How to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack

A new reservoir, unknown depth! Clear blue sky above the head and just water below. You are floating on it—a thrilling adventure for you. However, your favorite kayak has made this adventure easier. It’s not a miraculous analogy; it’s a precious moment of kayaking.

A perfect kayak is needed for kayaking in rivers or lakes. But the hassle is due to the complexity of kayak transport. Don’t worry friend, “How to Tie Down a Kayak without a roof rack on your car” is the main topic of my discussion.

Not just you, but almost all kayak buyers think about this. Since a standard kayak is 9 feet to 14 feet and looks quite large, so it seems, the carriers are very troublesome. If you don’t have a roof rack in your car, this may come to mind. But you have to ignore everything and enjoy kayaking.

Best Way to Transport a Kayak Without a Roof Rack

Your car should have a roof rack. It can come in handy at any time. However, since your car does not currently have a roof rack, we can take alternative measures. We will carry kayaks without roof racks. That is also not a very difficult thing. We need to collect some equipment.

There are several ways we can tie a kayak to a destination without a roof rack. Today I am going to write details about safe and easy kayak transport. From my experience, I can say that if the kayak is tied correctly, the work will be completed without any damage. However, you also need to check whether your car looks soft or firm.

How to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack
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Tie Down a Kayak with Straps

If your car does not have a roof rack, this is the best way to carry a kayak. First, you will need 2 to 3 pole noodles depending on the width of the roof of your car. You can use a soft but thick towel as an alternative to pole noodles if you want. But whatever you use, make sure you know how much pressure it can take whether it can stain the roof of the car.

We need ratchet straps or soft rope to tie the kayak to the car. However, be careful when using ropes, stiff ropes can put stains. You have to take enough rope to stop the kayak with the rope.

How to Tie Down a Kayak Without a Roof Rack

Step 1: Take two pool noodles in hand and go to the car. Place two pool noodles on the roof of the vehicle. As I said before, you can spread a towel around it. That will protect both your car and the kayak from harmful scratches. As a result, there will be no spots on the roof.

Step 2: Place one pool noodles on the roof of the front seat, the other on the top of the rear seat. Arrange the two pool noodles parallel to the width of the roof. You can use another pool if you want, but there is no harm in not doing so.

On the other way, if you want to use a large towel, you can. Spread the towel on the roof of your car. Make sure that no part of the roof is exposed. Except for the front driving glass, hang down on all sides. This will require a large towel. Otherwise, it will not be possible to expand according to our needs.

Step 3: Go to the kayak you purchased. Then, lift the kayak carefully together. Before setting the kayak on pool noodles or towels, check again to see if they are in the right place and parallel! Now slowly bring the kayak in the middle of the roof of the car. Then set on top of the pool noodles.

Step 4: Since there is no rack on the roof of the car, the kayak has to open all the windows of the car to prevent it. Then there will be no problem in entering the rope. Now throw the ratchet strap over the kayak, just as the pool is along with the noodles.

Now take your other necessities inside the car. You get inside the car and close the windows and thread the straps. Then tie down the ratchet straps or ropes. Tie the kayak with the handles and other equipment needed for kayaking.

You’ve successfully tied the kayak to the roof of your car. Now you can depart for your destination. You see how easily two people can carry a kayak without a roof rack. Drive carefully.

There are Alternatives for You

You Can Purchase an Inflatable Kayak

If you feel the complexity of transporting this type of fixed size kayak, there is another way. You can buy an inflatable kayak. It is very easy to carry. Whether or not there is a roof on the roof of your car, it will have nothing to do with moving.

Inflatable kayaks are cheap and easily transportable. There are also many logical reasons to purchase it. Your fixed and hard shell kayaks need to be transported with the help of another person. It is very annoying when you are alone, or there is no one to help you at that time. It has no weight other than an extra pump. You can easily transport it alone.

When purchasing an inflatable kayak, you do not need to buy ropes, straps, roof racks, trailers, etc. You can easily take it by bus and train. Just check if you took the pump with the kayak before going on the trip. Now go to the water and inflate the kayak by pumping air. Now get down in the water and start kayaking.

No way! Use Trailer

The trailer is useful for you when you are thinking of kayak transport without a roof rack. The advantage of using it is – you can take it directly into the water. You can do it on your own without the hassle of lifting and lowering the kayak. Not only kayaks, but you can also transport other bulky items in this trailer. I like a feature of my trailer that I can load my kayak myself, without the help of any other person.

Standard trailers are usually more expensive. You have to tie it to your car to use it. It can be used in many ways. For example, it can be used in horse-drawn carriages. These are also available for rent around the kayak shop. If you do not want to buy, hire a trailer driver. He will take your kayak to your destination.

More kayaking tips you’ve been missing –

Where to Kayak in Texas?

How to Paddle a Kayak without Getting Wet

How to Outfit a Kayak for Fishing?


Hopefully, the tips have helped transport your kayak. Whether the car has a roof rack or not, you are free from stress. The fun of kayaking is more available in unfamiliar environments than familiar ones. So, get down to the world of kayaking adventure. Happy, kayaking.

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