Do You Need Crossbars for A Kayak Rack?

If you like padding like most people, then you’ve undoubtedly pondered, do you need crossbars for a kayak rack?

The most common way for kayaks to be destroyed is during transportation. A good roof rack and accessory may help you protect your car while also reducing the risk of harming other road users.

Whether you’re bringing your first kayak home or planning a trip to a remote place for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you’ll need a simple and safe way to carry your kayak.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about your vehicle’s and kayak’s safety.

Do You Need Crossbars for A Kayak Rack?

Crossbars are required for a kayak rack. You’ll need crossbars if you want advanced carriers that are intended exclusively for transporting kayaks.

When shopping for a kayak carrier, the first thing to consider is your current roof layout. A regular crossbar roof rack and ratchet-style tow straps are required for many hard-mounted setups.

This is the starting point for any kayak-holding device you want to install on your car’s roof. The kayaks are supported by two crossbars that go over the roof of your car. Crossbars are often composed of rubber and aluminum to prevent your vehicle roof or kayak from being scratched.

Many crossbars connect to factory-installed front-to-back bars on your automobile. However, this varies by vehicle type. The crossbars support and carry the weight of all the items you’re putting to the roof to the towers and feet.

Cargo capacity ratings are also available for racks, carriers, and roof rails. You’ll want to be sure your chosen carrier can support the weight of your kayak. The vehicle must be capable of towing the overall weight of the kayak, carrier grips, and any crossbar racks.

Round (Yakima), square (Thule, Inno), aerodynamic (Thule, Yakima, Whispbar), and factory crossbars are the most common.

Can You Use a Kayak Rack Without Crossbars?

A foam car top carrier is a perfect alternative if you want to transport your kayak on the roof of your vehicle but don’t have the requisite side rails/crossbars for a roof rack.

The foam carrier comprises two foam blocks connected by ratchet straps that go through both the front and rear of your automobile. The kayak is then placed on top of the blocks, secured with further rope or straps, which may or may not be provided based on the particular product you choose.

Can You Use a Kayak Roof Rack Without Crossbars?

You can use a kayak roof rack without crossbars. There is, thankfully, a solution to your kayak transportation problems: a kayak rack for automobiles without rails.

Even if your car doesn’t have original rails, these purpose-built racks are intended to strap on to the roof of your vehicle securely.

While some Vehicles include stock racks, many cars don’t, and automobiles are unlikely to have any at all. Temporary pads are useful in this case since they do not require a base rack system to be put on your car’s roof.

Aside from that, they’re simple to set up and take down. Temporary pads are made up of straps that wrap around the inside of your car, along the roof, and over the top, where foam or inflated cushioning is connected.

The interim pads are only good for short journeys and people who don’t transfer their kayaks all that much. They aren’t designed for fast travel! On the other hand, temporary pads are ideal for relocating a single kayak to a nearby river or lake in a hurry and for a low cost.

Can I Put Kayak Directly on Roof Rack?

Your kayak can certainly be placed on top of your car and transported using a roof rack. It’s easy, it’s secure, and most vehicle racks are excellent for carrying your kayak as long as they’re attached to the roof of your car and are rated to withstand the weight of your kayak.

Take a check at your car’s roof first. What do you think you’re seeing up there?

Many automobiles are equipped with a roof rack as standard equipment. Most SUVs include a roof-mounted baggage rack that may be used to haul a kayak. Some SUVs are equipped with a complete roof rack system, requiring just kayak-specific components.

While there are many various types of roof racks, the technique for securing your kayak is the same for all of them.


It might be nerve-wracking to figure out how to anchor your kayak, especially if it’s your first time. Many factors must be considered, but the most crucial is firmly fastened.

The preceding information should help you sift through all of your concerns, especially if you’ve ever wondered, “do you need crossbars for a kayak rack?”

Good luck on your journey!