Transporting Kayak Inside SUV Securely [Beginner’s Guide]

Kayaking is entertaining, but carrying your kayak to the water is never easy. So how to pack it in your vehicle securely? 

There are different methods to accomplish this goal. Regardless of your chosen approach, always ensure that the strap you employ can keep your boat in place. 

In this post, we will give you a complete guide to transporting a kayak inside an SUV. Read through, and you won’t have to worry about your next excursion! 

transporting kayak inside suv

Guide To Transporting Kayak Inside SUV 

To properly load your kayak inside your vehicle and safely carry it to the destination, you need to focus on the type of kayak and the strap.

Here are step-by-step instructions for this task. 

Step 1: Choose the kayak 

Not all kayaks are suitable for packing inside a car due to their size. But if you have one of the following models, you can do it. 

  • Short kayaks

Some SUVs may handle short rigid kayaks as long as you can still shut the trunk door or back hatch. 

However, even the smallest kayaks are typically around six feet long. You will probably need to fold the front seat to fit them fully inside your vehicle.

Transporting a short kayak inside an automobile is only practical if you need it a few times a month.

It can’t work if you bring the whole gear to the beach while still having other passengers in your car. 

Passengers take up a lot of space, and there won’t be much left for your kayak.

Moreover, you also need to think about the space for your kayak’s accessories and safety gear

To load a short kayak inside your car, you must leave at least half of it with the trunk open.

Alternatively, two-thirds of the boat should fit inside the car, and the remaining third stick out. 

The method above allows your vehicle to support the kayak’s weight. Then, all left is to deal with the kayaking gear. 

  • Folding kayaks

Folding kayaks are excellent solutions for owners of small sedans and SUVs.

You can fold your boats easily, and they fit in your vehicle’s trunk nicely until you arrive at the beach.  

Additionally, you won’t have to fold your back seats to use the entire passenger capacity of your car.

The foldability features make these models suitable for families or groups requiring an ample vehicle space.

  • Inflatable kayaks

Inflatable kayaks share the same advantages as folding ones.

When not in use, they entirely compress into a little pack that allows you to fit all your luggage and passengers inside your SUV without folding any seat down. 

You can put up both inflatable and folding kayaks quickly once you get to the water. Just be aware that if you don’t want to do it manually, you will need a good electric pump to assist you in inflating these kayaks.

Step 2: Find anchor points on your vehicle.

To begin with, you must find secure spots inside your vehicle to fasten the strap.

Never use plastic for these joints, and set them carefully so you can drag the weight of your boat forward and downward.

The best option is metal D-rings. Some SUVs have such hooks welded into their trunk, and you can use these components for transporting your kayak. 

Finding these spots before you put your boat in your SUV’s trunk will be crucial. After that, you can align the connection points on your car with those on your kayak.

Step 3: Find anchor points on your kayak.

You might also want to find a few anchor points on your boat before loading it into your car. Luckily, they should resemble the D-ring straps that you may see in your vehicle’s trunk. 

Your primary goal will be to sufficiently secure the straps you tie over your kayak to prevent movement while driving.

However, if you want to stop the boat from slipping, you can also use anchor points placed directly inside the kayak.

Expect the kayak to move a little bit, especially when you drive on rough terrain.

Yet, the main cause for the movement is physics. For example, you may brake your car suddenly and make your boat slide forward. 

If you have a sit-in kayak, employ scupper holes as the anchor points. These tools are good at strapping your gear down, preventing them from sliding. 

Unfortunately, you can find suitable scupper holes in all kayaks. 

Step 4: Put your kayak inside SUV

Now you know where to place the straps in your SUV and kayak. It’s time to fold the back seats and place your kayak. 

Try your best to line up the anchor points in the trunk with the ones you’ll use on your boat to secure the straps properly. 

Most people place their boats face down, but your automobile may benefit from the opposite (or a slightly tilted) arrangement.

You can definitely place the kayak face-up if, for instance, the anchor points you intend to utilize are on the top section of the kayak. 

Step 5: Strap your kayak

Ratchet straps may be the most popular choice for tightening items on vehicles. 

However, in this case, cam straps perform a better job because they are cheaper and simpler to use. 

Be careful when putting up the cam straps so that it will be quick to tighten them once you run the strap through the strap buckle.

When fastening the cam straps, do not push them away from your body.

When transporting the boat, the excess part of the cam strap may flap around and get stuck. You can choose a daisy chain for the strap to avoid this problem. 

After securing the straps and checking that they don’t slide, close your vehicle’s rear door or hatch as far as it can until it touches the kayak. 

Secure the door with another strap with it open. The ideal anchor point for this task is inside the door’s grip or the D-shaped latch that can hold the door in position when closed. 

Cam straps come in handy because they let the door bounce a little bit with the bumps during your trip. You can avoid damage to the door and anchor points.

The only other spot you should think about is where the door meets your boat.

If you want to protect your kayak from harm, think about cushioning this area with a towel or foam.

Make sure that whatever you choose won’t slide or fly away while driving.

Read more: How to Transport 3 Kayaks? (7 Methods Explained!)

How Heavy Is A Kayak To Fit Inside An SUV? 

Many SUVs have a total passenger and cargo weight capacity of over 1,100 pounds. However, depending on the vehicle’s features, the load capacity of a few others is approximately 1,000 pounds.

Regarding the kayaks, the size, type, and materials employed in the manufacturing all significantly impact how much they weigh. 

Inflatable solo kayaks typically weigh between 30 and 35 pounds. A kayak’s weight can go up to 60 pounds if its materials are polyethylene or plastic. 

The average weights of a folding and short kayak are 30 and 35 pounds, respectively. Again, this figure varies depending on several factors. 

As you can see, a kayak is more lightweight than an average adult. So, your biggest concern when transporting it is its huge size. 


You can secure a kayak inside your SUV with sturdy cam straps. However, before loading, make sure that your vehicle can accommodate it. 

You will find it simpler to carry a folding, short, or inflatable kayak inside an automobile. These models are compact and don’t take up a lot of space. 

Do you find this post helpful? If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Thank you for reading! 

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