Base Rack Systems for Naked Roofs

| July 25, 2012 | 5 Comments

One of the first steps to getting on the water with your new boat is to have a vehicle rack that can transport it. While some SUVs come with factory rails and/or racks, many don’t and as far as cars go, you’ll more than likely have nothing at all. If you have a naked roof waiting to get dressed up, then this article is for you!

The first thing to finding the right rack is to ask yourself how many boats you will be carrying and how much you will be willing to spend. Then you’ll need to find a rack that meets these needs and is compatible with your vehicle. We’ve outlined three different base rack systems below that we hope will get you started on finding the best fitting rack for you.

Temporary Pad & Strap Systems

The bottom line: Inexpensive, fast & easy to install system that’s adequate for carrying a single boat.

For those who don’t have a whole lot to haul or money to spend, a foam and strap system is something to consider. These temporary rack systems involve straps that circle through the inside of your car along the roof and over the top, where they are attached to foam padding. Quick and easy to install and remove, these racks are great at carrying a single boat. However, it is important to keep in mind that the foam pads are usually located around the middle of your roof so this is where weight and pressure will be coming down. If your car’s roof has a sensitive area like a sun roof, you’ll want to see if these can be installed around it, otherwise a foam and strap system might not be a good fit for you.

We offer four different pad and strap systems: Malone Canoe CarrierMalone Kayak CarrierMalone Handi Roof Rack, & the Quick Sports Strap Roof Magnum.

Basic Cross Bar Systems

The bottom line: Your average base rack, great for hauling heavy loads and compatible with a number of accessories.

If you’re looking for something that can hold more than just a single boat and aren’t interested in spending extra on features, than think about some of our basic bar systems. These systems involve installing four foot pads or towers along the roof of your car and then connecting a cross bar between each pair. A common misconception is that the installation of these are complicated and permanent, when in fact they are fairly easy to install and are considered temporary though can be left on permanently if chosen. Because of the tower/footpad system, these racks can hold much more compared to the pad and strap systems and even most factory racks – averaging somewhere between 150 and 300 pound load capacities. Finally, these bars are compatible with a wide range of accessories ranging from load assists to cradles, all of which can be found here.

We currently carry three different crossbar options: Thule Load Bar with Thule Foot PackSeattle Sports Sherpak, Malone Universal Cross Rails & the Yakima Crossbars with Yakima Q Towers.

Premium Cross Bar Systems

The Bottom Line: They cost a little extra but are sturdy, look good and make almost no noise compared to the basic cross bar systems.

If you want all the extra features and are willing to spend the money, look no further. These are the newest and most top of the line base racks, with sleeker, aerodynamic designs meant to reduce driving noise (it is significant) and increase fuel efficiency. Otherwise, these systems are very similar to their less expensive siblings as they are temporary but can be left on permanently, are compatible with most accessories and can hold on average between two and three hundred pounds.

We currently carry two different premium crossbar options: Yakima Whispbar and the Thule Aeroblade w/ Thule Rapid Traverse Footpack.

Each rack is different and fits various makes and models differently. Check Thule’s and Yakima’s fit guides to see how one of their racks might fit your vehicle. Finally, once you’ve chosen and installed your base rack, you might be interested in rack accessories. We offer a number of them here but look for a blog soon that will detail more about each type. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions remember to share them below! – Joseph@ACK

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Category: Kayaking, Knowledge, Resources

Comments (5)

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  1. Phil says:

    I have a Lance cab-over camper. What is the best way to carry a kayak on top of a cab-over camper?

    • jdowdy says:

      Hey Phil, sorry for the late response! I checked out our fit guides and wasn’t able to find anything specific for cab-over campers. So, I’d suggest you start by filling out the Rack Helper form for Thule & Yakima on our website (http://www.austinkayak.com/RackHelper.php). Be sure to note in the comments section that you have the camper on your vehicle. Both Thule and Yakima should be able to recommend specific products for you. I hope this helps!

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