Advice on mounting 2 kayaks

Ok heres the deal. Just bought 2 paddles and 2 life vests and hope to soon have 2 kayaks. Problem is I have no way to haul them yet. Can someone suggest a way to haul them? Either a trailer or some sort of rooftop mounting thing? Any advice would be most appreciated. These will be my first kayaks for my son and myself

Any info on the kayaks? Sit on top? Sit-in? Length and width?

Congrats on getting kayaks.

There are a variety of third party rack systems out there, and multiple mounting options within each. A simple online search will find you that.

But depending on what kind of boats you just got - wide big cockpit rec boats or sit on top fishing boats or narrower sea kayaks - some options may not work for your boats.

Hence Rookie’s question on what boats.

I plan on getting sit in. Ive been told they are more stabler for someone who has never had a kayak before

Vehicle year make and model?

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If 2 SOTS probably longer bars, not J racks.
And follow Marshall’s advice.

It would be very helpful for you to read up on this site – there are useful articles on the types of kayaks and how to choose one for your use. You mention having heard that sit inside kayaks are “better for beginners” and that is not necessarily true at all. There is a huge range in types of kayaks, both sit inside and sit on top. Being a beginner does not mean you have to be limited to any specific style. Type has more to do with your body size, where you plan to paddle, your budget, your fitness and many other factors. Read as much as you can and if you can find a good kayak outfitter, rather than a big box sports store where they really don’t know that much about them, you will get better advice and choices. An introductory class and renting a few times (though most will be tough right now due to the pandemic) would also be valuable.

And…, how old is your son? Is he big enough to help lift kayaks up onto a roof rack? The big benefit of trailers is that they require less lifting, but they’re less versatile when it comes to parking and storage of the trailer. Disclaimer - I really like my trailer.

Wolf’s point matters. SOTs are a bigger pain to rooftop than sit insides. Heavier and often less in the way of points to grab.

If fear of capsize is the only reason you are thinking SOT, just find a couple of lessons and practice doing it.

The OP indicated he was considering sit-inside kayaks, but I suspect he doesn’t yet have enough information to make a decision yet on what he might need or want.

By the way, Steve, typically people choose their kayak BEFORE buying the paddles since the style of the boat can determine the length. What sort of paddles did you buy?

Well Ive talked with a few folks who have said the sit in kayaks have more stability. Thats really key for me

That’s unusual since most people’s early experience is with rental sit on tops which tend to be wide and stable but only on calm flat water. On rough water or steep waves they can be unstable. It is the shape of the hull, and the width, plus what the water is like and how skilled the paddler is that detemines stability, not whether a kayak is an open or closed deck boat.

You need to know what kind of water you intend to paddle in before selecting boats. Small ponds? Big Lakes? Narrow winding rivers? The ocean? Have you read any of the articles on choosing a kayak on this site yet? Stabilty in many boats means they will be slow. And as with learning to ride a bike, what feels unsteady at first quickly goes away as you get the hang of it.

If you stay in small ponds and flat water there are a ton of sit insides that are quite stable. Only question mark is if you are very heavy or very tall, at that point the boats there will be fewer boats that suit you.

If you are talking about ocean bays or fast running rivers you need a better set of handling characteristics. Whether talking a SOT or a sit inside. And of course the ability to use them…

It is not all that possible to give you useful advice based on what you have said about where you want to paddle or your sizes.

Agreed. The first thing you need to do is decide how you are going to use the boats. Open water or protected lakes and small streams. Moving water or still. Leisurely paddling or longer distance exploring. Bird watching, photography, camping, fishing, etc. Day trips or multi day expeditions. Rocky streams or beaches and ramps. All boats are a compromise. No one boat is good for everything. Until you determine what you want to use the boat for, it’s not possible to give advice.

You also want to objectively judge your skill level. What is your price range. Where are you in terms of height, weight, and fitness.

If you are new to kayaking, although the pandemic is making it difficult, I would advise taking some lessons before buying your first boat… A good instructor will go over paddling basics and proper technique which can greatly enhance your enjoyment and reduce the possibility of developing bad habits. More critically they will teach safety. There is more to it than you might think. A good course will also go over different kayak types and their advantages and disadvantages.

Buying used to start is always a good idea if you can find a boat that you think you will like. Most people who stay with the sport tend to move up after a period of time as they refine their skills and better know what they want. You can generally sell a used boat for about what you paid for it. Or you may decide to keep it and start building a fleet to use for different purposes.

For and overview of transporting kayaks look at the links under Kayak Racks and Loading, part of our annual introductory classroom course.

I assume you will get “normal rec” boats in which case sit-in are easy to roof top since they weigh less than SOT for the same stability/length…so no trailer is needed although it is easier when using 2 kayaks since roof topping 2 at once presents some challenges (read below). A trailer is also a good idea for heavier SOTs especially when 2 of them outweigh the load limit of roof racks. What to get for roof transport depends on vehicle (as others said) and how much highway driving. For local roads: with pickup trucks just throw in the bed, otherwise can use relatively inexpensive “foam blocks” + straps. I have done both BUT am not comfortable at high speed. So for high speed I suggest buy the more expensive 3rd party roof rack systems.

However for roof rack or foam blocks must consider if 2 kayaks will be wider than your roof in which case need a 3rd party rack system with some kind of “stacker” accessory (like a cradle). I like the “vertical” bar type so can lay 1 kayak flat and 1 upright OR can put both upright, plus can just aya kayak flat if going solo. Just internet search how to transport 2 kayaks.

As for type of kayak…for the same length and width a SOT is less stable. However there are plenty of stable SOTs because they are wider and heavier (for the same length). The weight makes them harder to transport and a wider ratio to length (along with hull design) makes a boat more stable BUT slower and more tiring to paddle a long distance (if that matters to you and may not if you do a lot of “float” instead of out and back). Stability is only 1 factor in “Safety”. Realize most rec kayaks are designed to be stable in “normal” water. The big decisions are what length, how heavy the boat and how heavy you are, how rough the water, and hull design. IN GENERAL…longer boats are faster and safer in open water (assuming they are not too narrow) but they weigh and cost more. You will see a big difference between a 9’ vs 12’ kayak in wind and chop, or if you weigh 150 lbs vs 250 lbs. SOTs are safer in rough water as they don’t take in water but they also don’t turn as well making them problematic in rapids. A flat bottom will seem more stable at first but is harder to paddle. Once you get the hang of it, then a more rounded hull will seem perfectly stable and in fact more stable in rough water due to “secondary stability. Most people don’t think about rough water and that’s fine if you only go on perfect weather days.