loading a kayak in the wind

We have had miserable weather in the midwest this year. Oh yeh, we always have miserable weather in the midwest. This year in addition to the cold and rain it has been the 20 to 30 mph winds. Now that is fine until it comes time to load the boats. So far this year I have seen three boats blown off of cars before they can be strapped down. Now with two people it is not much trouble, but I have never mastered a method I can do it alone where the boat does not threaten to fly off. Has anyone developed a secret method that makes it possible for one person to load a boat in high wind?


That’s what friends are for
Failing that you can hook two straps together,or use a long rope, so they hang off the vehicle and over the boat on the ground beside it. As you pick the boat up try to keep it under the straps. Once the boat is in the saddles hold it with one hand till you get the strap pulled snug. Murphy’s law will rule and it’ll tangle or blow out of reach but it’s the best I can come up with.



One thing that helps
Always move your car so it is pointing directly downwind before you try to load or unload the boat. Load/unload from the rear if possible depending on the boat and your rack system. I live in a very windy area and have come to love my hully rollers for just this reason.

Of course you may have to do a quick strap job and move the car back out of someone’s way before you finish final loading and tie-down.

Same applies for unloading.


PS - If you have more than one kayak on the car never unstrap more than one at a time. Leave both straps on the boat you are not unloading until you are ready to bring it down. Don’t ask me how or why I know this.

Short bungee loops

– Last Updated: May-25-11 11:37 PM EST –

I have an EZ-Vee setup that came with short bungee straps - loops about 12" long with a plastic bead at one end. When you first put the boat on the rack, the bungees go on immediately. I keep them looped over my arm when I put the boat on.

Gray at Kayakpro uses only the bungees and has no problems, but I add cam straps on top. But once the bungees are on, you can relax, put on dry clothes, etc. before having to do up the straps. You can just make out the bungees in this photo, in between the blue straps:

They sell this type of bungee at big box stores in a plastic jar, they look like this:

Maybe you can figure a way to use them on your setup. Again, I wouldn't use them on their own, but they're a good back-up to the normal straps and I like the quick initial tie-down.

PS for big boats, you can join two of the loops together just by slipping them together, this works well.

Or: nylon webbing strap plus Delrin QR
I took a narrow nylon strap and threaded the ends through a small Delrin (plastic-like) quick-release fastener. No sewing or glueing required, and the length is adjustable.

You can buy both cheaply at REI; ask for them in the climbing section.

The QR pieces even have a built-in whistle as part of the molding. The assembly can also serve as a belt or a cockpit cover security strap (wrap it around the belly of the kayak and snug it up).

I keep mine handy when loading my kayak onto the trailer crossbar. If it’s windy, the kayak–it rides on its side–could flop upside down and roll right off the bar end. So before strapping it, I snap the little belt around the riser bar and the kayak as a stay-put device.

I can’t make much head way paddling in that much wind. So never had the problem of trying to load/unload in the same condtion.

In wind that I can paddle, I just park my car strategically so the wind doesn’t blow on it side ways. I’m thinking this maybe one case when having a heavy boat (mines pushing 60lb) might be an advantage! :wink: