J cradle question


was in a store this afternoon and noticed a set of J cradles at a pretty good price. seemed sturdy enough but noticed one thing.(never used any cradles, just tied my boats on a rack)

The strap which hold the boat on the rack ties on the top of the J, no problem… But, there is no place to hook the strap on the bottom. Instructions are to fasten it to the cross bar that the cradle is fastened to. is this the norm? In my opinion this will put a strain on the J and cross bar.

But again, I never had a set and haven’t looked that close at them before.

thanks for any input.


I loop mine through the top of the
cradle and under the bar between the clamps that hold it to the bar.Looping it around the bar is no issue.

That is not the norm with Thule
You loop the strap over the top metal, (pipe) loop,

and then do the same thing at the “J” portion.

I usually go another step and with the extra length of the strap that is hanging , tie it around the cross bar.

I am pretty sure Yakima saddles are similar, but not positive.

I would not feel secure with it just over the top of the J and then going around your rack cross bar.

Jack L

Not over the top; through the top above
the pad.

Thule eliminated the closed, lower “loop” on their “standard” J-carriers (Hull-a-port) a few years ago but at least two of their related products, the Hullavator and the Hull a port Pro still have them. Looks like all the similar Yakima products have open bottoms. My guess is it makes no difference. I have one set of each (old, closed Thule J and new, open Thule J) I’ve always run the strap under the car’s rail.

forgot to mention
these are made by, or have the name of, Swiss Cargo. Not really top of the line but look OK. The top is no problem as the strap can hook into the bend of the cradle. However the bottom of the J doesn’t come together. Just the 2 bars come to an end. Instuctions say to put the strap around the cross bar and up to the top of the J. I was thinking that this method would pull a constant strain on where the cradle is bolted to the cross bar, in addition to the weight and wind force of the boat…

Malone J-cradle
I have a Malone J-cradle. the straps run through the top and lower ends of the J.

I like that way
and that is how my Thule ones work as I posted above

Jack L

that is the way you want to do it
You want the load to be strapped off to the cross bars so that they bear the brunt of the force exerted by the wind or G’s. The alternative is to tie off your boat to just the J-craddles, but then that puts all the force on just the two points where they attach to the cross bars.

Js keep changing styles
the new Thules do not form a “u” so you can tie the carrier to the bars which we do with both our older Thule hullaports and Malones. The more expensive Thule (Pro) still can be secured to the bars. Malones brought out a new J but it is also open at the ends.

We always do the extra step with the straps also wrapping them around the load bars for extra safety.

Ford would not fix our van so had to way to transport our toys anymore. We bought Suction cup racks and the cradles to fit for our Honda for now. Hope this will be a good fix for now.

I thread the strap through the top slot, bring it down to the lower slot and tighten up; then I loop the excess cable around the bar and tie off.

You’re talking about these…

– Last Updated: Apr-07-11 11:12 PM EST –


I have these exact ones. I do as the instructions say and loop through the top of the rack and then bring the strap down in between the two forks of the cradle and around the bar on my rack. I then thread the strap, tighten it down as much as possible and then for a little extra security, tie the excess off.

I too have always wondered if this would put extra load on the top of the cradle since it is being tightened down to the bar. However, I think that since the strap comes down in the middle of the forks of the cradle, the angle of the strap simply forces the cradle downwards instead of pulling it at and angle outward. Does that make sense? For instance, if you decided for some reason to wrap your straps around the roof rack about 3 inches away from the cradle, this would create a different angle and would cause the rack to pull forward... However, putting the strap as close to the center as possible (in between the forks) causes a downward force.

I can confirm that there are some small gashes in the vinyl surrounding my Thule load bars on my rack from where I have attached and removed the cradles, but they are at the front and rear points of the rack, which to me seems like an even distribution of force/weight on that cradle. I could, however, be completely wrong about that...

sounds fine to me
I have a hullaport pro, and I go through the loop at the top of the J, and bring one strap through the bottom of the j, and then around the bar, before strapping it to the other end of the strap. The kayak is held into the J, but the whole apparatus is attached to the load bar.

Right, but…
The regular hullaport doesn’t have the bottom portion connected. It’s like a double prong fork and so no place to wrap around. Hence you have to wrap around the bar… Which is what the OP was worried about…

sounds fine
I’m saying that wrapping around the load bar is fine, as I see it.


Dont care for the new Thules

– Last Updated: Apr-08-11 9:03 PM EST –

I saw them today and yes it is like a double prong at the end - the much more expensive Thules that fold down have the u shape. I would not be interested in the prong style specifically because you cannot properly attached the strap anywhere else except the top from what i can see.

I am not sure what Yakima has to offer in similar design. Malone has come out with a metal J with plastic integrated but I am not sure how well attached the plastic is to the metal - or they have an all plastic style still where you can attach at the bottom hole.

I just purchased 2 sets of Springcreek saddles (not the J design) and although I have not had the opportunity to use them yet, they look extremely well made with durable rubber and solid aluminum clamps. (just a thought!)

use with glass boats
Anybody using the pro model with glass boats? How is the stress and abrasion on the hull?