How to load a kayak on j rack

A kayak rack is a device used to transport kayaks on top of vehicles. The racks give the user the ability to transport more than one kayak at once, but it can be difficult to load a single kayak on them. A good way to load your kayak onto the rack is by following these steps:

1. Place your j-rack on the ground near your vehicle with the crossbar facing up and one side facing you

2. Lift up the front end of your kayak and place it on the crossbar

3. Bend down and grab both ends of your boat

4. While standing, pull upwards until you feel that your boat is secure

5. Place the back end of your boat

Loading A Kayak On Your Vehicle’s J Rack

Clean the Kayak

Use non-spill detergent to clean the inflatable kayak. Dry your kayak thoroughly. If inflatable kayaks are not inflatable, soak them for a few hours or overnight in a tub of water.

Position the KAYAK onto the CAB

The KAYAK can be positioned on top of the J RAKE with the nose pointing towards the rear of the cab. Pull the KAYAK into place using a HANDLE and positioning it across the width of the cab.

If there is any wood behind the KAYAK, you will need to cut it away first. Work from the bottom of the KAYAK, to the point where the nose of the kayak is parallel to the rear axle. When this point is reached, the bow of the kayak can be fixed to the side of the cab with an ice screw or other method.

Prep the Kayak

Dry the kayak and remove the spray skirt. If using a pole launch, bring your kayak to the launching area. If you’re launching a kayak to a point beyond the launch ramp, head to the launch ramp, let it fill with water, and then load it into the boat.

Locate your vehicle

Climb aboard the vehicle, either driving or in-tow. Your car’s j rack should be the first thing you see when you start the engine. I’ll usually find a spot up front where it’s close to the steering wheel.

Take your paddle and place it on the dash or on the floor in front of you.

Place your life jacket around your waist in front of the rack. If you’re in an in-tow kayak, secure it above your chest. If in a paddle boat, secure it at the stern.

Gently press down on the paddle into the rack.

Lower the Kayak

Sit in your vehicle, comfortably, with your seat raised and the driver’s seat as far back as you can manage. You can’t really sit so low to the ground with a full seat belt, or with your legs spread too far to the side, because the kayak will also be sitting on your lap. I’d recommend sitting approximately four inches above your original seating position, or about an inch higher than the back of your seat. If your seat already sits higher than that, raise it a bit. Your seat may or may not have an adjustable extension.

Keep Your Feet Off the Floor

This will help keep you and the kayak from touching when the trailer comes down. Do not cross your legs or feet over the handles, which will restrict your range of motion and could cause injury.

Hook Up the Straps and Tie Down Loops

Lay the plastic bag on top of the rack.

If the kayak or canoe is on a shelf then secure it under the frame.

Locate the straps and tie-down hooks under the frame. If you are using either flat plastic-covered canoes or kayaks for storage then make sure you locate all the hooks.

Stretch out the plastic bag and slide the foam bumper and the handle in. Now you have a lightweight cushion for the foam bottom.

Place the kickboard up under the bottom of the boat.

Open the top drawer and remove the orange nylon bungee cord. Cut this end off and tie it to the top.

Stand back and tie on the mesh strap and the plastic bag over the bungee and the bumper.

Straighten out the bungee and raise the bag up and over the bumper.

Stabilize Your Vehicle

To make sure you don’t have a catastrophic failure, make sure to do your research, and figure out exactly how you want to stack the kayak up. This is particularly important with inflatable kayaks, as they can tumble around as you turn and hit the gas and brake.

Since you’re going to be using your vehicle’s own specialties to hold the kayak, it needs to be sturdy, and stable.

Here’s a short, handy guide from Car-Top Kayak that breaks down the different components of your vehicle and how they can be used to stabilize it.

Then, with a diagram from Dan Hutchens and a little assembly, you can fully reinforce your vehicle’s frame and bottom so it can hold the kayak.

Load The Kayak Onto The J Rack

1. Assemble the aluminum rack into the kayaking box

2. Load the rear folding camp chair into the carting cart

3. Load the heavy kayak onto the kayak cart

4. Spread your kayak out on the Jeep rack, ready to be loaded.

5. Get inside the Jeep to secure the kayak, you will want to be able to slide a rope along the sides to keep it secure.

6. Attach your 1-1/2” steel strap to the corner of the Jeep’s hitch

7. Using a crescent wrench, tighten the crescent wrench around the Jeep’s hitch to ensure the kayak is on tight.

8. Tighten the loose strap around the kayak.

9. Get into the Jeep and secure the kayak with the excess strap.

10. Press the other loose strap into the Jeep hitch to secure the kayak.

Secure The Boat With The Lower Straps And Tie Downs

If you need help carrying the boat onto the car, make sure you have a partner to assist. The easier it is to get the boat into your car, the more enjoyable and easier it is to launch and retrieve it. The easiest way to carry your boat on the car is to tie it to the lower straps and tie-downs.

Hang The Bag From The Roof Rack With Velcro Sticks 

In order to keep your kayak from sliding down the roof, use some clear red or yellow (rubber) velcro straps to fasten your boat to the roof rack.

Once the boat is attached to the roof rack, roll the car roof up to make it more comfortable for your dog or pet to ride. Don’t forget to fasten the velcro straps to keep the kayak from sliding down the roof.

Set Up For Traveling With A Roof Rack And Tires That Match Your Vehicle’s Size

Set Up For Traveling With A Top-Loading J Rack

Kayak Measuring Device For Your Crate In Advance

Valve Seals and Anchors

Covers and Crates

Disposable Gloves and Rainwear

Large Safety Goggles (for inspection)

Small Ice Cubes (for icy surfaces)

Large Ice Cubes (for icy surfaces) Waterproof Mat


Little Blue Boxes (for storing-the ones that come with kayaks)

Life Jackets (to protect you and the kayak)

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