How to Carry a Kayak – An Extensive Guide to Carry a Kayak


Carry a kayak may appear to be simple. However, this could be hazardous if not done correctly and could result in damage to the kayak (if you happen to drop it) or even injuries in your back. It should not be a problem when you’re using an inflatable kayak. However, If you own traditional hard-shell kayaks, you must know how to carry the kayak safely, and safely is a skill you’ll need to master.

How to carry a kayak

When you have your kayak lying on the ground, you can stand in front of it, with the bow pointed towards the direction you wish to go. When the swell’s to your right side, you’ll carry it on the left side of your shoulder and reverse. Roll the kayak onto its side, and make sure that the cockpit is facing your direction. It is a little lifted to ensure you’re at the center of the kayak; you do not want it to be unstable when it’s placed sitting on your shoulders!

Check out: How to tie down a kayak

Be sure to follow the guidelines

Before you begin transporting your kayak on a vehicle, it is crucial to ensure that you meet the requirements set by their city, specifically for kayak transportation. Most experts suggest that not more than 15 percent of the boat’s length should extend to the same length as the car. If it protrudes the vehicle, carry it back to the truck.

Use your legs

Set your hands on the cockpit’s rim closest to you and raise the kayak onto your legs. Your legs will be able to bear the load. Be sure to keep your knees bent to avoid injury, and allow the kayak to rest on your knees.

Roll up

With your knees bent and you’re straight, reach for the opposite part of the cockpit by placing your palm close to the front. Hold the rim in your palm, looking toward the sky. You can roll the kayak up onto your shoulders and use your hands to make it a comfortable position. Make sure to stabilize it. You’re aware of the length and pay attention to any blind areas.

Carry a kayak by transport

The first step is to get the kayak to the vehicle, transporting it back to the river, lake, or the sea, where you utilize it. For transporting your kayak to the transportation, we recommend the involvement of two persons. If you go it alone, it can take a long time. Each of them has to hold an handle. Attach them to the ends of the boat, which means towards the bow and stern. The two kayakers must be able to look and walk towards the direction they will use the kayak. Two people can transport two boats at once without any hassle. You only need to hold the one handle with each hand. If you’re on your own, then you can put the kayak over your shoulders. To ensure that it carries correctly, put yourself on the left side, look at it and then bend over.

Pick the leading edge and then pull it towards your thighs with both hands. Keep the boat on the interior of the cockpit using the right hand. Hold the ship by its edge using your left arm. Take the kayak up slowly and put it on the right side of your shoulder. Hold it by the holes. It is helpful when you find a place that stops the kayak from turning back or forward. Find stability. If you feel that carrying the kayak on your own can be challenging, you may employ a wheelbarrow to help guide you.

Bars or luggage racks

The bars used to transport kayaks are set on crossbars and are the ones that can be used to support the boat. They need to be lined with foam or something that protects the boat from getting damaged.

Read more: How to put a kayak on a roof rack

Lift and transport

Kayaks, mostly tour and recreational kayaks, are available in various sizes and weights that range between 40 and 80 pounds. Kayaks designed explicitly for recreation are usually lighter and smaller, whereas the sea kayaks for tours are typically heavier. The most efficient method to transport and lift smaller vessels is to take the kayak by the handle and then raise it onto one shoulder. Start by standing with your kayak against your shins, with the cabin facing the direction of the sun.

Bend your knees. Avoid injury. The kayak should be lowered over your thighs and keep the knees bent. Once the kayak is sitting on your thighs, take your right hand and hold the opposite border of the cabin. When you are up, raise the left edge of the home’s wall and place it on your shoulder. The edge should rest comfortably on your shoulder. Place the kayak comfortably on your shoulder so that you can feel comfortable. You can then carry the kayak and not hit the ground. This is the way to go.

How to carry a kayak when you’re alone

Due to the weight and size of kayaks, it’s recommended to seek someone to carry the kayak before attempting to take it on your own. Suppose you are in a position where there is no other option to carry a kayak yourself. In that case, you’ll have to be able to take it correctly and securely.

How to carry a kayak

Position yourself

While the kayak is placed on the ground, you should face your kayak and then stand directly near the cockpit. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. This stance will help you stay in a more stable position when you lift your kayak up off of the ground.

Turn the kayak

Relax the knees (not your waist) and grasp the rim of the cockpit nearest to you. Then, pull the edge of your cockpit to move the kayak on its side. The kayak’s hull should be leaning towards your shins, and the cockpit should be away towards you.

Grab the kayak

When the kayak place sitting on its side and the back straight, grasp the portion of the cockpit that elevates or is closest to you by holding both hands.

Lift the kayak

Hold the kayak with your hands, help stabilize it, and then lift the kayak on your legs. Bring your weight back down, and then push the kayak against the ground with your feet. Make sure your knees are straight when you get up, and hold the kayak on your knees until you’re standing position. In this position, your kayak should be resting on your legs

Flip the kayak

The kayak is resting on your thighs; remove your hand that is in the cockpit. Move to the opposite end of the cockpit, with your palm facing upwards. Next, using your right hand, raise and lower the kayak on your right shoulder until the right shoulder and arm are within the kayak’s cockpit. It’s the same if you’re using the left hand, except that the kayak will rest upon your shoulder, not the right shoulder.

How to carry a kayak by two people

If you follow the steps above following the above procedure, you’ll be able to carry the kayak independently. But, certain kinds of kayaks can be heavy (like ones made of plastic rotomolded), so you’ll have to get help from someone in transporting the kayak. If you have a paddling partner or know someone who can help you carry a kayak, Here’s how to go about it.

Check out: How to transport a kayak without roof rack

How to carry a kayak

Use the grab handles

When the kayak is set on the ground, put your bodies at both ends of the kayak in such a way you are standing close to the bow, and another is near the stern. Relax your knees and grab the handle at your end of the boat. The other person should perform the exact same. If both of you can hold the handles, raise your knees until both of you are standing. There’s another way for carrying the kayak once you have someone helping you, and that’s using the hull.

Hold the hull

Begin by following the steps above. After that, using one handheld by the handle, place your hands free of the hull. Once you’ve got a grip of the hull, let go of the grip handle and then move it beneath the hull. When you are done, you’ll notice that both hands are holding the kayak’s bottom.


Kayaking has been among the top practiced activities in recent years. It is very easy to carry a kayak if you follow the above steps. In addition to the fact that many users have an RV for kayaks, some don’t. It’s best to keep in mind some tips.

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