How to get the Porta-Bote on the roof rack?! 12′ model

I though once I have the roof rack it would be a no-brainer…  Matter a fact when I bought the boat I did not even consider what it actually takes to transport it on top of my car.

Well, maybe I tend to take things sometimes too seriously and over-think the obvious but loosing my new boat to a semi or even worst, injuring someone would be a terrible experience I want to avoid.  This post is more of a summary as I have it nailed down which I want to share with all who is in the same predicament as I was a month ago.

I decided that I will use my Hyundai Sonata, model year 2011.  My other choice would be Honda Element, but that would come with an angry wife and not so good gas mileage. And either way, there was some equipment I’d purchased from that I’d forgotten to remove from the back compartment of the car.

Roof rack I ordered from e-trailer, it is Rhino-Rack 2500 Series which is packaged for my car with the following components:

Code Item Quantity Price/Ea. Total
DA126B Rhino-Rack 2500 Series Roof Rack with Aero Crossbars – 50″ Long – Black 1 $243.00 $243.00
DK250 Custom DK Clamps and Pads for Rhino-Rack 2500 Series Roof Rack System 1 $62.10 $62.10
P580007 Putco Element Window Visors – Tinted – 4 Piece 1 $29.99 $29.99


Install took under 1 hour, without major issues.  I do read manual before assembly.  All parts were quality and hold things nicely, I also happen to think that it looks nice as well.  Price is less than similar offering from Thule.  At this point I should add that I did not expect roof racks to be so expensive… was I wrong.

During the long wait for the boat I searched the net on how on earth to secure it to my new rack.  I found some posts on how to do it with mobile homes and trailers but nothing specific enough to a regular 4 door sedan…  In anticipation of the boat arrival I went out and purchased:

  1.  military duffel bag from military surplus store.  I bough the largest they had I think it is 36′.  Reason for the bag is to put all the other (not so portable) porta-bote parts and be able to mount it on top of roof rack along side the porta-bote (see the image).  This was around $40
  2. Set of cheap green lashing tie-downs with cam-buckles from Walmart under $10
  3. Set of regular tie-downs, the once that have hooks.  under $20… DO NOT BUY THIS unless you have a pick-up truck and need to use something with hooks on both sides.
  4. Set of lashing Ratcheting Tie Downs from Lowe’s under $10.   These are not the best but do the job well.  You need to put something soft under them (i use folded cloth) so they do not scratch the surface of whatever is under the ratchet.   To this date I could not find similar with no scratch solution…

When boat arrived after unboxing (you-tube video for unboxing) I tried to mount it on the car for the first time.  Here is what I learned as in DOs and DO NOTs:


  • Once the boat is loaded on 4 door sedan DO NOT open the trunk all the way! unless you have transom on in front, if so DO NOT open the hood!  Reason is simple, there is a row of metal staples at the end of the boat and they will be happy to leave a mark on your paint job…  (this may not apply to smaller size pora-bote or very large sedans, but still check first to make sure your trunk lid clears the transom)
  • Do not let your tie-down straps overlap.  This will reduce rigidity and may lead to ‘Oops where is my boat’ situation.


  • Find center of gravity of your Bote and try to have that between your racks.  This will help distribute the load.
  • You do not need bow and transom tie-downs if you are using Hyundai Sonata like mine with 12′ porta-bote model (or similar roof size/rack combination).  I travel up to 80mph on highway with just 2 tie-downs on mine and it is solid
  • Go ahead and put the wooden spreader inside the porta-bote.  I put it there when it is folded just before i add 1 tie-down to keep it that way when off the car
  • use something under the ratcheting buckles to protect the boat surface as it will get scratched
Ready to go Porta-Bote Style
My car with sport roof; Porta-Bote; duffel bag with seats, oars and life jackets

Now the final part, how to tie-down the Porta-bote.  The process will take you under 5 min for both the boat and the duffel bag.  It is simple and as I tested safe.

  1. Place the Porta-Bote on top of your sport rack with the gravity center being between your cross bars
  2. Place 2 pieces of folded cloth middle of your boat over each bar
  3. Place ratcheting head on the piece of folded cloth
  4. Pass the strap over the boat and right under the cross bar, bring forward over the boat and left under the cross bar, place it in your ratchet, pull it through to remove slack and ratchet 2 or 3 times so that strap does not come out
  5. Repeat step 4 for the other tie-down
  6. At this point you have both ties in position but fairly loose so the boat can be moved.  This is the ‘check everything is OK’ time, so make sure your straps do not cross each other.  Also make sure that your straps go under the cross bar at the boat edge.  If straps go under the cross bar under the boat edge or far outside boat edge your boat could get loose while you are moving!  If straps are under the boat, move the boat around so they get spread, if they are outside just adjust them by hand.  I try to make sure that boat edge is as close to rack feet as possible, otherwise the duffel bag may not have enough room on the other side
  7. Once you have checked and are happy with the way straps and the boat are – go ahead and tighten each strap.  Do not be afraid the boat has flex room.  After you are done ratcheting down the second ratchet, go back to the first and see if you can ratchet it down some more
  8. Wrap loose ends of your straps around your bars and tie them so they do not flap as you drive.  You can also give them a few wraps and just throw inside passenger door.  Shut door will hold them just ok (remember this is only noise situation at this point)
  9. You are done with the boat so go ahead and place your duffel bag on the other side of the car
  10. If you do not have hard bottom on the duffel make sure one of the longer seats are on the bottom, otherwise things may move and you donot want that
  11. Do the same routine with tie-downs as you did with the boat.
  12. I like to pass excess straps through eye lids which my duffel bag has on both sides and then wrap around either bar and tie them down

At this point you are good to travel.  Like I said I went safely at 80 mph but considering things on my roof I try to keep it down and close to legal.  You should find your own safe speed.

When I drive with this setup closer to 60 I get over 30 MPG which if consistent with what I get without the boat or roof rack.

I also like to stop at least every couple of hours and check to make sure everything is secure.  I find slight softness once in a while but have never had a ‘loose’ situation.

Use the post function to ask questions.  Have fun!


2 thoughts on “How to get the Porta-Bote on the roof rack?! 12′ model”

  1. I like this video and information I am getting a porta bote this year and roof rack to for my 07 Camry I’m getting a 14 foot Porta bote and this help a lot . I have A 12 foot aluminum boat now but my truck got wrecked I used to just slip it in the back of my SUV Ford Explorer but I don’t have a truck no more so I’m going to have to put it on my car top and that’s why I’m getting the Porta bote so I can just put it on the top of my car and not have to worry about a second vehicle I love fishing I’m 40 years old and I got to get back out on the water there’s a lot of places that do not let you fish on land anymore it’s all private

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