Will a Kayak Fit on our Fit?
June 2, 2011 2:41 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are eager to buy a couple of kayaks soon, but our only vehicles are of the Honda Fit variety (she has a 2008 Sport , I have the 2007). We only need to transport the kayaks about 5 miles to our nearest lake, but I was wondering if anyone knew of the difficulty in finding a rack (or racks) to transport the kayaks on our little Hondas.

We'll not be buying anything longer than 11 or 12 feet, but nonetheless, if we cannot somehow transport the kayaks, we're sunk (pardon the pun). Can anyone recommend any car mounts or bracketing systems that are reasonably priced that will allow us to transport the kayaks on our Honda Fits? If we could somehow transport 2 of them, side by side, on one car, that would be ideal, but it's not a deal breaker! Any advice or help is greatly appreciated!
posted by newfers to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Rooftop kayak racks are available from Thule and Yakima. You'd need the mounts to fit the kayak and the separate rack hardware to fit the car. I don't have experience with the kayak mounts in particular, but have been happy with my Yakima roof rack used with bicycles.
posted by exogenous at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2011

This search yielded a ton of results- it looks like it shouldn't be an issue and that particular forum seems to have many suggestions.
posted by Zophi at 2:50 PM on June 2, 2011

This is not difficult to achieve. You need a standard roof rack and then a pair of vertical fold down posts (Thule version). You set your boats on their sides against the posts and strap them down. You can also get a pair of fancier angled cradles, but the sideways-against-the-post system is simple and relatively cheap.
posted by ssg at 2:52 PM on June 2, 2011

If these answers aren't specific enough, you can try the Paddling.net discussion forum.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:56 PM on June 2, 2011

Shouldn't be a problem at all. I mean, hell, I put a roof rack on my CRX, which only had like 18" of roof, and had ladders, strut, pipe, etc on that rack. And the usual idea of a rack is to carry outdoorsy-people's equipment - kayaks, bikes, etc.
posted by notsnot at 3:03 PM on June 2, 2011

Also, my relatively inexpensive kayak from Costco came with foam blocks with straps. Not terribly fancy, but it works for our 10 mile drive.

Also: the unofficial Honda Fit forums seem to support Fit + kayaks.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:03 PM on June 2, 2011

Best answer: I have an Acura sedan and I use a Thule rack. They make then with fit kits that will fit damn near anything.

On my car I can only place the racks about 20" apart or so, but I can transport a 16.5' sea kayak with no problems if I tie down the bow and stern to the car.

Your limiting factor is going to be the width of the kayaks, and how wide your bars are. Thule and Yakima can come with different width bars, the downside to wider is you might bash your head on it getting out of the car. If the width isn't going to work side by side the other option is to get something like J cradles or a kayak stacker (basically a big U that goes in the middle of the bars) so you can pop the boats on edge rather than flat. The boats are only going to be less than a foot deep each so it wont be a problem fitting two on a honda fit.

To secure them to the car just run a couple cam buckle straps over the boat, and under the bars. (ratchet straps can put too much force and damage the hull). For extra security at high speeds, run ropes from the ends of the boats to secure points under the car (its a honda so there should be some solid clip points where they secured it during shipping). This will ensure the boats will stay attached even if the rack fails.

The nice thing about boats on a small car is you don't have to pick them up very high. SUV's are painful.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 3:56 PM on June 2, 2011

Best answer: I have a Honda Civic and have put two kayaks on the roof many times. I have a basic Thule rack with the fit kit/feet for my particular car. I didn't bother buying the specific J-bars or rollers, because those get expensive fast. I just put foam blocks on the rack and rest the kayaks on those. For two kayaks on a smallish car, it usually works best to have one kayak resting right-side-up and the other on its side, nestled against it. Ratcheting straps are your friend. They are awesome. Usually the foam blocks will come with a couple of decent ratcheting straps.
posted by bassjump at 4:12 PM on June 2, 2011

Because I don't have anywhere to store my kayak at home, or a rack on my little yaris, I bought a folding kayak. These are different from the inflatable ones, they're a skin on frame setup. Folbot and Feathercraft and a tone others manufacturers exist that you can find at foldingkayaks.org

However, roof racks with hardskin kayaks will almost definately be cheaper and faster to get in the water than a folding kayak.
posted by garlic at 4:45 PM on June 2, 2011

If you go the foam block route, get bow and stern straps as well.
posted by djb at 6:01 PM on June 2, 2011

I had a rack on my VW that I used to drive around my 14' kayak. It added significant noise, but you can certainly do it. You should be able to find an REI or similar store and see what they offer.
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:40 PM on June 2, 2011

Best answer: I have a Honda Fit! And we have Thule racks that we use to carry boats (a ginormous canoe just last weekend). We could definitely fit two kayaks together on it.

So go to your local outdoors shop and ask for Thule or Yakima racks. This is really not going to be a problem, I promise.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:16 PM on June 2, 2011

Best answer: Oops, due diligence: I just mentioned this to my husband, who said, "Sea kayaks or whitewater?" and I realized you meant flatwater touring kayaks, probably.

They should still fit, at least with a stacker.

Also, I just noticed on the Yakima website that they have a neat thing where you can input the make and model of your car and tell them what you want to carry, and they'll tell you just what to get. Yakima racks are pricey, but worth it (I used to be a whitewater kayak instructor, so I was always schlepping boats around on my car).
posted by bluedaisy at 8:21 PM on June 2, 2011

eTrailer.com sells Class I trailer hitches which can accomodate the Honda Fit; you wou
D then be able to use a lightweight trailer like the Yakima Rack and Roll for transporting the kayaks.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:55 PM on June 2, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, a lot of pricey options...
posted by newfers at 10:09 AM on June 3, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks folks, for all your help! I just purchased the Yakima racks using the handy-dandy configurator on their website, and will be set up for transporting 2 flat-water kayaks on my Fit! Once I receive the rack and get it installed, we'll then have to decide on which kayaks to buy! Exciting stuff!!
Thanks so much for your help, all of you!!
posted by newfers at 4:11 PM on June 4, 2011

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