Roof racks for carrying 1+ kayaks can get pretty expensive (at least $100) for a transporting a single kayak and even more additional kayaks. This Instructable will show you how to build and mount a PVC Kayak Roof Rack/Carrier to your vehicle that can carry one or two kayaks. The total cost of this in its most basic form is about $80 (as of 2013). As shown in the pictures it is about $100 (as of 2013).
DISCLAIMER: I take no credit for this design, this Kayak Roof Rack/Carrier is based on the work of Niel Santos. I am uploading this Instructable because it is an awesome design that should not be lost to the internet (I only by chance came across it myself). The original plans for this Kayak Roof Rack/Carrier used to be available on Neil's website, however the site has since been taken down. If you need the original plans, I have made a PDF of them available for download at the following link: Original PVC Kayak Rack Plans - Google Drive.
WARNING! BUILD AND USE AT YOUR OWN RISK! Built properly you will have a great piece of equipment. Built improperly, this Kayak Roof Rack/Carrier could damage your vehicle, your kayaks or create a driving hazard for you and other drivers. Be safe, if not for yourself, do it for those around you.
This Instructable assumes you already have a roof rack on your vehicle with two cross bars. If you do not have any type of roof rack, please see the original design on Neil's website for how to build and mount directly to a car roof.
We will be making a slightly modified version of Neil's original design and mounting it to a 2001 Nissan Xterra.
During this Instructable, you may be using power tools and working with PVC primer and cement. Read all instructions with the equipment/materials and always use PPE (personal protective equipment). Don't chance losing a finger, or an eye, or passing out from noxious fumes. If you don't know how to do something or use a piece of equipment, please ask somebody that knows or look it up on YouTube before going at it on your own.
You will need the following materials, all PVC piping is 1.5 inch diameter and everything can be bought at a hardware store like Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware and so on.
- 2x 90 degree "street" elbows (or substitute for 45 degree street elbows, either will work). Street elbows have one male and one female end as opposed to regular elbows that have two female ends.
- 10x 90 degree elbows.
- 12x T-Junctions.
- 4x 45 degree elbows.
- 4x Caps.
- Minimum 20 feet of 1.5 inch PVC pipe. You may need more depending on your vehicle.
- PVC Primer and Cement (I found a double pack that had both together).
- 4x 3/8 inch by 4 inch long bolts with hex nuts. Depending on how thick your PVC is, the bolt length may need to be shorter or longer.
- 4x 8 foot, 200 pound rated lashing straps (not to be confused with Ratchet Tie-Downs) or U-Bolts.
- 2x 24 inch bike tire inner tubes (found at any major retailer).
OTHER MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- PPE (personal protective equipment like goggles and gloves).
- Compound miter saw (or hack saw, or PVC pipe cutter of appropriate size).
- Drill and drill bits.
- Large tarp or towel you do not mind getting stained/ruined.
- Kitchen gloves (the traditional yellow ones) or other flexible gloves (Latex, Nitrile…)
- Large, flat surface to work on in a well ventilated area (preferably outside).