Taking your kayaking adventures on the road? If so, you need the perfect cartop mount. Don’t let these mounts intimidate you. Choosing one is easy, as is the installation process.
If you’re not quite sure which kayaking mount to splurge on, look no further. The following information will help you while you’re shopping for a mounting solution.
Options: Car Racks or Blocks
First, you’ll need to decide whether you need a roof-mounted rack or foam blocks. Below you’ll find everything you need to know to decide which is the right choice for you.
This type of system can easily be mounted to virtually any car, van, or truck. These systems typically include four vertical towers and two horizontal bars to accommodate a variety of attachments. Clamps are generally included to hold the towers in place. In some cases, the towers are permanently attached to the vehicle.
Pros: Roof-mounted systems will hold your kayak securely, and they’re versatile, enabling adventurers to haul a variety of gear.
Cons: As for downsides, installation can be difficult, and roof systems tend to be pricey.
For vehicles that already have a roof rack, there are universal mount adaptors available. You may need to purchase attachments, although some universal mounts include various attachments.
Pros: Like roof-mounted systems, factory systems offer a secure place to haul your kayak. They’re versatile, making them perfect for outdoor and water enthusiasts.
Cons: Not all factory racks will accommodate your kayak, so it’s possible you’ll need to pick up an adaptor and additional attachments.
If you need an inexpensive solution for hauling your kayak, foam blocks may be your best option. These blocks will attach to your car, van, or truck roof with nylon straps. They are either designed to fit between the vehicle’s roof and the kayak, or they attach to the bars of a roof rack.
Pros: Foam blocks are simple to install, and they won’t break the bank.
Cons: Foam blocks aren’t likely to last long term, so you’ll probably have to make repeat purchases.
Once you’ve decided on a cartop system, you can spring for some extra attachments. Below are a few that are popular among kayakers:
Stackers and J-cradles: These attachments allow you to haul kayaks on their sides, making them an excellent space saver. If you’re transporting multiple kayaks or other equipment, this attachment is well worth the cost.
Lift systems: These systems include a rack mount, along with gas-assist shocks, which make raising the vessel onto the rack easier.
Saddle-style mounts: These mounts provide cushioning for your kayak’s hull.
- If you’re short, or your vehicle is tall, you may need a step ladder to install your mount and load your kayak(s) and other equipment. If you have multiple cars, you may want to take your height and your vehicle’s height into consideration.
- If you plan to haul multiple kayaks, a wide, flat roof will allow you to maximize the space. Again, keep this in mind if you have multiple vehicles to choose from.