Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

Does anybody have any experience with soft rack kayak carriers for your car? I only have to drive about 10 miles to get to the Pacific Ocean, but part of the drive is on the freeway at 65 mph. The price of these racks is attractive, but not if the kayak blows off the car!



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RE: Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

As with ANY rack that you use, tie the bow and stern off well and you should be fine.  Lines on the bow & stern keep it from moving in that direction, and most racks keep it from moving sideways and from rubbing the paint off your car.  Even the higher end racks you can buy only allow the ease of loading and unloading.  I wish I had a dollar for every yak I have seen come in because the whole rack system came off,  And not one of them was using bow lines.


RE: Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

If you are refering to the foam hourglass shaped pads that fit over the rails of a rack, they work well.  I have used them on long freeway trips and had good results.  As mentioned above, using bow and stern ties in addition to straps on the racks is important.  I have not used the pads that are supposed to sit directly on the roof of a car since I do not know how you would secure the boat against lateral movement.  Kayaks and other small boats can create a LOT of wind resistance and force, especially in a cross wind.

RE: Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

I have used the foam pads that go just directly on the roof and ones that slip over my factory rails.  If I had a choice, the ones that go over the rails have proved to be more secure than just on the roof.  And as previously mentioned, no matter what type of rack you use, I would always ALWAYS use bow and stern tie downs.

The time I used the pads just on the roof, the kayak did slip once.  We were driving at highway speeds with about 40 mph cross winds...I would have been doing a lot of correcting without the kayak on top of the car. (Honda Civic for reference...boat is an 18' Cape Charles).  I caught the movement of the boat right away and stopped before the boat fell off.  I just had to run back for the pad that had slipped out and retie everything. (a little tighter this time) As steele mentioned, it's the lateral movement that is hard to control when using them directly on the roof.  Going through the windows did a decent enough job for that trip (about 200 miles), but if you have a factory rack use those.  Or even if you have rails that run the length of the roof (front to back) it will work better for tie down than going through the windows.  The bow and stern lines are what kept the boat on the roof by the way.  I think there was one small scratch in the roof paint from when the pad slipped out.  I was taking my brother's boat to my place the do a restoration.

Enjoy the water! JerryS

RE: Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

Mark - if you are referring to the de Luxe Kayak Carrier (by Malone) advertised here on the CLC website at $39.95 + mail, it is indeed an attactive option, especially for short trips.   My intended trips to the water were very short indeed, only 5ks (say 3 miles) each way.   I ordered a set of the Malone carriers and was quite impressed with the total package.   The craft is strapped down onto the shaped hard-ish foam blocks, which are then individually secured to the car roof through longer straps that pass through the windows and are secured inside the vehicle.   Finally, a tie-down for both bow and stern was included.   All straps were wide nylon webbing with cam-lock buckles, and quality appeared good and robust.   All - as I say - for $39.95 +.

Sadly, the good news ends there, because it just didn't work with my combination of kayak (Chesapeake 17) and car (Honda Civic).   The reason - being a small car with pretty short wheelbase, the roofline - viewed from side-on - has a fairly pronounced upward curve, on which the bottom of the kayak would have rubbed (and dented)!   Not a good thing.   But with a vehicle having a flatter roofline, I am sure the principle is excellent.  

I had then to spend $548 for a proper Honda rack with kayak carriers - very nice, but very costly...!

So just check before you buy... good luck!


RE: Soft Rack Kayak Carrier

Among other options I have the deluxe kayak foam carrier. I used them on my last trip, about 3 1/2 hr each way, mostly freeway or highway. I was using them with my old van that has a factory roof rack. I have attached them to the cross-bars before but this time I just put them on the roof adjacent to the cross bars. When I strapped the yak down I strapped it to the factory bars + bow & stern lines.

 It worked fine, however, on the way home it did get crooked after a few hours and I stopped once to straighten the kayak/foam out.

 On my little car I bought a used Thule rack/bars. I then used zip ties to attach foam - pipe insulation. I then attach my yak to the bars.

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