things can go wrong no matter what precautions you take. So we advise you to get your kayak insured.

There are insurances available for non-motorized boats. These insurance cover potential damages and theft for kayaks, small boats and canoes.

Always Remember and Hide your Hull Identification Number

Every kayak is issued with a Hull Identification Number or HIN. It helps the police track down stolen kayaks. The number is usually etched somewhere near the stern.

However, thieves may remove the number. So go a step ahead, write down the number in a diary and etch the number somewhere else on the vehicle.


Kayaking is an exhilarating experience for everyone. Kayaks are expensive, but purchasing a good quality one is a pretty good investment.

You do not want someone to take benefit from your investment using unscrupulous means. Hence learning how to lock a kayak to a roof rack is a particularly useful skill.

On your next paddle trip, make sure to place the kayak and lock it properly on your roof rack. It will protect your recreational vehicle from thieves, damages, warping and other issues.

So stay relieved and enjoy the feeling of floating a few inches above the water. Happy kayaking!

2 thoughts on “How To Lock A Kayak To A Roof Rack – Expert Guide”

  1. Pingback: How to Load Kayak on J Rack by Yourself - Globo Guide Kayaks

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