Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Monday, 02 May 2011 02:00

Custom Car top Rack

Written by Gregg Crisp
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Custom Car top Rack Photograph by Greg Crisp

A few weeks ago after purchasing two new kayaks for my wife and youngest son I was faced with the dilemma of trying to transport 4 kayaks to a launch and on family vacations. I had several options including buying a trailer or cleaning off a trailer I am storing stuff on and building a kayak trailer out of it.

(For trailer building tips check out YakSushi’s adventure in The Super Bestest Kayak Trailer Ever!) But I was still thinking I wanted to put the kayaks on the top of my Tahoe since parking can be limited at some of the local lakes I frequent. So I started looking at different car top carrier systems, and while almost all of them were very good the one thing they all had in common were that they cost big $$$. And my Malibu X-Factor has a hard time fitting in most kayak mounts.



Well as I pondered my dilemma I turned on the TV and started to watch one of my favorite shows Larry Dahlberg’s Hunt for Big Fish. Well he started the show with this line “Most of the really great lures available today were built by guys just like you and me tinkering in their workshops.” Well he is right, and not just about lures but most of the great ideas out there come from individuals trying to solve a problem they have. So I grabbed my old Yakima rack and started to measure it up thinking that some guy created this in his garage. Well after some reverse engineering it looks like the person who came up with the design used standard ¾” pipe with a rubber coating over it. And after some experimenting I found that the mounts I had would grip ¾” pipe without an issue. So next I logged into one of my favorite web sites that I use for work supplies, McMaster-Carr. After some browsing I found a ¾” aluminum railing system that seemed to fit the bill perfectly. So I sketched out a design and placed an order.

The next day I received the parts (almost all shipments from this company show up the next day no matter where you are in the country) and set to work.

Everything fit the way I planned and only had to make a few cuts, to get things to fit right. I added heavy pipe insulation over the bars to protect the bottom of my kayak. And in about 2 hours I had the rack that I really wanted.



I decided to make a bunk system for my Malibu as over the summer my kayak will live on the rack so I can stop and fish for a few hours on my way home from work. And with the weight of my Malibu and bottom design I notice deformations with most regular kayak holders. So for $170 plus the mounts I had (bought for $20 at a swap meet) I have a solid rack I can keep my kayak on.

Part Number






¾”x 8’ Crossbar





¾” x 7’ Bunk





Tee W/Through Hole





End Plugs





¾” x 6’ Insulation











Next I will add some mounts on the sides to hold some, I could use some standard “J” style carriers but I will probably add some of my own design. Look for it over the next few weeks.


About the Author: Gregg Crisp has been an avid fisherman all of his life. In 2008 he discovered kayak fishing and has never looked back. As an environmental contractor he has traveled and lived all over the United States, having fished in over 20 states. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and two sons. Gregg is also the author of YakFish.net.

Read 7848 times Last modified on Monday, 02 May 2011 07:57