How To Transport A Kayak Without A Rack

It doesn’t matter what; you don’t have a kayak roof rack or a trailer. There is no reason you don’t have to miss out on the action.

Perhaps you’ve bought a new one and need to get it home before you think about purchasing the right roof rack or trailer.

By the end of using this guide, you can find out how easy it can be to carry a kayak on a car without a roof rack or trailer. (Read Can You Get a DUI on a Kayak)

assorted kayaks

Can You Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack?

You may think it impossible to transport a kayak without a roof rack, although it can be much easier than you think. The main requirements are to tie down the bow and stern of your kayak.

Doing this can stop it swinging around in the wind; you’ll need to thread straps through the front and back carry handles, or through the toggles, so you can secure each one onto a tie-down spot on your car. Make sure this is a secure position underneath your car, such as the towing eyes, either using carabiners or hooks.

Besides this, to transport your kayak without a roof rack, you’ll need side-to-side straps and something to protect the roof of your car from your kayak.

red kayak on a car

How Do You Transport Two Kayaks Without a Rack?

If you thought it was a challenge to transport a kayak without a roof rack, you could be tempted to think it’s impossible to carry two kayaks without roof racks in position on your car.

Kayak trailers can have an advantage over a roof rack, yet a rack, or even using this means here, can be better if you are not used to towing a trailer.

First, there are a couple of things you’ll need to transport kayaks without a roof rack:

  • Pool Noodles: There isn’t much better than soft, padded polyurethane tubes for a makeshift roof rack system. All you need to do is be sure your pool noodles are heavy-duty and have a hole through the middle. Also, check the length as they need to span the width of your car.
  • Ratchet Straps: Ratchet straps are what truckers use, although you can get lightweight, hard-wearing nylon versions. You’ll find these strong enough to secure the weight and bulk of your kayaks in place as you travel.
  • Stainless Steel Tubes: You’ll need 3 stainless steel tubes that can fit through the pool noodles for support. You can use square or round as long as they are strong enough.


How to Transport 2 Kayaks with No Roof Rack?

Prepare Your Pool Noodles

Thread your steel tube through the pool noodles, and then thread the ratchet straps through the middle of the steel tube. You can measure the width of your car and cut slots where the ratchet straps will sit.

Fasten the Noodles to the Roof of Your Car

A pool noodle offers a durable and flexible way to transport your kayaks. Place the pool noodles across the length of your roof, with one in the center of your roof. With your doors open, connect the ends of the ratchet straps and ratchet them tightly to secure the pool noodles and tubes in position. (Read Is Kayaking a Good Workout)

Place Kayaks on Pool Noodles

Place your kayaks on top of the pool noodles. Depending on the size of your car, you can upturn them so the top faces down.

If the kayaks are too wide, you can turn them side on and push them together as one. Make sure the middle of your kayaks rests on the center pool noodle.

Secure Kayaks with Ratchet Straps

Once your kayaks are in place, it’s time to secure them in position. Pass the ratchet straps over your kayak’s level with the place of the noodles.

Inside of your car, connect these and tighten them. Be sure not to overtighten, and also add a couple of twists on top of your car as they can vibrate as you drive. (Read Calories Burned Kayaking)

Secure Kayaks’ Bow and Stern

To secure the bow and stern, take a ratchet strap for each kayak at each end, and feed it through each carry handle. You can secure these to the tow sports or chassis of your car.

How Do You Transport a Kayak Alone?

Step One: Bend your knees

Step Two: Grab hold of the cockpit front with one hand and the cockpit’s rear with the other. Slide the kayak up onto your thighs while keeping bent knees bent.

Step Three: Raise one knee and support your kayak.

Step Four: Lift the kayak over your head and place it on the pool noodles or foam blocks.

The process is the same if you use a J carrier roof rack to carry a kayak on a car. You can see what many people would like someone with them or to use a kayak trailer. However, it’s not always possible.

If your kayak is heavy, you can find roof racks with rollers that provide a means where you lift the end and push the kayak onto the roof of your vehicle.

How Do You Transport a Kayak in a Car?

So long as there are two of you, have one at each end and carry the kayak by the grab handles.

  1. Position it along the length of your vehicle with the bow facing toward the front of the car.
  2. Grab your kayak on both ends by the hull and not using the handles.
  3. Lift your kayak overhead and make sure not to lift using your legs rather than your back.
  4. Once the boat is overhead, set it down on the rack you are using on your car roof.

If you don’t have a rack and can’t find noodles to do the job, you have another solution. Try foam blocks as these work similarly to noodles, yet they can be suitable if you are going to transport short distances. (Read What are the Benefits of Kayaking)

Foam blocks are stable and highly durable. The method to use foam blocks is very similar to using pool noodles.

Here are the basic steps you’ll need:

  1. Find two rigid two foam blocks and place them on the vehicle roof.
  2. Place your kayak on top of the foam blocks and check they are correctly positioned.
  3. Use your tie-down straps and make your kayak is secure across and also the bow and stern. Make sure your straps can go over and around the kayak, as you will have less secure points like with the noodles.
  4. Use a tie-down strap or ratchet strap for the bow and stern when transporting a kayak, even if some don’t do it.

Once secure, you can easily transport your kayak to your destination.

How To Transport A Kayak Without A Rack (1)