How To Build Your Own Kayak Roof Rack

Do you want to know how to build your own kayak roof rack? Transporting a kayak over a set of regular car racks can be dangerous, if not uncomfortable, as the kayak has a rounded shape that does not get along with the flat profile of a rack. That is why there´s a variety of commercial racks dedicated to transporting kayaks. But why buying one when you can make it?

To build your own kayak roof rack you will need:

  • A set of regular car racks.
  • A drill.
  • Four bolts with their screw nuts and a matching metal drill bit.  Recommended size is 3 in. long by 1/3". Also, locking nuts are preferable.
  • Two aluminum bars, suggested measures are 2 " wide, 1/5 " thick and long enough to go all around your kayak plus 3 ".
  • A set of bungee cords.

To build your own kayak roof rack, you have to:

  1. Measure the circumference of your kayak in the two points where it will be held by the rack, to determine the length of aluminum needed.
  2. Bend both aluminum bars around the kayak in the position you want it to be over the rack. Some of the commercial designs place kayaks at an angle between 40 and 50 degrees, but you can choose to put it in any angle.
  3. Make sure that the extra aluminum length faces the rack. Make that section flat, as to have the most length in contact with the rack.
  4. Take the bars out of the kayak, and place them one by one on the racks.
  5. Mark the spots where the aluminum bar´s flat side meets the rack, and drill a pair of holes through both sides of the rack and the bar.
  6. Place a bolt in each of the holes. Tighten them with a self locking nut. Use of washers is recommended for safety.
  7. With both kayak racks on, try putting the kayak on. If it´s too tight, then slide the racks apart and then put the kayak in. For this maneuver, you can count on the aluminum´s flexibility, but remember that the material also fatigues and eventually cracks.
  8. Tighten the kayak to the racks with the bungee cords.

Remember to check the correct fitting of your equipment before getting on the road. Everything is more difficult roadside than at home.