transporting kayak

Hi all,


Our new place has a garage, so I'm planning on transporting my Ches 16 from my dad's woodshop to my garage so that I can work on it over the winter.  I don't have the hatch straps installed yet, and I'm wondering if its safe to transport without the hatches in place.  Will the wind-buffeting be an issue with those open space on deck?  I usually transport my kayaks hull-down...

I'll definitely be installing bow and stern hand-holds before transportation, so that I'll have something to tie my end-straps to.  

Am I worrying over nothing here?


11 replies:

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RE: transporting kayak

I have car topped wooden kayaks with the hatches off countless times with no problems.  It will be fine.  

RE: transporting kayak

I always carry my boats deck down (in case there's any rain or anything) but I've carried them plenty of times without the hatch covers in place.  It's a bit noisier that way, but other than that there have never been any issues.


RE: transporting kayak

I have always heard that it is better to carry your boat hull down.  It certainly keeps the scratches on the deck to a minimum.  

RE: transporting kayak

Thanks Casey, that's what I thought... just wanted the reassurance.  

I always have carried hull-down for the risk of scratching that you mentioned, and the fact that they make a lot less noise.  Frank, if you're worried about rain, a cockpit cover will keep it nice and dry in there.     

RE: transporting kayak

I'm researching all my options for transporting my Chesse 16 and want to make sure all my months of work doesn't blow away in the wind per say.  My first questions is; 1. Are the Thule bow and stern tie downs similar to regualar ratchet straps I find at any local harward store?  What are the advantages of using the Thule or Malone ties downs? 2.  I bought a pair of Thule J Racks which hold the kayak on it's side?  I bought them from a reputable kayak dealer who says he transports all his kayaks this way?  After reading the above, I am a little concerned.  I would like to keep my hatches in place, but then again, I dont want want to lose them.  Are the J racks designed only to hold the kayak with the hatches facing out or can I flip it the other way with the hull facing outside?  Any help?

RE: transporting kayak

I have been transporting my 17lt with the Thule J Racks and have had no problems with the hatch covers (I'm assuming you are using the three buckle hatch tie downs)coming lose even at freeway speeds.

The bow and stern tiedowns that come with the Thule racks are more of a rope tiedown but a regualar ratchet strap from a hardware store would work just fine.

I do wish I would have bought a rack that holds my kayak flat on the bottom so I could load it from the back of the vehicle. With a taller SUV like we have it's a little hard to load it from the side and I think it would also be a bit more stable.

RE: transporting kayak

I have been using the Thule folding J cradles. With the Sheawater I find I have to make sure the side of the hull is flat on the bottom of the cradle, unlike my plastic boat which was more secure with the bottom tight on the vertical part. This has been very secure with just the 2 straps around the hull, but for longer trips I will use the Thule bow and stern set up. I also have tethers on my hatch covers along with the bungie hold down. I think on a longer trip I will put  ratcheting straps around the boat at the hatches for peace of mind.

RE: transporting kayak

I routinely transport two kayaks hull down on my windstar.  Foam blocks on the standard rails,  rachet straps over one kayak, under rail, over other under rail on other side and then across both back to the start.  I use a rope to tie the bow toggles to the bumper.  one has hatches with the twist tabs and the other bungies,  70+ MPH, wind rain, never a problem. 

 Happy building / paddling, 


RE: transporting kayak

Thanks for all the responses.  My initial trip transporting the kayak was with foam blocks on the roof, and the boat did fine at those slow speeds (up to 45 mph).  Last week I had the kayak on the blocks (which were on my Thule racks) for the 5 hour trip up to Northern Lake Champlain.  I was planning to carve the seat and shape the hip/thigh/knee braces while at my fiance's parent's house.  At speeds of 60-65 mph, I was noticing a lot of shimmy in the bow of the boat, despite having straps to the racks and a bow and stern line.  I didn't want to crank the straps down any more then I already had them, and ended up turning around 30 minutes into the trip to deliver the kayak back home.  I figured my nerves would be shot after 5 hours of worry. 

That being said, I have a set of Thule J racks that I just need to get the mounting hardware for (Dan, Russ, feel free to chime in!!).  When I place these up against the kayak, only the sheer and the keel touch the foam.  Will that be enough contact to keep the boat perfectly steady?  The main issue I'm running up against is the fact that my Corolla has a relatively small roofline compared to the length of my Ches 16, and the racks only hit the kayak on either side of the cockpit... not ideal for stability.  Am I just being paranoid??


RE: transporting kayak

The folding Thule rack that I have is more of an L shape than a J so I am able to slide the boat down so that the side of the hull is flat on the rack. This  has proven to be very stable. I was not happy with the just the shear and keel contact.

I drive a Honda Fit, also with a short roof, and I slid the Thule bars fore and aft on the roof as far as I could. Hopefully the trip to Annapolis will be uneventful

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