Kayak logistics: Getting to the water

For kayak anglers, getting their ‘yaks to the water is half the battle. (Photo by Phillip Gentry)

Kayak anglers often brag about the ability to get quietly into backwaters that few other anglers can reach. Getting to remote or isolated areas on the water is a simple practice for paddlers. But sometimes it’s getting from Point A – Home, to Point B – Water’s Edge, that’s the problem.

In its most simplistic terms, you throw the ‘yak in the bed of a pickup truck, along with a paddle and go. Logistics become a little more difficult when there’s “stuff” attached to the top of the boat, stuff that took a long time to get properly situated, and rolling the boat over on its side or upside down presents a problem.

If you intend to truly car-top a kayak to your chosen fishing area, then it’s best to start with some type of rack system that is designed for the automobile you’ll be driving. Some auto manufacturers have stock racks that are of suitable design and strength to support a kayak. But it’s still best to augment those devices with some type of padding. Pads can be commercially produced models or something homemade.

Cartopping systems

The other option is to go with a system made specifically for kayak transport. Companies like Yakima, Thule, and Malone all make excellent cartopping systems that will secure your boat for highway use. Some models may even allow for tandem carrying of kayaks.

The individual manufacturer will provide the model or adaptors needed to fit your specific year, make and model automobile and how to install it on your vehicle. One safety precaution to keep in mind is that highway travel will cause the straps and clamps that these systems employ to loosen. So check them at frequent intervals during your journey. Also remember to replace any worn parts.

Not to say that cartop systems can’t be used in conjunction with a light truck, but many kayak anglers choose to use a bed rack system as the roof of most light trucks is smaller than some SUVs or automobiles. You can find a broad list of manufacturers who offer kayak specific truck racks on the web or customize a standard utility rack to meet your boat’s needs.

Another note about car or truck topping is to factor in both the weight of the boat and the semi-permanently attached gear that goes with the boat and will be supported by the rack. Also, consider if you’re going to load the boat by yourself or have help getting it on top of the vehicle.

How ‘bout a trailer?

Some years ago, it sort of flew in the face of many kayakers to transport their watercraft on a trailer. The thought was that defeated the purpose of getting to and parking anywhere a moderately successful 2- or 4-wheel drive vehicle could go and be relatively unobtrusive.

Fact is, you may prevent yourself from using some waterside dump-in sites if you choose to trailer your boat and that should factor into the decision-making process. You don’t have to back the trailer into the water like you would a power boat to launch, but you’re still going to need room to park the whole rig when you’re off fishing.

On the plus side of trailering, multiple boats can be hauled on a single trailer which provides a good measure of safety, especially if you’re hauling the boat long distance. Another plus is with some ingenuity, you can customize the trailer with boxes or tubes to hold rods, tackle, and gear, saving space for passengers in the vehicle.

The post “Kayak logistics: getting to the water” first appeared on CarolinaSportsman.com.

About Phillip Gentry 404 Articles
Phillip Gentry is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer who says that if it swims, walks, hops, flies or crawls he’s usually not too far behind.

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