I’d like to pad some 78" Yakima round bars for transporting canoes, but some options seem horrendously expensive.
78" bars mean I need to pad about 13 feet! I don’t think I can get away with just padding portions or using load stops since I often don’t have a helper and like to slide the canoes up onto the rack from the back of an SUV.
Commercial rack pads are great, but very expensive. NRS Barrito pads, which I had on my last rack but forgot to take off when junking the truck, run at $64 for 32 inches, about $2 per inch , $24 per foot or $312 for the entire rack!!! That makes the Austin Canoe & Kayak pads for only $32 for a 36 inch pad look cheap at only $10.66/foot or $138.58 for the entire rack.
From what I read, the usual pool noodles don’t seem to last too long, but I’m unsure what they’re dying from. If it’s not UV, maybe the repeated compression from tying down makes them fall apart. In any event, at $1 for 3 feet, the rack would be covered for about $5! Wrapping them with duct tape may improve UV resistance if that is a problem.
Kayamedic has in the past suggested roll bar foam instead of the pool noodles as a higher quality alternative. The local offerings in our car racing store were inadequate and expensive, but I did see some online that’s cheaper, 3 feet for $5 or $1.66 per foot, $21.66 for the whole rack. All are designed for 1.5-1.75 inch bars, where the Yakima bars are 1.125. The hole in the padding is offset. The retailer told me they’re fire retardent but don’t have UV protection.
I’ve also seen clear vinyl tubing suggested and really like the idea. I could choose an inner diameter of 1.5 inches and have the tubing roll when sliding the canoe on but stick once it is tied down. My hardware stores don’t sell clear tubing larger than 1.25 inches inner diameter, but sell some 1.5 inches reenforced braided clear vinyl tubing for $4.50/foot, or $58.50 for the entire rack.
Cliff Jacobson suggests rubber heater hose slid on with brake fluid, but I’m having trouble finding the right inner diameter of 1.25 inches. I think that would make for some nice padding, though. I can see it roll as you slide the canoe on, then grip once it’s tied down.
Someone suggested bicycle tubes. Walmart’s Sunlite bike tube costs $3.39 for about 80 inches, or $0.50 per foot. I don’t know how well the canoe would slide over them or if they provide enough cushioning, but the price is right at $6.50 for the entire rack.
Then there’s old fashioned carpeting. I carpeted the top of some flat factory bars and it lasted for a while, but then the actual carpet came off and left me with foam and glue on my bars, nearly impossible to get off. Also, how do you carpet a round bar? Just a strip on top, or all the way around? Carpet (or towels, blankets) with zip ties might work unless it looks too ghetto.