When transporting a kayak, there may be different confusions. One of the most common misconceptions is whether to transport a kayak upside down or not. The answer to this query largely depends upon your situation, as moving a kayak in this position is not recommended in all conditions. 

If you own a polythene kayak, it can be transported in any of the hull upside or downside positions. However, some kayak’s hulls may get damaged in this case. Let’s see what are the ups and downs of carrying a kayak upside down! 

Can Kayaks Be Transported Upside Down? 

Yes, you can transport your modern polythene kayak upside down because its hull is not prone to any damage in this position. However, transporting the composite and some other kayaks using this method is not recommended. 

The reason is that the fiberglass, carbon fiber, and other materials are sensitive and may get cracked or damaged when your put them upside down. So, it’s good to learn about the safest transportation techniques for each kayak to prevent any sudden damage. 

Advantages of Transporting Kayak Upside Down

Transporting a kayak with its upside down has certain advantages as well as disadvantages. When deciding whether to follow this technology or not, try to weigh its pros and cons. Let’s first explore the key benefits of this mode of kayak transportation; 

Low Weather Impacts

When the hull of your kayak is upside down and its cockpit is upside down, it will not get wet even in heavy rain. When the kayak gets wet or filled with water, paddling becomes risky and hard. So, you can transport your kayak safely in bad weather with its upside down. 

Low Dragging

When you put your kayak upside down on your roof rack, the chances of dragging are very low. The kayak’s cockpit fits well to the rack and you can drive safely even through rough terrain. 

No Oil Canning

When the hull of your kayak is down, the chances of oil canning are greater. However, you can lower such risks by transporting the kayaks upside down. In this situation, there will be no pressure on the hull, so it will not suffer any distortion. 

Disadvantages of Transporting Kayak Upside Down

Though transporting your kayak upside down is useful, it has some potential risks as well. Here are the most common cons of carrying your kayak in this position;

Securing Trouble

One of the major problems with transporting your kayak upside down is that the hatchet and straps may not align properly. So, they may not secure the kayak well in its place. This way, the kayak may get loose when you go through the rough roads or off road. 

Poor Fit Cockpits

All the kayaks are not built the same, some are smaller while others are larger. So, all kayaks don’t fit well to transport them upside down. Their cockpits may not fit well to the crossbar or other roof racks. It’s another problem with this kayak transportation mode. 

How to Transport a Kayak Upside Down? 

You can transport your kayak upside down using any of the following methods; 

Through Crossbars

One of the most common and most effective ways to transport a kayak upside down is through crossbars. Simply, fit your kayak on the crossbar, secure it properly, and go out on your journey. You don’t need to spend extra money on buying a J-cradle for transporting the kayak if you have a crossbar. 

Using Kayak Trailer

If you don’t have a crossbar or don’t want to transport the kayak on your vehicle, you can invest in a kayak trailer for it. These trailers are specifically made for transporting your kayak from home to the water. Simply load your kayak with its upside down, secure it well, tow your trailer to the vehicle, and start your journey. 

Truck Bed 

You can also utilize a truck bed for transporting your kayak in any position. Most of the truck beds are spacious enough to accommodate the kayaks. However, you can use a bed extender if needed for it. 

Tips For Transporting a Kayak Safely

When you transport a kayak from your house to paddling spots, you should take a special kayak. Depending upon your kayak, you may have to follow different safety guidelines. Here are some effective tips to carry your kayak without any risk; 


In conclusion, you can transport your kayak upside down. However, this mode of transportation has its unique pros and cons. That’s why it’s important to explore both the advantages and disadvantages of moving your kayak with its hull upside. Only then you can decide whether it’s practical in your case or not. Also, use the proper method for your kayak transportation. Otherwise, you may end up with a damaged kayak or car roof. 


When should I transport my kayak upside down? 

If you’re set out to your journey in a threatening weather, loading your kayak upside down is a wise decision. It will prevent water penetration into the kayak cockpit. So, your paddling adventure will be quite secure once the weather clears. 

How to transport a composite kayak?

Always transport the composite kayaks on their bottom because they are more exposed to cracks and other damages. You can use kayak cradles for a safe transportation of such kayaks. Additionally, use the foam blocks or pool noodles for extra safety. 

Which way do you transport a kayak?

The most efficient and frequently used method for kayak transportation is through a roof rack. However, you can also consider other ways like a kayak trailer, cradle, or on a truck bed. 

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