How to Transport Kayak without Roof Rack? [2 Easy Steps]

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: July 25, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Everybody wants to load their kayaks in their vehicle to ensure it stays secure, but most people face challenges in transporting their kayaks safely in their car. The easy way to transport a kayak is using the roof rack, but if the roof rack is not available it can be terrifying. But still, there are some alternative ways by which you can transport the kayak. 

But if you use any of these methods to transport your kayak, it would be very important for you to imply these methods correctly or take help if you need it. Because they can cause serious damage if not implied correctly. We have explained how to transport kayak without roof rack. Let’s have a look at it!

How to Transport Kayak without Roof Rack?

There are many ways to transport your kayak safely, the simplest way to transport your kayak is by carrying it. This method requires only 2 persons, each person should lift the kayak by grabbing the handles on each side or simply on their shoulders. 

But if you want to go far and can’t carry the kayak, then simply tie the kayak to your vehicle using a roof rack. If the roof rack is also not available then follow the given methods:

Method 1: Pool Noodles Solution

The Pool Noodles Solution is the most effective and cheapest solution to transport your kayak without a roof rack. This process has been explained in easy steps below:

Step 1: Preparing the Materials

In the first step, you simply need to gather all the materials that will be used in this solution to prepare pool noodles and ratchet straps. The supplies you need to collect are 2 sets of ratchet straps, at least 2 pool noodles, and the tie-down straps. 

While gathering all these materials you also need to keep in mind the weight of the kayak and the size of the car. It is because how secure you want your kayak to depend on these factors. 

If your car size is large and the kayak is heavy then you would require thick and good-quality pool noodles that can handle the pressure. Otherwise, pool noodles will not be able to carry your kayak and your kayak will squish the noodles down and can also scratch your car.

Step 2: Arranging Pool Noodles in the Car

Next, arrange the pool noodles on your car roof, arrange the pool noodle in such a way that they are real roof racks. Place one pool noodle in the front and one in the rear of the car. For holding a kayak 2 pool noodles are of perfect amount, but if you think you need more support for the kayak you can use more amount of pool noodles. 

While arranging the pool noodles it is very important to make sure the pool noodles are apart enough just like the real roof racks, it is essential for balance. If you are unable to find pool noodles of a suitable size for your car, just buy pool noodles longer or wider than your car and adjust them by cutting them.

Step 3: Lift the Kayak on the Noodles

After settling the pool noodles correctly on your car roof you need to lift your kayak and place it over your car’s roof. You can lift a kayak by yourself but it will be better if you take some help from your partner. It is because two people can easily lift and place the kayak correctly on top of the noodles. 

Placing the kayak upside down on the noodles would be more stable for the kayak. After placing the kayak on the noodles, adjust the pool noodles and make sure they are strong enough to carry your kayak stably.

Step 4: Secure kayak with Straps

Once you have placed the kayak correctly onto the noodles, use the ratchet straps to tie the kayak correctly with the noodles. These ratchet straps protect your kayak during transport from falling. Make sure the straps are strong enough to hold the kayak all the way to your destination.

Step 5: Tie the Bow and Stern

If you are transporting your kayak without using a roof rack, then it is very important to tie down the bow and stern of the kayak. The process of tying down the bow and stern of your kayak can be carried out by using a variety of tie-down straps. 

First, use the straps to thread through the back and front carry handles or the toggles. And then make sure you have secured each tie-down spot underneath your vehicle by using a hook.

You can easily attach the straps underneath the front of your car, where the vehicle has built-in tow points or the towing eyes. These towing eyes are specially designed for towing your car, so this spot will be perfect for towing the front straps.

Method 2: Pickup Truck

Another method to transport your kayak safely to some location is to use a pickup truck, this method is the easiest and most effective one. It requires you to load the kayak correctly into the truck bed and secure it. As we know that most of the kayaks are over 9 feet long but the truck beds are almost 8 feet long, so while transporting the kayak you may feel a little overhang.

Pickup Truck to Transport Kayak without Roof Rack

Before loading the kayak into the truck make sure the truck bed is clean of any debris because a dirty truck can damage your kayak. It will be best if you use some towels or blankets in the truck bed before loading the kayak. Follow the given steps to secure your kayak onto the bed of the truck bed.

Step 1: Cleaning the Truck

First, clean the truck bed correctly or simply place towels or blankets in the truck bed.

Step 2: Loading the Kayak

Then slowly slide the kayak into the truck bed. If there is some space available for the tailgate to close then shut it, it will secure your kayak more.

Step 3: Closing Tailgate and Using Tie-Downs

Even if the tailgate has some space and it closes away we cannot rely on it, so you should also use tie-downs to make sure your kayak is safe. But if there is no space for the tailgate to be closed then leave it open and use more tie-downs tightly.

Step 4: Use Tie Downs Correctly

While using the tie-downs to secure the kayak make sure you correctly in a way that they prevent the kayak from slipping off the truck.

Step 5: Use Red Flags

If you use this method to transport your kayak, it is very essential to put a red flag over the end of your kayak. While transporting you should also check the security of the kayak routinely.

Important Tips to Transport Kayak without Roof Rack

These are some additional tips that you should keep in mind while transporting your kayak without using a roof rack.

  • Before buying and loading the kayak onto your car make sure to consult the weight of the kayak and the carrying weight capacity of the roof of your car.
  • While settling the kayak on the roof of your car make sure you do not tighten the kayak using straps too much because it can damage your car or your kayak
  • If you are using the pool noodles method for transporting your kayak in a car with a sunroof. Make sure you put some extra pool noodles over the sunroof as they are vulnerable and require special care.
  • While transporting the kayak over your car you will need to drive slowly, apply brakes gently, and even you should check the kayak’s condition after 1-5 miles on the road.
  • After some distance always inspects your kayak to make sure it is stable or is it having any problem with the wind.
  • You will need some extra care if you are using the pool noodles method or any other method for the first time. 


Can I use a Carrying Bag to Transport a Kayak?

Yes, you can use a carrying bag to transport a kayak if you have a foldable kayak.

Is it necessary to have a Roof Rack to Transport a Kayak?

No, a roof rack is not always necessary. You can also go for other solutions such as getting a pickup truck or taking the help with pool noodles.

How can I secure my Kayak if there is no Roof Rack?

You can use long and strong straps for securing your kayak on your vehicle’s roof if there is no roof rack.

Is it good to not have a Roof Rack if to transport the Kayak far away?

We do not suggest you tie your kayak with your vehicle’s roof without the support of a roof rack because it may get loosened or lose balance. 

Which is the Best Method to Transport a Kayak without a Roof Rack?

The pool noodles method is considered the best method for transporting a kayak without a roof rack.


In conclusion, everything is possible if we are willing to do it. It is not an issue if you do not have a kayak roof rack, you can still transport your kayak from one place to another. You just have knowledge about the right methods to use for this purpose which we have provided you in this guide. Get help from them and try them out!

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