car top carriers?


I’m a complete and total newbie to kayaking, but I thought I’d introduce myself and a question. I enjoyed my first paddling experience so much, that my friend and I have signed up for a few lessons, and I’m thinking about saving my pennies toward eventually purchasing a kayak. Here’s my question: I drive a Mini Cooper - will a kayak carrier fit on top of a very small vehicle, and would it be possible to put two kayaks on it. The ad I saw for a carrier looked like it was geared toward carrying one kayak. Thanks in advance for any advice in this area. :slight_smile:

Try here
Go to and find the roof mount system for your car. It’s not cheap! For two kayaks, you will need 2 sets of Stackers.

Hope you’re sitting down…
If you don’t have a factory rack on your Mini, you’d better save more than pennies.

Sure, they look cool, but the system from Thule will set you back almost as much $ as your kayak.

I use foam blocks, ratcheting tie-downs and a few bungees for my kayak and my canoe. No problems. Less than $60.

foam blocks
Can you put two up there at a time with the foam blocks, etc?


Only if…
you had narrow boats. If not, you would have to stack them upon each other. Probably not the best way.

An advantage of the Thule and Yakima systems is that you can rack your kayak on its ‘side’, thus accomodating more boats.


– Last Updated: Jun-17-06 8:35 PM EST –

Foam blocks and clip-strap tie-downs are the usual starter appraoches. Rack makers -Thule, Yakima, Saris are the best-known and most widely used -offer sturdier and better alternatives, and depending on the bars bought, can be used to haul one, two, three, or even four boats, depending on the accessories employed.

As noted, though, costs exceed those of the foam blocks.

However, you can stabd up. If they approach that of many boats, you're paying way -and I mean WAY -too much -most will go for somewhere between $100 and $400. Most boats run $700-$3500.

The $100 or so kind of racks are used -and they're usually just fine. Our first rack was a used Thule we got in Seattle and flew back to Miami, used with our old '86 Taurus. To avoid the hassle, we didn't buy bars, just towers & clips, and I made my own bars out of wood from Home Depot, a further savings. They lasted over five years.

Indeed, the rack also worked on our old Nissan 240 -and if we could tote the boats on that roofline, a Mini sure can handle a rack...

Used racks are fine. All you need are Yakima's or Thule's (the 2 brands of racks we have on our 2 haulers) generic towers and bars, plus car model-specific clips to conform to the doorjamb profile and make for a snug fit.

We had an extra rack and saddle combo which I sold to Bazilbrasil for $100 -he picked up the footers to convert them to his Toyota Echo, and they've been hauling up to three of his esoteric collection of boats ever since.

You might look around and try for used. It'll save you some bucks that you might be able to use for other gear to


-Frank in Miami

mini with kayak on top :slight_smile:
A while back I found this photo:

Looks cute, doesn’t it?