Homemade Kayak Rack for Car


Getting your kayak to a spot where you can get it into the water requires a vehicle unless you happen to live beside the body of water you are going to. To avoid damaging the kayak on the journey, a rack is required on your car that will secure it. Racks specifically designed to hold kayaks are available, but may not be necessary in most cases. Even a fairly large kayak will fit onto the smallest of cars if you use proper homemade means to tie it down.

Inexpensive Kayak Rack

  • Build an inexpensive kayak rack using PVC and foam blocks, according to Kayak4Redfish.com.

    Measure the length and width of the roof on your car and write it down. Go to a home improvement or plumbing store and buy a length of PVC pipe that is one and a half times the length of the roof and another piece that is the width of the roof. Also purchase four right-angle elbow fittings for the PVC, some electrical tape and two blocks of foam that are several inches thick and half as long as the shortest piece of PVC. You will also need ratchet straps to tie it all down.
    Cut the PVC into four total pieces by cutting each piece of PVC in half. Join them all together using the elbow fittings to make a rectangle. You may wish to use pipe glue to keep it sturdy. Wrap the entire frame in electrical tape so that the hard PVC will not scratch the paint on the car's roof.
    Cut the foam blocks to fit onto the short sides of the rectangle. Split the foam blocks down one side so that they will fit over the pipe and use electrical tape to secure the foam on the frame.
    Place the frame in the center of the roof and lay the kayak (top down) supported by the foam. Roll down your windows and use ratchet straps to go over the top of the kayak and through the windows to secure the kayak.

Quick Fix Kayak Rack

  • Let's assume you have a kayaking trip coming up soon. Maybe it's tomorrow and you don't have time to build even the simple rack mentioned above. There is a quick fix that will suffice and will get you where you need to go without damaging your kayak or your car.
    Go to the pool section of your local department store and find the pool toys. There is a long, hollow foam tube sometimes called a "funoodle" that kids use as floating toys in swimming pools. They are usually available in lots of bright colors.
    Pick out the color you like and buy two of them. They are usually quite inexpensive. You will also need ratchet straps.
    Place one of the foam pieces across the roof of your car about a foot behind the top of the windshield, and place the other one across the roof about two-thirds of the way back. You may want to cut off the ends if they are wider than your car to avoid them flapping in the wind.
    Place the kayak (top down) on the foam pieces to keep it from touching the paint on the car. Using two ratchet straps secure the kayak by running the straps over the kayak and through the windows of the car. Make sure it is snug, but do not crank the straps too hard or you may damage the kayak or the car.

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