Transportation Methods for 2 Kayaks

Hi everyone, I’m brand new to kayaking and am super excited about it. I bought my girlfriend one as well and we are eager to get started. First thing’s first though, I have a truck and she has a Corolla. What would be the best method in transporting to kayaks?


A little short on info
Just to start off. If they are short plastic kayaks and you only intend to transport them a short distance, you could tie them into the bed of the truck. That worked for me for years.


kayak basics
You can carry just about any pair of kayaks on the roof of a Corolla with a decent roof rack. Though you can buy a cheap set of foam blocks, straps and tie offs for about $40 (for each boat), it would make more sense to buy a Thule roof rack. The Thule site will tell which components fit on her make and model – they tend to be expensive but once you have the model numbers for the “feet” that attach to the car you can often find them cheaper on Ebay. Used ones are fine.

For the truck it depends on whether you have a cap or not. There are various ways you can rack boat on a pickup if you don’t have a cap. If they are short boats you can lay them in the bed or prop them against the cab and lash them to the roof. You will probably want to equip both cars with a way to haul them so you can set up a shuttle for river trips with a car at the put in and take out.

By the way, glad you are excited about the new boats but we have to ask: do you have all the safety gear you need? have you had some instruction in paddling technique and basic safety? Do you know the limitations and proper use of the boat models that you bought? There is a good deal more to fun and safe enjoyment of kayaking than just buying a hunk of plastic and throwing it in water. This time of year is more dangerous than most newbies realize in much of the country. The water takes a lot longer to warm up than the air and you can be immobilized and drown even in a shallow creek when the water temps are below 60 degrees. Many rivers and lakes were frozen until just a few weeks ago. We have already seen some unnecessary tragedies this year of people drowning because they kayaked without proper clothing, PFD’s and/or awareness of the risks they were taking.

You will get great advice here so don’t be shy about telling us what you are hoping to get out of kayaking and how to best achieve that.

Second the foam blocks. They work
great, don’t scratch the paint and don’t cost very much. Use the cam action straps instead of the lever action. Open the door before you put the strap through. Tighten the strap pretty tight then rock the boat back and forth to tighten it some more.

Just brought mine home on blocks
I just drove over 2 hours last night bringing my boat home on the roof of a Jetta with blocks. I was worried but after a while, all was fine. My speed increased slowly as I slowly got use to the idea of a boat being strapped to blocks on my roof. I had it tied only to the passenger corner bow and stern as well (in addition to the 2 straps through the doors of course) since that’s where the tow hooks are (will get the web loops to mount to fender bolts once the waters warm up and I head out.)

I don’t know if I would be comfortable with 2 boats on blocks on my roof though.

I will say, I was trucking down the 65 mph expressways pretty good. At first I was cruising well below the speed limit but after about 3 stops to check my paranoia, er, my straps, I just drove as normal.

I will say, it was very windy last night, very windy. I was about 3/4 way home when I hit a pretty high bridge up above the Allegheny river. Wind was fierce and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the front of the kayak shift towards the passenger side. I immediately pulled over but everything was fine. It did shift with both the boat and the foam block being shifted over several inches, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I fixed that and made it the rest of the way with no incident.

I’ll reiterate again, it was VERY windy. I think the forecast was saying 40 mph gusts. I don’t know what it was that hit me on the bridge but it pushed the car out of the lane which would have happened boat or not on the roof. After that drive, I am very confident with just having the blocks mounting on the roof, as long as you also have bow and stern lines of course. Had I had bow lines to both corners of the car, I perhaps might not have had the boat shifting situation.

about foam
I used foam blocks for my kayak for over a year, driving hundreds of miles, usually at highway speed, before I got tired of the hassles and invested in a rack. But it was a long and very light boat. Not knowing what kind you have, I would hesitate to recommend that set up. If you have short cheap kayaks with no carry loops on bow and stern, securing them well with blocks and straps could be tricky. And you will need a set for each kayak. But if they do work with your boats it is an economical way to start. Plus, if you do a shuttle, you can take the straps and foam with you in the kayaks so you can use them on the other car when you get to the takeout.

Check the straps and keep them tight
Don’t forget to rock the boat side to side and re-tighten.

Blocks indeed :slight_smile:

– Last Updated: Apr-25-15 3:43 AM EST –

Reading the post about using blocks and the wind on the bridge reminded me of my first twin kayak transport, blocks on a small car, never again!
I was so bothered that the kayaks would never stay on the roof even with a rack, I looked at a ultra lightweight trailer. Way too expensive, the insight isn't meant to tow anything.
I eventually went the Thule / Whispbar 400 J cradle route. Two 16ft kayaks travel on the top on my Honda insight, the overhang is less than two feet, I always use bow and stern tie downs. It's an expensive option, but the journeys are less stressful, nothing moves.
My trips to the water are typically up to two hours, there's a lot of water in Canada.

Training and safety, top priority.