The Perfect Sport Buyers Guide

How To Put A Kayak On A Roof Rack By Yourself?

how to put a kayak on a roof rack by yourself

Lifting, loading, and carrying a kayak appears to be one of the most common worries among women who are new to the sport. Is it possible for me to carry a kayak by myself? 

It is one of the most often asked questions among women.It is possible to lift, carry, and load your own boat using the proper technique. 

It may take some practise, but this is a realistic aim for many women. Even if the kayak is heavy and uncomfortable to carry at first, the more you practise, the simpler it becomes as your strength and stamina improve. 

It is advisable to understand that the first time you try anything, it won’t feel simple or natural. Allow some time to pass.

On the other hand, some women believe the kayaks are too heavy, and others have physical restrictions that prevent them from even attempting to carry one. 

That’s fine since there’s a lot of technology out there to help you transport your boat.

Kayak roof racks with rollers, for example, make loading boats onto a vehicle manageable for even one person; and kayak carts, which work similarly to a wheelbarrow to help you transport your kayak along the ground and into the water. 

In this article, we’ll go over correct kayak carrying techniques as well as these many options.

What are the different types of kayak racks?

If you enjoy kayaking, you almost certainly own one. Kayaking necessitates the exploration of new waterways on occasion. You’ll figure out a simple technique to carry your kayak to a new location. 

Kayaks may be carried in a variety of methods that are both safe and convenient. However, by placing J-Rack on the car’s roof, you may simply carry your kayak.

  1. J Rack:

You’re correct if you think this variety of rock acquired its name from its characteristic J form. J style racks can transport two kayaks and have proven rather common for hauling two kayaks. 

These racks have a 45-degree slant and resemble a letter “J.” When not in use, most J racks fold up. It improves gas mileage, cardiovascular fitness, and overall presence. 

The most significant benefit of J. York is its price. It’s one of the most cost-effective jerks, and it’s also incredibly simple to use.

  1. Pad:

Pads are one of the answers to kayak jerks. They’re perfect for carrying kayaks without a roof rack and don’t require any hardware or installation. 

How do you ensure that your kayak has enough paddles? Before lowering the kayak, place the paddles on the roof and then the kayak following the paddles.

  1. Crossbar:

If your vehicle has a crossbar, you may easily build a kayak strap out of it. Make sure the crossbars you purchase are compatible with your body type. 

Hold on to your crossbars at all times and make sure your kayak is flipped over. This will make tightening your kayak straps a lot easier.

  1. Hitch mount:

Trucks with hitch attachments are an excellent option for transporting kayaks. They allow you to put one end of the kayak on top of the truck’s cab while the other is supported by a jerk crossbar. 

Standard two-inch truck hiccups may be used with most types of this rack type. Because many of them also offer adjustable vertical support, you may adapt the height of your system to your vehicle’s specs.

  1. V Rack:

V-shaped racks, similar to J-racks, are required in your vehicle. These take very little time to instal and are quite affordable. These jerks are designed to be mounted in front of your kayak. 

The racks are V-shaped to support your kayak underground and make it extremely evident where you should lay your kayak on the top.

Why should you use a J rack?

Apart from J racks, there are a variety of roof rack systems. Although all of these roof racks are excellent and may be utilised in a variety of situations, the J rack remains the most popular and widely used. 

J racks are extremely popular because they take up very little space on your vehicle. Install one on your vehicle, strap your kayak to it, and you’ll have plenty of room on your roof for other items. 

Because the J rack is built in such a way that the kayak is held in a sideways position, this is the case.

When selecting a J rack, what factors should be considered?

There are a few factors that should influence the type of J rack you purchase. They include the following:

  • Vehicle type:

J racks are ideal for automobiles with large roofs. It’s crucial to understand that if a J rack isn’t compatible with your car’s roof, you should cease using it immediately. This is for your own protection as well as the safety of others.

  • Material used:

Another factor to consider is the material used to construct your J rack. If your kayak is particularly large and heavy, you’ll need a material that is both robust and capable of supporting the kayak’s weight. Lightweight kayaks, on the other hand, do not require powerful J racks.

  • Brand of J rack:

When it comes to kayak J racks, some companies are well-known. They are the most popular and have been thoroughly tested and proven to be the best. If you’re new to kayaking and aren’t sure which brand to choose, ask a skilled kayaker or look it up on the internet.

  • Money factor:

This is the last but certainly not the least of the lists. As you may know, no matter how much you want to get a specific J rack, you can only buy it with your money. Determine your budget and purchase the J rack that best fits it.

What are the various methods for self-loading a kayak?

Some kayak with their families, while others kayak with friends. Some of us, on the other hand, prefer the solitude of kayaking alone, with only the water, our kayak, and our thoughts for company. 

However, this does offer some issues, one of which is how to load your kayak into your car’s luggage rack when you’re on your own.

Method 1: Lift kayak using leg

Kayaks can be quite heavy, making them potentially risky to lift alone. It can be especially difficult if you already suffer from back problems that limit you from moving big objects. 

And, given that we all want to kayak as much as possible, a back injury is the last thing we want to deal with. As a result, it’s best to lift with your back straight and your knees bent. 

Throughout the lift, keep your back as straight as possible and create force with your legs. After all, they are your body’s strongest muscles.

Method 2: Lift kayak using shoulder

To begin, situate yourself behind the kayak, which should be resting on the floor with the hull’s bottom facing up. Then, from the stern, raise the kayak until it’s upright on its bow. 

Depending on the surface you’re working on, you might want to put something under the bow first to protect it. Next, move your hands down to the kayak’s centre point until you feel like you’ve found its balancing point. 

This is generally in the vicinity of the seat. Once you’ve located it, simply straighten your arms and let the kayak balance on its own. After that, lower one of the kayak’s sides onto one of your shoulders. Your head should now be in the kayak’s opening, or close to it. 

You want it to appear as if you’re employing a huge kayak boombox. Then walk up to your automobile and, in one action, lift it over your head and onto the parking rack. 

Then, depending on your j rack, follow the instructions on how to use it. One individual should be able to use all j racks.

Method 3: Lift kayak using hood slide

If you find it difficult to hoist a kayak above your head, this may be a viable option. You’ll need a backup towel to protect your automobile using this technique. 

To begin, build your J rack so that it is ready to accept your kayak. The towel should then be draped over the hood of your automobile, exactly in front of the j rack. 

Then you’ll raise the kayak and place it on the towel on your car’s hood. Finally, to put a kayak into a J rack by yourself, push it up the hood, through the windscreen, and onto the j rack. 

Ensure that the towel is brought along for the journey, and that the kayak does not come into direct contact with the paintwork of your car, since this may scratch it.

Method 4: Lift kayak using rear

For solitary paddlers, loading kayaks onto a J rack from the back is typically the simplest method. If you have a long or hefty kayak, it’s also a better option than loading from the side. 

You’ll also want to start with the kayak face up on the ground for this approach. Place a cushion below the stern of your kayak and align the bow of the kayak directly beneath the bumper of your vehicle. 

As you raise the bow up and into the channel of your J racks, this will shield the stern of your kayak from harm. Before going on to the following stage, make sure the bow of your kayak is properly positioned in the channel of your J racks. 

Otherwise, when you begin to lift the stern and push it forward, you risk the entire kayak slipping off the side of your car.

How to put a kayak on a roof rack by yourself?

Although the appropriate loading procedure for kayaks varies depending on the vehicle and rack type, we’ll give some helpful tips for putting kayaks on a roof rack like the J rack.

 Step 1: Set up a kayak on the ground

New kayakers frequently forget this easy step. Setting up the kayak in an ideal position on the ground before putting it onto a roof rack is the easiest method to make your life simpler when putting kayaks into a roof rack. 

This also lowers the chance of losing your hold and falling out of the kayak, which might result in damage to the kayak or personal harm. 

However, when putting a kayak into a J rack, the ideal position for the kayak on the ground is face up.

Step 2: Loading from one of the sides

You’ll need to raise and rotate the kayak toward you as you go up if you’re loading it from the side by yourself. 

This may be a tough move depending on the size of your kayak, especially for smaller paddlers. Position yourself at each end of the kayak to get started. 

To place the gunwale onto your J rack, you’ll need to coordinate rotating the kayak less than 90 degrees as you lift. 

With one end propped up, the taller person may swing around to the other end of the kayak and help place that end on the J rack.

Step 3: Kayak safety

You’ll need to secure your kayak after it’s in the channels of your J rack before driving away. Many inexperienced kayakers fail in this region, which can have devastating results.

You can read our blog on how to store a kayak easily


If you’re doing it yourself, mounting a kayak on a roof rack might be a difficult process. However, there are a few techniques that make loading a roof rack by yourself very simple. 

First and foremost, resist the temptation to try to move your kayak from the ground to the roof. Even the smallest kayaks will be too heavy for a single person to comfortably and securely lift from the ground to the roof.