Big Kayak, small car

I am getting a used Perception Aurora and have a Mazda Tribute 2001 and a Honda Accord WAgon 1992. This is a huge kayak and I don’t plan on moving it around on land very much but will want to occasionally. I have no carrier at all yet and need some advice. The Mazda has a factory roof rack (plastic) and the Honda has none but is much lower to the ground. This kayak is heavy and 16’ long. I don’t want to have to spend another

$500 just to carry this thing. I’m sure at the end of the summer they will go on sale some.

What do I need to get started? Thanks.

There are foam v blocks
they come with web straps that go over them and in through your doors (open of course) The blocks sit directly on the car top.

big kayak, small car
A friend of mine has a Chevy Metro and one of his boats is the 18ft Northstar (tandem) by Wilderness Systems.

you say at the end of the summer
"they" will go on sale. You mean roof racks? Don’t count on it. I’ve never seen them go on sale yet (well okay, once, but that was discontinued). If you’re in a major metropolitan area, you might try craigslist. Unfortunately, Thule and Yakima seem to think they have a right to charge money for what they produce.

Air-filled roof pads
Piragis sells them, as do others. Meant for short-distance transport only.

Personally, I would not do without a rack/crossbars at the very least, because the damage to your (a) boat, (b) car, and © insurance rates could be horrible if the boat came off, and especially if the boat then hit another car or person (this is where the insurance comes in).

You might try padding the factory crossbars and strapping the boat to those. I’ve seen posts wherein people said they padded the bars with pool noodles, which are readily available right now.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic,
and don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I hope some other people who are thinking of getting a kayak or canoe will take heed.

If you are planning on getting that new boat that you are so proud of to and from the water, you have to include in the cost of it, the cost to carry it, and to do it correctly, and I have to emphasize “CORRECTLY”, there is no substitute for a good rack system, and a good rack system cost bucks.



Have to agree with Jackl
I have a 1993 Golf.

Rusty Diesel.

She sports an OEM rack and 3 sets of J saddles.

The saddles cradle my Explorer, my (son’s) Orion, and the Eastern Island Makkovic.

Replacement on the boats $4,500.00 $4,500.00 $3,500.00

Racks, the Facory bits $200.00 + -, Saddles $145.00 each.

The roof of my car hauls (conservatively) $12,990.00 and the 1993 VW Diesel with over 200,000 KM is worth: I don’t know but much less than either boat.

Money for a good rack could be well spent.

Oh I love that little POS VW. Now diesel is over $6.00 per gallon and I hardly notice.

A rack is a good investment, Oh and fall sales? No; skis fit on the same racks.


Roof Racks for Kayaks
Thanks for all of the good advice. I am looking at a Thule Rollar coaster for the back and one more saddle for the front. I see the danger of not having a good rack.Thanks, again.

The Honda is your boat car.
Put good racks on it and you will be set.You back will appreciate that low profile.

I prefer foam blocks
to saddles, ( I have both) but you will need a strong rack ( towers and bars) to safely carry your boat.

Personally, I like lumber racks to carry boats, but I drive a small pickup.

racks ahoy
I’ve got Yakima racks on my commuter car and on my pickup cap. Wife has Thule on her Forester and son has Thule with 3 bike racks. He jokes that his racks and attachments are worth more than his 14 year old subaru. And in this corner of the barn, some extra-long bars, in that corner, some hully rollers, over there, some older saddles. You don’t have to buy this much stuff.


Seems to me
that if you’re only driving short distances and not at breakneck speeds the foam block and strap system with bow and stern tie downs would suffice.

Do it right…
I carry by Foam block and straps with the bow and stern tiedowns…70MPH for 700+ one way miles is the current record for me…

It CAN be done safely…but it IS labor intensive, AND no matter how hard you try to avoid it, the foam blocks WILL Scratch the top of your car…

I strap the blocks to the boat with wrap around straps, lift the 52 LB Boat up onto the top of the car, and strap her down.

WARNING: use TWO Cam buckle straps, redundancy in case of failure is a critical concern.

After the first 25 miles or so recheck all the straps and tiedowns, and every time you stop thereafter.

I had a Saturn LW200
That I regularly carried a 21’ Seda Tango, an 18’ KajakSport Artisan Millenium, and a 15’ Prion Calabria on all at the same time and for hundreds of miles at a time. The Accord Wagon is more than enough car for what you want to do. +1 on the sturdy rack, foam blocks on the cross bars are fine IMO as long as its a good secure rack. Most factory crossbars are too flimsy for my comfort.

Hard pill to swallow
Good racks are pricey, and when you are just getting in to the sport, and already laid out a bunch for a boat, it is hard to swallow. But you won’t regret money spent on a good rack system. It will make securing the boat much easier, and will last for years and years. My Yakima bars and cradles have outlasted several cars. I’ve had to occasionally by new towers to secure them to new vehicles, but they keep going. I’ve also bought and sold a few used parts on ebay and craigslist.

REI has had them on sale both
Thule and Yakima.

Sears has a Thule Railing Rack for $150

High end

– Last Updated: Jul-22-08 11:36 AM EST –

The Thule Rapid Areo bars, TK1 adapters, detachable feet (R31?) on tracks has the advantage of detaching the cross bars with the push of a button.

the TK1 adapters are attached to the tracks and stay there. While the feet and cross bars have a button you push to take them off.

the advantage is that you aren't reducing your gas mileage when not hauling your kayak.

If it saves you 2 miles per gallon, that could pay for the entire cost of the rack system in several years.

Here is a pictre of mine

the hull a port also works great to just place it on the rack from the side.

Make sure the tracks are perfectly aligned. You have to drill holes through the roof, so some risk involved. then just leave the tracks on the car ($120) and keep the rest of the rack for your next car. I got mine on sale from East Mountain sport... about $520 for everything including the Hull-a-port... $120.

but i love not hauling around a roof rack with cradles all the time

I have also used the foam blocks and tie downs for a windsurfer with the front tie down… but that would too much of hassle for kayaking.

You can also find a used rack, but the new clips might be over $100 so keep that in mind.

Edit: The foam blocks and tie down in the front and back can be very secure. for the front and back tie downs you could have a quick release syestem like the Hulla-a-port, hooks on either end and adjustable rope strap.

the Thule slide and glide was worth it
Yes it wasn’t cheap. I think I spent my bonus check on it. Since my kayak lives on it half the year - I think it was a good investment. It makes life easier.

Be careful and go to someone who knows racks and who finds out what your needs really are. Once I tried to buy a system at Dicks when it was Gaylans and the kid sold me stuff which did not meet my needs - I gave that equipment to someone who helps teach folks to paddle. The next year, next bonus check is when I bought the Thule system and I’ve not been sorry.

Another reason to keep the Van - because there is no way to store my kayak on the car I hope to buy next summer.