Kayak on station wagon?

Looking for suggestions on the best way to put a kayak on top of a Passat wagon with saddles (not J saddles). On my previous vehicle (pick-up), I just put old nylons over the rear saddle and slid the boat right on: however on the Passat the back saddle can not go all the way back to the rear of the wagon, therefore I am looking for a way to protect the back and rear top of the wagon. I am thinking about using something like a welcome mat, but would like to hear other’s suggestions.

Old Towel

I have a wagon (Volvo) and found that the only safe way to load is to lift and place the kayaks directly on the saddles from the side - sliding them on from the back can result in expensive paint repair, as I found out when someone tried to help load and caused several hundred dollars damage to the top of my tail gate. You may have some success with a rubber backed piece of carpet, but make sure both it and the car are free of sand. We recently switched to composite boats because the poly boats were just too heavy for one person to load by themselves.

you don’t say which rack you are using - on my outback, i have thule crossbars, and have the loader extension that slides out to the side of the car - i set the bow on the extender, and lift the stern onto the rear saddles, and then move the bow to the front saddles - very quick, and easy

Have any Gray Poupon?

Towel to protect car
Use the towel with a Passat wagon and a Volvo wagon. Slide it onto Yakima bars and onto the Mako Saddles with the anti-scuff pads. Use the saddles for bow and stern because I didn’t like how the rollers in the stern pushed into the fiberglass hull of my tandem (Seaward). No problem with the plastic single (hard Prijon plastic). Better support with the Makos. Slides on well with the pads. Towel on the stern protects both cars.

Get thee to target!

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 1:37 AM EST –

Buy a big thick decent quality all cotton bath mat for about $14, put it over the end of your passat, rear bars, and saddles. Slide it up. Rubber or jute backing can hurt your car.

It works and offers more protection than an old towel. (Unless your old towels are much thicker than mine.)

I drive a passat wagon myself. Just heard from the dealer that my recent transmission problems were caused by a cracked o-ring on a fitting of the transmission fluid cooler. Covered under warranty, first unusual problem. Might want to consider softer brake pads. Those things just eat rotors. The rotors also ship thin, the claim is that they are not designed to be re-machined. I drive using stopping distance instead of stomping on brakes, but those are some hard pads.

Good luck and good paddling!

As to the grey poupon remark, you can get a low end passat wagon for the same price as a subaru. Not as good mileage, but a lot more car if you crash or need to carry five.

I have a Hyundai Elantra wagon
with Malone Autoloader and Gull wing racks-my crossbar is wider than most wagon crossbars so I was able to get 2 racks up there. I always ask someone nearby to help lift my kayak up/down-I’ve learned my lesson that this can damage the shoulders doing the solo lift thing so I don’t recommend any solo heaving of kayaks.

Similar but different
I have a similar system to Ayerloom’s, only using Yakima racks with an extension (Boatloader). Works great with my Malone Autoloaders.


Bathroom rug.

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 11:23 AM EST –

Rubber non-slip on bottom. Sort of what Pete was referring to but I did not understand what he meant... What worked for me was the old rug placed on the back of the car rubber side down (won't slide off the position that way) then put the bow up on the rug as you are prepping to get it onto the saddle. Rubber doesn't slide around like a towel might... Rug allows for boat to slide without scuffing/scratching the paint job... rug rolls up real small and works for changing flats etc.

Actually this is a lower end Passat with 5 speed, I’m getting around 30 mpg in mixed driving and 33 - 34 on my commute to work

a good way to go
might go there next, (used) for my car. My wife needs all wheel drive absolutely so mileage will suffer.

Swimming noodle
We’ve used a swimming noodle with cord through center channel and carbiners at each end. We hook the noodle on the rear uprights of the roof rack and slide the boats over the noodle onto the rear of our Yakimas.

We’ve used this with three wagons thusfar: '93 Taurus, '97 Sable, '03 Sable. Both my wife and I drive wagons, we kept the 93 until this past December (140+ miles) and still have the '97.

In case it help you or someone else

– Last Updated: Jun-10-04 11:59 PM EST –

My rug covers my rear saddles, the rear bar between the saddles, all the way to the top edge of the roof and about six inches down the glass.

Hope that makes things clearer.

You can then get a cheap grey sleeping pad that's six feet long set it down so that it's nearest edge is about 6 feet fron the car, set your boat stern on it while the keel is on your the bath mat. Maintain contact with boat to ensure its balance, move to stern, lift and slide. A workable one person load with standard equipment and a $14 rug and a cheap sleeping pad, (good for changing on and shoving in your boat in case of emergency to reduce exposure through contact with the ground)!