FAQ: How To Transport Canoes & Kayaks?
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 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.
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 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 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:
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.
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.
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.