Our location is on busy University Drive in Tempe. Right outside our door, is a big body of . . . . . .concrete. So when you rent a kayak from us, you'll be taking it somewhere else to enjoy it. This article explains some of the options for transporting our rental kayaks.
Options include everything from sticking one in the back of your hatchback to carrying 4 of them on a custom trailer. Most renters use a car top rack or the bed of a pickup truck. Obviously you'll have a few more options with the lighter and shorter kayaks, whereas the big fishing kayaks might require a trailer or truck to transport. Our basic rental rates assume a "carry-out" arrangement - we'll help get the kayak out to near your vehicle, and you can load it up as you feel is best for your vehicle, keeping in mind you are responsible for the condition of the boat when returned. We rent and sell the supplies you might need to secure the boat to your vehicle, and loading it for you is an optional service we can provide as well.
GENERAL GUIDELINES . . .
Absolute minimum of two straps per kayak, plus a bow and stern line depending on exposure. Many kayaks are best transported upside down on padded flat bars, but make sure no weight is borne by the hatch lids, handles or anything else that protrudes. Rented kayaks can be transported upright if in the bed of a truck (still use some type of padding underneath) or supported by foam "saddles" or J-bars installed on your cross bars. Seats, paddles and drives must be removed prior to transporting and stored inside the vehicle. A red flag is needed if the kayak extends more than 4 feet behind the vehicle.
INSIDE A CAR . . .
Yes, it's doable, but probably with just our shortest ones - those in the 10 - 11 foot range - unless it's a van or similar vehicle. Odds are you'll have to flatten the front seat and it will still stick out the back of a hatchback, so passenger room? Not so much. If the kayak extends more than 4 feet beyond the bumper, you'll need something to serve as a red flag to attach to the boat. The boat will be secure with at least one rope/strap inside the car. Then you'll need another rope/strap to hold down your hatch or other rear door. Don't let the door bang on the boat surface.
ON TOP OF A CAR OR TRUCK . . . .
Ideally, you've got factory installed side rails and quality cross bars. Or at least some after-market roof racks of some sort that will hold the weight of a kayak or two. Otherwise, we have some temporary roof rack systems that can work with most vehicles with 4 windows. Just add some padding to the crossbars, flip the kayak upside down, and strap it down. For each kayak, you should use two 12' - 15' straps to lash the main body of the kayak to the rails, plus a strap line or rope from the bow and stern each down to the front and rear bumpers. It's hard to get 2 kayaks on top of a car without using "J-bars" that support each kayak on its side.
IN A TRUCK . . .
Trucks are great, aren't they! Even a small pickup will carry a kayak in the bed with the tail gate down, although it will stick out some in the back. If more than 4 feet, be sure to tack on a red flag on the end. Use at least two straps to make sure it doesn't fly out driving down the interstate. One good way to carry the longer kayaks is to use a bed-extender, which is inserted into the trailer hitch, and then extends out and up to give support to the kayak about 4 feet behind the current bed. We rent those if needed. "Ladder racks" running from the top of the cab level to two supports anchored in the back of the truck work well, although that first lift to get the boat up there can be tricky for some.
TRAILERS . . .
This can be the easiest way to transport a kayak, especially one of the larger ones like a tandem or fishing kayak. Most trailers will easily carry 2 or more kayaks, as the weight of each will be well under the maximum capacity of the trailer. Trailers minimize how high you have to lift a kayak into position, and are easier to strap boats on to. The downside to using a trailer is, of course, it's a trailer, and driving with one requires paying a bit more attention. And you need a trailer hitch on your car or truck to lug it around. As far as hitches, the lowest Class 1 will be sturdy enough to handle a trailer of kayaks; a fully loaded kayak trailer will still only weigh a few hundred pounds counting the load.
Questions on what is best for your vehicle? Just give us a call at our outdoors specialty store in Tempe at 480-348-8917. We'll be glad to help!