Greetings, here you will find some of my kayaking tips!
- When transporting with a flat strap (recommended), you need to ensure that there is a twist in the line. If you leave it flat, it will hum and vibrate in the wind and it's actually so bad that it can damage your strap or your boat. So you should either make a few twists like this (although this picture is really twisted, you don't need this many):
Or even better, you can make a series of knots in your strap every 8 inches or so like this next picture. This has the same effect of disrupting the wind so the strap doesn't hum. Just remember to leave some non-knotted strap at the end so you can get it through your cam/shackle. This way, you can leave the knots in the line permanently, making loading your boat even faster next time.
- For all my straps, I've custom cut them to the length I need and sewn caribiners into them to make loading and unloading even faster. You'll want to use high strength thread and copy the "box with an X inside" pattern that was probably already on the one side of the strap. See below, I've replicated (though not as cleanly) the sewing pattern on the right side of my tie-down:
This is handy especially if you have a caribiner on the boat to latch into (caribiner into caribiner is easier to latch quickly than trying to thread it through the boat mount, so just dedicate an extra caribiner to both the front and back handle mounts), like this:
Now you're going to need a place to latch the other side of the strap. If you have a hitch in the back, that makes a great spot, like this:
For the front strap, I've actually permanently mounted the small part of the strap/buckle to the inside of the car. Just find a handy bolt that holds something non-essential on (like a body panel), unbolt it, cut a hole in your strap, and bolt it back on. NOTE - you probably should sew some reinforcing thread around the hole you cut in the strap so it doesn't fail. When you're done, you can pull the longer part of the strap out of the buckle and tuck the buckle under the hood for next time:
- I don't have a picture for this part, but you should use three straps to tie down the kayak. One in the front, one in the back, and one in the middle. The one in the middle will do most of the work holding down the kayak. The front and back are there to keep it from shifting forward/backward while driving/stopping. For the middle strap I just use a simple ratchet strap.
- Worried about leaving the boat unattended? You can buy a car cover security lock for fairly cheap, it'll come with a cable and a lock to secure the ends together. If you drill a small hole somewhere on the kayak that won't cause it to take on water, you can run the security strap through it, through some part of your car (like the roof rack), and lock it (if you have a sit on top style kayak, just run it through one of the scupper holes):
- Want to carry a pole TOTT? Make some custom straps out of rope and tie into some caribiners that you can clip in and out. Then carry it with you on the side of the boat like this:
Transporting Without a Roof Rack
You can transport a single kayak without a roof rack. It's simple, it's cheap, and you don't have to worry about the aftermarket roof rack letting go and falling off. Here's how I do it:
- If you have a removable antenna in the way, you should take it off:
- Buy two standard bath mats, with a soft top and a rubbery bottom. This will let you put them on your roof without moving around and you can slide the boat around to get it in place without scratching your paint:
- Lay the boat top-down on the mats and slide into place:
- Buy a pool noodle and cut it in half, each half should be long enough to go under the kayak, one at the front and one at the back. Try to do this so the noodles aren't on the mats:
- Now remove the mats (notice those scratches are from BEFORE I figured out the bath mat trick, you're welcome:
- Strap it down! I like using a front and rear strap to keep it from moving backwards and forwards. The middle strap is really what does most of the "holding down" work:
- Removal is just the opposite: unstrap, slide bath mats back in, remove noodles, remove boat.
Your kayak probably didn't come with everything that you may need, so here are some extras I recommend.
Hardware note - Any time you mount something to your boat, you'll want to use pop rivets or I prefer to use nuts/bolts/washers. Just make sure you use stainless steel hardware so they don't rust. Most accessories you buy won't come with these, so you'll need to run up to the hardware store to find the right size for your application.
- A life jacket that fits you well!
- A paddle (if your kayak didn't come with it): I don't have a specific recommendation because you should use the one that's right for your size and intended use. You'll want to research that separately.
- These are a great way to store your kayak in the garage on the wall to take up less space: LINK.
- You should use a paddle clip to store your paddle in case you want to take a break or cast a fishing line, etc. I like these: LINK. See note below on mounting hardware.
- You should have a paddle leash in case you drop the paddle, it won't float away from you. I use these: LINK.
- While you're buying a leash from the link above, grab an extra one! You can use to tie your boat down to a tree or an island if you want to get out and take a break, go caching, etc.
- While you're at it, go to the hardware store and buy a whole mess of cheap caribiners. You'll use them!
- You should use some sort of cushion instead of holding directly onto the paddle or you'll get blisters. I've tried gloves and don't like them, I prefer yakgrips: LINK
- If you want to go fishing, you'll need an anchor cleat to set your anchor dept. I use something like this: LINK. See note below on mounting hardware.
- For lake fishing, I use a simple bell/mushroom anchor like THIS and it works fine. For river fishing, you should use one like THIS to grab on and keep you in place against the current.
- If you want to take video of your adventures, I use something like this. You'll need two parts: one to mount your phone to (LINK), and one to mount the mount to the kayak (LINK).
- If you do have a roof rack on your vehicle, using J Hooks will make loading and unloading even faster, LINK.
- In Minnesota, a non-powered watercraft is only required to have a white light if you're on the water after dark. You don't need the red/green ones. Not that I would go kayaking in the dark much, but sometimes it takes you longer to get back than you think so you may be stuck out after sunset. I use something like this "just in case": LINK