Kayak Carrier for Beginner

Hello all, I am a beginner looking to start kayak fishing in the near future. As I have started to research kayaks, I realized I would need a way to transport my kayak. Most of my trips will involve highway driving at speeds of 55-70 mph for up to an hour and a half. I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla. I am looking to get a sit on top kayak around 12 feet in length. I have seen the Riverside Car Top Universal Kayak Carrier for $60. I am not sure if this would be safe for the type of trips I would be taking. Would you recommend this carrier or do you think I should purchase a rack from Thule or Yakima? TIA

Foam Blocks work Great

– Last Updated: Apr-17-11 8:07 PM EST –

Many beginners simply use foam blocks and tie down straps



Blocks and straps
Is it possible for one person to load a kayak onto this type of set up? Also, is this set up safe for highway travel? Thanks again

Aren’t fishing kayaks relatively heavy,
60 pounds or so compared to a 45 pound whitewater kayak? I would be concerned about your having to load it without help from a single person. I have loaded 70 pound canoes using four foam blocks around the gunwales, but I’m very tall and canoes, perhaps, are a little easier to get a hold on and up on one’s shoulders for loading from the side.

Yakima or Thule rack systems are expensive, but while they won’t lift the boat on for you, there are roller or side loader systems that may help.

Anyway, if possible, I’d recommend that you get help from a second person for the first half dozen loadings using the foam carrier system. Annoyance with your loading partner may inspire a way to load it on your own.

A common method of loading is to first place some sort of soft mat on the very back part of your car roof then lean the kayak bow on the mat with the stern on the ground. Then in push up and forward the stern onto the top of the car. This is a problem with a short boat on a tall SUV, but I suspect would work fine for your car. You never lift the entire weight of the kayak. This is often easier hull side down but you could probably flip it after it’s up if you like hull side up.

get a rack
I think you’ll really thank yourself if you just purchase a rack. You may have a good chance of finding a used rack on craigslist that fits your vehicle, as it’s a common one.

It’s much less of a juggling act to load a heavy boat on a car with a rack, and securing it is easy and safe (compared to troublesome and iffy).

With a sit on top you won’t need any cradles for the boat, just a bare rack will be fine. Put the boat on upside down.

If you’re worried about the weight, you might get a yakima rack (instead of thule) and then stick a piece of 1/2" galv. pipe into the end of the front rack. Then pull that out for loading, lift bow of boat onto pipe. Lift stern of boat onto back rack. Then slide bow onto front rack. Presto!

Try fastening the foam to kayak before

– Last Updated: Apr-18-11 12:06 PM EST –

..plopping it down, on top of the car...if possible(using some tape if needed..y/n?).
I have done it only with a canoe, but should work..imho, but all previous is good, ...but a rack, as said, can be well worth the cost.

I used foam blocks for years!
They worked just fine but I had to strap the block to the boat then lift the whole boat to the roof of the car.

With racks I put a bath mat rubber side down on the back of the car ans slide the whole boat up from the back then flip it one it is all the way up on the roof and strap it down. Racks are easier and faster, but foam blocks and straps and rope will do the job. If you want you can cut up a couple of pool noodles for the foam blocks.

I’d go with a Yakima rack if you’re doing highway speeds often. Just get the basic crossbar setup with a long pad over each bar. Transport the kayak UPSIDE DOWN on the bars, be sure to strap around each bar, and tie off the bow and stern.

If, for some reason, you find yourself going with foam blocks, get a pair that are wide enough for the kayak to sit upside down.

Lifting a sit on top onto a Corolla will be easy and you shouldn’t need any lift assist once you get the hang of it. I’ve been lifting fishing kayaks onto my SUV for 10 years and I’m short.

Get a used rack off Craigslist
I paid $50 for my Thule bars on Craigslist. Much more solid than foam blocks.

Thanks for the Help
Thanks for everyone’s help. I have seen some thule roof racks on craigslist that will fit my car. You guys don’t think any other loading system will be required? Just lay it upside down on the rack and strap it down. Just wanted to be sure I understand. Thanks again.

No problem,
loading your boat onto a small sedan. If it’s too heavy to pick up and set it on the rack, put a shower mat, floor mat, piece of carpet, or some such on your cars trunk lid. Lift the nose of the boat onto the trunk lid, set it down, grab the stern of the boat, and push it up onto the racks.