Family Road Trip - How To Transport Fishing Rods On A Roof Rack [Solutions]

Transport Fishing Rods: What Are The Best Rooftop Fishing Rod Carriers?

While fishing can be a great family pastime on your family vacation, there’s no denying that transporting fishing rods can be a hassle.

You need to find a way to safely and securely transport them without damaging them. Fishing rods are delicate and easily damaged if not transported properly.

You can throw them in the back seat, but the fishing rod goes up to the front seat and can hook your shirt. And if you go fishing with family members, the chances are that somebody inadvertently snapped your rod just to try to move around.

So, the best solution is to store them on your vehicle’s roof rack. This fishing rod guide will show you how to transport fishing rods on a roof rack.

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How To Transport Fishing Rods On A Roof Rack

If your car has a roof rack setup ready, you need to have the right carrier to mount the fishing rods on the roof. These carriers are not only specifically designed to haul your rods but are also safe when you travel for a long drive to your fishing spot.

Here are some fishing rod carriers we recommend, from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Multi-Purpose Holder

This multi-purpose holder from Rhino-Rack is an inexpensive option to mount your fishing rods on our list. It is sold as a pair and can easily fit on any crossbar no larger than 3 inches wide and 1.5 inches tall. 

What we like about this holder is that it’s very easy to install and remove when not in use. To mount it on a crossbar, put the holder in position and clamp it to the bottom bracket with the two bold screws. 

Then put the rods in place and cinch them down with a strap until it is snugly fit and secured. The strap is made from a flexible, durable rubber material that won’t easily break.

This product can easily fit up to two fishing rods, but if you’re planning to transport 3 or more rods, you may want to consider 2 sets of holders.

DIY Holder Using A PVC Conduit Carrier

If you’re a DIY person and comfortable using a tool like a hacksaw, then the method is for you. It requires effort and technical skills, but the result is well worth it. This fishing rod DIY carrier is perfect for any type of vehicle. 

This 6-inch conduit carrier cast cap works like a door end to the PVC pipe. Except that you must buy a PVC pipe separately for this project, we like that you can build a carrier to any length.

The kit includes a 6-inch conduit cap, saddle, U-bolt, cover assembly, and hardware. The 6-inch diameter caps are heavily constructed aluminum material and come with neoprene gaskets to prevent water seep in when raining.

The DIY PVC conduit fishing rod carrier should not be overwhelming. Here are some steps and a tutorial video showing you how to do it:

  • Step 1: Mark off the desired length of PVC pipe to be cut
  • Step2: Cut the desired length
  • Step 3: Paint the PVC pipe (optional)
  • Step 4: Attach the door caps on one end
  • Step 5: Attach the end cap to another end
  • Step 6: Lift it onto your vehicle and place it in the desired position on crossbars
  • Step 7: Clamp the pipe with the U-bolts on crossbars and fasten the nuts
  • Step 8: Finally, add your fishing rods!

If you find that this 6-inch diameter is too small or too big, the Buyers Products CC600 PVC Conduit Carrier Kit comes in 4-inch and 8-inch diameter options as well.

Best Fishing Rod Carrier Option For Vehicle Without Crossbars

Your car doesn’t have crossbars? The Tight Line Enterprises Fishing Rod Racks is a perfect solution for you. However, there is a caveat. This magnetic holder only works on a ferrous rooftop and car hood. It doesn’t work with an aluminum body car. 

These strong magnetic rod holders allow you to attach them to your car rooftop, hood, or truck bed whenever you want. You need to be careful whenever detaching them because they can cause a dent as the magnet has a strong pull.

One of the common issues of using the magnetic rack is that many other products can hold very well when driving above 60 mph. This is where this product shines. Many buyers of this rack had reported that it holds steadily above 90 miles per hour with no issue.

This rod rack can carry up to four fishing rods with reels and can be tied down with a strong 1/4-inch bungee cord. This fishing rod rack is more geared toward the smaller, lightweight freshwater pole and reel than large surf pole reels.

Another potential issue is that this fishing rack can easily be stolen. You don’t want to leave it unattended when fishing in the lake or far away from your car.

Best Multi-Purpose Fishing Rod Carrier/Ski Carrier

Sometimes you will not always plan for fishing. Maybe in the winter, you will go on skiing trips. The last thing you want to avoid is spending on different types of carriers. Let us introduce the Rhino-Rack Ski Carrier to you.

This is a multi-purpose ski rack. It is not only designed for carrying skis and snowboards but also great for transporting fishing rods. This 13-inch-long carrier has the capacity to haul up to four fishing rods with reels. 

The carrier is very easy to install. It has a universal mounting system and works with most roof rack systems. One of the stand-out features of the Rhino-Rack Ski Carrier is that it comes with security locks that ensure your expensive fishing gears are safe and secure.

The Rhino-Rack Ski Carrier is just durable as other brands like Thule and Yakima. If this calendar is full of activities, then this ski carrier is the best choice that you rely on for transporting your fishing rods or skis whenever you go.

Using A Cargo Box For Excellent Protection of Your Fishing Rods

You should go for a cargo box if you’re looking for excellent protection from the elements for your expensive fishing rods. In this case, we recommend Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box Alpine version from the well-known Thule brand.

This low-profile cargo box measures 88.5 inches long and 25.5 inches wide. It is designed to haul four to six pairs of skis but can hold five fishing rods nicely. They are two straps included securing the rods in place inside the box.

Installing this cargo box is easy. It works seamlessly and is compatible with many roof rack systems out there. The cargo is mounted onto crossbars with Thule’s easy-grip mounting hardware.

The cargo box can be locked, so you don’t have to worry about stealing your fishing gear. It comes with a limited lifetime warranty from Thule.

The Thule Pulse Rooftop Cargo Box, Alpine, is the most expensive option on this list, but it is the best and safest way to transport your fishing rods. It keeps away all the elements like moisture and road grime.

It is sleek and looks nice with almost any type of vehicle. The only exception here is pickup trucks.


  • Capacity: 11 cu ft
  • Opening: Passenger-side
  • Weight Limit: 110 lbs
  • Dimensions: 88.5 x 25.5 x 12.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 30 lbs

So What Are The Best Rooftop Carriers For Fishing Rods?

It is important to find the right carrier for your needs to transport your fishing rods safely. There are many different types of carriers on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you.

We have provided a few different options to help make your decision easier. Hopefully, this article helps you out so your rods stay protected and your family can enjoy fishing on your next family road trip.

Happy fishing!

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