Best Way to Car Top a Kayak?

I will be traveling 300 + miles at highway speed. What is the most secure and aerodynamic way to transport on my Thule racks? I see the Hull a Port carries them sideways and the Top Deck caries them flat. (I own canoes so I know about securing the fron and back). thanks.

this looks the most aerodynamic

Seriously, though, I doubt you’d see a difference in MPG between the two options. I carry my boat rightside-up; it’s easiest for me on a padded rack and if I turn it upside-down, the coaming touches the roof. Consider the strength of your hull in this case, or the strength of the side of the hull when mounting on it’s side. Most kayaks should be able to be carried either way.

The airstream gets pushed up from the hood, sideways would present smaller cross-section.

In real life - not very big difference.

I was…
…carrying my 17 footer on its side but on several occasions cross winds started freaking me out. On one of my last ventures from last season on Lake Erie I ended up coming home mainly on back roads to avoid the worst of the winds. And the force on the boat increases exponentially with increasing wind speed.

This season I’m trying hull down with a Thule 887xt SlipStream.

Racking kayaks.
I’ve always had small wagons, and have been able to have rack bars at least 42" apart, which I needed for my rowing shell. I mount kayaks upside down and backwards with the low point in the coaming resting on the forward bar tightly strapped down with no pad. The rear bar gets a wrap of thick pipe insulation and the foredeck is strapped not quite so tightly. This point is usually quite close to the fron bulkhead, so the deck is well supported.If there is any movement, it is the boat weathercocking into the wind. The sterns drop into your field of vision, but it doesn’t present a problem. There is a slight incline of the boats when mounted this way, but I believe it is the most secure, aerodynamic, and cheap way of doing it. Unfortunately, since the shops don’t get to sell you anything this way, they wouldn’t recomend it.

only one problem with that
I love your allegiance to spending what you need, not what some gimmick factory tells you what you need.

But carrying boats backward is bad luck.


spend $120
On two sets of Mako saddles from yakima. It its the cheapest of the hull down options from all the manufacturers under normal pricing conditions. I know a pool noodles and a million other ways work for less money. But I promise it is so much easier to just put your boat up there and strap it down. The straps and saddles make it very hard to mess up. Plus you don’t look like the guy with foam and a backward kayak.

Ryan L.

My preference is flat on saddles, but
I usually am carrying two yaks and a canoe, so I have the yaks in J cradles.

If you have strong cross winds, you would be much better with them flat and in saddles.

Jack L

I have had every rack imaginable.
My favorite is the $27 foam blocks that fit on ANY crossbar. I put them on my Thule cross bars and mount the boat hull side down. Fast, easy, secure, cheap, and if someone steals them I am out $27. No more expensive BS for me. I see now they are trying to get more moeny for them by combining them with straps and charging like $60. Ain’t capitalism great. Bill

Shop Craigslist
if time allows. I recently picked up another set of Mako saddles. They ran me $25 for both & they’re like new. Our boats have travelled thousands of miles in saddles (right side up obviously) with nary a problem.

Radio’s idea
at $120 but much broader with poly felt lining for slide-em-up applications.

Marco Kayak Saddles $120 for Thule/Yakima. U supply your own straps

$130 for the aero bar version for factory made crossbars.

See you on the water,

Marshall Seddon

The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY