How Do I Lock a Kayak to My Roof?

How Do I Lock a Kayak to My Roof?
You can lock a kayak to a car with or without a kayak carrier, in which case you would utilize foam to protect your vehicle while securing the kayak for safe storage. Locking a kayak to a car also offers an effective way to free up space, especially if you are planning a week of hiking, camping and kayaking and have other equipment on site. It is always best to move a kayak away from ground level when it is not in use, which helps prevent accidental damage.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Foam or roof carrier
  • Cable cords with lock system
Step 1
Protect the roof of your car using a sheet of foam. Pad the roof with foam to guard against scratching and other surface damage as you set the kayak gently on the roof of your car. Purchase foam at a local hardware store or online retailer. Size it according to the length and width of the roof of your vehicle.
Step 2
Turn the kayak upside down and lift it onto the roof of your car, placing it atop the foam padding. Set the kayak down so it lays top to bottom, meaning it will be parallel to your car. If you own a kayak carrier, set the kayak inside the saddles or j-cradles according to the manufacturer's instructions in your owner's manual.
Step 3
Tie down the kayak using nylon straps or cables that feature a lock system. In most cases, you'll need a 13-foot strap or cable. Lay the straps or cables across either end of the kayak. The rack or roof you use will determine how much space you have to wrap each end. Fasten the straps or cables according to manufacturer instructions. For example, you may press the lock down or slide a lever forward to engage the lock.
Step 4
Secure the front of the kayak using a rope, which you must rope around the front grab handle of the kayak. Secure the boat under the front bumper of your car. Repeat for the back grab handle, which will fasten to the back bumper.
Step 5
Test the straps and rope. Tug on the front and rear ends of the kayak to check for movement; there should be none.

Tips & Warnings

Cables with a lock feature are available online and at boat stores.
To complete this task, you must lift a kayak above your head.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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