J-Cradle racks for P&H Scorpio LV (RM)

Could only find a post on this from over 10 years ago. Looking for J-Racks to carry a 16’8” P&H Scorpio LV (RM, POLY-type) boat. Front crossbar is Thule rectangular and rear crossbar is Yakima round (one rack on truckbed one on cab [Nissan Frontier]). Will have composite double on Thule saddles on crossbars also.

A lot of the reviews I saw for the Thule and Yakima J-Racks weren’t very encouraging.

Thanks for any advice - hopefully based on direct experience.


Most any that can fit either style bar should work fine. I think Malone come with attachment brackets that work either way. And that Thule and Yakima both sell adapters to allow one to use theirs on the other style bar.

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The comments were probably not on how secure the Jbars were but how easy they were to load a sea kayak on solo. I am one of many who would never consider struggling with Jbars for a solo load - stackers or something like glide pads or rollers and saddles.

Once you have the boat up there they work fine. It is getting them there that is the problem, especially if you have a vehicle with a tall roof.

I have round bar over the cab and aero over the bed (read flat Thule). I carry a sot center position on Yakima J-bars sometimes. The problem is the clamps on the round bars don’t hold and rack rotates round the bar. But not on the flat bar. Thus with boat lashed it doesn’t move.

You can always bolt the clamps to the round bar as Marshal has suggested in the past.

Our friend Karen uses U-bolts on her round bars.

I’ve always preferred Thule square bars with Yakima saddles. Yakima saddles work with round or square bars. Thule saddles used to have an angle adjustment. No matter how many time you tightened the angle adjustment, it would come loose and the saddle would fall flat. With the Yakima round bars, no matter how many times you tightened saddles on them, they would roll, especially if loading from the rear.

The old style round or square bars are significantly less expensive than the newer aerodynamic crossbars, however, I suspect these are being phased out.

Thanks for the reply Celia.

The comments that I’m referring to were related to quality issues with the products. I have both some Thule and Yakima products and they are fine. I saw recurring reviews with quality and/or design issues with both Thule and Yakima J-Cradles.

I don’t have any particular issues related to loading Thule or Yakima J-Cradles as compared to other brands or other styles - the load process is going to basically be the same regardless of brand when loading this style of product.

I am looking for folks experience with other brands and whether they also experienced quality or design-related shortcomings.

Has anyone here used the Kuat Class-2 Kayak racks?

Thanks for the feedback, Overstreet.

Malone’s version of J racks are easier to load than my Yakima. You don’t have to deal with the up and over issue.

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OK, I apparently missed any quality issues. I have beat the heck out of Yakima and Thule products over the years and have not had any major complaints about quality so far. I am less certain about my most recent Thule mounting system for flush rails than I was about Yakima ones we had for a couple of the Sable station wagons but time will tell. Never tried Jbars.

I own Yakima and Thule products and I haven’t had any problems with either - but - I read quite few negative (more than positive) reviews of both those brands J-Racks. I have no experience with either but saw enough review experience to not feel confident in ordering either.

Keep in mind that a lot more people write in to complain about things than people who are satisfied. I’ve found that many complaints or bad reviews are from people that purchased products that were not suitable for what they really needed, had unrealistic expectations, or installed or assembled the product incorrectly.

I have a set of Malones that are about 20 years old, and still solid. Given that, I wouldn’t use any other J cradle myself. They do have adapters for both Thule and Yakima, but I’m not sure if both come in the box, or if you need to order a set of one or the other. Good to have spares anyway.

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I agree with you. In this case it seemed that the reviewers were consistent in the complaints about the two brands. Quite a few folks all had the same complaint about one make and the complaints about the other were all similar to each other. I certainly didn’t feel comfortable about either - since the complaints weren’t random but showed a different but definite pattern in each case. I’m used to seeing the 10% of reviews that give a product 1 star and state that they wouldn’t buy the product again or recommend it to a friend. These reviews had as many consistent and poor reviews as they did good reviews. They also explained the reasons for their ranking - whereas the good reviews had a single line like “Great Product - Loved it”.

Thanks for the info. See a lot of references to Malone but have never owned any yet.

I’ve owned a P&H Scorpio LV since 2011 and I have been using Malone’s J-cradles since at least 2005. I have no complaints.

We ended up getting a set of Kuat Class-2 j-racks. We used them today and after a single use they seem fine. Time will tell. Their class-4 j-cradles fold down - but we rarely drive the vehicle with racks on and no kayaks loaded so we opted for the simplicity and reduced number of possible failure/wear points of the non-folding model. We don’t leave the racks on when we’re not using them - to avoid wind-noise, slightly worse gas-mileage and wind/UV/rain/general wear.

Thanks for the info tvcrider. We appreciate it.

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