Does my DIY kayak rack seem safe?

I second that
I wouldn’t want to drive behind you either.

It is good that you are questioning it. Bow and stern lines in a ^ would help a lot. I doubt that in strong winds you would have the boat still on the roof.

Also think you are having to really tighten the boat down in order to keep it there so over time, you will probably deform it.


webbing loops
Just saw a great link to somene that used existing bolts under the hood and hatch to attach webbing loops that would protrude from the body panel gaps as tie down points.

I’d stay very far away from you if I saw that system on your car. A three point tie down in the front, under the hood perhaps, would help a great deal.

But that’s a pretty nice boat, and it is worth investing in something more professional, like a Yakima set up.

Looks reasonable to me

– Last Updated: Sep-04-09 5:55 PM EST –

With three straps going through the vehicle, it doesn't appear that the boat would separate from your car even if the foam blocks somehow completely blew out. The risk then would be a loose boat thwacking your vehicle.

Don't understand what the "conduit" is or how exactly it is attached to the foam blocks, but if it's rigid and strong, perhaps you could loop a strap around the conduit to prevent the blocks from separating from the roof.

Straps into the hood and trunk would help give redundant strength, though I don't know how much they will help with wind gust yaw. Wide-V lines at the bow and stern points are best for stopping that yaw.

After reading all the comments,
I have to say,this makes a strong case for a trailer. There have been several recent posts regarding inexpensive designs, and you will not only be far safer, but will be able to transport two kayaks. Something you will surely want to do at some point. I know there is one in my not too distant future, as we are gradually forced to drive down sized cars.

Straps through the roof!

– Last Updated: Sep-05-09 4:55 AM EST –

That's exactly the point of running straps through the roof. There's no way it can go flying off, unless all three straps or the whole roof gets ripped off - like a high speed collision with low tree branch or something. Even if both blocks get blown out (which they won't since they are now connected by conduit), the boat still will be loosely strapped to the roof.

The air wake from passing trucks combined with high winds used to occasionally turn it 5 degrees to one side, but not since the blocks no longer shift and the straps are wrapped around the circumference of the boat - thereby keeping it from rotating left or right.

As several have mentioned, adding strapping points under the car hood looks viable, so I'm gonna get some bolts pulled out and add at least some bow lines.

roof rack
I tried a used yakima rack, but they don’t seem to carry the specific Q-clips for my car anymore and probably wouldn’t grip the roof as strongly as the current straps through the roof, the bars would be closer together since it’s not a 4 door car increasing the likelihood of the boat rotating, and with the pseudo-rear bar extension it would cost half as much as the boat itself. Even a cheap trailer and hitch would be as much $.

roof rack
Yep, yakima and thule roof racks easily cost half to all of the price of what they carry, but they are well made, well-designed products that will last a long time. Thus, over the life of the rack you may have 6 or 8 different toys that you carry on the same rack, so the releative cost is less. And of course, the rack costs far less than the cost of probable damage to your car and others if your boat comes loose in adverse conditions on the highway.

But the choices aren’t limited to gold and diamond racks versus plain vanilla blocks - you should be able to get a basic rack system (metal cross bars and secure attachment system) for $50-100. I can’t tell for sure from pics of your car, but it looks like you do not have rain gutters, which makes it a little harder to find one that fits, but not impossible. Start here:

and be sure to look at the “used bargains” page also, and report back if you can’t find one that will work for under $100.

Once you get your roof rack bars, you’ll want to make the equivalent of J-clips on your own, or simply cut the outline of your boat’s bottom out of plywood, add some padding and attach to the roof bars.

One more point to consider - if I were you, I’d think about transporting that boat upside down and shifted backwards about 10-15% from center. As it is, it sits up very high in the front, and the fulcrum of the lever it creates is near the middle. Any forces on the front of boat are greatly magnified by the time they get to the fulcrum. Having a 3-point tiedown up front will help resist those forces, but they will still be there in the same magnitude. However, lowering the nose and shifting some weight/length backwards will actually reduce the magnitude of those forces under any given conditions - thus possibly allowing you to survive a freak wind that otherwise will cause you expensive damage.

p.s. red flag on rear
p.s. be sure to flag the rear of your boat. I don’t see a red flag on the rear in your pictures, although you may currently use one and just had not put it on yet in those pictures.