Kayak transport, looking for advice

ChristinaI

New Member
Joined
May 12, 2013
Messages
4
Hi everyone, I'm organizing a kayaking trip that will involve transporting a couple tandem kayaks. I only have experience transporting single kayaks, so am looking for advice on transporting the tandems:

We've looked at maximum weight loading of our vehicles.
My Honda Fit has racks and rollers for kayaks, but I worry the roof is too short to transport tandems safely. Are there any guidelines on the spacing between crossbars/rollers for carrying tandems? Does anyone have experience carrying a tandem on a Honda Fit or similar small car?

Another of the car options is a Subaru Crosstrek...same questions as above, anyone have experience with tandems on those? We don't currently have racks on that car. Are foam pads a no-no for tandems, ie should we always use proper racks systems for transporting tandems?

Last vehicle option is a pickup truck. Does anyone know if anywhere in Victoria BC might rent truck kayak racks? And/or any advice on truck kayak racks?

Thanks so much!
Christina
 

SalishSeaNior

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Nov 15, 2020
Messages
65
Location
Okanagan Valley, Canada
I would be very hesitant to transport a K2 very far on a small car like a Fit. Way too much overhang and way to much windage for securing a long K2 between short racks. It is likely that other motorists, not to mention the Highway Patrol, or CVSE inspectors might take a dim view of transporting it in that fashion. In addition, if you plan to travel on rough roads, it probably won't be a fun or relaxing road trip with big boats that are likely to bounce about or sway.

By far, the truck option would be the best bet; if you can buy, or know anyone who can build a rack for in the box. A sturdy wooden - box frame will work just fine if well built using two by fours and drilled bolts.

Quick look on Kijiji found this add for a used Yakima truck rack in Victoria posted May 24th. If there are four of you who all chipped in, the cost would be worth the piece of mind and security in my view.

My two bits, Cheers,
 

AM

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Joined
Jan 30, 2006
Messages
1,011
Location
Vancouver
I would be very hesitant to transport a K2 very far on a small car like a Fit. Way too much overhang and way to much windage for securing a long K2 between short racks. It is likely that other motorists, not to mention the Highway Patrol, or CVSE inspectors might take a dim view of transporting it in that fashion. In addition, if you plan to travel on rough roads, it probably won't be a fun or relaxing road trip with big boats that are likely to bounce about or sway.
I completely agree and will add one more point: check the load rating of the rack on your Fit. On my Corolla the limit is 120 lbs on my Yakima racks. While they can probably take a lot more weight, if I exceeded the limit and then had an accident, the liability would be severe.

Two tandems will be a lot of weight -- 180 lbs at least. That plus their length makes carrying them on your Fit risky.

As far as carrying on foam...no. These boats act as long lever arms and will bounce and twist.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

red kite

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Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
164
Location
comox valley
What they said...

The very narrow support on a small car's rack is, say, 28"?, on a touring double (20 - 22') that is 8.5' to 10' unsupported on either side, said kayaks are often 95+ lbs, if you are renting it's likely that they have a heavier lay-up and are exceeding 100lbs.

Small cars and/or foam blocks on naked roofs only and doubles just don't go together.
Also, if the CrossTrek has factory bars only I'd still only put one double on there.

Plus, from the kayak repair person's perspective...
I have, over time repaired several doubles that had cracks in the rack/strap location. While some of them where damage from loose bowlines caught in the wheel, at least two of them were from transport on a very short crossbar spread on a small car.
 

JKA

Paddler
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
215
Location
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
When I last carried a long double on a short-span roof rack I used an aluminium ladder.

I used U bolts to secure the ladder to the vehicle's roof rack bars and then padded that and tied down the kayak.

Bow and stern lines are essential in this case.

I then drove very conservatory, and checked it often. Check your local traffic regulations regarding load overhangs: ours are weird and include distance forward from the front of the driver's seat! As well as a flag, I also attached a bicycle light to the stern to warn following motorists.

You could simply lash the ladder down, it will be just as secure if done correctly.
 

ChG

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Nov 4, 2021
Messages
8
Location
Vancouver Island BC
I have a Crosstrek with wind bars mounted on the side factory bars and I have carried a double once. Worked very well but needs stern and bow attachment. The span between the wind bars is 40 inches. I also have an upright stacker on it that helped to stabilize the kayak and can also carry up to 3 singles touring kayaks on their side. Foam blocks on roof top not recommended for that size of kayaks.
 

ChristinaI

New Member
Joined
May 12, 2013
Messages
4
Thanks so much everyone, your comments have all been really helpful!
I think we're going to go with a truck rack set up, and if we can't sort that out in time we'll just switch to only taking singles which we've done before on the cars. Thanks again, I really appreciate your advice.
 

eggabeewa

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Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
28
Location
Greater Vancouver, BC
I maybe shouldn't recommend this but I'll tell you that I once hauled 3 kayaks on a Honda Odyssey from Vancouver to Port Alberni. The Odyssey roof rack didn't have cross bars only the side rails. I put the two largest (one tandem and a single, both plastic) on the bottom with just foam blocks then tied them down together to the rails. Then I put the third on top with more blocks and cinched all 3 down together. Then tied the bows and sterns down. I took it easy but really didn't have any problems.
 
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