Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

All,

 I have an 06 Mazda 6 hatch back and was wondering what the best roof rack would be for a Wood Duck 10 that doesn't cost more than the boat itself.  Thule and other big name companies for the full systems are in a price range that seem completely unreasonable.  Was just wondering if anyone had any experience with cheaper but quality setups.  Thanks for your suggestions!

 Respectfully,

Scott Carlson


15 replies:

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RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

How about this one:

 http://www.amazon.com/Malone-HandiRack-Inflatable-Universal-Luggage/dp/B001F5AHKC

Fits on any car and when not in use can be rolled up and put in the trunk.

Acts as an air cushion too, which is good for the boat.

 Alex

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Alan,

 Great suggestion!  I appreciate the prompt response and looks like a good alternative to a 500 peice of aluminum

 Scott Carlson

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

in portland, or we are seeing used rack companies emerging, "ReRack, and Rack Attack" for instance.  prices seem to run 1/3 to 1/2 of new.

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Hey Scott...   WEST MARINE has a GREAT set up.  Two close cell foam cradles, two side straps and two Fore & Aft straps, All for only  $39.00.  I have two kayaks and they work great.  I strongly suggest you check them out....    ~BRUCE~

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

clc also sells the foam block setup. 

http://www.clcboats.com/shop/products/boat-gear/malone-deluxe-kayak-carrier.html

 

 

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Racks to carry kayaks are kinda like helmets:  if you have a $50 head, wear a $50 helmet and hope you never really need it.  The ropes holding the bow and stern of the kayak(s) are VERY important.  If your car is shorter than your kayak, the system you use to keep the yak from scratching your car needs to be sturdy.  The foam blocks work at low speeds, but have been known to let go at higher speeds (I don't know if the causes were operator error or component failures).  Fortunately, CLC boats usually survive the landings.  One way to reduce the cost of $$$ racks is to make your own mounts that fit your kayak's bottom.  A little bit of ply, some 2x wood, glass, epoxy, paint/varnish, carpet & bolts.  Not too hard to figure out or to be creative. 

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

At the risk of being overbearing, I'll suggest another cost-cutting measure.  Build your own paddle.  Greenland paddles are easy to build and inexpensive.  There is a wealth of info on the web, including excellent greenland paddle making videos. 

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

I have a 09 honda fit hatchback with a Thule roof rack on it.  On it I have logged thousands of miles with my shearwater 16 and our strip built 16 footer, with no problems at all.  they thule racks are not cheap, but it works great,  I can haul plywood on it too.  I refer to my honda fit as my work truck.

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Thule racks arent cheap but considering Ive had mine for 13 years, I would say theyre a good investment.  Remember, only the rich can afford to buy twice.

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Respectfully,

while I get where you're coming from when you say only the rich can afford to buy twice, if its a matter of building a boat and using it, or building and boat and having a beautifully constructed peice of art to sit in my living room and watch TV in because I can't afford to buy a roof rack to get it to water, I'm forced to take the risk.  Money doesn't grow on trees, wood to fix boats does ;-)

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Hey Scott.   Bruce again.  I have "slightly" exceeded the speed l;imit several time while transporting my Wood Duck12 on foam blocks.  It is WELL secured and I havgfen't damaged my car or my kayak.  I'd rather spend rely in my knot tying abilities and be able to spend the "rack" money on part of my next build..  Tie it correctly and check it often and you will NOT have problems.  In over 50plus years if tying down all sorts of loads, I have NEVER lost or damaged a load...   ~BRUCE~

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Before I switched to a trailer...

I bought several inexpensive racks...Then I got a Thule.  My Thule lasted so long it froze to the car.  10+ years.  As mentioned above, great for lumber too.  If you buy a rack go with a good one.  $$$  I think I have some Thule bars for a small car if anyone is interested.

Next car I switched to foam blocks.  I was very happy with the foam.  Never had a highway problem.  But I used ropes with a truckers hitch knot instead of the straps.

I got the trailer when my pickup died. 

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

For what it's worth, I've used straps run in through the doors and foam cradles.  Makes headroom annoying, especially in small cars, but it's doable, even for long distances.  I carried 4 kayaks on a Hyundai Sonata this way for almost 600 miles round trip.  I've also bought Yakima racks for my Hondas (Civic, Accord, and Crosstour) because I wanted something a little more permanent solution.  I remove the racks when not in use, but they are more comfortable and stable than just straps wrapped around the roof.

Either way, I don't bother with cradles.  My boats, surfboards, construction supplies and everything else gets put directly on the bar with a pool noodle wrapped around the bar.  I've logged multiple trips up and down the east coast this way and probably 50000 miles total.  I have yet to have any dings, scratches or damage of any kind to any of my boats.  

Bow and Stern lines are an absolute must, though.  I have a coworker who did almost $4k in damage to his Exterra because he didn't have stem lines and the boat stood up and bent his roof while ripping the factory rack off the car and crushing his bumper.  He has a 13' plastic Sit on top.

Good luck with whatever choice you decide on.  I would check craigslist for roof racks.  You can always find used racks significantly cheaper than buying new.  Hell, I have most of a rack sitting in my garage right now not being used (for the old Accord).  One of these days I'll put it on craigslist for $30-50.  I sold the one for the civic for the same price.

RE: Best Roof Racks for a Small Car

Hi,

I have used foam blocks and straps (bow, stern, mid-ship) to carry a canoe on the highway and forest roads (potholes and washboard) without a problem. I have also used Yakima racks and been very happy. As folks have mentioned works great for lumber, ladders, etc. Buy used! I am getting a set of used Q towers for less than half price. Then I am going to go to a hardwars store and buy the approriately sized pipe instead of purchasing the Yakima bars. A quick look online at 1 inch X 6 feet black pipe...it sells for $20.

 

BV

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