Universal Car Top Carrier

I live in NYC and do not own a car and rely on zipcar primarily for transportation. I am about to get a kayak and keep it in a storage facility on the hudson but will want on occasion to take a trip with me and cannot always guarantee that the car I want will always be avaialble and therefor cannot get a dedicated cartop carrier like a thule, plus I do not have storage for something that constructed. Does anyone know of a foldup or universal rack or transportation system for kayaks that will work. My kayak material is a carbon composite.

Thanks in advance

Foam blocks work very well–
just make sure you have strapped or tie your kayak well. Very portable and can be stored in the kayak. I’ve done lots of highway miles with no problems.

second the
foam blocks use them for my carbon/kevlar composite on a roof rack. You will have to run the tie down straps through the window and across the car’s ceiling, that is the only drawback, so you will not be able to completely close the window. See campmor.com for good prices, and do not forget the bow and stern tie downs if it is over 10’.

Recently used
foam blocks for a 350 mile one-way trip. They worked fine. Just follow the instructions that come with the kit - tie-down strap goes through the car with the doors open, NOT through the windows. This is not really a problem at all, unless it rains really hard, as the straps might interupt the weatherseal between the door and the roof of the car.

for the clarification on where the straps go, I have never actually had to do run them through the car. And then how in the heck would I OPEN the door!!

You know…
as stupid as this might sound, I probably would have put it through the window… then stood there and said “well damnit.” That’s how clueless I can be sometimes. Thanks for pointing that out. (Buying a kayak in the near future)

about getting a set of these block carriers, but have a sun/moonroof - Have any of you had trouble getting the block to stay and remain stable forward the sunroof? Would one of those pool noodles be good to have secured to the hull for additional support just behind the sunroof?



another option
We use handiracks often. Very well made with many D-rings.

Where are you storing your kayak? I’m on pier 63. If you want to check out the handiracks let me know, I’ll be down there this afternoon.

The only disadvantage is that you can’t use them on a car with factory racks so with Zipcars your choices may be limited.


Moon roof not a problem.
Put the front foam block in front of the moon roof. I have done this with two different toyotas with no problems.

Cheap solution…run web straps through
two pool noodles, then another set of web straps over the boat. It works.

thanks lyngo but was out of the city…
today getting a thorough going over with my new kayak today and a lesson. I was looking at a set of carriers with suction cups that would be universal but I think the low cost and east to store option of the foam blocks is right up my alley. Would definitely be interested in seeing your system. I will likely be storing my kayak at the barge with NY Kayak which is really close to my apartment. Not the most elegant and will have to be careful but convenience goes a long way.

An email from zipcar said that none of the cars in their fleet have any sort of luggage racks or rail system.

Saw some really neat racks today made by D.A.M.Goodgear and if I owned a car it would be the thing I would have without a doubt.

I actually bought a car for my kayak
A few months ago I actually bought an old volvo wagon for my kayak. Old cars are inexpensive to insure and don’t get bothered in the city. I pay a neighbor $50/month to do the alternate side of the street thing. I got a Saris rack and J-cradles.

I go out of the city every weekend now. CT/RI/LI all have interesting waters just a few hours away.

It sounds like we keep our kayak at the same place…the barge is pier 63 and rent is paid to MKC. NYKC is pier 40, but is a real pier, not a barge.

I’ll be down there Tuesday after work if you want to look at handiracks. Is your boat in the first or second hold?


barge storage…

Have not chosen a storage bay yet. The first bay is ‘dingier’ but seems to be less used. I will have to keep mine on the ceiling perpindicular to everyone elses to the chances of getting knocked or dinged is greater. Prefer to do it by my own hands rather than someone elses if you know what i mean. Any suggestions? Don’t know if i can make it down tuesday but would like to meet anyway for a fellow nyc paddler person.

Mixed bag
I prefer the 2nd hold. It’s less dingy because one of the “tenants” is a bit OCD and keeps it clean and organized. Access to the water is a bit easier, though the hatch is much harder to open.

If you have the combination to the second hold, you can look for handiracks in the cubbyholes. They’re in a blue canvase bag and there are a few sets of them there. Take a look, see what you think, if you’d like to borrow my set to see how they feel compared to foam, I have a set of each available for you to borrow, but check with me first so I can be sure you’re taking mine and not someone elses.

BTW, though the barge may be inelegant, it’s charms will unfold for you. There is no better access to the Hudson, and having a bar and restaurant there is such a blessing after a long, hot paddle.

I look forward to meeting you. I paddle an Explorer LV, the only one there as far as I know.


Saris Dealer in the city?
Where did you go in or around the city to get the Saris rack?

I’ve heard good things about them but never seen any in real life. And even if I’m willing to order them sight unseen, I can’t even find any dealer nearby!

We got them on Ebay-NM

I checked their
website looking for some of their racks for my 850 after reading some reviews on their kayak racks. But the products they appear to be selling don’t seem to include kayak racks. Perhaps they’ve discontinued them. http://www.saris.com - be ready for some noisome website music that could’ve been real but is a little over a bubble off.

Bon chance,


I was wondering about that
I just picked up an older Pontiac Sunbird with the glass sunroof on it, and wondered how well the foam blocks would work. It’s also only a two door, and I’m hauling an Aquaterra Sealion in plastic. Thoughts anyone??