June 21, 2022 10 min read

A roof rack is essential for storing your kayak, but if your car doesn't have one, you might be wondering how you can transport your kayak. Fortunately, there are a variety of options. These include foam blocks, Stacker bars, soft racks, and J-cradles. Learn how to properly install and remove a roof rack before you start buying kayak racks. After all, you want to get the most secure setup possible, so you can get the most out of your vehicle's roof rack.

Different Types of Kayak Car Carriers

There are several different types of kayak car carriers, each with its own pros and cons. Lift assist kayak car carriers are convenient, as they take much of the weight off of the hands. Lift assist kayak car carriers to come in a variety of different designs, ranging from simple bar assists to elaborate strap systems.

The best option depends on how many kayaks you plan to transport. If you plan to haul more than one kayak, you might want to choose a stacker.

A temporary kayak car carrier is easy to install on most vehicles because it does not require rails or crossbars. These racks are commonly used on small vehicles and some SUVs, as well as in some truck cabs. They are easy to install and remove, and make carrying a kayak as easy as possible. A rack tower and a crossbar are purchased separately.

Sometimes, they come packaged together with the kayak carrier. Some vendors will even offer prices for just one of these components. Roof racks have become popular for kayak transportation because they leave enough roof space for the vehicle's roof. However, they will add more height to your vehicle, so you'll want to make sure that you have crossbars installed on your vehicle before purchasing a J-cradle. If you only plan on carrying one kayak, then a horizontal rack is a more practical choice. A roof rack pad will provide additional height for the vehicle, but won't scratch your roof.

How to Choose a Kayak Carrier for Your Car

kayak on the car

Several factors go into choosing the best kayak carrier. You'll need to consider your vehicle's body and crossbar system, and the height of your kayak. The height of the carrier also has a bearing on its ease of use. It should be tall enough for you to easily reach and load your kayak. Most premium kayak carriers also come with a lift system, so you can raise and lower your kayak effortlessly.

First of all, you need to find a carrier that fits your car's roof. Most cars can accommodate a kayak carrier, but they need to be mounted on roof rails or directly to the car. You should check what kind of roof rails your car has. If you're unsure, look for a roof rack with crossbars that are padded. A car with crossbars for kayaks is more likely to have one of these types of carriers.

Once you've determined the size of your vehicle, the next thing you need to consider is the style of your car's roof. If you don't have roof rails, a kayak carrier without front-loading ramps will not fit properly. You'll also need to lift your kayak onto the roof of the car. Many people choose Thule carriers to transport their kayaks. This carrier works with most factory racks and round bars. However, it doesn't have folding arms to secure your kayak.

Foam Blocks

If you own a small car with no side rails, you can still use a kayak rack on your vehicle. The Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads have ratchet straps and steep D-rings for securing your kayak. They are made of shock-resistant EPE foam and 600D polyester fabric. Once you attach the rack to your car, you can enjoy kayaking for many years to come.

Another option for those with a smaller vehicle but no roof rack is the foam block system. These foam blocks slide over your car's roof without the use of rails. They work just like pool noodles but are lower and easier to install. They also don't provide as much security as a conventional kayak saddle. They can only hold one kayak at a time. However, these racks are very affordable and very easy to install.

WOOWAVE Kayak Carrier Deluxe Kit is ideal for carrying a single kayak. It requires no inflation and can be used with a small vehicle. The kayak rack comes with two foam blocks on top of the car and cam straps to secure it in place. If you want to travel light, this option is ideal for you. And if you want to travel in a small car with no roof space, you can also use a roof rack that can fit your kayak securely.

When mounting the rack, make sure the rack has crossbars and longer bolts. This is to prevent the kayak from hitting the roof. A clearance bar is also a must. Make sure the kayak is secured to the rack by looping the strap under the crossbars. A longer kayak might require a red flag. This is a personal decision that must be made for safety reasons. So make sure it fits safely before you install it on your car!

Stacker Bars

Stacker bars for kayak racks on cars are a great way to mount a kayak on top of a vehicle. These versatile racks can be installed in as little as five minutes and can be left permanently on the roof of the vehicle. When not in use, these vertical "stacker" arms can fold down to reduce wind drag and allow for larger objects to be loaded onto the rack. If you're not a kayaker, consider getting a rack that comes with a built-in paddle lock.

Some racks will be compatible with specific car models and may have different types of hardware for different vehicles. If you want to install a rack on a different car, a roof bar with rails isn't the right choice for you. These roof racks can be mounted to door jambs and are designed to be compatible with many cars without rails. If you're using a rack to carry two kayaks, you can find one that can accommodate the two boats without any problems. You should also pay attention to the distance of the two kayaks and how wide apart they should be.

If you don't want to put the rack on the roof of your vehicle, a saddle rack can be the best option for you. It allows you to load and unload your kayak from the side, and it doesn't add a lot of height to your vehicle. It's easy to install and comes with everything you need to transport your kayak, including nylon covers and safe oversized padding.

Temporary pads are a great option for short trips and don't require any pre-installed crossbars. A temporary pad is simple to install and has straps inside and outside the vehicle to secure the gear in place. Some racks come with foam padding that's supposed to protect the kayak. However, it's important to note that temporary pads do not offer protection against frequent or high-speed travel, so it's not a good option for frequent or high-speed trips.


A car rack for a kayak requires the use of a ratchet strap or tie-downs, pool noodles, and the right vehicle. The number of these straps you need depends on the size of the kayak, your car, and your level of security. Be sure to use thick pool noodles because thin ones won't hold the weight of the kayak and may scratch the car. Lastly, you need to know how to tie a trucker's hitch.

car rack for kayak

A kayak rack for a car without roof rails is often called a removable roof rack and is great for vehicles without them. Unfortunately, it does not elevate the kayak very much and can cause a lot of problems if your car has a round or curved roof. A removable roof rack is also likely to require a very wide car roof, which is problematic for small hatchbacks. If you are in doubt, consider a factory-installed roof rack system. It will be more durable and secure than a removable rack.

To make loading your kayak easier, you can buy rear load-assist accessories, which provide a low friction saddle at the rear of the rack. These help you load the kayak from the bow or stern into the saddle and slide it forward onto the roof. These accessories are most suitable for vehicles with low roofs, but if you're short, you might need to use a stool to assist you.

When installing a kayak rack, ensure that the crossbars are perpendicular to each other. It is also best to choose crossbars with scuppers. Also, make sure that the crossbars are secured tightly. You don't want them to move when you pull them. Make sure you use long bolts for a secure fit. You should also check the size and shape of the car's roof rack to determine how it's best to mount a kayak rack.

Soft Racks

If you're considering installing a kayak rack on your vehicle, there are a few things to consider before you make the purchase. First, make sure that the car you're planning to install the rack on is not too narrow, or you'll have to deal with a lot of wiggle room in the back. Make sure to allow 24 inches between the crossbars on your vehicle.

Once you've purchased the rack, you'll need to install the kayak. If you're using a Thule system, make sure to use a long enough bolt to secure the kayak properly. A short bolt is easily loosened and could cause an accident. It also leaves the kayak exposed to road vibrations and thieves. If your vehicle is too wide, you might end up with an unsecured rack.

If you're looking to mount a kayak on your vehicle, you'll probably need a roof rack with a soft platform. These platforms are made of soft foam, and therefore don't offer as much support as a roof-mounted system. The downside is that these roof racks often have lower clearance than roof-mounted crossbars. Furthermore, the soft system isn't suitable for vehicles with rounded roofs, so you'll need a car that's not too high.

Another option is a roof-mounted rack. These racks attach to the truck's hitch receiver. This gives you a stable platform to load a kayak onto. Most hitch-mount kayak racks have a crossbar near the front or tailgate that guides the kayak onto the rack. If you don't have a roof-mounted rack, you'll also need to install a bed extender. Fortunately, these accessories are relatively inexpensive and will allow you to fit a 14-foot kayak inside your truck's bed.

kayak on the car roof

Mounting Hardware

There are a variety of car rack systems available for your watercraft, and many of them can be installed on any car. If you own a four-wheel-drive vehicle, mounting kayak racks on the roof is an ideal option.

These racks are padded for protection and should be secured to the vehicle with straps and cables. Aluminum or steel racks are preferred because they are more durable and will prevent corrosion over time. If you don't own a four-wheel-drive vehicle, consider installing a temporary pad.

For a more traditional setup, you may consider a universal roof rack. It mimics a roof rack system and is available for vehicles with either a round or oval crossbar. The Seah Universal Roof Rack features padded feet and heavy-duty steel crossbars that can support up to 150 pounds. Most car manufacturers' roof racks are designed to accommodate this rack system, so you may find it easier to install it.

Choosing a kayak rack for your car without rails requires a bit of research. The best way to narrow your choices is to consult the manufacturer's specifications. Most racks are compatible with many different types of vehicles. However, it's still important to check the weight capacity and width of the kayak rack before purchasing. For a wider kayak, you might want to opt for an inflatable kayak rack or a roof-mounted rack.

J-cradle kayak racks are another popular option. These racks can be installed on either side of the vehicle, giving you the most flexibility and space on the roof. But they add a bit of height to your car. If you want a more convenient way to mount kayak racks, look for the J-cradle. This type of rack is ideal if you plan on using more than one kayak.


If you've ever wanted to take your kayaking adventures to the next level, you may be wondering if you can put a kayak rack on any car. The answer is yes! With a few simple materials, you can easily and securely attach a kayak rack to almost any vehicle. This makes it easy to get your kayak to and from the water, without having to worry about renting a special kayak trailer or asking a friend for help. If you wanna save some extra bucks, maybe you can even try to make your own rack.

Common Questions

yellow kayak

How do you put a kayak rack on a car?

There are a few different ways that you can put a kayak rack on your car, and it really depends on what type of car you have and what type of rack you have. If you have a roof rack, you can simply strap the kayak onto the roof of your car. If you have a hitch rack, you can put the kayak onto the rack and then secure it with straps. There are also racks that go inside the car, and these are typically for smaller cars. To put a kayak rack inside the car, you would put the kayak onto the rack and then secure it with straps.

How do you put a kayak on a small car?

It's easy to put a kayak on a small car--just follow these four simple steps! First, open the hatch or trunk of your car and lay out a blanket or towel. This will help protect your car from scratches. Next, place the kayak upside down on the blanket or towel. Third, secure the kayak to your car with straps or rope. You can find specialized kayak racks for cars, but straps or rope will work just as well. Finally, close the hatch or trunk and you're ready to go!

Do you need a special roof rack for kayaks?

If you're an avid kayaker, you know the importance of having a good roof rack. But do you need a special roof rack for kayaks? The answer is yes and no. If you have a standard roof rack, you can use it to transport your kayak. However, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. First, make sure your roof rack is securely attached to your car. Second, consider investing in a kayak carrier. This will make loading and unloading your kayak a breeze.

Author - Fred Felton
Fred Felton          

Content Creator / Editor

Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the adventure watersports space, focussing on surf, kayak and rafting. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.

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