I have a new car without a car rack on top and want to transport my kayak economically. Are Foam kayak carriers like Riverside or Seattle Sports safe? Any suggestions on making them safer so the kayak doesn’t fly off or scratch my car?
Not the best option but work
Lots of folks use the foam block option in lieu of going with a $250+ rack system. On a vehicle without factory racks, place each block near the front and back windshield being careful not to let the boat touch the roof. The roof dents in but not as bad closer to the windshield. The two straps then run through the open doors around the boat and should be placed near the foam blocks.
As long as the straps are tight (bow and stern lines may be necessary also) and close to the blocks, the foam blocks shouldn’t move around too much and scratch the roof.
Hope this helps.
I’ve had no problem
I’ve thrown a couple of kayaks on top with the foam blocks with no problem. My son puts one yak on his Civic with the blocks. Again no problem.
Bow and stern lines
I would absolutely use bow and stern lines for anything more than short, low-speed trips.
depending on your autos’ paint job …
...... the blocks can cause some minor abrasion . Well , not the blocks but micro grit that gets embedded in them or on the roof paint surface .
This can be kept to a minimum by always being careful to wipe off the bottom of the blocks (keep them clean on bottom) , and wipe the roof surface area off well before placing block on it .
Any place the straps contact the vehical is another source for abrasion , so a clean chaffing pad (soft rag , etc.) is a good idea to place between strap and paint surfaces ... if you aren't concerned about your autos' paint too much , like my ol beater truck , no big deal .
One thing about the foam blocks is they are great for helping to keep things from moving around , they stick it all down very well !!
I always recomend some extra safty lines fore and aft , although the straps are great as the primary securing source ... they have never shown a need for the extra safty lines , but use them anyway .
I haul canoes , but imagine kayaks secure very simularly .
Oh yeah , are they safe ?? ... extremely as long as the boat is straped / tied down correctly .
if you secure the boat correctly. In general, it takes more time and effort to get a boat tied down securely and safely on foam blocks than it does with a good rack like those made by Thule and Yakima.
I must use foam blocks with one of my cars because no-one makes a rack for it that I am aware of. Since it’s my work car with 202k + miles on it I am not overly concerned about a scratch or wrinkle here and there but I have some ??'s about the roof flexing under the load. I wonder just how loose the straps become when the roof oilcans? If it pops back then all is good but what happens if it stays down? It seems to pop in about an inch. To play it safe I use a 4 point bow & stern tie down in addition to the through the car straps.
I carried an 80 lb Grummy on foam blocks
Never had a problem. Can’t say for you, though.