Natty, I think you said the most important words…“highway safe”.
Not only are you concerned with the safety of your boat and car but the safety of humans in your car or another vehicle if accident occurs because your kayak partially or totally leaves your car.
I am beginner to kayaking also and found it a whole lot easier to research and pick out a kayak then researching and picking out a roof rack, J cradles, stackers, saddles
etc, etc. Its real frustrating and yes it can get expensive.
If you know you are serious about kayaking I would bite the bullet and spend
big now. I debated back and forth and in the end decided to spend big and get a
top name system. Yes top name quality can break/fail but I feel better spending more and taking chances then spending less and taking chances.