UKH

Transporting sea kayaks

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 Greenbanks 01 Apr 2021

What’s the best (safest/cost efficient/hassle-free) way of transporting x2 Dag Tiwok sea kayaks (+ 150 miles)?

Cheers

 ScraggyGoat 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

If you are only doing it once or twice, pad out your roof rack bars (pipe lagging foam and gaffer tape is good), put the boats on upside down (decks are normally flatter than hulls and sit better, plus being upside down they can’t fill with water if it rains), then tie down on both bars with luggage straps.  Make sure the cockpit combing or hatch rim isn’t sitting on a bar.  For additional security run a rope from the bows to the front towing point and similar to the rear (doesn’t need to be tight, it’s a last resort to keep everything connected to the car) , Stick some dangling flags/ rags on the stern so that if you reverse you can see them and know how far behind they extend.  Check your hatch covers have retaining cords, if not consider removing for the journey, Check after a few miles.  Job done.  
 

But before you start read your car max roof load limit in your manual, some cars roof attachments points are little more than cosemetic.

if you intend to transport them regularly specialist cradles give costly peace of mind, but may not be the easiest to load, and cockpit covers are good not only to stop rain getting in but also to stop grit/pebbles getting out and potentially chipping other road users windscreens. 
 

Alternatively a cheaper option is to fashion mini cell foam blocks to sit on your bars and carve to match the hull shape so the boat fits better and the hull is evenly loaded, then tie down as above.

Post edited at 16:13
 chris_r 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

> What’s the best (safest/cost efficient/hassle-free) way of transporting x2 Dag Tiwok sea kayaks (+ 150 miles)?

By paddling?

 ScraggyGoat 01 Apr 2021
In reply to chris_r:

Yes, but with 4.4m length and a 60cm beam paddling may not meet the OPs most efficient criteria, better to drive them to the venue and then have some fun.

 Ceiriog Chris 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Surely unless you are lucky enough to live with launching  distance of the sea you  might as well just buy some cradles and be done with it,  

 LastBoyScout 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

ScraggyGoat pretty much covers it - good stuff.

With such long boats, tying the bows and sterns is definitely advisable, even if using dedicated carriers - there can be quite a bit of torque on the roof bars, either with cornering or side winds, which could cause damage or failure somewhere in the system. If you have roof rails, put the bars as far apart as you can. Some straps have bits of neoprene under the buckles, but easy to make if not.

Don't overtighten straps, there should be enough friction in there to grip and the shape of the hulls should stop any movement.

Make sure anything like air bags or foot blocks are secured inside the boats, or take them out and stow in the vehicle.

 RobAJones 01 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Just a couple of additions to Scraggygoats post. Even with cradles, I have  a rope from the from the bow to the front towing point and after reading the biking thread I don't think it's over the top. As SG says it doesn't need to be really tight, but if there is a bit of tension any unwanted movement of the kayaks results in it going slack and flapping about. The other note of caution is that I've seen a few people get carried away and deform their kayaks by over tightening the straps.

An alternative approach that I've witnessed managed to dispense with the need for roof rack. Just put an old mattress on the roof, kayaks on top, open the windows and lash the lot on, what could go wrong?  

 ScraggyGoat 01 Apr 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

I must admit I don’t use the bow and stern ropes with dedicated cradles, but would with a Heath Robinson set up.  
With cradles I put the straps through the cradle eye and down and round the car roof rails and back up through the eye, then if the cradle bolts were to shear everything is still attached to the car. The strap also goes through the cockpit cover loop so if that were to pop off is not going to fly away and land on someone’s windscreen. 
The other thing with bow and stern ropes and stern flags is to check for wear on the toggle cord, I replace my toggle cord yearly.

Checking the straps haven’t been meddled with if you have been away from the car is worth considering, a mate watched his glass boat appear in his rear view mirror and then bounce off the carriageway into a farmers field.  It transpired the publican had seen some local lads oggling  the boat while my mate was having some grub in the pub before driving home......

 Dave B 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Don't do it if its very windy. I took my ski on a windy day and it broke the roof bar too car roof mounts... The v bars and rack was fine... The car was fine, but the connector opened up

Keep speeds down to 55-60 at most. 

 Dave B 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Watch out for overhang front and back. After 1m you must have appropriate warning on it and over 2 m you need an escorts vehicle!

My 5.5m 'ski has about 70 cm at the back on an octavia. On the Peugeot partner it had 1m.

Youll probably be fine unless you drive a vw up. 

Post edited at 09:05
 Greenbanks 02 Apr 2021

Thank you so much all for these valuable replies. A mine of practical info that’ll certainly help in planning this trip. Looks like we’ll be trying to arrange a regular base for these beasts close to the water, rather than making regular runs with them. 
Cheers

 waitout 02 Apr 2021
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> If you are only doing it once or twice, pad out your roof rack bars (pipe lagging foam and gaffer tape is good), put the boats on upside down (decks are normally flatter than hulls and sit better, plus being upside down they can’t fill with water if it rains), then tie down on both bars with luggage straps.  Make sure the cockpit combing or hatch rim isn’t sitting on a bar.  For additional security run a rope from the bows to the front towing point and similar to the rear (doesn’t need to be tight, it’s a last resort to keep everything connected to the car) , Stick some dangling flags/ rags on the stern so that if you reverse you can see them and know how far behind they extend.  Check your hatch covers have retaining cords, if not consider removing for the journey, Check after a few miles.  Job done.  

Pretty much this. We transported a canoe and a double kayak for years on regular racks with foam tube tied down with old dynamic, on a VW beetle no less.

You want that rope and flag (the flag may even be mandatory depending where you are).

I've also done it by just holding the thing in the back of an open Land Rover in winter. Don't do that.

 deepsoup 02 Apr 2021
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> If you are only doing it once or twice, pad out your roof rack bars (pipe lagging foam and gaffer tape is good), put the boats on upside down (decks are normally flatter than hulls and sit better, plus being upside down they can’t fill with water if it rains), then tie down on both bars with luggage straps.

The next step up from this, but still a relatively cheap option to pad bare roof bars, would be foam blocks made for the purpose.

Eg: https://www.lomo.co.uk/acatalog/Kayak-foam-roof-bloack.html
(Lomo are kind of like an aquatic equivalent of Alpkit a few years ago - cheap & cheerful no-frills functional kit with good customer service.)

If you (the OP, not ScraggyGoat) find yourself making longer or more regular journeys and it's worth investing in proper cradles (but not the eye-watering price of a Kari-tek roof rails let alone the Thule thingamabobs), I'm going to stick my neck out a bit and say KCS are pretty much the gold standard.

https://kayakcarriers.co.uk/product-category/cradles/

They also make some of the best trolleys you can buy if you're lucky enough to find somewhere to store your boat within walking distance of a regular launching spot.

If you're tying the boat down with rope instead of using cam straps and you're not already familiar with it, learn to tie a trucker's hitch.  (Which would probably take a climber who's never heard of it but can already tie an overhand loop and a clove hitch about thirty seconds to master.)

 ScraggyGoat 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

If you are happy always paddling the same coast a regular base is a good solution. But travelling regularly with cradles or another permanent solution isn’t as difficult as maybe we have made out.  Most sea kayakers drive all over the place to paddle in different areas , like climbers do for routes, and issues in transit are very rare.

 marsbar 02 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

I use bits of an old hi viz vest cut into strips to dangle off the ends at the back where they hang over.  Just anything really to make sure the ends are visible to someone behind is useful.  

 marsbar 02 Apr 2021
In reply to deepsoup:

I hadn't seen those lomo blocks, might get those.  

 Doug 02 Apr 2021

nothing much to add but reading this thread reminds me of my teenage years when I used to occassionally race in long distance canoe races which frequently involved transporting K2 kayaks which were 6m long, often on the roof of a mini. We mostly used home made cradles but the point of attaching front & rear of the boat to the car is worth remembering - some friends didn't with predictable results

 deepsoup 02 Apr 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I've never actually tried them, just stumbled across them while googling for the ones I have used. 
(I borrowed a pair to chuck an extra boat on my roof while car-sharing at a symposium a couple of years ago, and they worked really well for a handful of short journeys at least - couldn't find those though, and don't know who made them.)

If you do get a pair, I'd be interested to hear what you think of them.

 olddirtydoggy 06 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Tie down the boats seperately. An extra lash over them both won't hurt as an extra. Wouldn't like to do this with a car though, I worry enough in a van.

 Dave B 07 Apr 2021
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

I did transport two skis and a board to Holland for a comp there a few years ago. More miles. On a Peugeot Partner. All went fine.

 LastBoyScout 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Also, if this is something you're going to be doing regularly, kayak uprights might be worth considering, as helps things stop sliding around on the roof. Be wary of leaving them on/up and going into a car park with a height restriction, though!

You can also get eye bolts that can help as a hard point on the bars.

 Myfyr Tomos 07 Apr 2021
In reply to Greenbanks:

Have a word with these guys. They seem pretty competent.


In reply to Dave B:

> Don't do it if its very windy. I took my ski on a windy day and it broke the roof bar too car roof mounts... The v bars and rack was fine... The car was fine, but the connector opened up

> Keep speeds down to 55-60 at most. 


^^ This.  You must tie down the ends or you risk windage moving the boat around.  There's a lot of force that can be exerted on the large surface area of a kayak.

 Dave B 08 Apr 2021
In reply to Toerag:

Nothing to tie to on my ski . Which is not ideal. The v bars help... 

 Greenbanks 20:05 Sat
In reply to Greenbanks:

Kayaks safely transported - using at least some of the insider knowledge from UKC. Both ckayaks on top of the Yeti, with cradles & secured front & rear of car. Grand job. Thanks all!


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