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Choosing kayak roof rack for cars without rails

Kayaking is one of the coolest sports there is; but buying one and transporting it are two very different things. Whether you want to take it home after you purchase it, or are ready to venture to a remote location for the adventure of a lifetime, you’ll need a convenient and safe way of transporting your kayak.

Think you can just use rope to strap your kayak to the roof of your vehicle? Think again. Chances are pretty good you’ll end up damaging your kayak and your roof – if the kayak even stays in place very long once you get going. To transport your kayak safely and conveniently, you need a quality and durable rack. With the options and styles available, you may be confused as to which one is best for your needs.

Malone 50-inch VersaRail bare-roof cross-rail system


The Malone 50-inch VersaRail bare-roof cross-rail system instantly transforms a bare roof into a functional platform for transporting bikes, kayaks, canoes, or cargo boxes. These racks come fully assembled and ready to install. Includes coated steel cross bars, abrasion resistant dual suction towers, and 1.5″ attachment straps. Its features include simple installation as it fits nearly all four door vehicles with no additional tools required.

Installation tool included 1.25″ x .9″ rectangular bar profile fits most rack accessories Rust resistant bar coating for years of service and abrasion resistant dual suction towers with 1.5″ wide attachment straps. A lifetime warranty is offered. Its capacity is 135 LB (61 kg) and the dimensions: MPG220 (50″ long). Its construction is made of coated steel, molded nylon, and polyester webbing.

The rack is super simple to setup and once setup is firmly attached it will stay put. There is a square plastic coated metal crossbar that attaches to adjustable towers. The towers are part plastic, part metal and have two giant rubber suction cups for each base. The rack attaches to the car via cam straps that run through the car doorways. The straps are wide and fairly good quality. Thankfully the suction cups are attached with screws. One should put some washers between the suction cup and plastic tower to accommodate the curvature of the car roof from front to back. 4 metal washers are included on just one of the suction cups for each tower angles the tower just enough to allow the square bars to be level to each other from front to back. Side to side is not a problem due to the design of the towers. This rack is not lockable on the roof and could be stolen very easily.

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ALAVENTE 43.5″-47″ Universal Roof Rack Cross Bars Kit with Lock for Most Vehicle Wagon without Roof Side Rail


This is a universal roof rack cross bars system with anti-theft lock for the most vehicle without roof side rail. It is a perfect solution to add cross bars on the roof without drilling (hook them on car window frame).

It can transport bulky luggage securely when you are on the go. Its streamline water drop design efficiently reduces 40%-70% wind noise and resistance and its self-adaptive base feet allow angle adjustment to fit car roof arc perfectly.

The thick Rubber gaskets and rubber covers on clamps prevent scratches/car paint damage. It is easy to assemble and disassemble in minutes. Comes in silver and black colors. The material is made of lightweight Aircraft Aluminum & durable nylon. Its overall Length is 110cm and can extend to 118cm. The rack works with any roof accessories like snowboard/ski attachment, bike rack, cargo basket etc. five kinds of hooks are included to fit different car window frames. Its load capacity is 160lbs. The package includes 2 lightweight aluminum crossbars, 4 nylon base feet, 5 pairs of mounting clamps, 2 blank keys and 2 hex keys.

However, the manual contains awful instructions, poor packaging as the screws are falling out of the box. The rubber on brackets is too thick so it put stress on the doors when opening and closing. It is nearly impossible to adjust the length because of the where the adjusting screw is located.

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Self-Inflatable Car Roof Rack – Ski Rack / Snowboard / Paddleboard / Kayak / Canoe / Luggage / Ladder


The self-inflating Roof Rack by RoadTrip HQ is a multi-purpose, universal roof bar system that can be fitted and removed in just minutes. Unlike other inflatable Roof Racks, one won’t need to mess around with fiddly and fragile plastic pumps to set it up as the Rack will simply inflate by itself once the valves are opened.

When not in use, roll it up small and stow it in its storage bag along with the luggage tie down straps that are provided. The RoadTrip HQ Rack is a single Universal size that fits most 2, 3, 4 and 5-door cars.

With a load capacity of 100lbs, the RoadTrip Rack is strong and reliable. Everything that needed is included. The package includes the Rack itself (2 separate inflatable bars), 2 9ft RoadTrip HQ tie-down straps for securing your load to the RoadTrip Rack. No pump is needed as the Rack self-inflates. However, it is too narrow for canoes, and the straps enclosed are about 7 inches too short, making them useless. Users also must inflate them manually for every use.

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Yescom 48″ Car Top Luggage Cross Bar Vehicle Roof Cargo Rack Crossbar Silver Black


This set of 48″ Roof Rack Cross Bars is designed to transport luggage, ladders, or any other cargo. Made of high strength and lightweight aluminum, the cargo bars can support up to 150 lbs. They are easy to install, can be assembled and remove in minutes and hook on car window frames with skid proof rubber strap. Save more space in the vehicle for more passengers or small items on trips. The adjustable fittings for car roof width are up to 47-1/4″.

It can work with other accessories such as cargo baskets and carrier/bike racks to hold things on the roof. The rubber pads on bottom prevent damaging car paint. The rack is suitable for 4-door model cars, trucks, and SUVs. Its material is made of steel and plastic and load capacity of 150 lbs. The package includes 2 Roof rack cross bars, 2 sets of mounting clamps, a bag of screws, and a manual.

There is no way to get the bars perfectly tight on the roof due to how the clamps on each side work so to some degree one is going to be comforted more by having good ratchet straps than they will be hoping the bars are securely fastened to the car.

The bars and the stands themselves are very good quality. The straps that hold them to the roof are inadequate. They bend when users tighten the screws, so much so that the roof rack will not stay in the car. They end up fabricating their own straps to attach to the seam where normal roof racks would mount. If the straps were made of spring steel that doesn’t bend, it may have worked as designed.

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AUXMART 2Pcs Roof Rack Cross Bars with 3 Pair of Mounting Clamps 47″ (120cm) Roof Top Cargo Rack Cross Bars


This is a 48″ (120cm) universal cross bar roof rack system. It can be hooked on car window frames, with skid proof rubber strap. No drilling/cutting is required as it has an adjustable clamp design for desirable length. It can work with other accessories like cargo basket carrier/bike rack to hold things on the roof when someone is on the go. The rubber pads on the bottom prevent damaging car paint. The rack comes with three kinds of clamps for universal fitment and is easy to assemble and remove in minutes.

It comes in silver & black colors and its material is made of lightweight aluminum high strength. The cross-bar dimension is approx. 122cm*3.5cm*3cm and the load capacity is 150 lbs. When installation one should choose a matching mounting lamp according to the car camber. Then use round head nuts to fix the bracket and mounting clamps. Professional installation is highly recommended if one don’t know how to handle.

The instructions are the most comical aspect of this product. The rubber pads that come with this thing are meant to add some friction between your paint and this rack. But they are plastic, not rubber. All they do is let the rack slide around. One needs to buy some soft rubber friction pads. End caps won’t cover the ends of the racks without breaking. The knobs to tighten down the “J” hooks are too close to the rack rod, so one can’t tighten it down. It also whistles like crazy at high speed due to poor design.

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