How To Put a Kayak on Roof Rack by Yourself [2022 Guide]

Lifting and loading kayak is one of the biggest concerns of someone who is about to enter the amazing world of kayaking.

A lot of both men and women ask me the question “how to put a kayak on roof rack by yourself”. The answer to that is, yes you can. A Inflatable kayak is not the heaviest thing in the world. Using the right technique you can pull it off with ease.

5 Steps to Put a Kayak on Roof Rack:

Step 1: Lifting and Carrying

Kayak can come in various shapes and sizes. Especially, tourist kayaks have way too many variations. They can vary from anywhere from 40 to 80 lbs.

Touring/sea kayaks can be much heavier than this. We don’t recommend carrying those alone.

The easiest way of carrying short kayaks is to grab them through the seat hole and carry on your shoulder. You can balance the kayak on the shoulder.

Try to carry it with your strong side.

Step 2: Dragging

If you have a plastic kayak. Then you can drag it through the woods without damaging it. But carry it over any pebbles or rocky area. Rocks can do serious damage to the kayak.

Step 3: Kayak Carts

Kayak carts are one of the best ways of carrying a kayak.

They are ideal for long-distance journeys. They are excellent for rocky areas too.

Kayak carts are two-wheeled attachment that helps you drag your kayak without carrying it. You need to attack the cart in the middle of the boat or at the end of the kayak. Then drag it from the front. As the kayak carts have a large ground clearance you don’t need to worry about any bumps at all.

A kayak cart can cost anywhere from 60 to $150. You can also make your own kayak cart. There are tons of video tutorials about how to build a kayak cart.

Step 4: Using a Roof Rack

Loading a kayak on the roof of a vehicle alone can be hard.

That’s why you can use a roof rack to carry the kayak on the vehicle roof reliably.

If your vehicle already has a roof rack installed, then you can purchase third-party clamps to help you secure the kayak on top of the roof. Basic tower racks are more powerful and reliable than factory racks. That’s why you should buy extra accessories to secure the kayak on the roof.

Step 5: J Cradles and Stackers

J shape cradles attach to the factory roof so that you don’t have to buy a tower rack. It is designed to hold the boat on the side of the vehicle roof. J cradles require you to carry the kayak over your head and place it on the rack.

You should get help from another person to carry the kayak on the roof. Sure, you can do it alone but another person’s help will make the process faster and efficient.

Slide the kayak onto your thighs, you need to keep your knees bent. Now lift the kayak over your head and place it on the cradle. All you have to do now is to tie the kayak in place.

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