How to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 27, 2022

February 27, 2022

Kayaking is a fun activity that many people enjoy. It’s also beneficial for physical health and peace of mind. You want to borrow your friend’s kayak for a day on the water, or maybe you own a kayak and wish to head out of town for a weekend paddling trip and don’t have a rooftop rack for your vehicle.

Since kayaks can be expensive, it’s important to keep them safe while on the road. If you don’t have a roof rack for your car, there are some clever ways to tie-down kayaks using ropes which is pretty common practice, but you can do better than that. In this article, we’ll provide a simple, cheap, and effective way to tie down a kayak without any racks.

Simple Answer:

You can use a few ratchet straps to secure your kayak horizontally across the back of your vehicle. Make sure to wrap the straps around the boat several times, and then tighten them down so that they’re snug. You may also want to use some foam blocks or pool noodles to prevent any damage to your car’s paint job.

Descriptive Answer:

It’s important to follow the right method to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack because if not done properly, it can damage your kayak, the roof of your car, or even some other person or a vehicle passing by your vehicle. Also, be sure to cross-check the weight limit of your vehicle with the kayak before you begin. Never exceed either limit, as this could result in damage to your vehicle or kayak. You always should make sure everything is safe and secure as you are working on a conclusive project. So to make it simple, here are some tips on how to properly secure your kayak.

Simple Things Need:

01. Pool Noodles:

Pool noodles are an excellent way to transport a kayak without a roof rack. They can be inserted into the spaces between the kayak and the vehicle, and they will secure the kayak in place. Additionally, pool noodles can provide some insulation against bumps and shocks. And finally, they are also cheap and easy to replace if they become damaged during transport. So overall, using pool noodles is a great way to safely transport a kayak without spending money on a roof rack system.

02. Foam Blocks:

The task of Foam Blocks when transporting a kayak without a roof rack is to provide a soft and secure surface on which the kayak can rest. By cradling the kayak and cushioning it from direct contact with the vehicle, Foam Blocks help protect both the boat and vehicle from potential damage during transport.

03. Cam Straps with Buckle:

Cam straps with buckles are the perfect tool to fix the pool noodles or foam block on top of the vehicle. So, using the cam straps, you can easily secure the kayak protectors in place.

04. Ratchet Straps with Buckle:

Ratchet straps play an important role in securing a kayak to a roof rack. They keep the kayak from bouncing around as you drive, which could cause damage to both the kayak and the vehicle. Ratchet straps are made up of two loops of fabric (usually nylon or polyester) that are threaded through each other. One loop is attached to the object being transported (in this case, the kayak), while the other is attached to the transportation device (in this case, the roof rack). When tightened, the ratchet strap forms a loop around the object being transported. This loop is then secured with a ratchet, which prevents it from loosening over time.

05. Ropes:

Ropes can be useful for tying a kayak to a vehicle for transport. Make sure to use sturdy ropes and knots, and be sure to tie the kayak securely in order to avoid any accidents or damage.


01. Arrange the Vehicle Top:

The best way to arrange the top of your vehicle using pool noodles and foam blocks to kayak is by following these simple steps. First, Run cam straps across the 2 pool noodles and place the two pool noodle across the width of your car roof, then tight both pool noodles from the inside of your car. Secondly, place some foam blocks from the inside right after the pool noodles. These steps will get you a safe kayak bed.

02. Lift Your Kayak and Place:

There are a few things to remember when lifting your kayak and placing it on the car top. First, try to use an object like a paddle or boat hook to help guide the kayak onto the roof-rack system. Second, make sure that you have someone to help you lift the kayak onto the car. Third, use caution when firmly placing your kayak on the well-prepared kayak bed. Do any foam block or pool noodle adjustments if required.

03. Tie-down the Kayak:

There are a few ways to do this, but one simple way is to take a ratchet strap and loop it around the kayak, making sure that it is tight enough to hold the kayak in place. You can then repeat this step on the other side of the kayak. Finally, use another ratchet strap to go around the roof rack and attach to both ratchet straps, securing the kayak in place. Make sure that all of the straps are tight before driving away.

04. Tie-down the Bow & Stern:

There are a few ways to secure the bow and stern. One way is to use two good-length ropes. Another way is to use bungee cords. No matter which method you choose, make sure the bow and stern are tightly tied up and secured at the front and rear buffer of your vehicle. So it doesn’t move around while you’re driving. Also, make sure the kayak isn’t too close to the car’s windshield or sunroof in case it blows off the roof rack and causes damage.

Alternative Option:

Inflatable Roof Rack:

An inflatable roof rack is a type of roof rack that is made up of inflatable tubes. It is typically used to transport items such as kayaks, canoes, and other small boats. While an inflatable roof rack may seem like a safer option than a traditional roof rack, it is important to be aware that there are some risks associated with using this type of rack.

One risk associated with using an inflatable roof rack is that the tubes can easily be punctured. If one or more of the tubes are punctured, the entire rack will deflate, which can cause damage to whatever item you are transporting. Additionally, if the tubes are not properly inflated before you begin driving, they can come into contact with the car’s top, which can cause damage to the kayak or vehicle.

Recommended Products:

01. Fix Find Hollow Foam – Pool Noodles

Fix Find Hollow Foam is the go-to choice for premium pool noodles. These foam tubes work excellent for padding, edge cushion, or as kayak holder accessory. They are professional grade and perfect for any DIY project or arts & crafts. Use your imagination to think of even more uses!

02. AUGO Ratchet – Ratchet Straps

Check out AUGO Ratchet straps! Made with high-quality material and extra stitching, these straps are tough enough to handle even the harshest wind and motion. Plus, the easy-grip ratcheting mechanisms provide excellent control and comfort. Trust us – your gear will be safe and sound with AUGO Ratchet straps!

03. HandiRack Uvinersal Rack – Inflatable Roof Rack

This innovative car roof rack system is perfect for transporting kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, surf boards and ladders. It’s simple to use – just inflate the pads with the included pump, strap your items in place, and you’re good to go. The HandiRack is a smart alternative to foam blocks or metal roof racks, and it takes just 5 minutes to install without any tools required. So head out on your next adventure knowing that your gear is safely secured with the HandiRack!

Video Explanations

Step 01 : (Option 01)

: (Option 02) 

Step 02 :

Related Matters:

01. Is it safe to transport a kayak on pool noodles?

Yes, it is safe to transport a kayak on pool noodles. Pool noodles are an ideal way to protect your kayak from scratches and other damage while you’re transporting it. They’re also lightweight and easy to store, making them the perfect option for anyone who needs to transport their kayak frequently.

02. What is the safe speed I should drive with a kayak on top of pool noodles?

There is no definitive answer, as everyone’s comfort level and driving habits vary. However, it is generally recommended that you drive no faster when towing a kayak on top of pool noodles. Always use caution and be aware of your surroundings when driving, and remember that the safety of you and your kayak should be your number one priority. However, it’s recommended to keep your speed between 30 – 40 mph just to be safe.

03. Can I transport 2 kayaks on pool noodles?

You could try transporting 2 kayaks on pool noodles, but it might be a bit tricky. Most likely, the kayaks would end up getting scratched or dented. Additionally, there’s a risk that the noodles might not be able to support the weight of the kayaks and could easily break. It’s probably a better idea to transport the kayaks in a car or truck.

04. How much will it cost to get pool noodles, foam block, ratchet straps, and bungee ropes to tie down a kayak on a vehicle roof which has no roof rack?

You need a way to secure the kayak to the top of your car, but that way must be easy and cheap. The following will explain how you can cheaply tie down a kayak on top of your car with items available at most stores. Pool noodles are available at most hardware stores and cost about $10 each. [In the article’s example, the pool noodle costs $3, so it may be a good idea to buy a few] Foam blocks are available at any drug store or craft store and cost about $5 each. Ratchet straps are available at any hardware store and cost about $10 each. Bungee ropes are available at any store that sells sporting goods and cost about $10 for a set of two.

How to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack?
How to Tie Down a Kayak without a Roof Rack

Read: How to Tie Down a Kayak in a Truck Bed?

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