J Style or Traditional kayak carrier???

I think both styles are pretty nice…however, I was wondering if carrying my kayak vertically on my light Jeep Grand Cherokee would be bad if a gust of wind decides to hit while I’m driving down the hightway. Compared to the traditional style of carrying a kayak on a roof rack (cockpit facing up)…are the “J” styles a bad alternative? Are they pretty safe even to load my Wilderness Systems Pamlico 100 onto my lighter vehicle?

J cradle
I use two sets of J style cradles back to back with enough space in the middle to hall a third kayak on its side, on the rack itself. I hall three kayaks total. I drive a Chevy Colorado 4+4 4door truck with a cap over the bed of the truck. I was worried at first about cross wind. Now I don’t even think about it. I can’t even tell they are up there. But I got them because I hall three kayaks most of the time. And thats the only way I can hall three without using the bed of the truck.

Parking Garages -No clearace
You won’t be able to park lots of places. This ends up being a hassle especially on trips when you are staying in hotels or parking at ferry, or other spots.

Some thoughts
I use both J cradles and regular saddles carrying two boats, and have been doing it for a long time.

Neither one will be affected by cross winds at high speeds as long as they are cinched down tight using cam-lock buckle type straps.

If you had a low vehicle the J’s would be ok since the boat could be lifted and put on from the side.

With just one boat and with that high Grand Cherokee, I would go with the conventional saddles.

Possibly Hully rollers in the rear or you could do like I do and glue carpet to the saddles and the boat would slide on nicely from the rear.



like Jack L said …
about using regular saddles especially if you are getting a longer heavier boat in the future because longer boats are skinnier making two boats laying down possible therefore easier loading using the rollers. the new style wide rollers a way better than the hully rollers where you must be sure the bow doesnt fall between them hope this helps

I use

– Last Updated: Apr-13-08 8:49 AM EST –

both styles. I have a rack set up to carry 3 kayaks....I use this one the most, because the bars don't stick out and "Get" me


The J is in the middle.

I also have a rack set up to carry 4 boats, 2 J's in the middle.


after that if I need to carry more, I use a trailer


all with a Jeep Grand Cherokee

Best Wishes

J Racks not affected by gusts
Obviously something sticking up on your roof is going to offer resistance and decreased gas mileage, but do not be concerned with gusts of wind causing you to grab the wheel. My Minnie Winnie, which I dubbed the “Flying Box” had a dramatic response to side gusts of wind, sometimes resulting in a white knuckle ride. I recently toted 4 boats between 12-18’(2 J’s on the outsides with two lashed in-between) from Long Island to Chincoteague on top of my larger SUV, with nary a white knuckle moment. Caveat: I did have the unfortunate experience of driving into a parking garage in NYC with a single unladen J. The rack survived, my vehicles cross bar track did not. Ouch!

Good thing i’m tall
But I understand that it could be quite hard to lift the kayak up there vertically all by myself…the parking garages shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for the insight!

Sweet Jeep :slight_smile:
Those are some nice pics of your grand Cherokee loaded down with those kayaks! and that will help me a lot in deciding!