Saturday, March 18, 2017

2006 Honda Element Interior Measurements (Or: will my windsurfing gear fit?)

Until very recently, my 2006 Honda Element has been my primary means of windsurfing transportation. One of the primary reasons I purchased the Element was to haul my windsurfing gear. The Element has the footprint of a compact car and the capacity of the Grand Canyon. Almost.

I physically made the following measurements with a tape measure. Beware: these measurements are rounded to the nearest half inch, and the geometry inside cars is complex. These measurements will vary depending on where exactly you measure things.

If you're trying to fit something more bulky than a tape measure, you might have difficulty. Don't base the purchase of a vehicle only on my measurements -- try to fit your stuff first!
  1. Rear opening height 40.5"
  2. Rear opening width 43.5"
  3. Minimum width at floor 38.5"
  4. Minimum rear width 4" up from floor 42.5" *
  5. Distance from the rear to the back of the front passenger seat (seat all the way back) 61"
  6. Distance  from the rear to the back of the front passenger seat (seat all the way forward, collapsed,  not usable) 75"
  7. Distance from rear to the front console (where the gear shift is) 94"
  8. Height in rear cargo area 42"
  9. Distance to back of the rear seats 27"
  10. Length along ceiling from front to rear over the passenger seats 103"
  11. Ceiling width at side doors 50.5"
  12. Height behind front seats 46"
  13. Height in front of front seats 48"
  14. Diagonal to the back of the front passenger seat (seat all the way back) 82”
  15. Diagonal to the back of the front passenger seat (seat all the way forward, not usable) 98”

Carrying Windsurfing Gear

When I go windsurfing, I usually remove both rear seats from the Element. You almost certainly will need to remove or fold one to get a board to fit.

The Mast

I run two NRS loop straps along the ceiling of the Element. One strap I run between the rear grab handles. The other strap I run between the metal loops the back door latches on to.

The two NRS straps let me suspend my mast just under the ceiling from the rear window of the cargo hatch all the way to my front window. This renders at least one of the sun shades unusable. Obviously I must disassemble the mast first.

The Sail and Boom

Both the sail and the boom run straight back from the area between the front seats to the rear of the Element.

The Board

My Fanatic Skate is about 91 inches long. It too fits inside my Element by sitting alongside my mast and boom. The nose of the Skate curves towards the passenger seat, making it pretty much unusable (unless you don't mind being incredibly uncomfortable). 

My JP Australia X-Cite Ride 145 is much larger, and would fit inside the Element in an emergency. However, if my roof straps haven't suffered a catastrophic failure, I prefer to put the large board on top. I mount the board to my roof using a set of Yakima crossbars and NRS Loop Straps. Unlike my previous straps, my new ones are rated for 1500 pounds.

I mount the X-Cite ride upside down with the front pointing to the front of the Element. The curve of the nose of the board almost matches the slope of my windshield.

I use one NRS Loop Strap pair per crossbar. One loop strap wraps around a tower, so it can't shift from side to side. The other strap loops  around the crossbar. A pad goes over the bar, the board goes on the pad, and the strap tightens over the board.

I'm extra cautious after my board surfed on Interstate 37, so a final loop strap connects to one of the foot-straps to a crossbar. This is probably overkill -- the board seems quite stable without it. However, I hope to never again watch my board cartwheel across 3 lanes of traffic as I yell like a maniac. Once is enough.

I also documented my interior cargo-area measurements of the 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum.

†Moving Average Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Buying items through this link is appreciated -- it helps sustain my windsurfing habit!

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