PaddleRoundThePier is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Mastering Dual Kayak Mounting: The Ultimate Roof Rack Guide

By: Dave Samuel
Updated On: February 7, 2024

If you’ve ever stood on the shoreline admiring the stillness of the water, chances are you’ve been drawn to the tranquil sport of kayaking. Nothing beats gliding through serene lakes or challenging yourself with river rapids. But how about going for a tandem ride?

Though exhilarating, dual kayak mounting often presents a daunting task for many enthusiasts. How do you safely secure two kayaks to your car’s roof rack without damaging your precious cargo or car? Buckle up! Because you’re about to unravel this mystery.

Harnessing your vehicles’ roof space effectively offers an efficient solution for transportation issues associated with kayaking. The process involves selecting an appropriate roof rack tailored to your vehicle’s size, weight limits, and specific kayak types, followed by carefully positioning each kayak and employing secure strapping techniques.

This guide provides in-depth coverage of these techniques – equipping you not only with know-how but also highlighting essential equipment needed throughout this procedure.

Here’s What You Will Learn:

  • Choosing A Suitable Roof Rack: How factors like Vehicle Size and weight limit play a role.
  • Strapping Techniques: Key tips to ensure secure kayak transport.
  • Essential Equipment Required: We’ll explore tools like straps, ropes, and padding.
  • Driving Precautions: Protective measures before hitting the road with dual kayak mounting.

An Overview of Dual Kayak Mounting Fundamentals

Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a novice eager to hit the waters, transporting your gear can be one of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects. In this instance, we will delve into dual kayak mounting — a common yet often tricky task for many.

An Overview of Dual Kayak Mounting Fundamentals

Choosing the Right Roof Rack

As a first step in our journey towards mastering roof rack strapping, we need to pick out just the right roof rack for our sweet tandem ride. This isn’t as simple as it may seem; several factors come into play:

  • Vehicle Size and Weight Limit: When buying a kayak roof rack for your vehicle, its size matters. A heavy-duty pickup would require a totally different setup than a sleek sedan or SUV. Likewise, attention must be given to your vehicle’s weight limit. This is the maximum load that can safely be borne by your car while maintaining optimal performance.
  • Type and Dimensions of Kayaks: Do you prefer sit-in or sit-on-top kayaks? Or are you more into inflatable ones? Whichever type you favor affects your choice significantly, as each has varying dimensions, which will dictate their fit onto the roof rack.
  • Frequency of Use: If you frequently hit the waters with your kayaks, durability should be your priority when selecting a roof rack.

Importance of Proper Dual Kayak Mounting

Now that we’ve got our perfect rooftop carrier picked out (hooray!) let’s talk about why it’s key to mount these twin vessels correctly.

Safety is paramount; improperly mounted twin kayaks can easily become hazardous projectiles in case of an unexpected swerve or sudden brake application! Not only can this result in potential harm to other road users or pedestrians, but it also causes severe damage to both your car and cherished kayaks.

Another factor is fuel economy. Incorrectly strapped down kayaks may create air resistance during transit, which may lead to increased fuel consumption.

Finally, improper roof rack setups often result in unnecessary noise, which can turn your peaceful road trip to the lake into a far-from-ideal ride.

As we delve deeper into this primer, we’ll cover detailed steps for strapping two kayaks, the crucial equipment required for it, and precautions you should abide by for a safe journey with your kayaks.

Mastering kayak roof rack principles doesn’t simply elevate your status among fellow enthusiasts; it’s imperative for efficient and, most importantly, secure kayak transport. Onward to our comprehensive guide on dual kayak mounting!

Also Read: Delving into Kayak Security | Tips to Protect Your Gear

A Detailed How-To for Strapping Two Kayaks

Well before we get to the water, dual kayak mounting is on my mind. The ease of the procedure can significantly kick-start a great day outdoors. Let me take you through a comprehensive guide on how to handle this task swiftly and safely.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Dual Kayak Mounting

As an essential first step in dual kayak mounting, your vehicle and its roof rack need some prep time. This is not just a cleaning spree but also involves checking crucial components ensuring they’re in perfect form to undertake this task.

  • Clean up: First thing first, let’s clean that roof rack. Remove any dirt or debris that could potentially scratch your kayaks or interfere with secure mounting.
  • Inspection: It’s good practice to inspect your kayak roof rack regularly. Check all bolts, clamps and moving components, ensuring they are secure and functioning properly.
  • Adjustments: Depending on your vehicle size and the design of your roof rack, some adjustments might be necessary to accommodate two kayaks.
  • Crossbars: Crossbars are a critical accessory for successful dual kayak mounting; make sure these are fixed securely onto the main rack framework.

Positioning Your Kayaks

Once my car’s prepped up for transporting two beauties at once, it’s their turn next on the setup stage – positioning!

  • Alignment: Good alignment is key when loading two kayaks onto a rooftop carrier. Aim at placing them as centered as possible for balance during transportation.
  • Spacing: Remember each kayak needs enough room – too close together might lead to damage due to repeated contact during transport.
  • Orientation: Generally speaking, putting each boat hull-side-down offers better stability during travel (although this can depend on specific kayak types).
  • Balance check! After setting both up top, take another look – the profile should feel balanced and secure.

Secure Strapping Techniques For Dual Kayak Mounting

Now that we’ve determined where each kayak will hitch a ride, it’s time to take on the most critical part of dual kayak mounting – tying them down!

  • Tools of the trade: Strong, weather-resistant straps are the primary tools in this mission. Alternatively, ropes or tie-downs also get the job done.
  • Technique matters: It’s important to secure your kayaks firmly but without damaging them. Wrap your straps (or ropes) evenly over and around each boat, ensuring even pressure distribution.
  • Safety first!: Finally, always double-check every strap and knot before you hit the road. Better safe than sorry!

Also Read: Paddle Board Kayak Seat: Ultimate Comfort for Relaxation

Essential Equipment for Safely Strapping Two Kayaks

Before diving into the fun and adventurous world of dual kayak mounting, let’s tackle the basics first — equipment. Not only do they ensure a safe and secure transport down to your favorite paddling spot, but they also provide peace of mind, knowing your kayaks won’t go flying off while you’re cruising on the freeway.

Synopsis of Required Equipment

In order to successfully equip our vehicle with a dual kayak roof setup, we’ll need a number of key pieces:

  • Kayak Carriers: These are essentially cradles that support your kayaks on the roof rack. There’s an array of choices from J-style carriers, and saddles to stackers, depending on your needs and type of kayak. A word of caution though: not every carrier fits every vehicle or every type of roof rack – do some research or consult an expert.
  • Straps: You’ll need these little workhorses to secure your vessels firmly onto the carriers. I prefer nylon webbing straps – they’re strong and won’t stretch when wet. But be wary! Over-tightening can damage your kayak, and under-tightening can lead to mid-journey mishaps!
  • Padding: This might seem unnecessary, but trust me, even minor scratches can escalate into deep gouges over time. Use padding between the carrier and your boat to prevent any unwanted marks or damages.

Remember: Each piece comes with its own set of pros & cons depending on various factors, including but not limited to vehicle size, roof rack type, frequency & distance of transport, etc.

Where To Buy Your Equipment?

Okay, now that we know what we need for an easy kayak roof setup, let’s move on to where we get them.

  1. Local Sporting Goods Store: These stores often have a section dedicated to watersports where you can find most if not all, guideline gear.
  2. Specialized Kayak Shops: These shops might be a bit pricey, but they usually stock high-quality gear and provide valuable advice.
  3. Online Retailers: Websites such as Amazon or eBay offer a wide array of options, often at lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores. But do check seller reviews before purchasing!

Also Read: Kayaking Merit Badge: Get Your Complete Guide

Precautions While Driving with Strapped Dual Kayaks

Once you’ve completed your dual kayak mounting, it can be easy to think you’re good to go. However, this is not the time to let your guard down.

Precautions While Driving with Strapped Dual Kayaks

Your roof rack is loaded up and there’s one more step involved before setting out on the road. There are necessary precautions that you need to consider while driving for a secure kayak transport.

Protective Measures Before Hitting The Road

As a driver responsible for not one but two kayaks on top of your vehicle, the ball game slightly changes when it comes to adopting protective measures.

Firstly, Double-Checking Your Setup is mandatory. It is marked as one of the best kayak roof rack tips.

  • Ensure every component involved in dual kayak mounting has been attached properly and securely. Any loosely fitted parts can promptly cause an accident.
  • Straps or ropes should be tight enough without any signs of wear or tear.
  • Pay another visit to each tie-down, making sure they hold fast.

Secondly, managing your vehicle’s Speed is crucial:

  • Reduce speed when driving with kayaks strapped onto the car’s rooftop.
  • High speeds significantly increase the risk of an accident and potential damage as wind resistance intensifies at higher rates.

Thirdly, consider your vehicle’s increased Height Clearance:

  • Keep a keen eye on height restrictions such as low-hanging tree branches or height-limited entries like parking garages.

Lastly, take extra measures when dealing with Wind Conditions on the road:

  • On windy days, especially crosswinds can make driving challenging due to added wind resistance. In such circumstances, accounting for additional stopping distance would be wise.

These are just some easy guidelines and essential precautions pivotal for safe transport that will ensure your journey is smooth sailing all through.

Taking these steps seriously sets an important precedent – that we understand how critical safe transport is for us who enjoy the thrill of kayaking. Armed with these tips, the open road awaits you and your precious cargo.

Also Read: Paddle Board Gear: Your All-Weather Essentials Checklist


How much weight can a typical roof rack hold?

Typically, a standard roof rack can hold around 165 pounds. But always check the manufacturer’s guide for your specific roof rack and vehicle for accurate weight limits.

Is it necessary to have specific training or experience to strap two kayaks?

While specific training isn’t required for dual kayak mounting, having some knowledge about securing loads and an understanding of basic safety precautions is beneficial.

How long does it usually take to strap two kayaks onto a roof rack?

The time it takes will depend on your experience level, but typically, with practice, strapping two kayaks securely can be completed within 15-20 minutes.


In conclusion, dual kayak mounting isn’t as daunting as it may initially seem when you’ve got the right knowledge and tools at your disposal. Starting with a reliable roof rack, investing in quality equipment, and following methodical steps for setup ensures that your kayaks are secure.

Most importantly, prioritizing safety measures while driving with your kayaked-loaded vehicle is essential to prevent accidents or damage.

Key Takeaway Points

  • Choosing an appropriate roof rack for dual kayak mounting is crucial based on your vehicle size and weight capacity.
  • Secure positioning and strapping techniques provide stability during transport.
  • We are investing in quality strapping equipment to result in enhanced transport security.
  • Implementing safety measures while driving protects both you and your gear from potential mishaps.

PaddleRoundThePier is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, &