kayak car top, foam or saddles?

Is there any advantage to foam versus saddles for supporting your kayak on the car top? Was wondering if the saddles would deform the hull.


I have the Yakima saddles (Landsharks), and so far the plastic hull is not deformed. You could always apply a sheet of foam over the saddles. I have read that if you have a glass hull, it can easily get scratched with the saddles if you do not clean any grit or sand off first.

Good luck

Anything can deform the hull
Especially in HOT weather. Saddles that are too small/rigid or that contact the hull in weak areas can cause deformation, especially when you tighten straps/ropes and add to the pressure. Foam blocks can also deform the hull if they are not thick enough or do not conform to the shape of the hull.

The best way to carry your kayak is so that the contact area of the boat with the rack is as large as possible, on the strongest area of the boat so as to distribute the stress over the greatest area possible.

I like stackers/J-cradles best. With stackers/J-cradles, the WEIGHT of the boat and the PRESSURE of the straps are distributed to DIFFERENT points of the boat. The boat is carried on edge so that the weight of the boat is supported by the STRONG edge of the boat. I strap the boat to the cradles so that the pressure of the straps is on the hull/deck.

Thanks for the advice
The Thule J bars look good and should fit my non-Thule bars

Other options
You may want to check out http://www.maloneautoracks.com/

before you spend upwards of $130 on Thule. The Malone AutoLoader J Carrier is about $40 less and has good reviews here on P-net.

We have the older type but they have worked great for us.