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

One of the indisputable 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 should drive between 60-90mph if you would be driving with a Kayak on the roof of your car. Although, driving at 60mph is perfect regardless of your vehicle type, you may want to take it a notch higher and get the speed up to 80-90mph. Your car may begin to vibrate a bit at this speed and this is where you need to exercise a little care.

For me though, I try to revv the car up to above 80mph and see what happens. Most times I tone it down to 75mph 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 you are driving with a Kayak at your car roof.

Let me know when you do that, okay?

So, what I usually tell people who ask, as I would say for packing anything on your car rooftop, is 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 however on the number of Kayaks in question and the Vehicle being used as well.

If you have considered kayaking, you should be more concerned about how you are going to 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 of 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 prove to be better options than others.

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.

  • If you are not able to properly secure your kayak on the top of your vehicle, then 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 the length of your boat and your vehicle.
  • A non-stretch, water-resistant rope is important 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 be able to drive a car with Kayak on its top line.
  • You will also need Cam straps as they will help greatly in quickly and securely holding your kayak down. Consider having two straps 12 feet long or longer.

When you can get all these ready for securing your Kayak, then 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 will be to use cradles to prevent deformation and should be transported on their 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 am going to 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, then 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 types of racks are super useful when trying to put it up to the top of your vehicle as they typically slide from the top of your vehicle down to the side.

With this, too much energy is not required to lift your kayak as high. Not everyone has them because it 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 simply set the bow of the boat 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.

All you need to know when hauling the kayak 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. 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. Especially when you make use of the crossbars and rack/padding installed the process will require two people.

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 to always 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 the reason why you have contemplated transporting a kayak on your car rooftop is that you must have seen kayaks on cars bouncing up and down.

One thing you should know is that kayak is hydro-dynamically designed, meaning to efficiently move through the water. 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. The only time you can release the pressure and let the lines go slack is 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, 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.

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