One of the best things about having a kayak is that you can go with it wherever your adventures take you. Kayaks are small and light enough to carry with your car–you don’t need to own a truck.
While owning a kayak makes it easy to travel and explore secluded areas, sometimes the details of how to transport it can take time to figure out. It gets trickier when you have multiple kayaks to carry.
For instance, how do you transport 4 kayaks in one vehicle? Maybe you’re going on a multi-day trip with your friends or family and can only take one vehicle.
Fortunately, transporting multiple kayaks isn’t that complicated. Here’s everything you need to know.
How Do You Safely Transport Multiple Kayaks?
Safety should be your first priority when transporting kayaks – yours and that of other road users. You also want the kayaks to get to your destination in one piece.
The safest way is by carrying the kayaks on the roof of your car. With the right equipment and proper technique, you’ll have enough room for multiple kayaks. And you won’t have to worry about them flying off the car roof and causing you problems.
Can You Stack Kayaks on Top of Each Other for Transport?
Yes, you can stack kayaks on top of each other while transporting them but, I don’t recommend it. It’s easy to damage your kayaks while on the road. Some manufacturers also discourage it, and it can void your kayak’s warranty.
If you decide to do it anyway, contact the manufacturer and ask whether it will affect the warranty. Then place enough padding between the kayaks, the bottom kayak, and the roof rack. You can use pool noodles for this.
However, there are better ways to transport multiple kayaks than stacking them.
How Many Kayaks Can You Fit on a Roof?
This depends on the size of your kayaks and how you will arrange them on your car roof. For safety reasons, I’d say about four kayaks.
You can fit more on most cars, especially if they’re small kayaks. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when traveling long distances.
How to Transport 4 Kayaks in a Truck Bed
One of the key benefits of having a truck is the ease of transporting larger and heavier things–like kayaks.
The most common and easiest way, preferred by most kayakers, is on the truck bed. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to lift your kayak all the way to the roof. This is a relief for anyone with a heavy kayak.
Arrange the kayaks, so they’re on their sides, allowing you to fit more kayaks. Get good quality, solid tie-downs to secure your yaks so they don’t slide around while driving.
With longer kayaks, especially ones for kayak fishing and kayak racing, you may need a bed extender.
Another great option for transporting four kayaks using your truck is to have one kayak or two on the truck bed and the rest on the roof. This will leave you with some bed space for other things. If you’re going on a long trip you’ll definitely be bringing more than just kayaks.
How to Transport Four Kayaks on a Truck Rack
The above roof option may not be practical for a single-cab pickup truck. In that case, you should consider a kayak truck rack. You can have all four kayaks on the truck rack and leave the bed free for other items.
Besides, truck racks tend to have a higher weight capacity and are ideal for heavier kayaks.
Check out this video to see how that would work.
How to Carry 4 Kayaks on a Roof Rack
Even without a truck, it’s still possible to transport up to four kayaks on your car roof. You’ll need to get a vertical carrier like the Thule Stacker which is designed to carry multiple kayaks.
Vertical carriers attach to your car’s cross bars, then you place your kayaks side by side and secure them using cam straps This allows you to carry more kayaks together without stacking them on top of each other.
The main downside with this option is that it’s not the easiest one. Having to lift four kayaks and arrange them on the roof is a challenging task.
However, it’s safe and you won’t have to worry about the kayaks getting dented or deformed.
Transporting Four Kayaks Using a Trailer
A kayak trailer is a fantastic choice if you don’t like the idea of lifting four kayaks to your car’s roof. Loading and unloading your kayaks will be much less cumbersome, especially if you have heavy kayaks.
Speaking of heavy, kayak trailers also tend to have a high weight capacity. Some kayaks, like fishing kayaks, can be heavy and you’ll need something that can accommodate their weight.
The one thing that people don’t like about trailers is that they make driving harder. They are more suited for shorter distances.
Transporting four kayaks using one vehicle doesn’t have to be a pain or end in disaster.
If you have a truck, the truck bed is perfect to line the kayaks side by side. Another option is to have the kayaks on a truck rack and leave the bed free to carry other things (but remember to get an extender if your kayaks are really long).
On a car, a sturdy stacker will work well. It may be challenging to get four kayaks onto the car roof and line them up, but it’s a tried and tested method that will give you peace of mind.
A trailer may be more suited when transporting multiple kayaks over shorter distances. The good thing about kayak trailers is that they’re low, and even one person can load and unload the kayaks.