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Kayak Transportation

     Just about every vehicle can fit a kayak on it in some way or another. Your vehicle situation may have some bearing on which type of kayak you will choose or what type of rack system you'll want.

     One of the less expensive options is Soft Racks. These padded racks attach with straps inside your vehicle and the kayak straps on up above. These work well but cause you a bit more effort every time you want to go kayaking since these are not meant to be permanantly attached to your car and you'll want to remove them after kayaking unless you'll be getting back out there in the next day or so.

     Vehicles that already have factory racks installed can take the plastic kayaks on them. They are generally not as strong as the racks that the major rack manufacturers are putting out but the plastic kayaks don't weigh much and if you're tied down well and not exposing a 16' tandem into a 40mph sidewind, combined with racing for profit, you should be okay.

      If you don't have factory racks, or even if you do, and want a stronger setup, Thule makes rack systems and fit kits that will work on most vehicles. They make hardware that can clip right into your factory tracks or clamp onto the longitudinal rails some vehicles have. If you have a clean roof they have fit kits that clamp inside your door jambs.

      A couple of ingenious devices that Thule makes are the Outrigger , RollerCoaster and Hullavator accessories which allow you to get your kayak up onto the top of your vehicle while only having to lift one end of the kayak at a time. Another back saving device is a kayak dolly which can wheel your kayak along if you've got a ways to go from your vehicle to your launch point.

     If you have a pickup truck with regular length bed, you can slide a 12' or 13' kayak right in the back. This is one of the least phisically demanding since you never have to lift the kayak over your head. If you want to carry longer kayaks on a pickup, Thule makes a heavy duty rack (the 421) that clamps into your bed allowing your kayaks to rid up above and over the cab. Another pickup option is the Thule Goalpost which will clip into your trailer receptacle and support your kayaks farther back making it easy to carry the longer kayaks.

     A new trailer sytem that has recently been released is the Rack and  Roll Trailer. It tows behind your vehicle and has roof type racks but down at a waist high level so lifting the kayak up is much easier since you're not having to go overhead.

Whichever kind of system you decide will work best  to tie down your gear, besides the straps that hold down the kayak, it's a good idea to tie one point of the kayak forward to the vehicle to prevent the kayak from slipping toward the rear because sometimes main straps can loosen during transport.   

     Another thing to think about is the spacing between your racks. The more spacing, the better especially with longer kayaks. If you don't have much distance between your racks and you're carrying a longer kayak, it would be prudent to tie one end of the kayak to your front bumper, or both front and back. This will keep the kayak from twisting when the winds pick up, especially sidewinds.