J-cradles and roof rack...

Do you guys take the complete roof rack from your car or do you only take the cradles? Also when parking the car at the put in for couple days do you take the cradles off so that someone doesnt do it for you ??

The reason I am asking is that it was such a pain in the butt to put on the roof rack system on my car and I dont want to go thru that again hehe


never take off
yakima/malone cradles unless doing long multiday drive w/o kayak. otherwise, leave it on. mph cost is 1+ mph. go to aiprort 4-5 times/months, and have never had a problem. car: acura tl. city: durham, nc

Difficult to answer
If mounting your cradles is difficult, then it would be difficult for a thief to remove them also. But if you are parked at a remote launch site he might have sufficient time to do the deed.

Is there any way to further secure them with a cable lock? Not completely foolproof, but a deterrent.


cradles are easy to put on/off
the roof rack was a pain thats why I never take it off. The cradles are attached with 4 screws and all it takes is 5 minutes for me take them off or put on. But I worry that with time the threads for the screws will get worked too much and I maybe looking for new attaching point for the j-cradles.

makes locking devices that work with their hullraisers and other rack attachments that don’t have the ability to use a lock core built in. I think they are like $10 a piece, and replace the plastic wing nut, and accept a standard lock core:


My cross bars are locked with core locks so they always stay on. I only take my cradles off if I won’t be using them for an extended period.

…and you really don’t need to take off all 4 screws, you just need to take off two and loosen the other two so you can swing the metal connector piece off the crossbar. That’s how the Thule j-carriers come off anyway.


It’s worth the risk to me when I kayak for a couple hours to leave the malone J cradles on. I don’t drive around with them on all the time because that looks weird…

On my malones, I switched out the nuts with wingnuts and it works great!! Very fast to put on and off now.

We leave the cradles on…
We always leave our Yakima J cradles on the roof - even when we aren’t kayaking. Since the Yakima bars are round, we rotate the cradles so they are laying flat on the roof when we are not kayaking. We have locks on our rack, but not on the J cradles. With that said, if we were going on a multi-day paddle, and the car would be left in a secluded location, we would probably remove the J cradles…I guess it mostly depends on how safe you feel in your area…


the wing nuts…
… are a great idea. Will make a trip to a hardware shop to pick them up.

Wing nuts work very well
If you have the ones that use bolts, get eye bolts. Then I dip the eye in the liquid plastic/rubber Dip-it stuff. Works great and no tools.

Use Yakima lock cores
and leave everything on, except in the winter.

If you are really worried about the
cradles, run a Kryptonite cable through them and around the rack with a good padlock. The cable is available at Home Depot.

You mean you don’t paddle in the winter? :slight_smile:

Only in my basement on the rug
with a TV perched on the bow :wink: