Cartopping a 14 ft touring kayak

How difficult and safe would it be to carry a touring kayak on the top of a 2 door car with a cartop kit? I really dont feel like putting down 600$ for a rack system I use once a month.

$200 for a good rack
Yakima, Thule, Saris. 14’ is childs play. I haul an 18’ and a 17’ kayak at the same time. Many here do the same. Don’t sweat it. Get a decent rack, put the boat on top and go paddling.


If you are talking about those foam
blocks,you won’t be too happy, unless you are going to keep the vehicle at 25mph and are just going a couple of miles, for just a few times a year.

I wouldn’t do it, (been there done that many moons ago))



on the flip side
foam blocks, IF used correctly, will be no problem at all. I have used them by themselves(with straps of course), and on the factory bars. Follow the directions that come with the kit. Strap the foam blocks to the boat, then use a belly strap over the boat and through the doors. DO NOT put the strap through the windows. Add bow and stern lines, make sure everything is good and tight, secures the ends of the straps, and your good to go.

One word of caution any dirt, sand, mud, or gravel on the bottom of the block, that is in contact with the car, will scratch the s*** out of the paint on your roof.

I agree with you, Yakima, and Thule are over priced.

Foam blocks will work…
I’ve carried a 14’ rec boat on top of a Dodge Stratus using the foam blocks, at normal (legal, that is) highway speeds, for more than 20 miles a stretch, and had no problems. leob1 is right, if you strap everything down securely you should have no problem. That said, as soon as I can get a decent deal on a rack for my wife’s minivan, I’ll be using it to transport the kayak. The foam blocks, while cheap and effective, are more hassle than a good rack.

my thule rack was about $350
i actually bought it piece-by-piece as it was too painful to do all at once after just having bought the little floaty thing. of course, i had the time as i had no intention of starting paddling in winter water.

skip the cradle things and just get the rack part. for two years i’ve used just that with no problem. i felt it was a little hard on the boat, though, as it is plastic and easily softened in the sun.

recently i tried putting pool noodles over the racks to pad them a bit (idea i saw on some homemade cradles in a sc state park parking lot). worked great, but the noodles don’t bounce back after being dented, and i stil had to put the boat on upside down.

then last month at okoumefest i saw someone had actually added the foam blocks to the rails of a volkswagon factory rack. haven’t gotten a chance to use them yet because i have to carefully enlarge the space where the straps go to fit them onto the rack. but, looks like with them i will be able to a) cartop the boat right side up, and b)cartop both my boat and my paddling companion’s boat on the same car (they are both wide boats and when upside down overhang the rails.

i’m very happy i invested in the rack 'cause it can (and has been) be used for other things. and driving around with it, even when i don’t have the boat along, feels kind of like wearing my paddling “colors.”

ok, i’m tired of typing now. :slight_smile:

depending on the car
you might have some luck buying a used rack.

I have a volkswagon GTI and I bought a rack of a the same model jetta for $30 on a VW forum. Added the foam blocks and tiedowns and it works great.

Put the blocks on the rack, put the boat on the blocks, strap the boat the the rack in front of and behind the cockpit. Finally secure the front and back to the car.

Driven over 200 miles at freeway speeds like this, and have left the boat in hot sun on the car while parked, for full work days (only way i get to paddle ususally) without deformation.

Total cost to cartop easily was 30 for the used rack, and 45 for the cartop kit.

Foam blocks on factory racks
I’ve done that - the foam blocks I bought have a large oval opening on the bottom that fits on the factory rack on the minivan, and the arrangement works well. The only problem is having to lift the kayak to the height of the van (which I’d have to do with whatever kind of rack).

Car racks on a budget…
Keep an eye on EBAY. If your cat has “gutters” you can get the towers for a song. If you require the “aero” towers, no need to buy new, I got an additional pair on the 'bay for 30 bucks. The fit kits are about 35 new or, if yours is a popular vehicle, a lot cheaper on Ebay. I love my Thule and wouldn’t have anything else. In fact, one criteria of any new vehicle is can my rack go on top. If you are REALLY cheap, there are universal racks available at Pep Boys/O’reilly’s/Autozone.

gutters? I drive a 98 pontiac grandam (2 dr) so I dont really have room on top. Ive driven over 500 mi with a sit on top with a car top kit, but it was alot shorter. I have prolems goin over 50 mi with a 12 ft WS pungo and a cartop kit but I doubt I had it tied down properly.

wow–my rack cost 350$ 200$?

14’ Mystic
I cartop my fiberglass Impex Mystic which is a 14’ touring kayak. I use J-carriers and I can lift the 43lbs over my head. Otherwise, you could use the ‘rollers’ or the felt padded lifts. A friend of mine lifts her 17’ Force 3 by herself on her Audi sedan that way with the help of a towel to protect the car (or kayak ;), depending on your perspective )


One other option, trailer
If you live anywhere where there is a harbor freight ( they have a small utility trailer for $130.

Just bought one for my dad for father’s day. With that and a set of the foam blocks you could easily trailer your boat around.

I’m considering this because I often drive a small convertible (miata) and you cant exactly cartop a boat on one of those :slight_smile:

figure $130 for the trailer, and about $100 for the trailer hitch, and use the foam block kit i already have, and I am still likely to be less than a new setup from either yakima or thule.