Advice sought on racks


I’m doing a pretty epic trip next month, where I’ll be driving anywhere from 5-7,000 miles. Ohio to Mammoth to Smokies to Canaveral … ending up out west while I check out the national parks there.

I’ve been kayaking for years, but have always just rented for the day.

At our cabin by the Smokies, we will be on a lake with a marina, but they charge almost $400 to rent a kayak for a week, so I’ve decided to just buy a cheap kayak (and also I’m camping on an island in Canaveral - not going to swim there).

Right now, I’m looking at the cheap Pelican Trailblazer 100 Kayak, which is only $229. With a Walmart vest and decent paddle, I’ll come out under the $400/week cost of the marina.

I have no idea about racks however. It seems stupid to spend $150+ for a Yakima system, when my yak will barely cost more than the rack, so I’ve been looking at the foam pad setups.

I see a lot of reviews mentioning not going over 55MPH and incessant noise from the straps on foam block setups. Driving a 2007 Camry 4dr btw.

Will I be okay having that small kayak on my roof for 5k miles on a foam pad setup? Should I go with the $50 Dicks version, or is the $25 Walmart version just as good?

Any advice is appreciated, along with brand names and models if you have done something similar.



– Last Updated: Apr-25-16 5:54 PM EST –

...I use the foam blocks for the short trips to my paddling spots, but I'm not sure I'd want to trust them on a trip like you're planning. The hum in the straps can be alleviated by putting a twist in each side.

You'll also want to consider how you're going to secure your boat against theft.

Prepare for other commenters to tell you that you need to spend a lot more money on a kayak. Happens every time.

You need to spend a lot more money
I’ve used foam blocks and surfboard pad straps for short trips. For short trips they are fine. For long trips I think you will find they shift around and will wear out before you are back. You can twist the straps to alleviate wind noise, but you are still going to get buzzing and wind noise and need to make frequent stops to tighten things up. Make sure you use bow and stern tie downs.

Personally I would look for a better used kayak for a little bit more money and maybe a used rack. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but it might be the difference between a great trip and a trip cussing your cheap boat and rack system. A Yakima rack is going to be a lot more than $150, that being said I driven boats 10s of thousands of miles with my yakima racks.

Your asking people to bless…
what you shouldn’t be doing!

Get a decent used 14 or 15 foot kayak and a decent rack system and you’ll be much better off.

jack L

Well, I’ve been a caregiver for the past 15 years. My charge paid me $500 a month (relative), after I left my programming job to take care of her.

So I’m poor, but I love to paddle. Craigslist offerings are literally $50 off retail (if not equal or more to sales). The places I rent from don’t offer any better deals on used kayaks. If a kayak is $500 new, I can’t find it anywhere used for less than $450.

Until I find where I want to live, because I’m alone now, the thought of dropping $1k+ on a kayak is ludicrous to me.

But, I’m in this position to do this trip, and I’d love to paddle whatever I come across on the journey.

Thanks for the replies, I kind of figured I’d have issues with what I was thinking. Maybe I’ll just buy a crappy inflatable and hope for the best.

You’re in a tough used boat market.
Your thoughts of an inflatable, or possibly a folding boat, might be a good option - especially if you find a good model used.

I have great respect for you and anyone else who sacrifices so much of their time and career to care a loved one. Good for you.

If you’re anywhere near Michigan,
there/s a 14-foot Necky Manitou for sale on CL for $300.