How to Build a Fly Rod Tube Roof Rack

When you’re out fly fishing in an area like Yellow Stone, changing spots during the day is the norm and it often involves a bit of a drive to a new part of river. Now, breaking down your fly rods to transport them every time you have to change spots is a bit of a tiresome task.

You think that splitting your fishing rod in half and dropping it in the back is fine, but this can lead to broken fly rods, it’s happened to me once, and that was enough.

The solution is a kind of rod vault or rod carrier mounted to your roof rack but shopping for these online is expensive, so how about making a cheap DIY fly rod holder to protect your fly rods when changing fishing spots on the river? Here is how to build a fly rod tube roof rack at home.

Materials You’ll Need For Your PVC Fly Rod Holder

Materials You'll Need For Your PVC Fly Rod Holder

Before you start, you will need a vehicle that features a roof rack to make this project work. If your vehicle has one, you’re good to go.

Now, you’re going to need to build one of these DIY fly rod holders per fly rod you want to carry in your rod rack. Here is what you’ll need.

  • 1 x 2-inch diameter PVC pipe in a 10ft length (up to 11 ft if you fish with long euro nymphing fly rods) – this is where your fly rod will go
  • 3 x 6-inch lengths of 2 inch PVC pipe insulation – this will protect your fly rod
  • 1 x Lock-able Tupperware box or ammo can – this is where your reel or reels will go
  • 1 x 2 inch PVC coupler threaded – this will connect the reel box to the PVC pipe
  • 1 x 2 inch O ring – to seal the connection between the reel box and the PVC pipe
  • 1 x 2 inch PVC cap – this is to seal the front end
  • Some cuttable foam insulation – for the reel box
  • PVC cement – the glue that seals and holds it together
  • 2-inch hole saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill

Once you have all this gear ready you can start your project. You can add as many DIY fly rod holders as you like, just increase the number of PVC pipes – if you plan on making multiple rod holders you could search for a single box for your reels that all the pipes will fit into. It would make the idea and design a lot better.

How to build your DIY fly fishing rod holders for your car

How to build your DIY fly fishing rod holders for your car

Now it’s time to build the plastic fishing rod racks for your car and to do so, follow this system.

Step 1

Take the 2″ PVC foam insulation and cut it to the length of your pipe and insert the insulation into the inside of the pipe. This is so your rods don’t break inside and are secure in the carrier when you’re driving your car.

Now, take the 2″ PVC cap and use the PVC cement glue to seal it closed on the front of the pipe, soon to be your rod vault.

On the back end of the pipe, secure the male or female end of the threaded coupler with the cement glue as well.

Step 2

Take your reel box, and drill a 2-inch hole into the reel box in the center or in the appropriate place per rod holder if you’re making a full vault for multiple fishing rods. Once you have drilled the hole or holes, smooth the edges with the sandpaper so it looks sleek and free of rough spots.

Now, check the coupler fits by slotting the coupler end of the PVC pipe through the reel box and attach the other end of the coupler with the O-ring. If it all lines up you’re good to attach it forever. Before doing so, line the reel box with foam inside so that they don’t break when you store them inside.

step 2

Slot the coupler end of the pipe through the reel box. Add some of the cement glue to the threads and screw in the other end of the coupler male or female, depending on what you did in step 1.

You’ll now have assembled a single rod carrier system for your car – how easy, cheap, and almost free was that! Next comes mounting the plastic racks to your car, and they are light so it’s easy.

Step 3

Before you add your fishing rod storage vault to your roof rack, first make sure you can open and close the reel box and that it’s lockable if desired. You might have to tinker with the open and close mechanisms but if you used a suitable ammo or Tupperware box then it should be fine.

Step 4

Your fishing rod rack is now ready to be mounted on the roof. The weight shouldn’t be an issue but you should check your roof rack before mounting and work out a plan. Using basic cable ties can work but if you go to a DIY retail store, you’ll find things like large pipe clamps that might work a bit better.

Once mounted you have a secure place to keep your rods while you’re in search of fish at different spots along the river. This design can be improved easily, it’s pretty much the bare bones.


Fly Rod Tube Roof Rack Extras

If you’re making a roof rod rack for multiple fishing rods then you’ll want to create some supports between each of the PVC pipes before putting it on your car. This will ensure all the pipes remain in line and will be a lot easier to fit onto your rack when you’re ready.

How much does it cost to build?

Outside of the time it’ll take you to put together, the design for the fishing vault above shouldn’t cost you more than $100 for two rods, and even less for 4 rods. Plus it’s actually quite fun and quick to make.

How much do rod tube racks cost at a shop?

How much do rod tube racks cost at a shop

For a reliable rod vault that holds two rods, you’re looking at spending around $400 and for a 4-rod setup, you’ll spend around $700. It’s pretty expensive hey, which makes creating your own DIY solution a lot more inviting.

How safe will my rods be in the DIY version?

This all comes down to the lockable box you have used for your reels. If it’s not lockable then using it down at the river won’t be an issue as chances are, people there aren’t going to steal your things.

In terms of protection on the road, each rod will be super safe in the above design. The pipe combined with the padding in the form of insulation makes it safe to drive on the highway with your sticks. Plus when you park up next to the river, things like falling branches or anything else that comes out of the sky won’t damage your sticks either.

Storing Out

Storing Out

Thanks for reading my article, I hope it does you a solid service in getting your gear to, from, and around the river, for a very affordable price.

Want 4 FREE Fly Fishing Books?

books download

“Tony (MO) These Tricks Helped Me Land More Fish The Same Day!”

Enter your Details to DOWNLOAD NOW

About The Author

1 thought on “How to Build a Fly Rod Tube Roof Rack”

  1. This really needs more photos. I’d like to try this but the photos here don’t seem to sync up to what you are writing. Where does the tupperware box fit in?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top