How Fast Can You Drive With A Kayak On The Car Roof?

One of the fundamental rules for transporting kayaks on a car roof is that the driver must drive at a reasonable pace. How fast you can drive with a kayak on your car rooftop can be a difficult question to answer because it depends on the type of car and how long you will be driving (not necessarily, though)

How fast can you drive with a Kayak on your car rooftop?

You can drive at the same speed, 60-90mph, without a kayak on your roof, as long as your kayak is properly secured before hitting the road. But once you’ve done that, you can enjoy a leisurely drive with your kayak in tow. Just be sure to take it easy on the turns and braking!

For me, though, I try to drive the car up to above 80mph and see what happens. Most times I tone it down to 60mph, and I am very comfortable driving my car with a Kayak on top of the roof. You can try it out and see if this works for you.

You should also note that the slower you drive, the more your vehicle consumes gas. So, get your wallet ready and available to buy fuel when driving with a Kayak on your car roof.

Let me know when you do that, okay?

So, I usually tell people who ask, as I would say for packing anything on your car rooftop, that the faster you go, the faster things can go wrong.

When driving with a Kayak on your rooftop, you want to make sure you are taking your time and glancing up now and then at your kayaks to make sure they have still pointed straight ahead and not bouncing.

As the popular saying goes “it is better safe than sorry”, so to prevent stories that touch the heart, you want to make sure you are taking your time when under load.

How fast you drive with a Kayak on your car rooftop depends on the number of Kayaks in question and the Vehicle being used.

If you have considered kayaking, you should be more concerned about how you will haul and transport your kayak. This also brings the thoughts of how fast you should drive when you have a Kayak on your car rooftop.

Before you even purchase your boat, you need to consider how to transport your Kayak. And to spell it out here, transporting a kayak is not difficult.

When we talk about how fast you can drive with a kayak on the car roof, we would also want to consider the vehicle involved. Transporting any Kayak can be right with just about any vehicle, but some rack systems will be better options than others.

Overall, you can drive with a kayak on your roof without any problems, as long as you take some basic safety precautions. Just be sure to go slow and cautious when driving in windy conditions. With a bit of care, you’ll be able to enjoy a hassle-free drive with your kayak in tow. Thanks for reading!

What you need to consider before driving with a Kayak on the car rooftop

Some essentials are worth considering before putting a kayak on the top of your car. These things can be said to be the factors to consider before driving with a Kayak on the top of your vehicle.

  • The kayak’s weight can affect how your vehicle handles. For example, if you have a heavy kayak, it may be more difficult for your car to stay stable and balanced when going at high speeds. This could cause your car to swerve or drift, making it harder for you to control the vehicle.
  • A kayak on your roof will increase your car’s wind resistance, which can make it harder to drive in high winds.
  • If you cannot properly secure your kayak on the top of your vehicle, you should not consider driving a car that has on its rooftop.
  • You will need a bow and stern lines – one line for the bow and one for the stern, depending on your boat’s length and vehicle.
  • A non-stretch, water-resistant rope is essential to make this work easy.
  • You will also need to consider having crossbars that will run across the roof of your car. They run front to back on your car to help in the holding strength of the Kayak while you drive.
  • There are also some specific kayak rack systems you need to consider using before you can drive a car with Kayak on its top line.
  • You will also need Cam straps as they will help significantly in quickly and securely holding your kayak down. Consider having two straps 12 feet long or longer.

When you can get all these ready to secure your Kayak, you are ready to drive the vehicle with a Kayak on its rooftop.

Should I transport my kayak upside down?

If you have a composite kayak, the best way to transport it will be to use cradles to prevent deformation, and it should be transported on its bottom. However, using a crossbar roof rack for your vehicle is the best method of transporting a kayak.

When you want to tie down a kayak on the top of your vehicle, you might be worried about first hauling it and the easy way to go about it. Some people do not believe they can do it alone so they call for helping hands.

This brings us to the best way to haul a Kayak.

How can you haul a kayak?

So I will show you how you can load a kayak either by yourself or with the help of someone.

If you have the muscles and height to lift a kayak onto their car by yourself, these are the tips you would want to follow to make the process a lot easier. Here are some guidelines for solo loading your kayak to your car roof.

Hauling a kayak alone

Let me start by using the instance where you have kayak racks with integrated lift systems that make loading the boat simple.

These racks are super helpful when putting it up to the top of your vehicle as they typically slide from the top of your vehicle down to the side.

Too much energy is not required to lift your kayak as high. Not everyone has them because they can be expensive, but they are effective.

As another alternative, you can get rolling wheels. With racks that incorporate rolling wheels, you will be able to set the boat’s bow into the rear rack cradle.

After that, you only need to pick up the stern end and roll the kayak forward into the front cradle. Most people find this one more helpful because of its integrated lift systems, plus it is a cost-effective racks option.

You can choose to use a towel or blanket. This one is a low-tech method that may not require you to spend on anything.

When hauling the kayak, all you need to know is to place a towel or blanket on top of the rear of your vehicle and then set the bow of the boat on the towel or blanket. Then, push the boat up and forward onto the rack. Very simple.

Hauling a Kayak with a help

Even when there are two people, you will need these tips to make the process easier and faster. The process will require two people, especially when you use the crossbars and rack/padding installed.

Let one person stay at one end and the other at a second end while you grab handles and position them next to and parallel to your vehicle, carrying it with the bow toward the front of the car, the both of you should grab the kayak at each end by the hull and lift the boat overhead.

As the boat is overhead, be sure to place it such that it is directly above the rack; when setting it down, make sure you do it gently.

Are bow and stern straps necessary to secure your kayak to your roof?

One underlying rule for transporting a Kayak on the top of your vehicle is always to use a bow and stern lines. So to answer your question, yes, it is necessary to secure your Kayak to the car roof with a bow and stern straps (See an example here).

The use and function of Bow and Stern lines are to keep your kayak from turning into an airplane wing. I am sure you have contemplated transporting a kayak on your car rooftop because you must have seen kayaks on cars bouncing up and down.

You should know that kayak is hydro-dynamically designed to move through the water efficiently. This also does not define too differently from aerodynamics.

In other words, your Kayak wants to give in to the force of driving at highway speeds combined with any wind that may be blowing.

This is where the bow and stern straps come in handy. You want to make sure that they are carefully secured so that you do not wind up bending or cracking your kayak. You can only release the pressure and let the lines go slack when you are not driving.

Final Words

How Fast Can You Drive With A Kayak On The Car Roof?

So, we have come to the end of this post, and I want to believe you now know how fast you can drive and how fast you should drive when you have a Kayak on the top of your vehicle.

If you have any other questions on securing a Kayak on the top of your vehicle, do not hesitate to share them in the comment section below.

1 thought on “How Fast Can You Drive With A Kayak On The Car Roof?”

  1. I have a 12 ft 50 lb kayak. I never use bow and stern lines and I’ve been on 20 min highway rides going 100-110kmh. Recently we had 120kmh winds and it did shift but it stayed put.

    It’s strapped to my roof with a Sport Rack removable carry system…hard foam blocks around metal rods. Ratchet straps through the rods. Cam straps around the rods and over the kayak. Excess rope crossed over kayak again and tied off at centre.

    I think knowing a few knots is also very important, a truckers hitch will go along way.


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