transport kayak without car roof

You Don’t Need a Car Roof Rack to Transport your Kayak!

In this post, I’m going to talk about How to transport your kayak without a roof rack system. I will show you some solutions with the step by step process.

Back in 2011, my old car was a Nissan Rogue standard model which don’t have the cross bars or roof rack system. So it is a big problem for me when it comes to transport my kayak. And I know many people out there who have the same problem as me.

How to transport your kayak without a car roof rack? The quick answer is by using the Pool Noodle solution. It is the most effective and cheapest solution. 

 

Pool Noodles Solution 

 

Step 1: Prepare the material

Simply prepare the pool noodles and ratchet straps. Generally, you will need at least 2 Pool noodles, 2 sets of ratchet straps and tie-down straps. But it depends on the size of the car and how secure you want it to be.

Make sure the pool noodles are thick and quality enough to handle the pressure. Otherwise, your kayak will squish down the noodles too much and scratch your car.

pool noodles

 

Step 2: Put pool noodles on your car

Across the pool noodles on the roof of your vehicle. Imagine the pool noodles are the real roof racks, simulate the position, one in the front and one in the rear. You can always use more if you want it to have more support but you’ll probably find that two is a perfect amount. Make sure their position is apart enough like a regular roof rack, it helps to balance.

You’ll probably find every pool noodles are wider or longer than your vehicle. Cut them into the size that suitable for your car roof.

Step 3: Lift your kayak onto the noodles

After the pool noodles are settled, you need to lift the kayak onto your vehicle. You can do it yourself, but it’s easier when you having a partner that you two can balance the kayak right after you place it on the top of the noodles. And it’s more stable when you put the kayak upside down. Once your kayak is settled, you can adjust the noodles to make sure they’re all stable and strong enough to carry your kayak.

Step 4: Secure it with straps

Now you have to use the ratchet straps to protect your kayak from falling off during the transport. Check out the video below.

Here is the step by step on how to thread the ratchet strap over the kayak,

  1. Open your front door
  2. Putting the straps over the body
  3. Grab the two strap ends
  4. Let two strap ends meet inside your car
  5. Keep the buckle on the outside
  6. Twist them and tighten them
  7. Open your back door
  8. And, repeat the process to apply in the back door.

Step 5: Tie it down the bow and stern

You should always tie down the bow and stern of your kayak, especially if you are going to transport your kayak without a roof rack. You can do this with a variety of tie-down straps. Thread the straps through the front and back carry handles or toggles and secure each one to a tie-down spot underneath your car, either with a carabiner or a hook. Underneath the front of your car, you should have tow points built-in, or towing eyes, designed for towing your car. These will work well for attaching the front straps.

AdditionTips:

  • Be sure to consult the vehicle owners manual for the roof weight carrying capacity before loading.
  • Do not tighten too much, it can damage your kayak or your car.
  • If your car has a sunroof, put extra pool noodles on it, they are vulnerable and need special care.
  • Drive slowly, stop gently and take a few checks after 1-5 miles on the road.
  • Always inspect the condition of your kayak, is it stable through the wind? is there an unknown noise?
  • Take extra care especially if you just learn how to use this method. I’ve seen an instance last year where a loaded rack fails and is blown off a car on the highway.

Foam blocks

Check out this video!

Foam-block system is also an economical option for transporting your kayak. Actually, it works just like the pool noodles system with alternative material and provides a little bit more stable. And here are the simple step for the one who doesn’t have a roof rack.

You have to place each block at the front and back, try to simulate the real roof rack. The blocks are way stronger than pool noodles but you still need to make sure that the kayak doesn’t press down too much to hurt your car.

After the blocks are settled, then use two straps run through the open doors around the kayak just like the way we use in the pool noodle solution. As long as the straps are tight and close to the blocks, the foam blocks shouldn’t move around too much and scratch your vehicle.

If you don’t feel stable enough, you can also use two more straps to tie down the kayak’s bow and stern to the vehicle’s bumpers. Actually, almost all the foam blocks on the market come with the necessary straps, but if you looking for add more secure, you can have an additional 15’ strap for tie down.

Tips:

  • Be sure to consult the vehicle owners manual for the roof weight carrying capacity before loading.
  • Do not tighten too much, it can damage your kayak or your car.
  • Make sure you are not putting the foam block on the sunroof, it is not made to hold weight.
  • Drive slowly, stop gently and take a few checks after 1-5 miles on the road.
  • Always inspect the condition of your kayak, is it stable through the wind? is there an unknown noise?
  • Take extra care especially if you just learn how to use this method. I’ve seen an instance last year where a loaded rack fails and is blown off a car on the highway.

 

Foam blocks

 

Kayak Trailers

Here is the final solution. Let’s think outside the box. How about we not putting the kayak above your roof. Instead, we can use a kayak trailer and never have to lift the heavy kayak onto your vehicle.

In recent years, kayak trailers have become increasingly popular. Because people love the idea that you don’t have to lift the kayak over the head. With a trailer system, your kayak is always below your waist height. So, you won’t have to worry about kayak might damage your vehicle or worrying it might fall off from your roof. Furthermore, because of improved aerodynamics, your gas mileage will also improve.

It’s a huge topic, I will link to other in-depth articles: Kayak Trailers – How to Choose the Right OneKayak Racks Vs. Kayak Trailers.

It’s a good solution, but it may cost the same amount of money to mount a car roof rack. Anyway, you can check out the article and make your own judgment.

 

Kayak trailer

 

Conclusion

There are plenty of options to solve this problem, from easy to complex, cheap to expensive, temporary to lasting. It all depends on your preference. They have their pros and cons, but each of them I do believe is working.

Now, you can transport your kayak without car roof racks. Keep in mind, most of the methods I share in this post are for temporary use only. If you really enjoy the activity you should invest yourself a qualified car roof rack system that it will last for a long time. Thus you can travel around without any concern that something above your head might be falling on the highway.

All the information I share in this post is based on my experiences or by searching on the internet. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I will update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading. Happy kayaking.

 

Some advance DIY roof rack

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www.xmc.pl
4 months ago

Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

WWW.XMC.PL
4 months ago

Kto zycia nie ceni, nie wart go. – Leonardo da Vinci

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