How To Carry A Kayak By Yourself

Muscle strength, height for putting a kayak or more than one kayak on and off a vehicle roof, or other physical issues, such as back difficulties, are all factors to consider.

Which method is the safest for lifting and transporting your kayak during a kayak trip? Let’s have a look at what we’ve got.

To lift and load the kayak comfortably on your own, you must first plan and scope the trip. Consider using a grab handle, kayak yoke, or cart to make the job simpler. Lift your inflatable kayak onto your shoulder(s) or roof rack using an effective technique. (Read Can You Get A DUI On A Kayak)

Effective techniques in Lifting and Carrying Kayak

Basic Kayak Lifting and Carrying Techniques

The appropriate skills will help you lift, transport, load, and store your kayak securely.

  • Lift and carry your kayak with another person whenever feasible. Kayaks may frequently be carried alone, although it is virtually always simpler and safer to lift and carry with a kayaking friend.
  • The hull of your kayak might be damaged if you lift it with gear or water inside. So before raising and transporting your kayak, be sure it’s empty.
  • Lift your kayak using your legs rather than your back as much as possible.
  • When raising your kayak, keep your back as straight as possible. When lifting, do not twist your torso. Back injury may be caused by rotating and carrying a large item.
  • When raising your kayak, don’t lock your knees. As an advice, you should have a small bend in your knees when carrying it.
  • Communication and synchronization of motions are essential when raising and transporting a kayak with two or more individuals.
  • You may consult your doctor or physical therapist if you have an injury that prevents you from lifting and carrying a kayak. For example, back, knee, and shoulder problems may be quite restricting.

Planning Stage:

From storage to your automobile

If you’re paddling a hardshell kayak, the first thing you’ll need to do is lift and carry it from its storage spot in the garage, shed, backyard, or basement to your vehicle. Then, when you get to your vehicle, you must place and secure the kayak to the roof rack, cargo bed, or trailer.

If you’re paddling an inflatable kayak, though, pick up the bag containing your boat and take it to the trunk of your car. (Having an inflatable boat is advantageous in terms of transportation.)

Dragging kayak using Cart Kayak

From your automobile to the edge of the lake.

This chasm might be as little as 20 feet. However, it’s also feasible that the distance will be more than a mile. Before dragging my kayak, I scout the route, particularly if it’s a long one. Stay updated for potential stumbling blocks on the ground or in the air. Are there any tripping hazards, such as roots or fallen trees?

If you’re going to inflate an inflatable kayak, make sure you’re doing it on level ground free of thistles, cacti, and broken bottles. (Learn How To Store Kayak In Garage)

From the ocean to your car.

Much of this phase is similar to the prior one. However, it is done in the opposite sequence. However, there may be certain exceptions.

For example, if you’re sea kayaking and the tide has gone out or in, your departure point may be changed because the water level is higher or lower. Likewise, where you may have entered the sea on sand, you may suddenly be fighting weeds or coral as you escape.

In addition, if there has been raining or other adverse weather, the terrain on approach to your car may have deteriorated. If you’re paddling an inflatable kayak, you’ll need enough space to deflate it and let it air dry in the sun.

From your car to your storage unit.

Reverse the steps from Step 1. For example, if you paddled an inflatable kayak and weren’t able to completely dry it on the spot, you’ll profit from opening it up and allowing it to air dry for a more extended period of time. Then, with your kayak, you’ll be able to portage.

Yes, this is something that some individuals do. However, it’s safe to say that finishing the portage is the most enjoyable aspect of a kayak portaging expedition. The nature of your expedition will determine whether or not you need to arrange the steps of a portage.

When kayaking alone, scouting the path of your portage is very vital. On flat areas, portages are uncommon. Furthermore, having a kayak slung over your shoulders reduces visibility. Before you start hauling stuff on your back and a kayak on your shoulders, it’s important to have a feel for the terrain.

Features and Equipment for Lifting and Carrying Kayaks

Depending on the kayak’s kind, size, and weight, several approaches are required for lifting and carrying it. First, take a glance at some of the many available kayaks. Kayaks for one, two, or three persons are available. Recreational, traveling, inflatable, fishing, cycling, sit-in, sit-on-top.

One person can hoist and carry a smaller, lighter kayak, but two or more people may require more extensive, longer, and heavier kayaks. In addition, the awkwardness of a boat may impact how it is moved. Hardshell kayaks are heavier than inflatable kayaks, but their large inflated tubes make paddling more challenging, especially in windy conditions.

Kayak carry straps

Carry Strap for Kayaks

When transporting your kayak by yourself, a kayak carry strap comes in handy. Two straps secure your kayak’s central section, while a cushioned shoulder strap absorbs and distributes the weight. Kayak carry straps have built-in loops for carrying your paddle as well.

While driving, a slight twist in the cam straps might eliminate unpleasant strap vibration. Lock the straps: Locking cam straps that can only be loosened with a key may be purchased.

When leaving your boat in your vehicle for a brief trip to the shop or restaurant, they might provide you peace of mind. If you’re going to leave your kayak for an extended period, a more secure option is required, such as a locking cable. (Read Kayak Pulley System Guide)

Cart for Kayaks

Kayak carts are two-wheeled accessories that connect to the kayak’s rear or midsection. While you pull your kayak along with the bow grab handle, they carry the majority of the weight.

Kayak carts are great for transporting your kayak over longer distances and function best on level ground. There are also sand versions with balloon tires. The kayak cart may be placed in your plastic boat for the return trip from your put-in when not in use.

Lifting and Carrying a Kayak by Yourself

Many kayakers do not utilize a kayak carry strap or a cart to lift and transport their kayak.

Lift the front end of the kayak and place it on the back crossbar. Next, grab the kayak’s stern, pull it off the ground, and move it up and forward onto the car’s roof rack system. The use of a roller load-assist system may make loading – and unloading – much more straightforward.

Carrying Kayaks without assistance is mainly determined by the kayak’s size, weight, and style. Kayaks range in weight from 26 pounds to over 100 pounds (12 kg to over 45 kg). The lightest kayaks are inflatable leisure kayaks, whereas the heaviest are hardshell, sit-on-top fishing kayaks.

Additional lift aid products may help you put your kayak into roof racks more comfortably, which is especially useful for heavier boats. If you’re carrying your vessel, you may find that wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) provides a cushion for your shoulder, making it simpler to carry.

Utilization of a roof rack. Loading a kayak into a vehicle may be difficult enough, so having a dependable frame system that makes it simple is beneficial. There are a variety of sideboards to select from, including sideboard systems that allow you to lift and carry kayaks to the ceiling.

Dragging a hefty fiberglass kayak is a whole other story. A high-quality inflatable kayak is built to withstand abuse. As long as you don’t pull it through a field of drywall screws, everything should be all right. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is finicky.

Kayak Roof Rack for Cars

Using car racks to transport a kayak

Keep in mind that you’ll need the next rollers before putting your kayak on the transport where you’ll be transporting it. Take a look at the Kayak Roof Rack for Cars without Rails for more information. (Learn How To Get Out Of A Kayak With Bad Knees)


These are the vertical bars that go over the roof of your vehicle.

Luggage racks with bars or cushioned luggage racks

  • The kayak transport bars are located on the crossbars and are the ones that accept the boat to be held. They must be protected with foam or other material to avoid harm to the boat.
  • Ropes To keep the bow and stern in good shape, we recommend using non-extensible, water-resistant ropes. When going on a kayak excursion, always have a spare.
  • Straps for camcorders
  • They decided to repair the kayak in the middle.

Procedures should be followed:

  • To begin, position all of the previously specified pieces on the top of the automobile.
  • Hold the radical house handles with the help of another person and situate the kayak directly close to the transport. This is said to be similar to this.
  • Hold the kayak by the hull at the ends and hoist it until it lands on the car’s roof support.
  • Finally, tinker with the ropes and straps until you have a secure grip.
  • If you must mount it on the car’s roof by yourself, you have the option of using an automatic lifting method system or a stand with kayak wheels.
  • You may drape a blanket or thick material on the rear of the vehicle roof if you want a more traditional and cost-effective approach.
  • Then, from the rear, set the kayak’s bow on it and push it forward to position it on the stand. The kayak may be used in any position, even upside down.
  • Continue tying it after you’ve verified that it’s based on the car’s roof rails and parallel to the vehicle. Next, learn how to secure a kayak.

How To Carry A Kayak By Yourself