5 Tips to Safely Transport Vacation Gear

What do activities like kayaking, biking and camping all have in common? Besides making for a fun day out being active, they each call for the use of bulky sports equipment. With many families hitting the road this weekend (and the rest of the summer) to take part in these hobbies, it’s important to know how to safely secure your gear to your car so that it stays put while you’re on the road. Here are five tips to keep in mind:

  1. Research roof load capacity. Kayaks and bikes can often be secured to a specially designed roof rack. But before loading them on top of your vehicle, check your car’s handbook to make sure you aren’t exceeding the maximum roof load capacity. If you’re in the clear, use a rack designed specifically for the item you’re strapping on (there are versions for kayaks, canoes, bikes, and more).
  2. Check height limits. Before hitting the road, measure the height of your vehicle with your kayaks or bikes on top. This way you’ll avoid an expensive mistake as a result of striking low overpasses or tunnel entrances or even low-hanging trees
  3. When using rear racks, make sure everything is installed correctly. Rear bike racks are a safe way to transport bicycles on a road trip, as long as they are installed properly. Unsure of exactly which bike rack you need or if you have it installed well? Take a trip to your local bike store and get them to check it out.
  4. Keep your sights clear. During the packing process, make sure you’re able to see out of all mirrors—especially your rear view mirror. If you can’t see, you can store the larger items in a hard-shell roof case (or strap them directly onto the roof using two-inch-wide ratchet straps).
  5. Be smart when using a trailer. Water toys like jet skis can be secured on a trailer. Make sure you double-check your vehicle’s horsepower, which determines how much extra weight your car can tow. It is also important to check the tire pressure on the trailer. After a year in storage, it is likely the pressure has changed and needs to be adjusted. Same goes for tread. And remember: Loading a jet ski onto a trailer is not a solo task – grab a friend to lift and secure the watercraft with you.

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Photo credit: DiamondBack Truck Covers

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