Have kayak, trying to travel
June 12, 2020 2:05 PM   Subscribe

What do I need to secure my kayak to the roof of my car?

I have a new kayak, hooray! The problem is, I have no idea how to secure it to the roof of my car.

Someone gifted me Cargolock rooftop crossbars. The problem is, you need to fit those to the bars that are ALREADY ON YOUR CAR. I drive a nissan sentra so there are no bars on top. Here are some generic pix so you can see what I'm working with here - tiny lil car

How on earth can I get my giant kayak to stay on top of that little car? Can I somehow use the bars I have, or do I need an entirely different apparatus? (Forget about how I can actually get it up there in the first place. That's another question.)
posted by silverstatue to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Since you don't already have side rails to mount the crossbars, something like this might be better: Sea to Summit Pack Rack Inflatable Racks
posted by tman99 at 2:34 PM on June 12, 2020

Yeah, those crossbars are not far you. The good (?) news is that car manufacturers don't usually install the best roof rack systems, so you'll probably end up with something better and sturdier. Thule and Yakima are the two standard names in roof racks, and many paddlers use these.

My suggestion is to figure out who installs roof racks locally (could be your local outdoor shop, or at least they would know who does this), and have them do it. You can get all sorts of accessories and such, but you pretty much just need the racks and some rope or straps.

Congrats on your new boat!
posted by bluedaisy at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yes, Thule and Yakima have rack mounts to fit all sorts of vehicles, and kayak holders to fit on those racks. They’re very expensive at retail, but I’ve successfully used their online product selectors to decide which of their products I needed to hunt for on eBay or Craigslist.
posted by jon1270 at 2:39 PM on June 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Whenever I’ve rented a kayak on vacation with a rental car they use foam blocks and tie-down straps. I don’t know how they’d fare for long drives at highway speeds but they’ve always worked fine. Having trouble linking from phone, but if you search the web you’ll find examples.
posted by outfielder at 2:46 PM on June 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

This foam kit is affordable and fine. No rack needed. We’ve done long highways drives and it’s fine. The fancy racks are nicer, but an investment.
posted by advicepig at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

We just use the foam blocks and some good nylon straps with good fasteners, where you can kind of rachet them down, very similar to the kit advicepig linked to above. We've gone on trips on highways up to about 130km/hr, so like ummm 70 miles per hour ish? No issues.

Pro tip: The straps make an annoying hum unless you put a twist in them.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:10 PM on June 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

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