roof rack options

I am on a budget, is there anything else out there other than Yakima and Thule?

Check here,
lots of options.

If you are going to car-top often, though, and can figure out a way to afford it, a good set of Yakima or Thule racks sure makes it easy.

Budget option
It’ll work, but will take a bit longer to tie down and make sure it is secure.

I’ve heard good stuff about Saris trunk mtn’ed bike carriers, not sure about their roof rack stuff.


racks and budgets
I did budget racks for a long time. They were all dicey and a pain. I developed a nice relationship with our local dealer. He sold me a returned Thule,for 1/4 the original price. I love it. Fast, easy, safe. Go make friends with a nice kayak seller.

Handirack - inflatable roof rack
I have one of these. Not the greatest roof rack but it does the job pretty nicely, and provides cushioning for the kayak.

Three considerations :

  1. You don’t want to get somebody hurt by hauling your boat improperly . ( maybe someone behind you on the road )
  2. You don’t want to mess up your vehicle by hauling your boat improperly .
  3. You don’t want to mess up your boat by hauling it improperly .

    Save your money and invest in some good racks !

    You will be saving in the long run by doing it !

    Very few people that I know regret spending the money for good racks.

    My two cents worth !

That’s worth more than 2¢.
I scratched the roof of my car w/ roof pads and straps. Fortunately, it was an old piece of junk, and I didn’t care. I’d be mighty pissed at myself doing so on a newer/nicer car.

Liability for a flying boat on the highway at 60-70mph? That’s a really bad deal.

ibmikie: This is coming from the king of DIY and cheap. Buy a good rack. I’ve tried everything from the foam pads to making a PVC rack to slide a heavy canoe onto the roof of a pickup and strap it down. I’m finally going to invest in a rack like I should have to begin with. Save yourself some time, headache and possibly expense. Start out the right way.


I agree
I had sticker shock when I first bought my Yakima Rack. But as soon as I had it I realized it was worth every penny. And I haven’t hesitated to open the wallet to buy other Yakima accessories for my other toys as needed.

Cheap Rack
Last week i ordered this rack:

it seems it should be better than the foam blocks by themselves, but i’ll repost after using it.

Canoe or kayak?
I used foam blocks for years to haul my Old Town Penobscott canoe on my Toyota Corolla. Never had a problem. Worked like a charm. Just purchased my first kayak and along with it I bought a Yakima rack system for my Ford Taurus. I feel better and safer carrying my kayak this way.

Last 2 racks
Lumber rack on a Toyota P/U best boat hauler period. Currently have steel bars on a camper shell om my newer Toyota p/u. Way better than the Yakima/Thule options. Paid $75 for the lumber rack and $150 for the shell with a carpet kit.

Secure is Good!

– Last Updated: Apr-11-08 12:54 AM EST –

I use to have cheap racks until a canoe slid off the side of my car.

I have a couple Yakima Racks. Last one I bought the pieces for on Ebay. Craigslist is good too. Some new, some used; some shipped, some picked up. Got a $450 rack, bars, etc. for less than $200; and its secure! Secure is good, secure is our friend.

YOS still call me if you want ideas on

– Last Updated: Apr-11-08 7:35 AM EST –

something better than 'available'.

I have worked on many boats that hit the pavement when Thule, Yakimas failed.

Worst was the two Necky tandems that pulled QUADRUPLE Rain gutter mounted Yakimas off a Ford Van @ 85mph ... good thing it happened across the border.

Forgot the size but commonly ( H.D. Lowes ) avaialable Copper tubing fits Yakima mounts/ fittings perfectly and looks nice on some cars.

Edit: IB ... what is your transport named ?

It would help
to know what kind of vehicle and load you are looking to carry.

I have several friends who have older cars who have gone to junk yards and found older stainless steel factory racks and drilled holes in their roofs and mounted them and they are very secure solutions for hauling canoes for under $50.

For an old VW or Honda (what they have them on) it is no big deal. I was even going to do this on my 97’ Ford Taurus as the Yakima clips were anything but secure and I didn’t trust the rack at all. I sold the car quickly (and for mostly that reason) and bought a Volvo V70 which has an excellent means of attatching the rack (and is a LOT more fun to drive).

If your car has gutters there are tons of options.

Handirack does work well …

– Last Updated: Apr-12-08 7:59 AM EST –

Handirack does work well, the quality and construction are very good, I use these and frequently van top 2 kayaks. For the $100 price tag, it is worth considering...
I think it beats the foam block method because of the hi quality "D" rings that can be used to strap and secure the load to. I keep mine filled with air and hang them in the garage between uses, I am careful to not have them overinflated on a very hot day, to much expansion of the air tube is a concern of mine. So I just don't fill them rock hard.

Back when cars had rain gutters, a set of Quick-N-Easy brackets and a couple of 2x4s would give you a good, solid, basic rack. If your vehicle has rain gutters, this would be my suggestion.

Keep it simple.
As above, or simple padded cross bars. Stackers are also nice for multiple boats.

Marketing tells you you need all that costly crap. You don’t. Your kayak was transported to the dealer on padded bars. Look at the rep trucks and trailers in the lots at shows… Padded bars…

Now, someone will tell me I’m negligent. I would be if it were a delicate race boat or surf ski, but not for most poly or comp touring boats.

I have hauled thousands of kayaks over two decades to remote places on bad roads with NO problems.

Put the cash on a paddle.

good racks
Good racks are worth the investment, and I agree with garyg’s post above.

Try searching the accessories section in the classifieds on this site (bought and sold here, myself) as well as craigslist and ebay.

Bars again here. I use our dunked
seat pads ridge-rest seat pads for under hulls + some cutoffs from inside the car.

Maybe double them for the freeway.

Have made some pretty nice, molded to hull shape cradles for skis and canoes though …

I use 1.0625" X 2.750" aero strut tubing for my X-bars. I wish I could calculate the fuel I have saved with foil vs. round just for fun.