Introduction: Car-Top Kayak Rack for Around Ten Bucks
This instructable will show you how to make a car-top rack for hauling your kayak for about ten dollars.
Step 1: Get Some Pool Noodles.
I bought two pool noodles from the dollar store. Then I used a sharp knife to cut them to that each piece was approximately as long as the width of my car's roof.
Step 2: Put the Noodles on the Roof.
Now just put the noodles on top of your car's roof. They're not attached to anything, so try to do this out of the wind.
Step 3: Lift Your Kayak Onto the Roof.
Lift your kayak and position it on top of the pool noodles. If they slide around, it's pretty easy to lift one end of the kayak and reposition the noodles where you want them. With three noodles, you obviously want to put one toward the front, one in the middle, and one toward the back of your car. Make sure the kayak is balanced well so it doesn't start sliding off of the car roof before you have a chance to strap it down.
Step 4: Strap It Down.
I bought two straps. One came from the dollar store and is just a piece of nylon webbing with a buckle at one end. You simply slide one end of the strap through the buckle and it is held in place by friction. It's very easy to use, but I'm not sure I would trust it to hold very tightly if put under a lot of stress.
The other strap is the ratchet type where you feed one end into a slot in the ratchet gear arrangement, then crank up the ratchet. This is a pretty sturdy item that cost about five dollars at the local home improvement store. When you ratchet it down, you can feel pretty sure that it's going to stay ratcheted until you push the buttons to loosen it.
To stap the kayak to the roof, open both passenger doors. Put the business ends of the straps on the passenger seat behind the driver's seat. Throw one end of the straps over the roof, go around and toss that end through the passenger door. Then attach the strap to the buckle or ratchet and tighten until the straps are good and taut. Not too much or you'll dent the roof.
Step 5: Bungee Cords at Front.
The bungee cord is not there to hold the kayak in place, just to make sure it stays pointed in the right direction. I could probably skip this step, but I like to keep an eye on the kayak while I'm driving and this makes it easy to do so.
Step 6: Bungee on the Back As Well.
Just to be safe, I put a bungee cord on the rear of the kayak as well. It's easy to hook it from the bottom of the car's frame to a handle on the kayak.
Step 7: That's It...You're Ready to Roll.
I've been using this system for the past year and have transported my kayak at freeway speeds of 70+ mph with no problems. I do tend to reach back and check the tightness of the nearest strap every couple of minutes. The only thing you have to get used to is that sometimes, depending on your driving speed and the speed and direction of the wind, your kayak will "sing" as the straps and other parts vibrate. It's actually somewhat soothing in a zen kind of way.