Carrying two kayaks

I have a Volvo wagon with factory installed roof rack. Thule makes several products that will mount directly onto my rack. It looks to me like if I want to carry two kayaks, my options are: a stacker to allow me to load them on their sides or I have to replace the cross bars with longer ones (plus the mounts to hold them)in order to fit two kayaks flat across the roof and then purchase the saddles to hold them.

Is option two easier to load kayaks with or is it a better for the yaks? Why would I want to spend three times as much money just to load them flat?

My factory rack is very secure - I’ve used it with direct mount Thule bike carriers for years with no problems.

I recently started using J-hooks to haul my sea kayak. I really like them. They’re easy to load, even on my truck with an 18’ boat. I went this route after reading all kinds of mixed reviews about the different saddle systems out there. You could haul two boats with the J-hooks without buying longer bars. You’ll also spend just a bit less than you would for nice saddles.

Longer bars are fine, but I personally don’t car for them unless they’re mounted on a tall vehicle - above your head. I find myself running into them otherwise.

Go with the craddles or stacker…
I am in the process of making a set of “fold-away” stackers for my kayak & Heather’s future kayak. I am making them JUST LIKE ORIGIONAL Thules, copying a set acually… So far they have cost me about $5. Then to ship them to a buddy to get them “rubber dipped” will cost about $10.

Moral of the story… Same exact product (without the sticker) for 4.6666667 times less the cost of buying them…lol.

If you have to buy them, though, get the craddles or stackers. Friends of mine (Longshadow & Lustbucket) have Malone J-craddles & they work excellent.

Paddle easy,


I use stackers
I have a CRV and use the Yakima stackers for my plastic boats. I usually stack one on it’s side and the other flat on the factory roof rack.

Toyota Corolla Wagon…
with a roof rack factory installed I took off the cross bars and installed a Yakima rack with long bars and stackers. I carry 4 Swiftys on it at a time. Biggest safety thing I do is check that rack bases are always snugged down or haven’t loosened up and I always tie off the fronts and rears of all the boats to the car. So far so good. I also make a point of stopping every so often and rechecking all the tie down straps for loosening when I’m highway driving especially. Been okay for the past 6 years hope to continue for a whole lot more.

I have the Malone

– Last Updated: Jun-26-04 7:01 AM EST –

Autoloaders for my Dagger to carry on its' side and the Malone Gull Wing to carry my QCC upright. Same thing-just check my straps and brackets periodically for looseness and tighten as needed. I have a factory rack on my Hyundai Elantra wagon.

Malone Racks
Check out the Malone racks. We carry 2 yaks on our Honda Element using the factory rack with the Malone Gullwings. We switched from the Malone AutoLoader to the Gullwings because we found it easier to load the yaks from the rear of the Element. Our kayaks are 13’ and 17’.


Hull-a-port #835 by Thule
I use these “j-racks” on 9’ to 17’ kayaks. They are secure and do not cause deflection damage to “tupperware boats”. However, one must lift the boats all the way up on to the rack. I use two web straps on each “j-hook”: one goes around the boat and the the square load bars; the second joins the “j-hook” loops and prevents the boat from rolling in the rack.

A buddy has the Malone equivalent, and they are nice too.

Weight capacity of racks…
I just purchased my second Yakima system…first lasted 14 years. One Yakima dealer suggested I use the attachment that are integrated into the Toyota 4Runner factory installed rack. I went to my ‘tried and true’ local yak shop and read in the Yakima literature that the 4Runner rack is limited to 100lbs. The Yakima rack is limited to 150lbs. So…don’t forget to check the weight capacity of your Volvo factory rack.

I will use a Malone Autoloader and an old Yakima attachment for our two kayaks…a Tempest 170 and Skerray.

The factory cross bars on our Volvo
(1998 wagon) are a weak link. They are not as strong as aftermarket bars and do not attach to the rails in the same way as Thule or Yakima bars. I am a long time fan of Yakima for my ski box and bike carriers. But Thule is making nice racks nowadays better than Yakima in some ways. For Kayaks though if you go with any of the J carriers, the round cross section of the Yakima bars lets the racks pivot. This lets the cradel spread the load evenly across its width. Not sure how they pivot on square bars. I just got the Malone Autoloaders and really like them. Let the extended lip hang over the end of the bars for easiest loading.