Car Topping

I sold my truck and will be carrying my Heritage Feather Lite Angler on top my Expedition. It looks as though I will have to carry it right side up to fit the cross bars. That would mean getting rain in it if I get caught in a downpour. What do you guys do?

I wouldn’t trust the crossbars, those
often a weak link on factory racks, if that is what your have. A simple solution might be to take a couple of galvanized pipes (or 2X lumber), whip tie them to the rails, space them at the proper place to allow carrying the kayak upside down…cushion with pool noodes maybe…tie the sucker down, and go paddle. Of course, I tend to look for the cheap way to do things. Better would be to get the proper mounts and crossbars from Yakima, Thule, or other.

I carry my Kayak on top of my Jeep…
and I have two Foam Rubber blocks that I sit it on. Then strap the kayak down in back and front.

I bought all the components at a sporting goods store for $45.00 and it hasn’t failed me yet


I am no expert on things like this, but I believe your biggest problem with not be an occasional rain, but the wind as you accelerate beyond 20mph. I suspect the drag on your canoe will cause it to be ripped apart, if not from your vehicle.

The Mighty Anchove

Isn’t the heritage a sit-in kayak?
If so, or even if its a sit on top, it doesn’t make much difference about the wind drag, especially with a sit on top. Canoe, yes, kayak, wouldn’t think carrying it upright would be a problem.


– Last Updated: Jan-18-06 11:19 AM EST –

I carried my Perception America upright on my car for hundreds of miles at a time at highway speeds. Nothing ripped apart or off. I used foam blocks because my car didn't have a rack.

The easy way to avoid the kayak from filling up with water is to get a cover for the cockpit. NRS sells them. It fits on like a skirt, but doesn't have a tunnel. If you get one with a zipper, you'll have an easy time using the inside of the kayak to hold your PFD, paddle, first aid kit, fishing rods, etc., and still be able to get in easily when you need to.

The above is for a recreational boat, but they have different sizes.

- Big D

I agree Big D
I have never had a problem with the kayak on top of my Jeep.

On foam blocks and tied down, front and back, it will be quite secure.

Don’t over tighten the straps and for long trips occassionally stop and check on tightness.


It is a sit in
and only weighs 38lb. I don’t think it will be any problem on the rack as it’s so light and I can tie down to the crossbars. It’s just 9.5’.

I’ll check on the cover thing, but the more I think about it, I don’t go too far anyhow. I generally fish a couple of close lakes and the farthest is only about 22 miles. Maybe I just worry too much???

Aw shucks
Well, not that it matters, but I thought the guy was talking about at canoe.

Sit-in kayak?
I carry mine right side up except if I expect heavy rain, then upside down.

Malone gull wings work either way.

I do plan to get cockpit covers but doubt they’d keep all water out.

They don’t have to
They only have to keep out enough water to keep the boat from becoming too heavy for the roof racks. A few drips won’t make any bit of difference. A few gallons will begin to spell trouble. More than that, and you could be looking at making friends with the owner of a body shop. Cockpit covers ought to keep water entry down to the drip level. My usual is to just flip the boat over when I’m expecting rain. When I transport on my truck and there’s the possibility of rain, I wrap the boat in a tarp and it does the “keep it down to a drip” level. Just be aware of the dangers and use your head. That works in a whole lot of situations, actually.

  • Big D

Cheap and easy cockpit cover.
Take a piece of plywood a bit larger than the size of the cockpit. If you want to get fancy, jig saw it in the shape of the cockpit. You can secure it with bungees wrapped around it or web straps…the latter my be more secure. Or, again, if you want to get fancy either cut some slots into the plywood and run the straps through the slots, or use some metal loops. Be sure to paint the thing. Just an idea, used it some with mine before I got the camper shell.

Cockpit covers
I always carry my kayaks cockpit up with a cockpit cover. The covers are cheap and work great. Just make sure you get the right size. You want them to fit fairly tight so water does not pool. Works for me.

Upside down, on foam blocks.
However, you said it won’t fit upside down.

Does it have a drain plug? If yes, leave it open. If not, maybe consider installing a drain plug for $20 rather than dealing with assorted pain for more $$$…? Any appreciable quantity of rain would drain right out.

Would it fit on the Expedition on an angle? Is there a way you could rig it to lie upside down at an angle (looking from the front or rear)? If this were a necessity on my car, I would probably get a big (8"x8"? 10"x10"?) block of closed-cell foam from an insulation company and prop it at a slight angle, then tie off normally. The bigger block would fit between the rails without being too high, yet you could still use the rails for tie-downs.

A friend of mine transports his kayak on his car with only fore-to-aft rails by making a “hammock” out of a 2’x4’ sheet of closed-cell foam, padding the rails with pipe insulation, and ratcheting everything down carefully. Very safe, secure setup, and I would trust it better than some of the gee-whiz racks I have seen. I’ve driven hundreds of miles behind his rig and never saw it shift, wiggle, or any piece come loose.