How to Transport a Kayak When You’re Alone
While solo kayaking is enjoyable and relaxing, it can be slightly intimidating to consider doing it without any help. Particularly the idea of transporting your kayak alone may be challenging if you haven’t done it before. Luckily, there are some reliable techniques and gear that makes solo kayak transporting go smoothly without putting undue pressure or stress on you or your body.
Tips for Solo Kayak Transport
One of the more challenging aspects of solo kayaking is that you don’t have any assistance in getting your kayak to where you need to go. Whether it’s from storage to your car or from your car to the start of your water journey, there are several stages of maneuvering your yak outside of the water before your paddling adventure starts.
These parts of the journey shouldn’t deter you from ‘going it alone’, though. There are general guidelines that can make the transitions to and from the water go more smoothly. If you’re strategic about how you lift and carry your yak, it’s totally manageable to do by yourself:
- Plan out where you’re going. Think about how to create the path of least resistance between your vehicle and where you store your kayak–make those trips as short and direct as possible.
- Hold the cockpit over your shoulder. The easiest way to carry your yak is to squat down, tip the cockpit into your leg, and then lift the cockpit over your shoulder to balance it.
- Keep your head up. While you’ll need to look down from time to time to make sure of your footing, keeping your eyes forward as much as possible will help you maintain your balance and prevent you from running into anything.
- Take breaks if needed. It’s totally normal to need a few breaks to set the kayak down along the way, especially if you have a distance to go to get to the water. Take the journey at your pace and take all the rest you need.
- Use your PFD as a cushion. To avoid fatigue, carrying your kayak with your PFD already on adds some extra padding to your shoulder to make it a bit more comfortable.
Helpful Gear for Kayak Transporting
The other part of safely and easily getting your kayak to the water is taking advantage of the equipment that makes the kayak transport process easier. Here are some kayak gear options to help transport your kayak:
Kayak carts strap around the kayak’s cockpit and allow you to pull your boat on wheels. Kayak carts are helpful when the terrain you’re traveling on is relatively smooth and you’re not going too far. Using a cart can prevent the fatigue you might feel when carrying a kayak on your shoulder.
Roof racks are mounts that you can put on the top of your car so you’re able to load a kayak on the roof of your vehicle. Using a roof rack can be helpful if you can’t fit your kayak inside your car, and helps protect your car’s interior from getting too wet or dirty after your kayaking trip.
Kayak Grab Handle
This creates a larger handle for you to more easily drag your kayak. Grab handles are helpful when you’re in an area, like the beach, where you can safely drag your kayak without danger of damaging the hull.
Trailers are often helpful when you need to transport multiple kayaks, but it can be just as helpful when you’re kayaking solo. If your boat has a lot of gear or mounts, like some fishing kayaks, it’s not always feasible to be able to load it on the roof of your car alone. Using a kayak trailer makes it easier for solo kayakers to transport your yak independently.
However you decide to get your kayak to the water, just know that managing your own pace and getting the right equipment will make solo transporting your kayak doable!