Guide to Transporting Kayak Using a Car

Who would not fall in love with a kayak? Many people find themselves in this situation. There is something about feeling the sun on your skin, being so close to the water and paddling on your adventures in unfamiliar areas.

Does that interest you? Now, your search for the kayak for you. You did your assignment and found the one to take home and realize how you get it to your home? So, you call a friend with a pickup truck to have your kayak back.

You start to Google and think of buying the right accessories to strap your kayak properly not to blow it in your car.

Just like you, these were my worries too. I need to learn a lot before I get some clues to transport the kayaks I purchased.

In this post, I will guide you on how you can transport your kayak carrier without a roof rack.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • Pool Noodles
  • Ratchet Straps

Note: Be careful about doing the whole process. There are chances you might damage your car paint if you’re not careful.

1) Put the Noodles on Your Car

Make sure you get the heavy-duty noodles. Once you got them, place them across your car’s roof. You should put each on near the front, in the middle, and near the back. You can use extra padding, but three is already enough.

You might notice that the noodles are longer than your car’s width. If this happens, cut them to its size.  For more security, you can thread a strap through each noodle and secure them inside your car.

2)  Lift Your Kayak to Your Car

Doing this would be easier with the help of another person. Through this, one of you can grab the bow of the kayak while the other can grab the stern to lift it. It’s better if your kayak is facing the right way up with the hull on the noodles.

You might find a more curved hull convenient. Just make sure you place it upside down on the roof of your car to make it more stable.

Once your kayak is on the top of the noodles, you can lift any part of it to readjust the noodles and parallel them with each other. The kayak should be positioned perpendicular to the noodles. This is to ensure that the stern or bow is facing the direction your car will be going.

 3) Secure Kayak with Straps

You should own two sets of either spring-loaded straps or a ratchet. Then, the front and back doors of your car should be open. Put the strap over the body to secure the center portion of your kayak. Get the two strap ends and have them meet inside your car through the front doors.

Time to Strap!

Twist and tighten them so that it’s a snug fit. Remember to keep the buckle on the outside near your kayak so that it’s easy to tighten. The twisted straps will lessen the loud noise created from the wind while you’re driving.

You should repeat this with the second strap being secured through your car’s back doors. Don’t tighten the straps too much as it can damage your kayak’s hull or your car’s roof. If you’re traveling to cooler temperatures, note that straps are easy to loosen up.

4) Tie-Down The Bow And Stern

For extra security and safety, it’s a good idea to tie down the bow and stern of your kayak when you’re on the road.  You can do this with ratchet or spring-loaded straps. It’s the same as those you’ve just secured your yak with.

Thread those straps through the front and back toggles or carry handles. Then, with the use of a carabiner or a hook, secure each one with this to a tie-down spot underneath your car. This can also work well if you have a tow bar on the back as a place to secure your strap.

You should have built-in tow points underneath the front of your car. These will work well in attaching the front straps.


I hope that at the end of this post, you realize that you don’t have to spend a fortune to transport your kayak wherever you need to go. Remember that safety is important. So, make sure your kayak is safe and secure at the top of your car before you travel.

Did you find this inexpensive alternative to a roof rack helpful to you? I hope you try this next time you find yourself transporting a kayak using your car.

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