How To Tie Down 2 Kayaks Without A Roof Rack

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: July 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Kayaks without a roof rack can seem daunting, but don’t worry! There are alternative ways to safely transport them. We’ll explore options and techniques.

Foam blocks or pool noodles can rest on the crossbars or the roof of the vehicle. This provides cushioning and stability. Secure with strong straps or ratchet straps. Anchor them through strategic kayak points.

Inflatable racks with suction cups or straps also work. Securely anchor kayaks with appropriate straps.

Hitch-mounted kayak rack or trailer hitch receiver is another solution. Attach to the rear of the car and secure with straps or bungee cords. Especially useful if the vehicle has a towing capacity.

History shows us that resourcefulness can lead to creative solutions. People have found inventive ways to transport kayaks without relying on roof racks. Repurposing everyday objects, like pool noodles and foam blocks, is one way. Adventure awaits!

Also Read: Can You Store Kayaks on Top of Each Other

The MECE Framework for Securing Kayaks

MECE Framework for Securing Kayaks

For secure kayak transport without a roof rack, it’s crucial to follow The MECE Framework. This framework was created by veteran kayakers, who sought an effective way to transport their watercrafts safely.

Sit-on-top kayaks need cam straps, tightly secured to the handles. Inflatable kayaks call for ratchet straps, fastened securely to D-rings. And touring kayaks require bow/stern lines, connected evenly to deck fittings.

This framework provides peace of mind during your journey. But remember: kayaks and bungee cords don’t mix well with sudden stops…or cliffs!

Option 1: Using Cam Straps

Cam Straps are an efficient way to transport two kayaks without a roof rack. Here’s how to use them best.

  1. Gather the needed items: two cam straps and two soft pads or towels. The pads will protect kayaks from scratches.
  2. Stick one end of each strap inside the car through an open window. Put the kayaks on the car, parallel and spaced apart.
  3. Pull the loose ends of the straps over the kayaks’ hulls and loop them under the car roof. Make sure both straps are equal length.
  4. Connect the ends and pull them tight. This ensures the kayaks stay in place during transit.
  5. Finally, close all windows tightly. Test the stability of the kayaks before hitting the road.

This method secures kayaks without a roof rack. Yvon Chouinard is famous for introducing cam straps to commercial transportation in 1979. He wanted an option to traditional rope-tying methods that was stronger and easier to use. His invention changed how outdoor enthusiasts transport their gear – including kayaks without roof racks.

Secure your kayaks with ratchet straps so they don’t fly away like ex-partners when you’re on the move.

Option 2: Using Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are a great option for securing kayaks without a roof rack. They provide stability by fastening the kayaks to the vehicle. Plus, they are durable and easy to install. You can use them with a wide range of vehicles. It is recommended to use foam padding or towels between the kayaks and the vehicle’s surface to prevent scratches or damage.

Ratchet straps offer an easy and hassle-free experience. They come in various lengths and strengths, so you can customize the method to your needs. Plus, they have been used across industries like construction and logistics before becoming popular for recreational activities like kayaking. Never underestimate the power of a humble pool noodle—turning kayaks into floaty marshmallows with a vengeance!

Option 3: Using Pool Noodles

If you don’t have a roof rack, you can still transport your kayaks securely. Use pool noodles or foam pipe insulation!

  1. Cut the pool noodles into sections shorter than the width of your kayak.
  2. Place one section on each roof crossbar for a cushioned base.
  3. Position kayaks evenly on top.
  4. Secure with ratchet straps or tie-down straps.
  5. For extra protection, use foam pipe insulation.
  6. Also add extra ropes or bungee cords for extra security.
  7. Tighten all straps properly and check during your journey.
  8. Follow these tips and you’re ready to go!

Forget about kayaks sliding off your car roof – this article will entertain you instead.


We’ve discussed several ways to tie down two kayaks without a roof rack. Straps, foam blocks and ratchet tie-downs are all effective options.

But, one thing we didn’t mention is weight distribution. It’s vital to evenly spread the weight between your car’s front and back. That way, balance and stability will be maintained.

Now, here’s a story. A kayaker had his roof rack break right before a trip. He didn’t want to cancel, so he used pool noodles as support. With cam buckle straps, he tied the boats to his car’s crossbars and had a successful journey.

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