Kayak on roof: Supports should be wide?

-- Last Updated: Nov-02-07 10:22 PM EST --

I already asked about this in another thread. I started a new thread because I need an answer asap.

The question is, is it better to space the supports that support a kayak on a roof as far as possible from each other or does it not matter.

Kayak: QCC 700

SUV: Pilot. My Honda Pilot factory luggage rack/bars do not extend from the back of the roof to the front like most Toyotas do. They go about 2/3. See pic below.

Carrier: Thule

1st choice: The slip stream at http://www.rei.com/product/752951.

2nd but preferred choice: http://www.rei.com/product/737629. The distance between the supports is not as far as the slip stream.

For this kayak, is it better to go with the slip stream in order to support the kayak better?

Pilot pic: http://www.automedia.com/NewCarBuyersGuide/photos/2005/Honda/Pilot/SUV/2005_Honda_Pilot_ext_1.jpg


What would the spread be using this system?

2nd but preferred choice: http://www.rei.com/product/737629. The distance between the supports is not as far as the slip stream.

Just measured…
The distance between the load bars would be 3 feet and 6 inches. That is the bad part of the Honda factory roof rack. It does not extend all the way to the front.

Should be fine…
I have a 36" spread on my Subie factory rack and have carried all kind of boats with no problem.

It will hang over the rear a bit, something to remember when backing up…

Count yourself lucky!
My Buby Tribecca has even less spread. I have been hauling one or two canoes (longest at 16 ft) all summer and have had no problem.

Before I bought a Thule Hullavator I had been hauling my QCC-500 using a self-fabricated “pallet” made from aluminum strut channel that extended my Malone saddles to match the bulkhead locations on the boat. That was probably excessive, and I will modify it so that there is about a 4 ft spread.

But the new Thule Slipstream looks very interesting. I was using a Yalima Boatloader, but the Thule accessory looks to be a great solution.

Others may disagree with me, but I am a great believer in bow & stern lines. One of our P-Net bretheren lost a boat this year, and a bow line would have probably saved it.


28" is the recommended spacing by Thule for my Honda Civic. If you have 28" space to spread on Pilot and use bow and stearn tie downs, you are rock solid.

I imagine that I will travel on the highway with it. Just wanted to make sure.

Hitch rack

– Last Updated: Nov-03-07 8:05 AM EST –

If your Pilot has a 2 inch trailer hitch, then you could use a rack like this (or a Yakima Dry Dock or Thule Goal Post) to increase the spread.


My new Chevy truck has an over cab factory rack spread like yours, and I like to get some spread rather than having a 17 footer perched up there. I'd do it if I kayked once a year, but since I go 1-2 times weekly all summer, I want a system that is foolproof.

So, this in the hitch, and one cross bar on the factory roof bars.

Just a thought if you have a hitch.

kayak rack
I have used Thule racks for years and for sea kayaks use a set of carriers similar to the Glide and Set system. To my eye, the Slipstream seems to introduce a lot of unneeded complexity and expense and looks as if it would be harder to store.

Most kayak decks are strongest near the cockpit coaming and my racks are spaced so the carriers contact the deck a little in front of and in back of the cockpit. I think that your factory rack allows plenty of spread, but as mentioned, your boat will not be centered on the vehicle. The Slipstream would probably let you rectify that.

If you have a long kayak that hangs way back of the vehicle, I would get one pair of Aero Towers and one set of brackets and feet for it that would allow you to mount one of your load bars on the front door frames of your vehicle. You could than mount the other bar on the factory rack in any position you like. The spread would be easily adjustable by moving the rear bar, the boat would be centered, and my guess is that the set up would be more solid than with the Slipstream. I suspect you could get the Towers and Fit Kit for less than the extra $150 you would have to shell out for the Slipstream.

Later, you will be looking for tiedown spots on your vehicle. When I got my Wenonah Escape from BluemountainOutffiters, they sold me two pairs of small “loops”. Each loop has a big rubber ring at the end. You place the loop end with the rubber ring under the hood or lift gate or tunk lid and close the lid or hood leaving the rest of the loop out for the tiedowns. Very clever design.