Whether you are a novice or seasoned surfer choosing a roof rack (let alone a soft one) can be a daunting task. If you can spare ten minutes on this article you will learn all there is to learn about soft roof racks to transport your surfboard.
What is a Soft Rack?
Basically, a soft rack is a soft fabric pad used to protect the base of a surface. It can be placed on the roof top of a car before a load is placed to protect the car roof top from scratches, abrasives, friction and also to protect the load. The soft roof rack can either be cylindrical or rectangular.
The outer cover is stuffed with soft fiber that is able to support the desired load. In the world of surfing the soft roof rack is used to protect the roof top of the car before the surfboard is loaded. It can be as soft as a pillow depending on the weight of the board.
What Are They Good For?
The soft roof racks are good to take with you when travelling and/or if you don’t want a hard rack permanently fixed atop your vehicle. It will be up to you to decide whether you want to have one fixed to the car permanently or to have a temporary one.
A temporary soft roof rack is a good option because it is easy to clean and can be unmounted when not in use. They also loosen with time making it pointless need to fix them permanently.
Soft Rack Considerations
The following are the factors to be considered before fixing a soft roof rack.
Number of Boards It Will Carry
The number of boards it is likely to carry at a given time determines the size of the soft rack. The more the boards the bigger the size of the soft roof rack that will be required. The reverse also applies.
One should consider if the straps of the soft rack are likely to affect the locking system of the whole car. The straps should be thin enough to allow the car doors to lock normally. Thick straps may prevent the doors from locking. The doors should be able to click even after the straps are locked in position.
The cost of a pair of soft racks should also be put into consideration. It is not advisable to go for the cheapest option available without considering the quality and durability of the soft rack.
There should be no noise as a result of loosely tied soft racks. The racks should be tightly fixed or fastened with screws. The speed of the car even on rugged roads should not cause the soft racks to rattle.
The car should have a roof clearance from the authority to carry any load. Otherwise that is considered as a violation of traffic rules and is a serious offense.
What Can They Carry?
One should consider what type of load is to be carried by the soft roof rack. Apart from the surfboards it can also be used to carry items such as SUPs, kayaks and snowboards. In case of the extra load there is need to increase the size of the soft rack or use more than one in order to protect the roof top of the car.
Will They Scratch Your Car?
Another factor to be considered is the possibility of the load scratching the car. In a case where the load has sharp points the soft rack should have the ability to provide a smooth edge and protect the car.
Soft Racks For Surfing Reviewed
We thought these two were the best of the soft racks we reviewed.
FCS Single Soft Rack – Cam Lock
Our best choice of a soft rack is the FCS single soft rack - cam lock. Here are some features that we absolutely like:
- It is able to carry surfboards and other boards of different sizes and shapes. Whether the board has an oval, circular or square head this soft rack is able to hold them and protect the roof top.
- It is light in weight and still able to perform its duty
- It has been designed by professional surfers as such they have tailored it towards the surfboard and the other board types like the snowboard.
- Has a TPE cover that protects the car from scratches
- It has a sleek storage pouch
Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars 2 PC 48 inches
This soft rack has crossbars that help to carry the load away from the surface of the car. The crossbars are fastened by straps that go through the door frame easily and attach on the roof of the car.
Due to its design it is suitable for four- door cars. The crossbars are made of heavy duty steel that make enhances the safety and security. The crossbars can be easily adjusted and is easy to install and disassemble.
Other Soft Racks For Surfing
More soft roof racks to choose from.
FCS Double Soft Rack – Cam Lock
This is a simple and strong soft rack with an FCS Cam Lock tie down system designed to strap your boards down with one pull.
It can fit up to 6 surfboards on most cars, vans and SUVs. It features oversized locking teeth for enhanced grip. It has aerodynamic pads with a high- density foam shield. It comes with a handy storage pouch.
FCS Double Soft Rack – D Ring
This double soft rack with a D-Ring tie down system offers a strong and reliable way secure your surf boards. With no moving parts this device does not fall apart easily. It features heavy duty webbing with a 1000D form covering. It also has aerodynamic non- rolling pads and comes with a storage pouch to boot.
Creatures of Leisure Single Wrap Silicon Rax
This comes as a single or double soft roof rack system. The double offers enhanced protection.
This is fitted with cushion pads that are located between the car roof and the surfboards. They have metal buckles that enhance safety. They can carry up to 3 shortboards and come with a reusable carry bag.
Neolife Soft Roof Rack Pads with Single Wrap-Rax Straps for Surfboard, SUP Paddleboard, Snowboard 19 or 28 inches (Pair)
The roof pads are made from durable polyester and are designed to withstand all the changes in the weather. They are suitable for all vehicle types because they have a universal design. The pads are 19 or 28 inch and can support surfboards, snowboards, and paddle boards. They also feature an anti-slip design. Best of all this rack is light-weight and easy to store.
Block Surfboard Roof Rack, Universal Fit for Cars and SUVs
This soft roof rack is universal and designed to fit cars that do not have a rack. It is made with strong straps that tighten around the car and surfboards. The buckles are rust resistant will secure your surfboards as you chase the waves. The universal rack comes in a set one for the front of the car and another one for the back.
Orion Motor Tech Lightweight Anti-Vibration Universal Car Soft Roof Rack Pad
This soft rack is distinguished by its anti-vibration properties. It also features a heavy load capacity and can hold up to 163 lbs. It has a universal fit and can be used with most types of cars. Because it is made from soft materials it does not scratch easily.
DORSAL Wrap-Rax Soft Surfboard Roof Rack, Universal Fit for Cars and SUVs
This soft rack has a universal fit meaning that it can be mounted on most car with or without a roof rack. The long straps fasten around the roof of the car and the surf boards. Depending on the size of the boards it can hold 2 to 3 boards at a time. The heavy duty straps and buckles ensure security.
DrSportsUSA Universal Surfboard Paddle Board Rack Pad Car Roof Soft Rack for Car & SUV
This soft rack does not need the support of a cross bar since it has a standard universal rack. It is multifunctional and can be used to carry several items at a go. The rack is flexible and can be folded and stored quite easily.
WOOWAVE Kayak Roof Rack Pads Universal Car Roof Rack
This is a universal roof rack that is designed to fit into almost all vehicles. It can be used in almost any kind of weather because it is has weather proof features. Two polyester straps and a padded metal buckle provide optimum strength. The buckle is particularly strong and resistant to corrosion. With an aerodynamic design it is easy to secure the cargo when in transit.
Sea to Summit Traveler Soft Racks
This soft rack is easily put on the vehicle in three steps. Once it has been fixed it has a tight grip and as such does not move once it has been loaded. This guarantees (he hope) that the load is safe while protecting the roof top of the car.
It has several straps that enable it to be tied and fixed tightly into position. It is good for carrying kayaks, canoes, surf boards, and skis.