||06-18-2012 02:13 AM
DIY soft top kayak transport for $20
So it took me 3 stress-inducing trips to the river and a half dozen in-and-outs at Dicks, Home Depot and Walmart to figure out the best DIY method to secure 2 11' yaks without 1) putting so much pressure on the handles that you rip them off and destroy your kayak and 2) having them fly off on the highway and killing someone. So I figured I would save someone else the stress and post what you need.
2 12' ratchet straps - the more heavy-duty the better. Dicks had these.
4 50" bungee cords - get the ones with the half-circle shape - they grab the bumper - the little ones won't. Walmart had these.
Total cost is about $20. I've only driven about 8 hours with this setup so far, but ive done sharp turns in the neighborhood and 75 mph on the highway - the yaks have not budged and the stress on the handles is no more than what you'd expect anchoring in moderate current. Also, the vibration is much less this way than my other attempts.
Lay both yaks side by side, bow towards headlights. You can lay the yaks face up or down, but face-up is a lot quieter, especially if you have no top on.
Open the driver and passenger door. One ratchet strap goes around the yaks about 1/3 from the front of yak. This front strap should meet right around the sun visors. Ratchet 2 goes 1/3 from the back of the yak and should meet at the rear-most point of the roll bar. If you have your side windows in, they will have to be unzipped to expose the rollbar. Tighten ratchet til yaks cease to move.
You have 4 bungees - this is your backup plan should a ratchet fail. Each will go on a kayak handle. Stretch and attach to bumper at 4 points.
Check every 25 miles or so to ensure everything is secure. Replace bungees when/if they lose elasticity.
That's it. If you choose a different method, just don't ratchet the handles. Old Town failed to repair the handle when my friend ratcheted too tight, and a kayak without handles has basically no value.