Inexpensive Roof Rack Options

Hey all, done the canoe thing before, but after checking out a demo at a local state park, decided to get into kayaking. My girlfriend and I are thinking of both getting the element 102, and we’re wondering about roof rack options. I don’t have a standard roof rack, nor do I have 500 bucks to shell out on a nice yakima system. Been reading up on the non-skid blocks and other methods - just wondering if anyone has any experience with these or any other sub-$250 or so systems of getting these puppies on top of my car. Thanks in advance!

Cheep Cheep!
Two GIANT pool noodles in place of crossbars, from WallyWorld - $5 each. Then just lash as normal (front/rear/across).

Are you saying just put up pads on your roof and tie it down? To what? Are you going to be driving with the windows open? That is the most ridiculous piece of advice I have seen here…

You have a responsibility when you are on a public road to control your cargo, and a 14 foot kayak flying off your car might make other drivers very nervous and panic. Most accidents are not “cheep cheep…”

low cost roof rack

– Last Updated: May-09-06 10:52 AM EST –

i was able to locate low cost roof racks($30) from my local pep boys. i forget the name of them but they work pretty good. they work with or without the rain guides(for lack of the proper term) above your windows. you can also attach a loading bar to them which greatly helps in the loading process. they're easy to make from a piece of steel bar with u bolts or pvc with dowel rod inserted inside. slide out the bar tighten nuts and get'er done!! also you can use the foam blocks but remember to put them on before attaching the last bolts of either side

kayak fishing has pix under the do it your self forum

hope this helps

element 102?
I have no idea what this is.

Who makes it? Is there a web site that describes it?

Knowming more might allow people to give better answers.

Look on craigslist for your area under “boats” and “bikes”. People are selling Yakima or Thule racks for $100 all the time . Buy clips to fit your vehicle.

element 102
if you go on this web site to the (under) buyers guide(top left)–boats–look at kayaks–scroll down to whom ever makes it(i believe it’s element)click on it–find the boat–click on it and you’ve got your boat. you can also research it under product reviews which is 7 titles down on the left. again the same thing, find the yak and the type and go. reviews can really help before you buy, demos in your local area can help also. get in as many as you can before droping $$ on something you might not like. it took me almost 6 monthes of research and paddling before deciding on a tarpon 120(you can’t go wrong with this yak)

ebay NM

get a good
basic rack ie thule or yak…

then all i use for the boats are surf board pads…

total $ ~275…that too rich???

craigs list is a great place to look…

try to find a used rack and then just get the fit kit for your specific car…


or try and buy used.

foam block systems work
they are not as convenient as a rack system, but they are useful

I use foam blocks
I’ve got a basic roof rack (side bars, two crossbars) that came on the vehicle. The sport shop set me up with two HD foam blocks carved out to (sort of) fit over the crossbars. I get the boat up there, lay the keel in the shallow Vs of the pads, and cinch it to the rack with tension straps close to the boat’s body. Total cost under $30, and it’s secure.

Buy used…
If the availability of racks in my area is any indicator, there’s a ton of em out there and many are way below what the origional cost was.

“Nothing like a disinterested former paddler to bring the price down”

Cheep shot
[quote]“Are you saying just put up pads on your roof and tie it down? To what? Are you going to be driving with the windows open? That is the most ridiculous piece of advice I have seen here…”

Ridiculous or not it’s been working fine for me for thousands of miles. I use 1" ratcheting straps front, rear, and across. I add an extra rope front and rear for backup; the across strap goes between the top of the door and the roof panel, not through the windows. The door does not wear or chafe on the straps. I use the same setup sometimes to put our yaks on top of our popup camper. I take my responsibilities to others on the road quite seriously and would not use this system if I thought it was unsafe. Other than a re-cinch check after a few minutes driving, they stay firmly on the car - even cruising 70-75 on the interstate.

I used foam noodels extensively before I got my rack. they act exactly the same as foam blocks if you run the straps through the middle. Additionally, I would cut the noodles into one foot pieces and slice them through to the middle. These could then be fitted onto the coaming and the cockpit then sat very easily on four “blocks” with the two big noodles on either end by the bulkheads strapped to the roof.

Yes the strap goes through the car…but it is a very viable alternative.

The only real negative is that the straps when raining drip water into the car.

Obviously bow and stern tie downs are recommended.


Foam works for me.
The foam blocks are cheap. And if you are willing to do a little dumpster diving or asking around you can find suitable foam that you can carve yourself for free. The one inch flat straps are also fairly cheap. I haven’t had a bit of trouble with such a set up. I haven’t travelled any great distances but I have moved along at 65 to 70 mph without any problems. If I was going a long distance I would take the sensible precaution of periodically checking the tiedowns. I would do that even if I were using a more expensive setup.