Adding a Kayak: roof carrier question

I know how to strap my canoe down safely thanks to this web site and Tebpac who answered very patiently all of my questions. I have a thule setup. If I were to carry both the canoe and kayak on 78" load bars, what would be the best way to load the kayak? Here are my options per Thule’s web site. Thanks.



825 Port Side

Based on the #1 selling HullAPort, this new J-style carrier offers more features for the money then any competitor in the market.

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830 The Stacker

The most effecient way to carry multiple whitewater kayaks.

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835xt Hull-a-port

Unique J Style Kayak Carrier creates more room on load bar to transport other toys.

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875XT Hydro Glide Saddle

The slickest and easiest way to load a kayak. Friction-free design for super smooth loading. Requires additional pair of saddles.

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877xt Rollercoaster

Easy kayak loading and maximum supoort with integrated roller and saddle. Requires additional pair of saddles. Mounts to Thule square bars only.

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878xt Set-to-Go Saddle

The Set-To-Go Saddle provides the perfect combination of hull conformance and lateral stability. Requires additional pair of saddles.

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881 Top Deck Kayak Saddle

Looking for a great alternative to full feature kayak saddles … here is a complete carrier that includes everything needed to transport a kayak safely and securely.

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883 Glide And Set

The perfect combination of the Hydro Glide and Set-To-Go Saddles in one package.

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887 SlipStream

Fully adjustable, complete kayak platform ensures contact-free loading on any vehicle and optimum kayak placement during transport.

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897 Hullavator

Always looking to raise the bar, this time Thule lowers it with a kayak lift system that brings the load platform down and enables anyone to load and unload a kayak.

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897XT Hullavator

The award winning kayak lift system has been enhanced and now offers greater boat capacity and protection with a more robust latch mechanism.

Pair of foam blocks
$20 at Sierra Trading Post. May be cheaper elsewhere.

How high is your vehicle? How long is our kayak?

How heavy is it? How strong are you?

Stackers are simple but provide the least precise fit, with less contact with the boat. Great for carrying multiple smaller boats on their sides, if you take the time to strap very carefully. If you don’t plan on carrying more than two boats on your vehicle, there are better options.

J-cradles are great for securing a boat and not taking up too much space on the rack. BUT, they are harder to load and strap on a tall vehicle. You must hoist from the side, and the lip of the cradle adds a few more inches to your hoist.

Saddles are great for long boats on tall vehicles. You can lift the bow onto the rear saddle or wheels, and slide into place if you have the right set up.

I’ve never tried any of those fancy hoisting devices. They are expensive, and mean more hardware on your roof when you aren’t carrying boats. Plus, the more complicated a mechanical device is, the more apt it is to break down. But if lifting the boat is a real challenge, they probably are worth it.

Foam blocks work really well when secured on bars–much better than they do just placed on the roof. Certainly the cheapest alternative and maybe all you need.

Cradles, Stackers and Saddles made by Yakima and Malone are of equivalent quality to Thule, and will fit Thule bars, so if you decided to go the hadware route, and find one of those cheaper, get it.


– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 8:34 AM EST –

How high is your vehicle? Suv - Honda Pilot.
How long is our kayak? 18 feet
How heavy is it? ~45 lbs
How strong are you? Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, not. I have a 17 foot 45 lb canoe and I handle that ok.

Simple secure setups are fine. I don't think I need the hoisting system.


I’d go with some kind of saddle set up
You can get rollers in the back, which would allow you to lift the bow and then push it forward easily.

My set up

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 5:19 PM EST –
And carrying 2 kayaks at highway speeds about for approx 1500 miles
Basically foam blocks on steel bars. Foam blocks work as well on Thule or Yakima.

If you want the premium setup
Go with the Slipstream. It will offer the best support to your boat and make it easier to load. If you want mid level, Set-to-Go. Your low price option would be the Top Deck or foam cradles. I wouldn’t recommend a J-style cradle since you have 78" bars. Might as well carry the boat flat since you have the space. Boats in J-cradles make one heck of a sail.

Thanks for all the replies. One review on Amazon stated that the slipstream brackets (for the lack of a better description) does not have locks. It does look good. Have to wait for a great sale.


– Last Updated: Nov-01-07 10:57 PM EST –

I will go with:

883 Glide And Set
The perfect combination of the Hydro Glide and Set-To-Go Saddles in one package.

After gift certificates, and other discounts, I will pay about $100.

It will not be delivered by the time my QCC 700 is shipped.

Is there any possibility that I can put the kayak on my load bars along with the brackets ( that I use for my canoe? I would use at least 4 straps. The trip to the shipped would be about ~15 miles.

Foam pool noodle
Get a cheap foam pool noodle–one which is hollow in the middle (the larger the hole, the better). Cut it into a few pieces (about the width of your QCC), cut along one side so that you can push it over the load bar. Strap the QCC to that. It will do fine. The Canoe clips won’t do much for you. The pool noodle may howl in the wind a bit, and as a permanent solution, not great, because it will eventually fall apart. But it should be fine for carrying your new boat until your Glide and Set arrives.

If you can’t find a pool noodle at this time of year, a short length of foam pipe insulation will work, too, though it won’t provide as much cushion.

2nd that
Just a note - strap your kayak deck down :slight_smile:


– Last Updated: Nov-02-07 8:27 AM EST –

Yes, the kayak sits opposite of a canoe. Believe me, all tips are welcome.

In regards to my decision, I want to know if the slip stream would be a better choice. It spaces out the kayak braces (supports) more than the one I picked. My Honda Pilot luggage rack/bars do not extend from the front of the roof to the back like most Toyotas do. They go about 2/3.

Is it better for a kayak to have as much spacing between braces as possible? I will be getting a QCC 700.

slip stream

my choice