pipe insulation for padding rack?

I want to transport my kayaks hull down on my Thule bars, i bought some pipe insulation from home depot, but it isn’t very durable. What do others use or can you point me to some round pads for rack bars that will work better. I’ve read about people using fun noodles, but how much can those take before they will tear?


Put a couple layers of duct tape on it
Not only improves durability, but looks sharp! Better yet is a thick black plastic tape called pipe wrap (not electrical tape–this stuff is thicker and comes in various widths).

Or you could order rack pads designed for the purpose, which are dense foam with a heavy cloth cover. If nothing else, you could probably get them from my local shop, Go Bananas (http://gobananaskayaks.com/index.html), but you can probably find them closer to home. Check surf shops and the like.

pipe insulation
Overwrap the pipe insulation with plain old black electrical tape. I’ve been using it for years on my Yakima rack and haven’t ever had to replace any.

I transport a 17’ MR Explorer on my Thule rack and I use pipe insulation as padding. Although it’s a fairly heavy boat I can still slide it onto the rack from the rear of my van without tearing up the insulation. You don’t have to tape up the entire thing. Just enough to keep it in place.

Forget the pipe insul…
Just get black rubber hose and split it, it will last forever. Tape it in a few places.

Works Great
I used pipe insulation coverd with electrical tape on a homemade yak cart. It works great and has held up well.


yean no difference between rolling
downa highway at 65 and a kayak cart. Same downforces smae stresses

Two tyes of pipe insulation
I use the more expensive stuff that has the adhesive strip on it (Home Depot). It lasts a lot longer (I use zip ties to secure)but deteriorates in the sun so I usually have to re-do about mid summer.

I once found large pool noodles which were hollow in the center…Split, these things worked fantastic…so much so that someone took em off the racks while I was paddling…

that was me…
and they’re still holding up great! Thanks!(LOL)

Here’s a “Helpful Helouise” tip:

I have a tubular ladder rack. I found the right diameter pipe insulation with the adhesive strip (to seal the split back together), & did not strap them or tape them to the rack. They roll with the hull as I slide the boat on & off. They seem to last much longer that way (plus it’s easier on me & the boat).

Don’t split noodles

– Last Updated: Sep-05-05 12:51 PM EST –

I have my Yakima rack bars covered with large pool noodles. It is not necessary to split them. Just take the bars off, pour some dish soap into the holes in the noodles for lubrication, and slide them over the bars. Without the split, they're not vulnerable to theft. They do deteriorate in the sun, though.

Heater hose
I replaced the pipe insulation on my truck rack with automotive heater hose. Works better. I can slide the canoe on them and not worry about damage to either the canoe or the hose.

roll cage "insulation"
that you find on some race cars. Similar to pipe insulation but different material. More durable.

I second the Noodles
Pipe insulation didn’t last long for me. Pool noodles are more durable and thicker. Mine have been on two seasons and are still fine.



Heater hose sounds goog…
Heater hose has a million uses I think. I used zip ties to secure the pipe insulation and it ripped through it like tissue paper, so I’ll give the heater hose a try.

I use tape on pipe insulation because pool noodles weren’t sold where I lived. Noodles look to be the same product only thicker. Tape works to protect the padding but will wear in one season if you’re the type that paddles often. I coated my duct tape with white roof sealant. That seems to helps quite a bit.

Generally different stuff
From what I’ve seen pipe insulation and pool noodles are different materials. The pipe insulation I’ve seen is finer grained and shreds easily, while the pool noodles are a tougher material. I’ve also used pipe insulation on my bow straps and it’s stuck to the hood from engine heat. Not so with the pole noodles.

Gotta admit -I’m a big fan of pool noodles, have used them for 5 or so years now. They wear pretty well, even in our hot South Florida sun, and I only replace them about every 8 months or so.

I got my first set when the wind howl on the Yakima rack was driving me crazy on a trip back from Tampa to Miami. Thought about putting something -ANYthing -on them to stop the infernal noise. As rain clouds rolled in we Saw a K-Mart, pulled in, and found the store was going out of business, and the noodles were only 50 cents, dollar at most. I got two orange ones, and a roll of 2" clear packing tape, and as it began raining, split and mounted them and hoped for the best as the t-storm was upon us as we drove off.

When we drove out of the storm, and things dried off, I was overjoyed to find the howling had stopped. The bonus was our car no longer disappeared in parking lots, and the yaks were cushioned in transport.

The REAL advantage is they aren’t staid, drab, blend-in, looks just like a standard factory accessory for your rack items… They’re colorful! And they have three other distinct advantages:

First, when you a) use a multiple color scheme -say symetrically-arranged red, blue, and white noodles on a bar over a white sedan, or b) a plain red noodle over a red jeep Grand Cherokee, you will find others around you sometimes driving a little more courteously when you’re not toting (a boat, that is). See, they look in the rear view mirror and see a potential cop car or fire department vehicle… I got a kick out of that once when someone looked up, saw me coming up in the mirror, and then pulled over and let me by on the expressway.

Second, when you go to the mall, it makes finding your hauler in the vast lots or parking garages a lot easier!

And finally, as noted above, they don’t always eliminate, but really cut down on rack-generated wind howl at speed, especially the invasive, loud howl produced by the Thule racks we have on the Mazda, though it also works to quiet our Jeep’s Yakima bars’ lesser howling just as well.

And they’re thicker than pipe insulation I’ve seen, and will therefore cushion and seat yaks a little better a little longer, I’d think.

But I sure do have a question for Les -how do you attach your already-clad bars to your towers?

So, friends, noodle away as you drive around, whether or not you’re driving to the mall or to


Frank in Miami

Three piece
To attach the “clad” bars to the towers, you have to leave a gap in the noodle for the tower. So, each bar is covered by three segments of noodle, a long piece in the middle between the towers, and two short pieces that cover the ends of the bars outside the towers.