Fiberglass tandem cartopping help

I recently purchased a wilderness systems pro and it’s pretty big at 20 feet long and around 90lbs. What I need help with is I have no idea how to car top this thing. I have a set of Yakima whispbars on the roof of my car right now, but should I get j cradles or saddles and which ones are strong enough for a kayak this heavy? I looked at yakima’s jaylows, but those are only rated for 80lbs. Plus I’m worried about the kayak just being a huge sail on its side. Any and all insight would be greatly appreciated.

More info
Vehicle model, bar spread measurement, kayak width, trailer hitch?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

I carried our 23 foot 100 pound
fiberglass tandem on Yakima cross bars attached to the roof with their “Landing pads”

I don’t know your vehicle, but try to get a good spacing between them.

Jack L

More info
The car is a 96 ford explorer, and the bars are just under 7’ apart. I have a trailer hitch, but due to the layout of the car it wouldn’t add a ton of support. The kayak is 29" wide.

$.01 from canoe guy…

– Last Updated: Jul-15-15 12:31 PM EST –

..per Marshall's...need your spacing specs between bars. If there's enough room I had good luck carrying the kayak upright on saddles...fwiw.

if you get jbars or stackers

– Last Updated: Jul-15-15 3:07 PM EST –

You will have to get the boat onto it's side to secure it. I do it easily enough for stackers with my boats, but they are not tandems. You may be best off with something like saddles where it stays on its hull.

Confused about the weight part - are you trying to use the factory crossbars? You will find many here have gone to third party cross bar and tower sets, generally rated for significantly more weight than the flimsy ones most cars come with.

You will absolutely need to have bow lines for that, and at that length a stern line may feel safer. And tjis from someone who only uses bow lines. But l am not hauling that amount of overhang.

7’ of bar spread is great especially with a 90# 20’ kayak. I’m going to assume these are Thule or Yakima bars not the factory.

A pair of Marco Kayak Saddles would be a good step. $135/pr

This might be worth looking at for the loading help and another support point.

Sorry, no personal experience with these as I haven’t found a local rep to show me the wares but it looks interesting.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

So do you think that a saddle
Would provide enough support, even with the kayak sitting on its hull like that, or would it be stronger on its side in a j cradle? I just want to avoid causing any damage to the kayak as its about nine years old

Saddle placement
Get 90# of 20’ kayak on its side on top of a SUV isn’t something I would look forward to and I lug boats around most every day.

At a 7’ bar spread it’s likely the saddles are going to be placed near a seat or bulkhead. You can measure to verify The Marco saddles are broad at 12"x21" so they distribute the weight nicely. Basically this arrangement duplicates V cradles often preferred by surfski paddlers but at your kayak width the Marcos are at a better angle to accept the beam of your kayak.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY (Newsletter just posted)

If I am hauling my favorite composite boats, we are talking older than yours. And two of them have repairs of a lesser or more major nature from having been dropped. Try to drop it on grass if you must, concrete causes more repair work.

But seriously, the only reason l use stackers is that we found saddles and rollers required more frequent strap adjustments on ling trips than our old style stackers had. And we could carry more boats wirh stackers. But for an tandem l wouldn’t even think about other than saddles.

Just make sure you have the boat positioned so that each of the saddles is in the near vicinity of a bulkhead. But you have more choices of bulkheads in a tandem, should be able to make that work.

As far as getting the behemouth up there, l love my amagansett roller leader and would gladly pay the much higher price they go for now than we paid. It MAKES THE diff for this 60 plus yr old female bang able to get 45 or 50 or so pound boats up and dowm myself.

To me, saddles are the best way to go
the only time I use J cradles is when I am going to be carrying a third boat, (canoe or kayak)

I like the support that the cradles give plus the lower profile on my vehicle.

jack L

back pain ?

– Last Updated: Jul-16-15 9:27 PM EST –

damaged your spine beyond repair ?

slipped disc ?

slipped 3 discs ?

torn the abjectus dusalis irreparably

surgery ?



is here a burro or mine donkey for hauling hull to beach ?

Watched relatively simple minded people at San Juan County Park cope unloading these monsters from a trailer.

Two in good physical condition, male, female... ?struggle taking hull off trailer, pull arms out of sockets getting down to the beach.

Yeah, the bow goes on a 2x4" outrigger with a saddle fitted to

the saddle should have rollers on it see Oak Orchard.

Hull rolls forward on saddle, stern on cardboard for sliding.

Then move your step ladder to stern, carry stern up ladder a place on rear cross member.

Two maybe 3-4 needed. Do you have 3 friends ?

Maybe 5 in a stiff wind.

The stuff people buy, right ?

no doahn laugh
not too hard…

seriously, finding a pulley system in the large game animal area. rigging the pulley for the stern lift ?

A doable system without spending megabucks.

Simply, draw the idea out n follow thru.

Google Images is useful for developing a perspective on what is and what isn’t

here are 20’ kayak on roof or trailer results