Introduction: Car Top - 2 Kayak Rack (roof Rack Cars Only) About 30 Bucks...

If you have kayaks and a car with roof racks, here's a simple and economical solution to get your yaks to the water and back without having to spend big bucks on a rack from Thule' ...

I have just finished an RV trip of 4,000 miles where I towed my Jeep with my two kayaks strapped to this rack and sometimes drove the Jeep at 60+ MPH with the "yaks" strapped on too...

Bill of Materials includes;
3   - 1X6X8' Pine board
2   - 1X3X8' Pine board
2   - Extra thick "pool noodles" (color of your choise)
2   -10 foot tie down straps (with ratchets and "S" hooks)
30 - 2-1/2" Stainless Steel Deck Screws
1   - Can of Black "outdoor" spray paint.
 
 

Step 1: Cutting

Cut two of the 1X6s and both of the 1X3s to 60 inches in length.
Cut the remainder of the 1X3 into 3 inch long pieces (you'll need four of them) for cleats. 

(Kayaks are about 30 inches wide) and this rack will let you mount two, side by side, right side up or upside down...

Once the 1X6 are cut to length, mark and cut two 24 inch radius curves in in each one keeping at least three inches of material at the thinest point of the curve.

The remaining 1X6 will be cut to lenght after the supports are assembled and the length with be determined by the length of your roof racks. (See the Assemply step...)

Cut each pool noodle in half.

Continue reading this ONLY after you have have completed the "Fitting" step...

Now the you have your kayak support racks in place, you have your measurment to cut the center board (the remaining 1X6).

Cut it to the length needed for your roof racks and bore two holes in this board near the ends and near the middle of the width of board.
(The holes are to pass the straps and hooks through to tie down each kayak.)

Step 2: Assembly

Attach a 1X3 to a 1X6 that has the arches cut into it.

To attach;
Pre-drill eight holes for the screws in the 1X3 first and drill them in the centerline of the board lengthwise and space them equally.

After the holes are pre-drilled, place the 1X6 over the first and last hole and set a temporary screw in each hole at the ends.
DO NOT SET THESE SCREWS ALL THE WAY IN... (this will split the 1X6.)
Now pre drill and set the remaining screws through the 1X3. Remove the first two end screws and drill the 1X6 to the full depth of the screws and set these also.
NOTE: you can ad a bead of wood glue but the extra strength is not secessary...

Slide the sliced noodles and place over the arch cutouts

The remainder of assembly requires placing the kayak rack on the car's roof racks for proper fitting. (See next step)

Continue reading this ONLY after you have have completed the "Fitting" step...

Pre-drill screw holes for the cleats based on the marks from the roof rack locations you measured... and fasten the 3 inch cleats to the underside of the 1X3... Remember to pre-drill the cleats too, or they will split! Use two screws in each.

FInd the center of the width of board with the arches cut out and pre-drill four screw holes for the center board.
Place one screw into the center board and pre-drill the remaning three holes into the end of the centerboard, insert screws and tighten, remove the pilot screw, pre-drill and insert these screw at each end.

You now have an "H" shaped assembly with two pairs of feet on the bottom.

Step 3: Fitting

This step must be done on the car and requires you to go back to the assembly and cutting steps to complete this project...

Using both 1X3 -1x6 boards, place each board on your roof rack and center them. (they will overhang to roof rack a little...)
Place the front one as far foward as you can without going passed the roof rack mount on the car.
Place the rear one as far back as you can without going passed the roof rack mount on the car.
(The roof rack mounts will keep everything from shifting forward or back.)

Take a marker and mark the outside of the car's roof rack at the underside of the 1X3 on each side of the car, front and rear.
Do this for both assemblies... The front of your roof rack will be more narrow than the back. (maybe... it was for me...)
Now go back to the "Assembly" step, the outside of this line is where you will mount the cleats to keep the rack from sliding from side to side...

For the length of the center board...
With the kayak racks in place, measure from the back of the front 1X6 board to the front of the back 1X6 board.
(This will be the length of your center board.) You will cut and attach to make the length of your kayak rack.
(See the "Cutting" and "assembly" steps.)

Step 4: Finishing

Once you have your rack assembled and everything is tight.
Paint everything (except the noodles) with outdoor paint...
(I used black, but Rustoleum comes in so many colors now... just pick a favorite and paint with it!)

Once the paint has dried, make a split the noodles, lengthwise, and slide onto the arch cutouts.

Place the rack on your roof racks...

Slip a hook from each tiedown through the hole in the center board and put your kayaks on the noodles...

Pull the straps over the Kayaks and loop the hook around the roof rack on one side, then hook the hook onto the strap... (I like to put the hook under the roof rack first...)

On the other side, pull the strap over the other kayak and loop that hook around your roof rack, (underside first...) and hook it onto the strap, pull out the slack and tighten the ratchets! (Then do this for the rear strap too...)

If all goes well, you're off to your favorite stream or pond with your yaks secured to your roof and, if you're in Pennsylvania...  you still have a little money left to pay for your water launch permit fee... LOL!!!

This is pretty easy project if you have a few basic tools.
Once it is finished and on your car, it makes for a really easy and safe way to load, unload and transport your kayaks or small canoe... After a day of paddeling I slide my kayaks up the back of the rack and into place...

So, good Luck and don't forget to give your friend a good paddeling!

Bob

Comments

author
spud6831 made it! (author)2015-08-16

A couple of pics. I chose cedar for the wood and the paint I had just sitting around.

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author
spud6831 (author)2015-08-16

Thank you. The rack I built is very much like yours and based on your idea. My wife and I have 2 small kayaks. Like you, I have driven at highway speeds and have had no issues with the kayaks moving around on the rack. Thanks again for this great instructable.

author
andre.caraco made it! (author)2015-02-12

Great idea! I was looking to carry two kayaks on my car as well, but PVC has proven to be super expensive here in New Zealand! I used your design for the most part, but didn't need to use any side sled bits on the bottom since I U-bolted the wood frame direct to my roof rails.

I also used a foam bedroll since I couldn't find any cheap pool noodles, nice dense foam. Thanks for the instructable, inspired me to make it too!

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.56.29 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.56.42 PM.png
author
paulrh1 (author)2014-04-26

Great concept and perfect for my needs (old car that I will replace in a year or so didn't want to spend too much). I had to change it a little as my rook rack went across the car not down the length however I use the U bolts the attach the frame to the rack with one hole through the frame and the other arm of the U bolt under the frame. This also kept it off the roof of the car (I was going to put pool noodles underneath if this didn't work). Thanks for this project, great solution.

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