How to Load A Kayak onto an SUV

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 12, 2022

February 12, 2022

Whether you have a large SUV or even a smaller one, loading your kayak onto it can be not easy. Wait, No Longer! That is In the past; this was something that considered impossible by many people. However, transporting your kayak on your SUV makes things much easier when you got to take it from one place to another.

Quick & Easy:

The first thing that should always be done is to get a roof rack for your vehicle. If you have an SUV that already has enough points on the top of it where you could attach something like this, then that can save money instead of buying them separately.

So that you can load a kayak onto a roof rack is by using foam blocks. You can either buy blocks specifically designed for this purpose, or you can make your own out of padding or pool noodles. If you choose to make your own blocks, make sure they are thick enough so that the kayak does not bounce around on the roof rack during transport. Finally, you can also use ropes and ratchet straps to secure the kayak to the top of your vehicle. Always make sure that every strap is locked in securely before going anywhere with your kayak attached like this.

Kayaks on SUV

Right & Safest Techniques:


Crossbars: Crossbars are used to transport a kayak because they help distribute the weight of the kayak evenly across the car’s roof. Those come with spots to securely tie down the kayak with extra stability for transport, and it expands the width of the car roof. This prevents any scratches or dents that could occur to the car and makes it easier to transport the kayak. Additionally, crossbars can be used to attach accessories, such as a roof rack, bike carrier, or cargo box.

Padding: Paddings play an important role in transporting a kayak. They protect the kayak from scratches and dents, and they also keep the kayak stable by absorbing the shocks during transport. There are many different types of paddings available, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some paddings are made from foam, while others are made from neoprene or nylon. Foam paddings are cheaper but less durable than neoprene or nylon paddings. Neoprene paddings are more expensive but more durable than foam paddings.

 transport a kayak

Cam Straps: Cam straps are used to secure a kayak to a vehicle for transportation. They are often used in place of rope because they are less likely to damage the kayak. The straps go around the kayak and then through the crossbars and sometimes the vehicle’s doorframe or window frame and are tightened down. This secures the kayak in place and prevents it from slipping or shifting during transport. Typically, cam straps will come in a variety of colours and lengths. It’s important to select the proper length strap so that it is not too loose or too tight. Otherwise, it could cause damage to both the kayak and the vehicle.

Bow & Stern Tie-Down: The primary use of a bow and stern tie-down is to keep your kayak from moving around in the truck while you’re driving. If your kayak moves, it can shift and rub against the sides of the car, which can damage it. Another use for bow and stern tie-downs is to help secure the kayak if you have to make a quick stop. If you’re on a busy street and have to hit the brakes hard, the kayak might move forward and hit the windshield or dashboard. If it’s tied down securely, it will stay in place.

J Racks: J-Racks are often used to transport kayaks because they are a versatile option that can work with a variety of vehicles. They are also great for transporting multiple kayaks at once, which can be helpful if you have a larger fleet or if you plan on taking your kayaks out on the water frequently. Additionally, J-Racks provide solid support for your kayaks and help to keep them from moving around during transport, which can help to prevent damage.

Loading Steps:

Loading Steps

01. Fix the padding blocks to the centre of the crossbars.

02. Option 01: Lift the kayak into the place with the help of someone else.

Option 02: If you are going solo, first put a blanket/towel to the back of the car above the rear windscreen, then lift the bow of the kayak onto the back of the car.

Then lift the kayak from the stern and slide it into place.

Option 03: You could use a sliding bar/wheels that can be fixed to the rear windscreen of your car by air suction cups. First, lift the bow just like in option 02, then the stern and slide it into place.

03. However, Make sure the boat is centred over the racks and on the paddings.

04. Hold your cam buckle and throw the end of the strap over the kayak.

05. Wrap the straps around your kayak and the rack in a proper manner the kayak does not slide away.

06. Give the strap a little twist to avoid humming in the wind. Then thread it into the buckle and tighten it by pulling towards you.

07. Check the kayak to make sure it won’t move around.

08. To secure the stern, tie aligned to the end of the kayak and run it to a tie-down point near the rear bumper.

09. To secure the bow, tie aligned to the beginning of the kayak and run it to a tie-down point near the front bumper.

Visual Guide:

TIP: When unloading, please follow the same steps in reverse.

Do’s & Don’ts in General:

Do's & Don'ts in General


  • Do not forget to always check the weather condition before going anyplace important, and make sure it is a smooth ride there.
  • Always make sure to purchase good-quality straps and bungee cords as safety comes first.
  • Do not go to tie up unnecessarily because it could make you difficult to release once you reach your destination. Also, it could damage the hull.


  •  Do not reach out to speed which could cause you to take sudden brakes.
  • Do not forget that you are carrying large equipment that could cause serious damage to yourself or especially to people or vehicles around you. So, you should always keep your focus on the road.
  • Never try to lift your kayak other than using the 03 options we recommended to you in the above steps. Your hurry could make it worse by ending up damaging your kayak or the vehicle.

01. Is it possible to transport a Kayak inside an SUV?

It is possible to transport a kayak inside an SUV, but it depends on the size of your vehicle and the kayak. If you have a large SUV, such as a Chevy Suburban, then it should be no problem to fit a kayak inside. However, if you have a smaller SUV or sedan, then it may be difficult to fit the kayak in without taking apart the kayak or removing the seats from your car.

In any case, we recommend that you consult with the manufacturer of your vehicle or kayak beforehand to see what is possible. And always use caution when transporting a large and unwieldy object like a kayak, making sure that it is securely fastened so that it doesn’t move and become a dangerous projectile.

02. Is it legal to drive with the trunk open?

There’s no universal answer to this question since it can depend on the specific laws of each state. In some states, it might be legal to drive with the trunk open as long as there is a reasonable way for the driver to see out of the back window. But in other states, it might be illegal to drive with the trunk open under any circumstances. However, since you intend to transport a kayak or some other package, it can obstruct your vision while driving.

So it’s best to check with your local DMV or law enforcement agency to find out what the specific rules are in your area. And if you’re ever unsure about whether or not you’re breaking the law, it’s always best to play it safe and close your trunk before driving.

03. What is the zero-cost way to transport a Kayak on top of an SUV?

Only for a very short distance where you don’t meet a single obstacle ahead. There is one way to transport a kayak on top of an SUV without any cost to use some ropes, bungee cords, pieces of regiform, and some paddings. Simply tie the kayak to the roof of the car, and you’re good to go.

04. How fast can you drive on a Kayak roof?

It depends on the car. Some allow for speeds of up to 75 mph, but kayaks are often designed only to withstand speeds of around 50 mph. Going too fast can create a lot of wind resistance and turbulence, which can cause the kayaks to fly off the roof or even flip over the car. Also, Taking curves too quickly or travelling over bumps or potholes can cause the kayak to move around and potentially fall off the car. Driving too slowly can also be dangerous, as it may cause other drivers to lose patience and pass you dangerously. The best approach is usually to find a happy medium between these two extremes.

05. How to pick the right kayak for my SUV?

There are a few things you’ll need to consider when picking the right kayak for your SUV. For example, you’ll need to think about the weight of the kayak, as well as its dimensions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all SUVs are created equal. So you’ll also need to consider your vehicle’s height and width. In general, you’ll want to pick a kayak that’s shorter and narrower than your SUV.

That said, it’s always a good idea to consult with a Kayak expert before making your purchase. They can help you find the perfect kayak for your needs and ensure that you’re making a wise investment.

How to Load A Kayak onto an SUV
How to Load A Kayak onto an SUV

Read latest article about How to Get In & Get Out of a Kayak.

Related Articles

Related Articles


Stay Up to Date With The Latest News & Updates

Join Our Newsletter

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque

Follow Us

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque