Travel Tips

How To Tie Down A Kayak Without A Roof Rack

Kayak is one of the two types of canoe which we certainly use for sport, adventure, and recreation. Kayaking is the most loved sport during vacations and summer days. Canoeing and kayaking are low impact activities that even help improve flexibility, aerobic fitness, and core strength. Be it be for fun, competition, or a hobby, kayaking will always refresh and replenish us. 

So now you have bought your new Kayak and you are imagining about how to take it home? Or maybe you don’t have that roof rack on your car to carry your Kayak. A typical roof rack system for your kayak can cost you around $30 to $1000. Maybe you do not want to buy that costly one and you would then think how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack? You are searching through the net for all the tips that would help you tie your kayak on the car roof then you have reached the right place.

We are here to give you the best and less costly ways. So let’s read further to answer how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack!

How to tie down a kayak on a car without a roof rack?

How to tie down 2 kayaks without a roof rack

Most of us have the basic question ‘can you transport a kayak without a roof rack?’ YES, you can definitely take your Kayak without a roof rack. You have to be very careful while travelling. And if you are thinking of taking out your car and put that Kayak on the roof, here are some tips on how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack? 

  • Pool Noodles or you can find any soft polyurethane tube with a hole in the middle in the hardware store near you or in Walmart.
  • While buying, you must check that it is thick, durable, and long enough to cover your entire car roof. Generally, good pool noodles range from $10 to $40. You would require around three pool noodles.
  • Cam buckle or Ratchet Straps are very helpful in keeping the objects stable. These are made out of nylon and are long enough to be wrapped around the objects.
  • Adjustable buckles are given to tightly ratchet the long nylon along with the object and keep it stable. Their starting price is around $9 and you can easily buy them at auto stores or Walmart.

After you have bought these essentials you can start fitting the kayak on the roof of your car without a roof rack.

1. Attaching pool noodles on the top of the car

Once you have got the pool noodles check if they are of the exact size of the car.  You have to place them horizontally, so trim them off if they are hanging out too much from the sides.

Put them according to the size of your car top. The best way is to put one at the center and one for both at the end and front. As you place those pool noodles on the top, secure them with one set of ratchet straps.

Put those straps from the center of the pool noodles and from inside the car through the opened doors. Secure them tightly!

2. Here goes your Kayak on the Pool noodles

In this step, you are going to place your Kayak on the top. So call out for your friend or a neighbour or its fine if you are a body builder to put it up for yourself.

Turn your kayak downwards, ask your friend to hold one side of the Kayak, and lift it gently to place it properly on the pool noodles. 

3. Strapping the Kayak on!

After placing the Kayak on the pool noodles open your front and rear doors. Pass one set of ratchet straps from one side of the Kayak and join the straps inside your car.

You can use the cam buckle or ratchet buckle to tighten it and secure it on the car. Make sure you do not tighten it too much to damage your Kayak.

Keep the straps at your reach. While passing the straps through the car, twist them to avoid any howling sound while driving. If you are too paranoid while driving, you can just get out and recheck the fittings.

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Repeat this step for the rear side as well. Remember a few things

  1. Do not over tighten the straps.
  2. Check your straps time to time. The straps might get over used and change its shape. Slightly put that part on the candle and bring it back to the shape.
  3. Check the weather while drivin. Certain weather conditions might loosen your buckles. Hence you can always recheck while driving.

4. The bow and the stern

You have now secured your kayak from falling off through sideways but what about forward and backward. Don’t worry; you can use your ratchet straps to prevent this as well. Fix one end of the strap to the front toggles or carry handles of the Kayak and another end to the tie-down area under the bonnet or your vehicle using a hook. Put another set of ratchet strap through the rear side of the Kayak and join it to the tow hooks or under ties of the vehicle. 

Through these steps we can securely travel to our beach and do the kayaking. Here you got an answer to how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack? We also saw how do you secure a kayak to a car? Now, what if you have 2 Kayaks and you are driving with your family with no roof rack! That’s very tricky stuff. Let us move on to another doubt, how to tie down 2 kayaks without a roof rack?

How to tie down 2 kayaks without a roof rack?

So you have brought 2 kayaks and wish to put them on your car without a roof rack. Here are the ways to put them on the car. This time you again need Pool Noodles, Ratchet straps, and stainless steel polls or aluminum rods.

Stages to put the kayaks on

  1. Place the aluminum or stainless steel rod and the straps in the hollow space of the noodles. Place them on the top of the car and secure them the straps inside the car.  This procedure just like the one given above.
  2. Now place the kayaks on the pool noodles.

For larger cars, place both the Kayaks upside downside by side 

For smaller cars, place both the Kayaks on their sides. One kayak’s hull should face another kayak’s cockpit.

  1. Secure them with the ratchet straps. Put one set of straps on the rear side of the kayaks and one set on the front side of the kayaks and buckle them up inside the vehicle.
  2. Secure the bow and the stern by other two sets of ratchet straps for each side. And hook them below the vehicle or to the under-ties.
  3. You can even join the two kayaks by tying them with a rope. Tie ropes to the front ends of the kayaks and tie another rope to the back end of the kayaks. This will ensure more security.

Through this, you can securely place 2 kayaks on the car without any roof rack. The materials used can be easily found in supermarkets and are less costly. Here you get the answer for how to tie down 2 kayaks without a roof rack?

An Alternative: Inflatable Kayak

Hey, here a wonderful alternative to your hard and heavy Kayak. These are inflatable Kayaks. Imagine if you are alone and there’s no one around you to help you with the Kayak fitting, go for inflatable Kayaks. These Kayaks can be inflated while sailing and kayaking and can be deflated after the use. Put them in a corner of your car or store them in your house cellar. These are foldable and can be easily carried.

Be careful with the material and check if there are any punctures to the Kayak. Now you just put that bag of the kayak in your car and you are ready to rock the kayaking. 

How do you secure a kayak on a roof rack?

So now we have seen how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack? Let’s explore how do you secure a kayak on a roof rack? Before you have to go kayaking you need to gather all the essential materials like padding for your kayaks. Roof rack padding can be found online and at local sports shop. This padding will help your kayak remain stable.

  • Install the roof rack

Install the roof rack on the top of the car and with the padding on it. Perfectly fit it on the top of the car.

  • Select the kayak carrier

Kayak carriers depend upon the size of your car, the size of the kayak, and how many kayaks you are traveling with. A few best kayak carriers are foam block carrier (lightweight and cost-effective), crossbar pads, J-Style carriers (more permanent, very stable, and transporting two kayaks), load extender (for longer and heavy kayaks).

  • Install the kayak on the rack

Load the kayak on the rack and keep the front of the kayaks facing the front part of the car. Keep it in the center of the roof. If you are carrying 2 kayaks then place them side by side, one’s hull should be facing one kayak’s cockpit. 

  • Secure the kayak with the crossbars

You need a tie-down strap in order to secure the kayak with the crossbars. Loop the strap beneath the crossbars at one end and throw it on the kayak and buckle it up the crossbar on the other end of the vehicle. Try to twist the strap in order to avoid any sounds during driving. Repeat these steps with the other crossbars.

  • The bow and the stern

It’s time to fix the bow and the stern. Do you need a bow and stern tie-downs for kayaks? There are certain tie-downs that are required to stabilize the bow and the stern of the kayak. You can use straps with temporary anchors or straps with hooks. These straps run from front to back of a kayak. Attach the strap with the front of the kayak to the hook ties below the bonnet or under the bonnet of the vehicle. The same goes with the rear part of the kayak. Here we even saw how do you secure a kayak on a roof rack?



So hey folks, if you are a kayaking fan, going on a beach with your family and friends do securely put those kayaks on the roof of your car. 

All you need is some essentials and materials to protect your kayaks from damage. Let us prepare for the next kayaking adventure! I hope you get the answer of How to tie down a kayak without a roof rack.

I have tried to help you out with some questions like how to tie down a kayak without a roof rack? And how do you secure a kayak on a roof rack?

Though costly, a roof rack would be the safest way to transport your kayak. Do give it a chance as well. And let me know any other interesting ways to put a kayak without a roof rack.

Be safe and smart and enjoy your vacation. If you have any queries comment me below and I would be glad to help you. Thank you for your time. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Hi, I'm Bhavesh Bhati thanks for visiting my blog! I've been traveling and exploring epic locations around the world for the last four years. I'm always looking for real adventures like treks, waterfalls, and Offroading!

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