Kayak placement on Pickup rack

In order to take our kayaks along when towing a travel trailer, we have installed a pickup bed rack (ladder type) on our F350 Ford Super Duty. We will be utilizing Thule Hull-a-Port Aero 838 cradles that someone kindly gave us.

In researching how to install the cradles, all examples show them mounted with the longer arm in the center of the cross-bars. I understand the need for this if you will be loading the kayak from the side of the vehicle, but my husband wants to know why you can’t reverse the J-cradle position, with the longer arm toward the outside (as in the attached photo), so the kayaks can be loaded and strapped down from inside the pickup bed. The F350 sits so high off the ground, even my 6’2" husband would need a ladder to attach the hold-down straps.

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I don’t see any reason why you can’t reverse the cradles. And a common advice with J-cradles is to run your straps around the cross bars as well as the cradles. Think in terms of the kayak staying up there (perhaps flopping around a bit but still secured from coming detached from the vehicle) even if the J-cradle were to break. Others here who use J-cradles might have pictures showing recommended methods of securing the kayaks.

And by the way, welcome to the forum!

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I’ve used my J cradles both ways on my Tundra rack with no issues just make sure the cradles are doubly secured as stated.
On the way to the beach I have to cross two tall bridges at the coast that are often windy. That wind loves kayaks on their sides so when I can I carry them

either hull or deck down .


J-cradles are usually used on cars with a limited width vs. the width of their boats.

Using the short arm on the outside make for an easier load from the outside.

Using them on a truck rack will make the tie down easier, so it won’t matter how you do it, for most folks, someone always has a bitch.

I did this when I had a truck and it worked well, easy to load from the bed. I paddle at Stone Mountain Park, which has a campground and I see a few transported like you want to do.

The J cradles are better since you can get them tighter without deforming the hull. For those who are careful laying them flat is fine, for those who really get them down tight the J cradles are better.