Kayaking – Loading the Kayak on Car Top

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 37,124
    L.L.Bean kayaking expert and registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide Kevin Hinds shows you how to load your gear on top of your car for a kayaking trip.

    Kevin Hinds: I'm Kevin Hinds. I'm a registered Maine sea kayak guide; I work for LL Bean's Outdoor Discovery School. Today, we're going to talk a little bit about recreational kayaking and how to load your kayak on to your car. So the first thing you need to think about is what type of vehicle you have; does it already come with racks that are on the vehicle or do you need to install racks like a Thule system which would be a customized fit kit to each vehicles so then you have load bars that you can put the kayak onto. When considering your rack, there're a lot of options to get the kayak onto the car. There are foam blocks which is a nice and expensive option; there is also J-Cradle which is more of a vertical orientation and sets the kayak right into there. There're also hydraulic systems now that bring the kayak from lowdown right up on to the roof. So you have a lot of options to make it easy for you. After you figure out which rack is correct for you, you need tie-down straps. In a lot of the racks what's nice is you'll get some bumpers or cushioning that'll help pad the kayak so it won't bend the hull. I've seen a lot of times people walk away with the kayak, or tie it down to the roof so tightly and improperly that it will literally bend the hull on a hot day and that's something you don't want to do. Ahead of time, you want to put on the hull straps over the Thule bars and get them prepared so they are ready to go. When you're lifting and carrying kayaks, getting ready to bring it onto the roof of the car, see if you can work with somebody else. Two people are always better than one; it will keep you kayaking longer and you'll enjoy it much more. When you're lifting kayaks, you always want to use your legs, keeping your back nice and straight and also use voice command, so the other person knows what they're doing with you. Today, we're going to be actually using a Thule bar system and we'll be actually turning the kayak upside down and place it on the bars. Next we're going to talk about getting that kayak onto the roof and tying it down properly. You're going to need two tie-down straps over the hull of the kayak and also one on the bow and stern of the boat. With the different mounting systems, put the kayak onto the roof of your car; make sure you learn how to properly use them. Wherever you purchase them, talk to the retailer and find out properly how they should even be able to show you. With all those steps, now you should know how to load your kayak safely onto your car and arrive at your destination.