kayak transportation

I need some advise on transporting a couple kayaks. For some time now I have been transporting my kayak on the roof of my car via 4 foam pads and tieing it down to the front and rear bumper…works great. Well, my problem is, the wife is now into the sport and is getting her own kayak. I have a '06 Toyota Corolla (gutterless top) … any ideas on a rack or rig that I could use to transport 2 10ft. kayaks on this car? I have seen the Thuel and other rack systems but they are very expensive…anything cheaper?

Thanks in advance

a Thule or Yakima rack solution for your vehicle. Both probably make a kit that will clamp into your door frames under the weather stripping. Without rain gutters, and with no factory rack there is no cheap solution for car topping two rec boats. You need a stable platform capable of handling the weight of those two boats securely.

This is an expensive hobby unfortunately…


– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 3:56 PM EST –

Unless you want to create a highway statistic - especially with the short roofline of the Corolla, you need to get a third party rack if you want to manage two of these things safely.

How about a trailer?
Find a used utility or boat trailer and convert it. Some ideas: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/75339788oTcAIx

Utility trailer…
I carry two yaks on my 4Runner’s roof. When a third boat needs to go along, I simply clamp some 2x4 cross boards (actually bolted with wing nuts) on my 5x8 utility trailer, padded with pool noodle foam. That allows me to carry a pile of equipment/camping gear, along with how ever many boats I care to haul.

You can find that size trailer new for under $1000 or used like mine for around $300. You might be able to find a really small trailer at Harbor Freight or Sam’s, etc. for less yet.

Like this, plus they carry others…


The nice thing about a trailer is the fact that you only need to lift the boats waist high instead of onto a car top. And, you get the utilitarian benefit of the trailer when not hauling boats. Your Carolla will need a hitch…also about $100.

All for about the price of a rack that might not work.

Used Boat Trailer
But you would probably get off cheaper with the racks, because you will still need a hitch, and wiring harness, for your car

with a toyota corolla? I don’t think I’d want to pull even a light trailer with one of them. The engines just don’t have the power for it, and tranmissions are not built for the additional strain, no matter how light that trailer may be. Car topping would still be adding extra weight to the boat, but would not put as much strain on the power train.

Works fine…

– Last Updated: Aug-21-07 11:44 PM EST –

yup, with a Corolla. The towing capacity for an '01 Corolla is 1500 lbs., according to the manual. (I own an '01 model) A trailer like the one pictured on the Harbor Freight link weighs about what a couple passengers might weigh if all you are hauling is a couple kayaks. I use to pull a motorcycle trailer with two bikes behind my VW Beetle, with 40hp engine. And a 19' Grumman canoe with 6hp motor/gas/stuff, too!
There are also some really light weight, yet really expensive trailers out there as well.

Ford F150
might not be much more expensive than Thule or Yakima but the 2 bungis that strap the kayaks in will be and the loading sure is sweet. If you have friends that want to go…get a Leer camper shell and then you can load 9 kayaks into it.

ps you’ll need 13 total bungi cords (that’s how many I use).

There is a solution
Malone just started selling the HandiRack. Will carry a couple of boats on your car. They can be purchased at Boater’s World website for a $100.


Good points by barracuda
I have no doubt that 1.8 liter could tow a small kayak trailer - its the same motor in the Vibe/Matrix. But, in addition to the hitch & wiring harness, add state trailer inspection and registration costs - which continue, and a place to store the trailer. I’d go with Thule or Yakima racks. I have the old style 02 Corolla (actually a Prism - same car off same CA assembly line) and Yakima racks. But its really 6 of one, half-dozen of t’other…Nothing’s cheap anymore…

racks are expensive sure but best route
Once you make the investment in Thule or Yakima-they both have a lifetime warranty. And as you change cars and trucks most of the rack will transfer and you’ll have to just upgrade a footpack or clip here and there. So over time it’s a great investment. We’ve got one Thule rack that goes from wife’s car to our son’s and then back to my SUV! It’s always going somewhere hauling something. No doubt lifting boats up onto a rack is harder than onto a low trailer but as a LONG time vet with trailers of all sizes and shapes I think they are more hassle for kayaks especially if you like to keep your boats ready and park easily. Ok now we’ll hear from the trailer devotees but not everyone can back up and manage a short wheelbase trailer and then there are the light hookups that short out etc…