Transporting Sports Equipment Using Your Van

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to slow down, creating time for new pursuits and hobbies. In fact, 62% of adults considered that being active is more important now than pre-COVID-19.

Whether you are an avid cyclist or are trying out surfing for the first time, vans provide security, space and versatility – three key components to successfully transport large sports equipment.

Most vans are completely enclosed, so if you’re transporting your equipment inside you won’t need to worry about keeping a close eye while stopping for lunch. In addition to offering ample storage space, most vans can be easily modified so they can conveniently transport heavyweight equipment, such as bikes, kayaks and surfboards, from one location to another.

With this level of flexibility, it’s easy to see why so many hobbyists consider them the most practical mode of transportation.

If you are looking to use your van for transportation purposes, you may need to make some minor modifications to make your journey safe and comfortable.


Transporting bulky equipment like surfboards and paddleboards can pose a challenge when it comes to getting them to the water.

Fitting a board inside the van eliminates cargo and passenger space, so installing an external holding solution offers a practical way to carry your kit.

There are three types of surfboard roof-rack systems: hard, soft and straps. Which to choose depends on your vehicle, your board size and the number of boards you’re hauling.

  • Soft racks attach to any type of vehicle and use a strap system. They don’t require crossbars or roof rails.
  • Hard racks offer more security and carry more weight, but they typically attach to crossbars and need more in-depth installation.
  • Strap systems also need crossbars on which to fasten the boards. Crossbar pads are a good idea for added protection.


Whether you need to transport your high-end mountain bike or a number of small bikes for the kids, the right bicycle rack is a crucial addition to your van setup. 

  • Roof bike racks are intended to affix to a rooftop rack and carry your bicycles on the top of your van. They will connect and brace your bicycle by a few techniques. Fork mounts hold your bicycle by the front fork but require front wheel removal. Upright bicycle racks hold your bicycle by the front tyre or down tube. On all roof racks, rear wheels sit in a tray and are held down with ratchet straps.
  • Trailer hitch receiver mounted racks mount into a 2 inch or 1-1/4 inch trailer hitch receiver and can hold many bicycles if needed.
  • Rear door mounted spare tyres are less common on vans but they do exist, and if you’ve already got a tyre on your door, you might as well add some bicycles. Spare tyre bike racks tend to be tough, simple to use, lockable, and give easy access to bikes.

Best rated racks and fixtures for your van

 Here’s a round-up of some popular solutions for getting you and your equipment out on the road:

  • Thule Express Surf Strap
    These stretchable tie-down straps secure different size surfboards and stand-up paddleboards to vehicle roof for safe transportation. They offer strong, UV-resistant and simple and an easy to use cinching system to keep boards stable during transit.
  • Thule SUP Taxi XT
    This newly-designed push button lock system allows for quick and easy operation and security. Its exclusive, telescoping design also delivers a custom fit, while the weather-resistant padding protects boards during transit.
  • Northcore Surfboard Rack
    This single rack is really versatile as it can be wall or ceiling mounted for storage or display and can even be mounted inside a van for compact board storage. Engineered from high-strength aluminium, it also boasts durability and a lifetime guarantee.
  • Thule Xpress 2-Bike
    Its new practical design makes this bike carrier both easy to use and store. It has a generous load capacity of 30kg and can carry up to two bikes despite its lightweight 4.3kg design.
  • Hollywood Racks F4 Heavy Duty Four Bike Car Rack
    This design comes fully pre-assembled and folds flat for easy storage. Its exclusive dual positioning trunk/bumper system allows a custom fit on most sedans, SUVs and minivans and it has a generous four-bike capacity.

Before you hit the road, don’t forget to check with your insurer to ensure that you’re still covered for any minor modifications you’ve made to your van. And for the best quote for your van insurance, visit