Hope I'm not stepping in stuff...
Posted by: bartc on Oct-13-12 9:11 AM (EST)
After trying to afford one of the high priced racks - unsuccessfully - I turned back to a 40 year old "universal" roof rack I had in my garage since my old VW bus days. Yes, even rusted a bit it could still fit onto my Honda Accord. No, the holes and width didn't fit the now more standard sizes of saddles and other gear to hold a kayak onto it.
So with a bit of ingenuity, some fiddling and persistence, I was able to finally outfit it with new saddles. It's all metal, basically steel, so no plastic to break.
And so far it works fine to hold my kayak on the highway.
No, it wouldn't lock anything, so if theft is the issue I'm a goner. No, I wouldn't drive it above 65 mph, but no rack is recommending that you do that anyway. No, it isn't pretty and won't win me anything but odd stares if anyone bothers.
But YES, a cheap universal rack can work. And despite warnings, lately I've seen several kayaks successfully carried long distances on those foam removable racks too.
To be honest, I would be very leery of any rack that has plastic mounts. Those I wouldn't trust with my boat, nor yours! YMMV, of course.