Cross bar spacing

I’m one of the many folks driving a smaller car that almost looks comical with a 17’+ kayak on top.i was wondering if there is a formula for The minimum the bars need to be spaced apart as compared to the length of the boat. I have the bars spaced as per yakima’s Install instructions on a Toyota Corolla. I have an Eddyline Fathom I’ve transported often, but when I threw my new P&H Scorpio my up there, it just looked l o n g. I have a couple of different types of “saddles” to choose from and even the foam pads, None have quite the footprint on the kayak that you’d see in one of the “wing” type carriers, but what I have seems fine. It just looks like a lot of kayak sticking out both directions from the cross bars. I also always use Tie downs on the ends.


26" bar spread is usually the minimum for Yakima/Thule for something kayak length. Easier than going with a bigger vehicle.

All Corollas going back to '82 have a bar spread >26"

P&H recommends a J-Style carrier which the benefits of on edge vs. hull down is a whole 'nother rudder/skeg, less filling/tastes great can of worms.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY
845-229-0595 main
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V-bars are another option for short-roofed vehicles. The supports can be placed at the proper hull location and the longitudinal bar takes much of the stress. During driving, the bar flexes like a leaf spring, reducing bending in the hull. Bow-stern lines (not shown) make it very solid.

Thanks a lot gentlemen! Been thinking of getting a set of J style supports anyway. Seeing some mixed reviews for the kind that fold flat when not in use, but I’d likely just take them off after anyway.

Another option, if you have a hitch, is to purchase a T-bar extender (got mine for $75 at Harbor Freight). I have enough cross bar space on my CRV but use the T-bar when I need to carry 3 kayaks. The only disadvantage is it blocks access to my hatch back.

Install the bars were yakima says too. They did the engineering on were its best to put them. I also have a small car and have put up to 18 foot long kayaks. Use what carldelo showed or a Thule Slip-Stream also contact the boat farther out from the bars. Here is mine.

@carldelo said:

This style of rack loads fast and supports well. Several of our club members have similar racks. Not so good though for wide boats.

@Overstreet said:

@carldelo said:

This style of rack loads fast and supports well. Several of our club members have similar racks. Not so good though for wide boats.

The CD Pachena pictured is 25.25" wide, so it’s wide. For wider boats, the appropriate carrier just has to be long enough to get the V portion out to a narrow enough part of the hull.

@Overstreet said:
Not so good though for wide boats.

… or with lots of ‘rocker’
Though, I am able to carry a Sterling Progression (not many have more rocker) with this style (Goodboy) rack - with a little extra ‘pad’ directly under kayak.

The problem of a boat not fitting on the rack on account of too much rocker would be easily solved by putting a little thicker padding on the V’s. The geometry of boat support via those V’s means that the amount that the boat is lifted higher as a result of thicker padding would be greater than the thickness of the paddling that is used.