Unless you are flying from an aerotow park and store your glider there, you'll need a rack for your car or truck. A typical glider packs in a bag that is 16 to 18 feet in length and 12 inches in diameter. Wills Wing recommends that their gliders be supported in a minimum of three places that span at least 13 feet.
One of the most popular means of transporting a hang glider is to mount a ladder on your vehicle using some sort of rack. If you buy a long extension ladder, you can mount both halves of the ladder , so that you can carry more than one glider. Your ladder can double as a support for your glider if you want to store your glider using a canoe hoist. (See the section on Glider Storage.)
You can make a lot of friends if you can carry more than one glider on your rack, so get a rack setup for two or more gliders if you can. Small cars can generally carry three gliders, larger cars and most SUVs and vans can carry four, and full size pickups can carry six. Since each glider will weigh between 50 and 70 lbs (22 to 32 kg), you want to make sure you don't make your vehicle too top heavy.
After you get your rack in place, you need to tie the glider(s) securely onto the rack. Do not be tempted to use elastic bungee cord for this job. When driving, bumps and vehicle vibration will cause the glider to move slightly under even the most tightly stretched bungee. The result will be friction wear, first of the glider bag, and then of the sail. While many pilots use rope to tie their gliders onto the rack, Wills Wing recommends against using rope. The round form of the rope results in a very narrow contact point with the wing, and when snugged down tightly enough to secure the glider, may crimp or crease the sail. WW recommends using webbing straps at least 1/2 inch wide. An even gentler solution for the glider consists of 12 inch wide pads, specially manufactured with straps that secure the pads to the rack. Blue Sky in Richmond VA sells these as Glider Savers. Blue Sky Accessories
The following is quoted from the Wills Wing U2 Manual, 3rd edition, July 2007:
"Improper or careless transport of your glider can cause significant damage. You should transport your glider on a rack which has at least three support points which span at least 13' of the length of the glider. These should be well padded and at least four inches wide to distribute the load. Your glider should be securely tied down with webbing straps which are at least 1/2" wide, but not tied so tightly or with such a small diameter rope that the mylar insert is permanently deformed. If you drive on rough roads where the glider receives impact loads, you should take extra care to pad your glider internally when you pack it up. Note that we specifically recommend against transporting your glider inside of a tube or box, unless the glider rests on a padded surface and is secured against movement. We have seen many examples of gliders inside of tubes that underwent highly accelerated wear due to the continuous movement of the glider in the tube when driving over normal bumps in the road surface"
Some pilots enjoy taking on the challenge of engineering and building a custom rack. Here are a few examples:
ResidentHooligan devised these plans for a easily built, low cost glider support. It could be used on any vehicle that has a reasonably strong hood
JV-Joe built this stout rack out of PVC for his Land Rover. The design could be adapted to many cars and trucks.
Hood rack - aerodynamic and easy clip-on without tools- by Bondy