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How Big of a Kayak Can I Put On My Car?

Kayaking is a popular outdoor activity that allows you to explore lakes, rivers, and even the open sea. If you’re a kayaking enthusiast, you may have wondered how big of a kayak you can safely transport on your car. In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when determining the size of a kayak that can be put on a car, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about kayak transportation.

Factors to Consider

1. Car Roof Size: The size of your car’s roof is an important factor to consider when determining the size of a kayak you can transport. Measure the width and length of your car’s roof to ensure that it can accommodate the length and width of the kayak you intend to transport.

2. Weight Capacity: Check your car’s weight capacity to determine if it can handle the weight of the kayak. Consult your car’s manual or contact the manufacturer for this information. It’s important to ensure that your car can safely carry the weight of the kayak without exceeding its weight limit.

3. Roof Rack: A roof rack is essential for safely transporting a kayak on your car. Ensure that your car has a roof rack or purchase one that is compatible with your vehicle. The roof rack should be able to support the weight of the kayak and provide a secure attachment point.

4. Kayak Size: Consider the length, width, and height of the kayak you plan to transport. The length is crucial, as it determines how much it will protrude from your car’s front and rear ends. Ideally, the kayak should not extend more than a few feet beyond the front and rear of your car to ensure safe transportation.

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5. Tie-Downs and Straps: To properly secure your kayak on your car, you’ll need tie-downs and straps. Ensure that you have strong and reliable straps that can securely hold the kayak in place. It’s recommended to use bow and stern lines to further stabilize the kayak during transportation.


1. Can I transport a kayak without a roof rack?
It’s strongly recommended to transport a kayak with a roof rack for safety and stability. However, there are alternative methods such as using foam blocks or inflatable kayak carriers that can be placed directly on the car roof. These options provide additional support and prevent damage to your car’s roof.

2. Can I transport multiple kayaks on my car?
Yes, it is possible to transport multiple kayaks on your car if your car’s roof, weight capacity, and roof rack can accommodate them. However, it’s important to ensure that the combined weight of the kayaks does not exceed your car’s weight limit.

3. What if my kayak is too long for my car?
If your kayak is too long for your car, you may need to consider alternative transportation methods such as using a kayak trailer or renting a larger vehicle. It’s important to prioritize safety and ensure that your kayak is securely transported without posing a risk to yourself or other drivers on the road.

4. Are there any legal restrictions on transporting kayaks?
Transporting kayaks may be subject to legal restrictions, such as overhang limits and flag requirements. Familiarize yourself with your local transportation laws and regulations to ensure that you are in compliance.

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5. Can I transport a kayak with a convertible car?
Transporting a kayak with a convertible car can be challenging due to the lack of a solid roof. In this case, using an inflatable kayak carrier or a trailer may be a more suitable option.

In conclusion, the size of the kayak you can put on your car depends on factors such as your car’s roof size, weight capacity, availability of a roof rack, and the size of the kayak itself. It’s crucial to prioritize safety and ensure that the kayak is securely attached to your car to prevent any accidents or damage during transportation. Always consult your car’s manual or seek advice from professionals if you have any doubts or concerns about transporting your kayak. Happy kayaking!