How to Tie Down and Transport a Kayak without a Roof Rack

This post will guide you on how to transport your kayak without using a roof rack. There was a time I bought a fishing kayak and was very happy to take it on a spin. Then I discovered that I had to install a roof rack to be able to transport it to the nearest lake, and I wasn’t ready for that, so it became a problem.

After racking my brain for hours, I came up with this user-friendly technique. This guide will show you the easy steps to tie down your kayak and transport it without a roof rack.

How to Tie Down a Kayak Without a Roof Rack

You will need the following items before you can proceed:

  1. Pool Noodles
  2. Tie-down Strap
  3. Ratchet Strap

Pool Noodles

These are flexible polyurethane tubes with a single hole in the middle. In case you want to buy them, they are available in supermarkets. Make sure your pool noodles are thick, heavy and wide enough to cover the size of your vehicle’s roof.

Ratchet strap

They are equipped with adjustable buckles that allow you to hold your kayak in place. Ratchet straps are made of hard nylon. You will need at least two of them to tighten your kayak. You can also buy them at any auto store.

Transporting Your Kayak Without a Roof Rack

Follow the steps below to learn how to transport your kayak without a roof rack.

Step 1: Setting up the pool noodle rack

It’s time to get your big pool noodles out. Place them about 24 inches apart from each other. One should be in the front, one in the middle and one in the back of the roof. These 3 noodles should be enough, but you can use more if you are not satisfied.

Cut the noodles with a chisel to line up with the width of your car. Now thread the ratchet strap through the holes in the noodles. You will need to secure the pool noodles to the inside of your car. Be careful not to run the noodles inside the car through the windows, as the doors will not open.

Step 2: Put the kayak on the car

 If you can lift the kayak by yourself, go ahead and put it on your car. But if it’s too heavy for you, get help. As you lift the kayak, turn it over so that the hull is facing the sky. Place the kayak on the vehicle’s pool noodles. Then adjust the pool noodles to hold the kayak in place.

Step 3: Secure it with ratchet straps

Now that the kayak is in place, put a ratchet strap on the kayak’s hull. Hook the ends of the strap together to hold the kayak in place. Do not over tighten the straps so as not to damage the roof of your car or the kayak hull. Repeat for the other end of the kayak. Make some necessary adjustments to ensure that the straps are securely in place.

Step 4: Tie down the bow and stern

Don’t forget to tie down the bow and stern of the kayak, as you will be moving it without a rack. You will pass the tie-down strap through the handle of the kayak and attach it to the tow rings under the hood. Do the same to secure the kayak to the back. This will keep your kayak in place while you are driving.