FAQ: How To Transport Canoes & Kayaks?


Cornwall Canoes T4 Roof Rack Loaded up ready to go kayaking

 

Our stores are all THULE specialists - we've been selling THULE roof racks for many years. THULE roof racks are tested to the highest standards to ensure that your roof rack is safe and secure. We do not sell or recommend universal or budget roof racks.

There are numerous methods of transporting canoes & kayaks on roofracks often combining with other items such as bikes and roofboxes. The following methods are what we would do if loading our own vehicles.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Always check the weight capacity of your vehicle's roof as specified by the vehicle manufacturer AND the weight capacity stated by the roof rack manufacturer. Use the lower of the two weight limits.

 

Some Important Do's

1. Do use a high quality roof rack - THULE are the brand we use on all our vehicles.
2. Do use high quality straps to secure your canoe/kayak to the roof rack.
3. Do check your straps for wear and tear and replace when necessary (they won't last forever).
4. Do check your roofrack is securely fitted.
5. Do use some pads between your kayak and bars (not necessary if you have WingBars with rubber strips).

Some Important Don'ts

1. Don't overload your roofrack.
2. Don't forget to check your overall height - you may not fit under some height barriers.
3. Don't use bungee straps.
4. Don't use blue nylon rope as a form of lashing the kayak to your roof rack.
5. Don't use wooden planks as roof bars.
6. Don't use J-Cradle style carriers for Large Canoes & Kayaks such as a Tandem Sit on Top.

Transporting One Kayak

A single Kayak or Canoe can be easily transported using a standard roof rack for your vehicle. Included below are some examples of correctly transporting different styles of kayak. Remember when using standard bars to use padding to protect the kayak.


Transporting a Tandem Sit on Top on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Tandem Sit-On-Top
Here is a Feelfree Gemini Sport loaded flat on standard roof bars (upside down to protect hull shape of the kayak).

Transporting a Tandem open top kayak on Thule HydroGlide Carriers

Transporting a Tandem Open Top Kayak
Here is a Perception Vista loaded on a set of Thule HydroGlides, making it easy to load the kayak and to protect the hull shape during transit.

 

Transporting Multiple Kayaks

Generally, multiple kayaks will not fit side by side unless they are loaded on their edge using a kayak rack. There are a wide range of kayak racks available - the choice of rack depends on your kayak size/shape, type of roof bars used and price range.

Here are a selection of examples demonstrating the loading of multiple kayaks on your vehicles roof rack:

 

Transporting Two Sit-Ons with Thule Folding Uprights

The 520-1 Kayak Stacker from Thule offers a simple solution for transporting multiple kayaks on a vehicles roof rack. Compatible with both standard and aerodynamic Thule bars, the Kayak Stacker allows multiple kayaks to be transported upright, side-by-side on the roof.

  • Two Nomad Sports Transported using the Thule Kayak Stacker

     

    Two Nomad Sport single Sit-On-Tops can be easily transported on the standard roof rack of your vehicle with the help of Thule's Kayak Stackers.

  • Loading using a Thule Kayak Stacker - 520-1

     

    We recommend threading your straps through the Kayak Stackers before lifting kayaks on to the roof. This makes securing them a simpler task.

  • Front View of Thule Kayak Stacker in use

     

    Each Kayak is strapped individually on either side of the Kayak Stacker. This is to ensure the kayaks are correctly secured when in transit.

 

Transporting Two Kayaks Upright and on Edge

Multiple Kayaks can be easily transported using a standard roof rack for your vehicle with the help of a Thule Watersports Carrier. Included below are some examples of correctly transporting kayaks when using both flat on the bar and on edge methods.


Transporting two sit-on-top kayaks on a standard roof rack with a Thule J-Bar

Transporting 2 Single Sit-ons with a Thule Hull-a-Port Pro
Shown above are two Feelfree Nomad Sports loaded on a standard roof bar. The first is upside down flat on the bars to protect the hull shape of the kayak. The second is on edge using a Thule Hull-a-Port Pro to cradle the kayak.

Transporting a Tandem and Single Sit-on-Top on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Single & Tandem Sit-on-Top Kayak using an Upright Bar
With the help of an Upright Bar a Single Sit-On-Top can be transported on edge, which leaves space on the other side of the rack to load a tandem sit-on upside down flat on the bars to protect the hull shape of the kayak.

 

Transporting a Canadian Canoe

The simplest method of transporting a canadian canoe is to carry it upside down on it's gunwales and secured with a pair of roof rack straps. To make transporting your canoe even more secure, we recommend using Thule's Canoe Portage Carrier which includes side stops to asist when loading the canoe on your vehicle.

Here are some examples for correctly loading a Canadian Canoe on your vehicles roof rack:

 

Transporting a Canadian Canoe on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Canadian Canoe
Here is a Nova Craft Canoes Bob Special loaded flat on standard roof bars (upside down on it's gunwales to protect the hull).

Front view of a Canadian Canoe on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Canadian Canoe (Front View)
Shown above is the front view of a Nova Craft Canoes Bob Special correctly loaded on a standard vehicle roof rack.

 

Transporting a Kayak and Roof Box

Upright Bars and Watersports Carriers don't just have to be used when looking to transport multiple kayaks. Using this style of carrier can also free up extra space on a roof rack to allow the fitting of an additional Roof Box.

Included below is an example for correctly loading a Kayak and a Roof Box on your vehicles roof rack:

 

Transporting a Kayak and Roof Box on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Kayak & Roof Box
Shown above, with the help of a Thule Hull-A-Port Pro, is a sea kayak comfortably on edge next to a roof box.

Front view of a Kayak and Roof Box on a standard roof rack

Transporting a Kayak & Roof Box (Front View)
Here is front view of the standard rack with roof box and kayak loaded. Demonstrating the space required and how it's all secured correctly.

 

Roof Rack Loading Systems

We can supply a wide range of Thule loading systems to make transporting your canoes & kayaks a much simpler process. Here are some examples of the latest innovative Thule systems available to make loading your roof rack easy:

 

Thule Hullavator Pro

Lift Assisted Kayak Carrier
Thanks to its gas-assisted struts that lift and lower 18kg of your kayak's weight, the Thule 898 Hullavator Pro offers the easiest way to load a kayak on to your cars roof.

With its extended lowering arms, there is no need to stretch up and struggle to reach your kayak when loading any more. With the Hullavator Pro, your kayak can be lowered by up to 1 metre to allow for waist high loading.

Kayak Transport made simple with the Thule Hullavator

 

 

  • Thule Slide Bars

    Extendable Roof Bars for Easy Loading
    The latest roof bar design to come out of Thule, the Slide Bars as the name suggests can slide out either side of your vehicle by up to 60cm.

    This protects your car from scratches, from clothing/belts, provides a much safer lift for your back and allows you to access the entire roof rack.

  • Kayak Loading made easy with Thule's Slide Bars
  • Kayak Loading made easy with Thule's Slide Bars - Rear View

 

Protect Your Kayak From Theft

Unfortunately canoes and kayaks left on car roof racks can be targetted by opportunist theives. We recommend you use a Rack Guard security cable or Lockable Roofrack Straps to secure your kayak(s) to your vehicle.

 

  • Securing your Kayaks with Thule Lockable Roof Rack Straps

     

    Thule Lockable Straps

    With a lockable buckle to prevent removal and with straps that contain highly durable steel core, the Thule Lockable roof rack straps are an excellent accessory to prevent the theft of your kayak.

  • How a Rack Guard can save your Boat!

     

    Keeping Your Boats Safe

    Theives can strike at any time! Luckily staff from our Manchester store used their rack guard when kayaks were left on the van overnight. The theives only managed to make off with some straps rather than the expensive boat they were holding on!