road trip!

i am going to be road tripping this summer and was thinking about taking the kayak with us. it will be about a 1200 mile round trip.

ok, this is probably a stupid question, but im going to ask anyway. which is better - keel up or down? i just keep getting visions of the boat launching off the roof as i travel up I95, no matter how tight i tie it down.

thanks - d

I prefer keel up, cockpit down.
Although if I carry more than one kayak, I may carry them on edge against a tower bar.

If you carry keel down, you have to either get a cockpit cover that works, or sop the rainwater out of the boat later. I also think that cockpit down is more aerodynamic, with the cockpit and hatches down in air that is disturbed anyway.

I have bought a number of cockpit covers, and I’ve made slick ones out of neoprene. The bought ones never worked well. They flapped or even came off. The neoprene covers were wonderful, but did not last long with sun exposure.

Most cradle systems will allow you to carry boats keel up just as well as keel down.

What is supporting it.?

– Last Updated: Apr-11-09 12:32 PM EST –

If you have saddles, they are made for carrying it hull down.

If you have J cradles, they are made for carrying it with the hull against the side of the J's.

If you are carrying it on just pool noodles or pads, then the choice is yours. I have never used this last method, but if I did, I think I would go with hull up, since there would be more surface contact between the boat and pads

How do you carry it now ?

Don't worry about I-95. You will be going so slow on that interstate that if the boat starts to fall off, you can step out of your car and catch it. Especially through Georgia.


Cockpit down
From my experience, if you carry it keel down on a trip that long, where it spends that much tine in the sun, and i assume it’s plastic, you’re going to have one dented, oilcanned boat bottom.

Up or Down
It would depend on the kayak. I have a sot cobra I carry upside down. It seems more aerodynamic that way. I have a cd whistler that seems to travel best keel down. I just bought a perception carolina 14.5. I drove about 75 miles with it keel down. It seemed to droop a bit after just that short ride. In cold weather I might add. Lastly I have a heritage feathelite. That boat is happy either way but I transport it keel down mostly with no ill effects. It seems some kayaks are tougher and more transportable than others. I got a stacker after the carolina ride. I’ll see how it likes to ride lying on its side!