help me attach my kayaks to my car
May 29, 2010 4:06 AM   Subscribe

Best roof rack for kayaks on a 2003 Toyota Echo?

Looking into roof racks - of course there are 20,000 different kinds and now I'm all confused. Help!
Let's keep it simple.
I have a 2003 4 door Toyota Echo sedan.
I have two sea kayaks that I want to put on top of it.
What should I get?
posted by crazylegs to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
You might want to visit your local department of motor vehicles for help, as any choices you are going depend on the overall length and weight of the kayaks, and if either model is made from polyurethane or composite material (atop a car, at 45 MPH or faster, the craft can still be subject to flexing, not to mention airborne pebbles kicked out from other vehicles' tires).
There may be regional regulations concerning roof storage during highway travel, which would hamper any tie-down considerations and limit you to a bolt-on rack. If that's the case, your Toyota dealership (or at least the parts and service division) could recommend any factory and third-party equipment to get you on your way.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:02 AM on May 29, 2010

Re: flexing - any points of stress will rest on where and how the kayaks are secured, in addition to sudden stops and avoidance turns made by the car.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:04 AM on May 29, 2010

i use foam blocks, but i have a single flatwater kayak that i carry on my car. you have to stop after about 5 miles to tighten down the straps, but it works just fine. the most stressful part of kayaking for me, though, is transporting the boat, so you might want to take that into consideration.
posted by msconduct at 4:03 PM on May 29, 2010

If you're ok with permanent crossbars mounted on the car, go for a Thule or Yakima ... They're both sturdy, and your only choice should be round/square/aero bars. (I don't like my Thule aero bars ... The odd shape makes the rack accessories hard to mount) The feet will depend on your car, and wherever you're buying the racks from can help you get the right ones. They're not actually permanent, but it's enough of a pain to put them on that I never bother to take them off.

I tie my whitewater boats directly to the crossbars, but for more delicate sea kayaks, you probably want to get J-racks. They'll kill your gas mileage, so expect to take them off when not using them. Don't forget to also add a stern/bow line ... There should be spots under your car you can tie these to.

I can't get links right now - if you don't know what I'm referring to, let me know - I'll have a proper computer on Monday :)
posted by Metasyntactic at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2010

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