storing gear in kayak during transport

Just wondering if it’s advisable to store gear in your kayak while it’s on the roof rack.

I’m going on a trip and would like to save some trunk space by storing gear like paddle, pdf, and other light weight items in kayak during transport.

Thanks for the help.

Store gear
I do it. On a long road trip with lots of gear I load up all the hatches and even the cockpit (using a cover). Kinda like a cargo carrier box. Usually with lighter, soft stuff like clothes etc. Never had an issue.

Yes and No
It depends upon the gear and the weight of same. Kayak racks are not as kind to hulls as one might wish (or at least, my yakima rack isn’t), so adding additional weight to the boat doesn’t do it any favors. That said, light objects (fishing rods, paddles, sleeping bags, immersion clothing, spray skirts) can often be found in my kayak as I travel.

Since I don’t own a large vehicle with lots of storage, this is kind of a necessity for me. If I drove a vehicle with more storage, I’d probably consider keeping the boats empty (except for paddles, perhaps).

The other consideration I make when putting gear into the boats is whether they are the kind of things which could be lost during transit (there is a lot of wind up there). If so, these items will be stored either in one of the hatches, or in a dry back that is lodged deeply in the cockpit.


I agree
Light things like my paddle and PFD and such can be found in my boat… but clipped to the boat (3-point connection) in case they blow out.

Heavier stuff goes in the trunk, not because I am afraid of deforming the boat, but because unloading a heavy boat is hard enough without another 50# of gear to lift.

Of course, if i am trailering, I toss my B-2 Bag of gear into the cockpit and don;t worry at all.

I would check the suggested load limit of your rack and whatnot, and make sure you’re below it. But if you’re below the limit, go for it.

In this photo, all the gear is in the cockpits of the two boats. I didn’t need to use the hatches, and wouldn’t anyway, as it is a better idea to keep the extra weight centered between the cradles. Also, note that the cockpit covers have belly straps - I wouldn’t have done it without them. These could be retrofitted if your current cockpit covers don’t have them.

great info! thsnks for the help!

Belly straps
I do the same. Last week we were on vacation, and was transporting a lot of stuff including my Summersong and my Artisan. Paddles and pfd’s all went into the cockpit with cover on, I then put the strap on. I lost a cockpit cover during highway driving once.

Clip cockpit cover to bungies, neo best
We tend to use neo cockpit covers, clipped off to a bungie, and a belly strap around each.

I still wouldn’t out my dry suit into the cockpit, but it has never popped open on us.

Good point
Good point - the covers definitely should be clipped to the deck rigging in front, it keeps the wind from peeling them off.

In my case…
the clip broke. That’s why for highway driving, I’ll put the strap around it.

I have a small car so not much room, especially camping with the dog as well. I keep paddles and pfds in the boat. It is on a v-shaped rack so it is upright, and I have the cockpit cover on and the front is clipped to the front deck rigging. Then I have straps that go over the boat, and one goes over the cockpit cover (as well as fore and aft straps). Farthest I’ve gone was a three hour drive, but even at 60 no issues yet. Also my cockpit cover came with a strap to go around the boat and cover. I haven’t needed it since I got my new load straps, but a good cover is definitely worth it. Keeps crud out of the boat, too!

that’s what kayaks are for
canoes make better planters