Author Topic: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?  (Read 1783 times)

Samuel

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Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« on: August 01, 2017, 11:31:59 AM »

Any suggestions on finding the right balance of safety (for other motorists, the kayak, and my car) and thrift when it comes to transporting a kayak on top of a 2010 Honda Civic?

Ran across a great deal on a basic, 10 foot kayak. I plan to use it fairly regularly (weekly, in the summer). I only really need to be able to move it a couple miles at 35mph to get to most places I plan to use it, but can't rule out longer/faster trips in the future.

The aftermarket roof racks vary from expensive to absurdly expensive and are time consuming to take on and off, noisy, a target for theft (ah, big city life) and negatively impact fuel economy (around 5 mpg at highway speeds, I've read). I've had one on a previous car and it was nice in some ways, but also annoying as it wasn't used very much. I've kept an eye on Craigslist but haven't seen much that would work that wasn't rusted all to hell or needed an expensive fit kit to match my car.

There is also the foam block and tie down method but I worry about scratching or denting the roof or window frames. Any firsthand experience with this? Is damage likely? Is it safe for freeway speeds?


I'm leaning towards the foam block method for now and sticking to the very short city trips while keeping an eye out for a deal on a decent roof rack.

Thanks.



Oliver

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 11:41:43 AM »
I would think some simple cross bars on the roof and ratchet straps would work well. I assume the 5 MPG number comes from some kind of kayak attachment for cross bars? My cross bars on their own seem to have affected the MPGs on my 2006 Civic coupe by about 1 MPG.

Samuel

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 11:55:18 AM »
I would think some simple cross bars on the roof and ratchet straps would work well. I assume the 5 MPG number comes from some kind of kayak attachment for cross bars? My cross bars on their own seem to have affected the MPGs on my 2006 Civic coupe by about 1 MPG.

Consumer reports tested on a Honda Accord (I assume with the round/square bars, not the flatter ones): https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/07/tests-show-bike-racks-can-ruin-your-mileage/index.htm
 
I had a Yakima rack on my old car that worked well, but didn't get enough use to really justify it. I'm wary of recreating that now, given how expensive they are and the added noise and MPG hit the 98% of the time they're not being used.



GuitarStv

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 12:02:26 PM »
What about installing a hitch and then pulling a light trailer?

bognish

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 01:29:42 PM »
I only did this for a one time borrowing situation, but it worked fine: 2 pool noodles (cheap foam tubes) on the roof, kayak on top of these. Open the doors and run 2 rachet straps over the top and through the interior of the car. tighten the straps and close the doors. No damage to the car and the kayak was not going anywhere.

lizzzi

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 02:35:43 PM »
Back in the day, I had an aluminum 12 foot Grumman canoe, and used to take it everywhere on top of my 1973 Pontiac Firebird. The fancy roof rack I bought would regularly go flying off the top of the car along with the canoe. I had excellent (and safer) results when I changed to  foam blocks, bungee cords, and rope. I don't remember the exact method, but it was easy and quick for me to car top my canoe (I am 5'4"), and it sat solidly on the car even at highway speeds. The foam blocks did not scratch the car.

stimepy

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 03:24:49 PM »
I only did this for a one time borrowing situation, but it worked fine: 2 pool noodles (cheap foam tubes) on the roof, kayak on top of these. Open the doors and run 2 rachet straps over the top and through the interior of the car. tighten the straps and close the doors. No damage to the car and the kayak was not going anywhere.

foam blocks, bungee cords, and rope. I don't remember the exact method, but it was easy and quick for me to car top my canoe (I am 5'4"), and it sat solidly on the car even at highway speeds. The foam blocks did not scratch the car.

Both of these = things I did prior to getting a roof rack.    They work and are a good temporary solution if you are traveling more then just once.

My Elantra had a roof rack and if wanted to take of off, 5-10 minutes is about what it would take, and 5-10 to get it back on.  But I have seen some pretty ridiculous setups for roof racks so YMMV greatly.   Take some time (years if you have too) and look around, your bound to find a decent roof rack at a decent price that isn't nuts to take off and on if that's what your truly wanting.

If you just need to just get it home, A towel (or blanket), and straps works fine and won't cause any damage.  That is how I got my Kayak home the day I bought it but as I said, the above two posts are better if you have a little more time between purchase and take home.
The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. - Walter Bagehot

Samuel

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 03:43:18 PM »
For the time being I think I'll find some foam blocks, strap it down good, and stick close to home. I've seen mention of the pool noodle option but that makes me extra nervous since a round foam pad seems more likely to shift in use. Still a little worried it could bend the roof (I have childhood memories of my brother and I crawling across the roof of my parent's car and even after being pushed back out it was never exactly the same) but I should be able to position the blocks close enough to the edges to prevent that.

Longer term I'll keep an eye out for a decent roof rack. The Yakima one I used to have only took maybe 10 minutes to get on and off, it just got old pretty quickly.


What about installing a hitch and then pulling a light trailer?

Alas, I'm an apartment dweller with no where to keep a trailer. I've considered one for other uses too, but unless it was short enough to store vertically behind my car (and could be secured to the concrete wall) that's off the table.


Thanks, all.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 03:46:28 PM by Samuel »

Sun Hat

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 10:03:49 AM »
Foam blocks and tie-down straps will protect your car and the boat, but I've found that over any distance or at highway speeds, the boat and blocks will slide around from the pressure of the wind. I really don't recommend it.

Yakima racks are great, but are expensive. I've bought cheap after market cross bars that clip into the door frames of my Mazda 3, and they stay put very well and haven't scratched the car at all. They have rubber on the underside of the metal components to avoid damage. They're very easy to take on and off with an included allan key, so I only put them on the car when I want to use them (either for carrying the boat around or for transporting lumber). They came with a locking cap to cover the adjustable parts to keep them from being loosened and removed from the car, but on mine, I suspect that the caps would be easy to remove.

I further bought the cheapest model kayak carrier to add to my cross-racks. They're J-shaped and cradle the boat in a position so that there are no stress points on it. Depending on the material of your boat, this may not be important. If you're getting a soft-material boat like a whitewater boat, I wouldn't bother with it, but if you get a fiberglass or other stiff-material boat, then you may want to get the J racks to baby it a bit more, since tying a boat down to cross-racks will create a pressure point.

I bought both of my racks at Canadian Tire, which you may not have nearby, so here's a link to a J-model rack on amazon so that you can get the general idea.
https://www.amazon.com/TMS-Pairs-J-Bar-Kayak-Crossbar/dp/B073SG4KYB/ref=sr_1_2?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1501689676&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=kayak+rack&psc=1

Whatever you do, get the boat. Kayaking is awesome.

HipGnosis

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2017, 11:15:38 AM »
I had excellent (and safer) results when I changed to  foam blocks, bungee cords, and rope. I don't remember the exact method, but it was easy and quick for me to car top my canoe (I am 5'4"), and it sat solidly on the car even at highway speeds. The foam blocks did not scratch the car.
Are there foam blocks made and sold for this purpose?
If not, what kinda foam and where do you get it?

lizzzi

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2017, 11:27:40 AM »
I've seen them for sale within the past month or so in outdoors outfitting stores. Look in the same kind of outlets that sell kayaks--that's where I saw the foam block set-ups recently, as well as all kinds of fancy metal racks.

Reynold

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2017, 12:35:38 PM »
I saw a canoe mounted on a car on several foam pool noodles (soft foam bars about 2 inches in diameter, about 3 feet long).  It looked pretty secure, but I'd suggest getting good straps with rachets to tighten it down so it doesn't slide around, as opposed to trying to just use rope. 

Samuel

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2017, 04:42:18 PM »
I had excellent (and safer) results when I changed to  foam blocks, bungee cords, and rope. I don't remember the exact method, but it was easy and quick for me to car top my canoe (I am 5'4"), and it sat solidly on the car even at highway speeds. The foam blocks did not scratch the car.
Are there foam blocks made and sold for this purpose?
If not, what kinda foam and where do you get it?

Yes, there are. I ended up getting some off Amazon to use for the time being. They also have a groove so you can put them onto the bars of a roof rack instead of a separate cradle.


I've now moved the kayak 2 times using just foam blocks and tie downs. The Civic's roof is a bit too large and convex, though, so I either have to move the blocks in too far (where they visibly deform the roof to an alarming degree) or keep them near the front and back windows (and let the middle of the boat contact and scrape the roof). The straps through the windows are also scuffing and over time may mess up the weather seals. I guess with bigger blocks it could work better, but while it's fine for around town I would not be comfortable using the setup on a freeway.

Given the frequency I hope to use the kayak I'm now looking around for a reasonably priced roof rack solution to spare the car further wear.


The kayak itself works great!


PDM

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2017, 10:41:17 PM »
Late to this thread - but recommend roof racks. I've been using them on different sized vehicles to transport kayaks for a few years with no issues. I'd also recommend ratchet straps instead of relying on your own knot tying - quicker easier and more reliable.

I'm pretty sure roof racks better distribute the weight (to the better reinforced edges of the car) not directly onto the unsupported roof?

HipGnosis

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 10:01:11 AM »
I saw a canoe mounted on a car on several foam pool noodles (soft foam bars about 2 inches in diameter, about 3 feet long).  It looked pretty secure, but I'd suggest getting good straps with rachets to tighten it down so it doesn't slide around, as opposed to trying to just use rope.
As an Eagle scout that knows ropes and knots, I must stand up for the ropes (and knots)!!   Granted, not everyone has or knows the proper ropes and/or knots...  Just don't get the really cheap straps and ratchets!

iowajes

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 10:10:26 AM »
We use a foam block system when we put the kayak on our Civic or Tiburon.

I have no idea the brand we use, but it looks like this:
https://www.amazon.com/SportRack-SR5526-Kayak-Carrier-16-Inch/dp/B00BCLKZC4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1502294928&sr=8-2&keywords=foam+block+kayak+mount

The straps make a hell of a lot of noise, so I don't like going over 40 with it; but we've been on freeways at speed and it has been fine.  We used this system regularly for many years before my husband got the escape and we got a roof rack.  No damage at all to boat, car, or person.

HipGnosis

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2017, 06:22:41 PM »
The straps make a hell of a lot of noise, so I don't like going over 40 with it; but we've been on freeways at speed and it has been fine.  We used this system regularly for many years before my husband got the escape and we got a roof rack.  No damage at all to boat, car, or person.
Put a twist (or two) in the straps where they are aren't touching anything.

Samuel

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2017, 10:03:24 AM »
Update: I picked up an open box Amazon Warehouse deal on a 2nd tier (non-Yakima/Thule) rack for less than what most well used racks are going for on Craigslist. It's a specific fit for the car and seems very solid (and doesn't look terrible either).

The experience of loading and moving the kayak is SO much better now. I no longer have to worry about the foam blocks shifting or permanently denting my roof. Loading is quicker since I don't have to keep adjusting the foam and the daisy chained tie downs running through the doors/windows. Highway travel will be no problem at all. I'm already glad I spent some money for the peace of mind.

And as a bonus I once again have a way to move smaller pieces of furniture or other bulky items. I once (Craigslist) furnished a whole apartment using the roof rack on a previous vehicle and missed that capability.

Thanks for the advice.

HipGnosis

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2017, 08:28:43 PM »
Update: I picked up an open box Amazon Warehouse deal on a 2nd tier (non-Yakima/Thule) rack for less than what most well used racks are going for on Craigslist. It's a specific fit for the car and seems very solid (and doesn't look terrible either).

The experience of loading and moving the kayak is SO much better now. I no longer have to worry about the foam blocks shifting or permanently denting my roof. Loading is quicker since I don't have to keep adjusting the foam and the daisy chained tie downs running through the doors/windows. Highway travel will be no problem at all. I'm already glad I spent some money for the peace of mind.

And as a bonus I once again have a way to move smaller pieces of furniture or other bulky items. I once (Craigslist) furnished a whole apartment using the roof rack on a previous vehicle and missed that capability.

Thanks for the advice.
CONGRATS!

How did you find such a great deal on Amazon?

Samuel

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2017, 09:46:37 AM »
Update: I picked up an open box Amazon Warehouse deal on a 2nd tier (non-Yakima/Thule) rack for less than what most well used racks are going for on Craigslist. It's a specific fit for the car and seems very solid (and doesn't look terrible either).

The experience of loading and moving the kayak is SO much better now. I no longer have to worry about the foam blocks shifting or permanently denting my roof. Loading is quicker since I don't have to keep adjusting the foam and the daisy chained tie downs running through the doors/windows. Highway travel will be no problem at all. I'm already glad I spent some money for the peace of mind.

And as a bonus I once again have a way to move smaller pieces of furniture or other bulky items. I once (Craigslist) furnished a whole apartment using the roof rack on a previous vehicle and missed that capability.

Thanks for the advice.
CONGRATS!

How did you find such a great deal on Amazon?

During my research of the options I had found the rack but wasn't going to buy anything new. Checked back later to confirm some information and saw there was an "other buying choices" link in the description and they had an open box ("excellent") Amazon Warehouse deal for 27% off (+5% more from the Amazon Prime card). Seemed like a sign so I pulled the trigger.

Was a bit worried it would be missing parts but it was obvious someone had just returned it without even trying to install it. Still had original plastic wrap on most pieces.

dpc

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Re: Moving a kayak on a Civic without damaging either?
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2017, 01:40:58 PM »
It's a tad late, but I've moved 2 kayaks at a time, 10/12 ft., on an '05 corolla at up to 45mph, on some old pillows with tiedowns through the door. Works with small loads of lumber too.