Purchasing a car rack

Hey guys!

I purchased my first kayak a few days ago, so, now I have to figure out how to transport it on top of my car. I have a Toyota Camry, so, unfortunately, my car doesn’t come with factory installed racks. Any suggestions as to what I should look for, as well as avoid, in the way of car racks? From what I’ve heard, Yakima seems to be the best, but, they are rather pricey. My kayak is a WS Tsunami 120 - it weighs 50 lbs., and, I don’t have much upper body strength (I’m working on it, though!). Are there ways to car top your kayak without actually having to lift it up over your head onto the car? Any and all suggestions and helpful hints will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks bunches,


Lift half of it . . .
If you have a rack that sticks out a bit, you can probably lift half the boat onto the rack, then move around and push the other end up, sliding it along the rack.

If you tie the boat down at the front and the back (I use parachute-style cord, or 3-4mm climbing accessory cord) and then tie it to the rack, I imagine any rack will do. Check classified adds or posts at local WW shops. Yakima and Thule really are good products, but they might not be necessary if you only plan to haul the one kayak (my Yakima recently held over 200lbs of stuff, including a 20 foot canoe, driving through storms at 70mph . . . I was pretty happy how that turned out).

Have fun!

Racks can be expensive, $250 and up. If you go with Yakima you won’t need the extention kit so that’s at least something (assuming a four-door car.) Sometmes they are on sale, and even better you can pick them up used.

There is a foam fit that comes with foam blocks and a net-looking thing that goes on your roof that is less than that. I have heard those work.

Other than that… some here use pool noodles, but if you do please make sure you don’t damage your kayak, your roof, or both. I have never seen such a setup.

Good luck

These inflatable racks are beginning to
be used by some:


If they work, the price is great.

Actually, Saris makes the best roof rack
It’s very strong, but goes on and off the car quickly and easily, so it’s not up there eating into your gas mileage when you don’t need it.

If price is a concern, check your local classified ads and Ebay for used racks. In most cases, you’ll be able to find a rack that will fit your car with only a change in mounting clips and save half the price or more in the process.