Car topping my kayak

-- Last Updated: Jul-18-04 7:53 PM EST --

I want to buy a roof rack for my 17' BorealDesign Inukshuk kayak but I'm not sure what type. Should I buy the saddles or the "J" type rack (the kayak is on its side) ? Which one will offer the most resistance in the wind ? Since the kayak is stronger on its sides will the "J" type prevent oil-canning ?

Thank you

What vehicle?

2000 Toyota Corolla 4 doors

Good answers need good info
Is you kayak hard chine or soft chine, plastic or composite.

In general carrying horizontal gives less wind resistance, and carryin vertically gives better resistance to distorting of plastic kayaks.


– Last Updated: Jul-18-04 8:46 PM EST –

I have two 17' soft chine polyethylene kayak. How bad is the wind resistance with the "J" type rack ?


Check out Saris racks. Their saddles may seem a bit odd, but have proven very effective on everything from havy wide plastic SOTs to Kevlar SINKS to rather light and fragile Surf Skis.

The cross bars are rock solid. Triple channel. Self centering (meaning faster to get on, seconds to take off. Integrated locks. Better looking that Thule and Yakima on cars IMO.

Any other thought ?
I live in Quebec, Canada so the choice is pretty slim. Thule and Yakima only.

Any other thought about my initial question ?

Car-topping kayaks
I’d be concerned about the side-winds off passing trucks and other large vehicles. (This tends to apply more if you are out on the major highways where there is a lot of high-speed truck traffic.)

Also, from an aesthetic point of view, I dislike the look of the kayak on its side in a J-cradle. Too high and ungainly looking.

I have the Yakima bars and use both the land sharks cradles at the bow and the hully-rollers at the stern. In hindsight, I’d replace the rollers with another set of the land sharks cradles because a wet boat doesn’t have enough friction to move the rollers anyway, and I dislike the small pressure points on the bottom of the kayak. (More of an issue on hot days with a plastic boat, but still…)

All that said, I have friends with the J-cradles on Subarus and they find then easy to load and unload. (Trying down the straps is a bit more complicated though.)

Bottom line: I suspect either method is perfectly adequate and it will come down to whatever you find easier to work with.



Thank you

– Last Updated: Jul-21-04 5:05 PM EST –

Thank you for your point of view.

I want to buy the Yakima SideLoader also to help me car top my kayak by myself (back problems). With a "J" type rack I really don't think it would be easy to use the SideLoader unless the back "J" is on a swivel. The wind factor is another reason I might not buy the "J" type rack.

The rollers are only good with a truck because it doesn't have a trunk. Besides, on all of the pictures you see, it's always a truck they use.

Why write another subject ? Anyway…
Has anybody ever heard about the “J” cradles being bended (with kayaks in them of course) because of the wind resistance ?

Thank you

Malone Autoloaders & Yakima Boatloader
Works for me on my Suby OB. The Boatloader relieves me of humping teh kayak up to roofrack level, and the Autoloaders allow you to scoot the boat and push it from horizontal into the vertical position with ease. From my experience, a QCC500 on it’s side doesn’t cause the vehicle to be blown around any more than when I carried it horizontally.


Yakima round bars
I have Yakima round bars and I wonder if it won’t be a problem. Why the hell round. The saddles or “J” cradles will never be quite solid enough not to move at all. Thule is square.

I have the yakima saddles fore and aft and I never have a problem except for scrathing a little bit. They are quicker for straping down than the j hooks. Stick a cock pit cover on the boat and it is at least as aerodynamic as my pick up.

2 pair of cradles
just a comment…I have the land shark cradles on the front and hulley rollers on the back. I plan to sell the rollers and get another set of cradles. Don’t like the pressure points that (I think) they put on my boat (kelvar-carbon).

another vote for malone…
we watched two folks loading thule j cradles at the beach on an explorer…they needed a step ladder to load the boats and tie them off. i have a ranger with a shell and the malones just don’t need that extra umph to get on…we just lay the boats flat on them and then I grab the coaming and shove them up…works like a charm.


I live in Quebec !
Unfortunately, here in Quebec (Canada) we don’t have much choice in car racks (or anything else for that matter !). So, no Malone… Only Thule, Yakima and Sport Rack. I’ve decided to buy Thule bars with the Hull-a-ports and the Outrigger for easier loading (I would have loved the EZ Loader but guess what… I live in Quebec… !)

I have the Thule Stacker
I have had this for 5 years and it works well I can get three boats on my car without a hitch. As far as cross winds…i would say you are worrying too much. I have traveled 12 hours with three kayaks on top without a hitch. Winds are seldom a problem.

Another idea is to get a trailer. Just to make things more complicated…:slight_smile:

Good luck