Transporting an Inflatable SUP on Top of Your Car

Sure, most people will transport their inflatable SUP inside their cars (or travel on planes to exotic surf spots…) – but you have options. You can actually trap in to the top of your vehicle and carry it that way.

Since I keep my SUP inflated for most of the year, it would not make sense fo me to deflate it just to take it somewhere in my car. I am fortunate enough to live about a mile from water, so I just strap it the top of my SUV, and away I go.

I know this is not the case for everyone, but if you’re in a similar situation, you may find this information helpful. In fact, I have transported my inflatable SUP on top of my car for 20 miles at a time with no problems.

When I would not strap my inflatable board on my roof rack…

My main concern would be if I was going somewhere where I needed to secure my board or lock it up while I wasn’t using it. But once again – that’s not a problem with an inflatable. I would simply deflate it and pack it in my car.

Using inexpensive load straps:

Anyway, back to transporting your inflatable SUP on top of your car. I went through some trial and error with this, but what I’ve found to work best are load straps. They are fairly inexpensive, easy to use and secure. I use two of them, and I tie them to the roof rack on the top of my car.

The straps come in a variety of lengths. You will need to wrap the load strap around your board, so measure the board width twice and include addition length for attaching your equipment to your car. If you have more than one board – or think you get another in the future, invest in longer straps.

What size load straps should you get?

I bought 8 foot long straps for a 4″ thick inflatable board. I would not recommend anything shorter. If I had to do it over again, I would have purchased longer straps just in case I wanted to secure something else to the car – like another board.

The green straps to the right are 15 feet in length and the yellow straps are 18 feet in length. They come in packs of two and provide plenty of length. If you have a kayak laying around, you can use these to strap that on your car too!

Additional board protection:

To protect your board from having direct contact with your roof rack, you can get some foam pipe insulation from your local home improvement store for cushioning. (Be sure to take diameter measurements first, since there are different sizes of insulation.

Having said all that, I have found that for short distances, the soft foam footpad on the top of my paddleboard provides adequate protection.

Need tips on how to carry your paddleboard from the car to the water? Click here for tips from Standup Paddle Magazine.