Build your own kayak racks!
With the purchase of a new command vehicle for WildIndiana, came a new problem: no kayak racks.
As avid kayak anglers, we enjoy taking my sit-on-top (SOT) plastic boats all over the state and country. Our new (for us) vehicle, a 2005 Honda Pilot, had all the features necessary for a great outdoor vehicle including a roof luggage rack.
Unfortunately, the rack did not include the cross-rails necessary to hold a kayak or any other long object. After pricing factory racks, it was apparent that a DIY home-brew solution would be necessary.
We began searching the internet and found various ideas but most of them looked quite ‘rustic’. We’re not against a little backwoods engineering but we wanted the racks to look good enough that we wouldn’t be embarrassed to leave them in place on our vehicle the majority of the year.
On the other hand, they needed to remove easily if necessary. They also needed to be stout so that a 12-hour trip to fish the panhandle bays of northern Florida wouldn’t cause undue concern.
After much research and a few false starts, our racks are finished and have been thoroughly tested. We believe the result met all our requirements, including good ‘factory’ looks, and the whole shooting match cost less than $40. As an added benefit, we’ve devised a lashing system that holds the boat securely and can be ready for travel in under 3 minutes.
The key was the use of conduit rack. A 20’ foot section was purchased for under $20 at a local Menards home improvement store along with the second important piece, a ¼” conduit hanger clamp. A few other incidentals completed the build and nothing used was so exotic that it couldn’t be found in most large home improvement or hardware stores.
Below is a visual step-by-step guide to building a conduit-hanger kayak rack for a 2005 Honda Pilot. You probably don’t have the same vehicle but the concepts should apply to any vehicle with a factory luggage rack.
This worked for our 2005 Honda Pilot but the ideas/concepts would probably work for many other vehicles. Leave a comment and let us your ideas.