Mounting a big kayak on a little car..??

Hey, I just found a great deal on a used prijon kodiak kayak. The only problem is it is in Phoenix (3 hour highway drive away) and the only car I have is my little subaru wrx. The car has a yakima rack and two pairs of mako saddles, but to this point I have only used it transport a short whitewater boat. The 17.5 foot kayak I intend to buy is actually a smidge longer than the entire car. Does anyone have some advice on what I could buy to make the 75mph highway trip more secure. I know I need to use fore and aft lines tied to the front and rear bumper hooks, but is there any kind of ratchet strap or system I should use? Also, should the front and rear tiedowns be tight or loose. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks


maximum distance apart on the bar
up to six feet and bow ans stern lines/ No part ot the kayak should extend three feet beyond the bumper in my state. IN other words the same protocol you should use on almost any other car. No difference.

make sure…
that your bars have at least a 30" spread between them, and that you’ve got some nylon straps snugly securing the boat to the bars around the Mako saddles. If you can’t get that much spread between the bars, Yakima makes an extension piece that will push your rear bar further back on the car roof to get you the appropriate distance between bars.

Front strap under the bumper should not be too tight - just take the slack out of it and you’ll be fine. If the boat totally hangs far off the back end of the car, just attach a red flag to the back end of the boat, and you should be fine.

On bow and stern lines to the bumpers
you should avoid straps as they might flap in the wind. Ropes are better and should be snug. The rack and saddles should be enough to secure the kayak if strapped well. The bow and stern lines are “back-ups” and are prudent on a 17’ boat.


– Last Updated: Apr-16-05 10:02 PM EST –

I carry a 21' "Thunderbolt" with a crossbar spread of 4'3". I need the bow tie for truck wakes & big cross winds. I use rope & like to have two ties on the front stacker. I try to tie one rope to the other side (non stacker rail).

All you have to do (a trick)
If you twist the straps a few times, they won’t flap in the wind. I use straps for bow and stern lines, and have never had a problems since I started putting twists in.

I have been cartopping an 18 and
a 17 with no problem on my Jetta Wagon. The wagon looks longer than a standard Jetta but in fact is only 1.5" longer than a standard sedan. The boats both overhang the ends of the car, but all seems to work well.


21’ Surf Ski on a Neon
No bow/stern lines - 80 mph plus - no problem. 18’ & 17’ Sea Kayaks do get bow stern lines - but they have places to tie and are heavier boats.

I prefer straps for rack - ropes for bow/stern lines.

Smaller cars are also a lot easier to load/unload.

Putting twists in your straps also cut down on them 'singing. Rope seems to sing no matter what you do…

Good idea

No big deal
Relax, I Carry an 18’ Eddlyline on my Ford Focus 2-door Hatchback. Key to your car rack is a cross bar since all door claspe are attached by the two doors vice the standard four. Cross bar adds stability to the fore and aft bars. Use guide lines, (loose) for and aft provides stability and security. I use a thule craddle rack vice the “J” hook rack. Good Luck, R/ Mark

Yellow over White Falcon