How To Transport Two Kayaks Without A Roof Rack

Learning how to transport two kayaks without a roof rack can be challenging. Kayaks tend to be heavy and are awkward to maneuver. Transporting one kayak can be hard by itself, let alone two. This article will share some ideas that will help you get your boats to the water.

You probably already spent a decent chunk of money on your kayaks, and maybe you don’t want to spend more money on a roof rack.  Or maybe you live pretty close to the water and can’t justify buying a rack for your car.  Roof racks can be costly and may not always be the best fit for your vehicle.

There are other ways to get your kayaks from point a to point b. You might even have a way to transport them that you have not thought about yet. There are some homemade, inexpensive options, and you might be able to use some stuff you already have around your house.

With that said, let’s get to it.

Use a utility trailer

Many people have a utility trailer at home for chores or hauling stuff. If you have a trailer, you might be in luck. Utility trailers come in different sizes and can work very well for hauling two kayaks around.  Think of this as a truck bed that is lower to the ground. A trailer that is six to eight feet long would be great. 

A utility trailer is an excellent option because it’s already low to the ground, which means you don’t have to lift the kayaks very high. Loading and unloading are much easier with a trailer than a roof rack.

Strapping the kayaks down to the existing structure of the trailer is easy too. You can use ratchet straps or rope.  Many trailers have cleats you can tie your boats down to. A trailer has plenty of anchor points to secure your kayaks.

Using a utility trailer to transport kayaks is a great way to get on the water, especially if you already own a trailer and don’t have to buy any extra equipment.

Truck bed extender

If you own a pickup, a truck bed extender is an excellent way to transport two kayaks without a roof rack.  The extender fits into an existing hitch receiver and gives you more space for longer payloads. 

Truck bed extenders offer adjustments for height, width, and length.  You can get the right fit depending on the size of your pickup. These are great for shorter truck beds and make it easy to transport one or two kayaks.

A truck bed extender is a low-cost option to transport kayaks.

Other options

If you don’t have a utility trailer or a pickup, there are still ways to transport two kayaks without a roof rack. Let’s talk about some other options next.

Foam blocks

Using foam blocks is an inexpensive way to transport two kayaks on the roof of your car.  Make sure you have blocks that are wide enough to easily fit both kayaks.  Ideally, the foam blocks should be as wide as your car.

In the video below, you can see one example of how to secure the kayaks and blocks to a vehicle.  You may need to make modifications as necessary for your car.

You will also need to find out how much weight the roof of your car can support. Using foam blocks can be adequate if you are going a short distance. If you are traveling on the freeway, you will probably want to look for a more secure method to transport your kayaks safely.

Make your own roof rack

There are videos all over the internet about transporting kayaks using various methods, including pool noodles.  There are many different ways to use pool noodles on top of your car to transport two kayaks.

Pool noodles can be a good way to get your kayaks to the water. I urge you to use caution, especially if you travel a long distance or at high speeds.

If you are interested in learning how to transport two kayaks using pool noodles, check out this video.

Important things to keep in mind

When you are transporting kayaks, there are some details to think about:

  • Make sure your vehicle or trailer can carry the load
  • If you are using a truck bed extender, make sure the extender is secured to the hitch receiver
  • Make sure you have the kayaks tied down securely, front, back, and side to side
  • Pullover occasionally to make sure your kayaks are still secure
  • Ask for help if you are lifting the kayaks overhead
  • Tug on your kayaks before you start driving to make sure they feel secure


Transport Two Kayaks Without A Roof Rack - Two Kayaks On A LakePin

Now that you understand how to transport two kayaks without a roof rack remember to be safe. You want to arrive at your destination with your kayaks in one piece, not scattered all over the road.  With any transportation method, make sure the kayaks are safely and properly secured. 

There are other methods, and I have seen some very questionable means of transporting kayaks.  Safety is the name of the game, so make sure your boats are tied down appropriately.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.