kevlar kayak car topping tips please

I have had plastic kayaks for years and have a yakima rack system, land shark saddles and hully rollers. Now, I have just purchased a new QCC 400x in kevlar and can’t use the land shark saddles for it. Possibly not even the hully rollers.

What is the best way to safely transport this boat? Use the hully rollers in back and mako saddles in front or is there a nicer system?

Looked at Marco saddles which would eliminate the rollers.

What a hassle! Should have stayed with plastic!!!

can’t use hully rollers?

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 5:57 PM EST –

I don't understand. Most people I know, self included, who have composite boats use Hully Rollers.

The most common I've seen is Mako Saddles front, Hully Rollers back.

We use Thule Set-to-Go saddles front and Yakima Hully Rollers back.

You mean the boat is too soft?
Too easily marked? I have carried Kevlar WW boats in my old Yakima cradles with no difficulty; in fact, the Kevlar boats don’t get lasting dents, while my plastic boats do. Tell us a little more about your problem.


– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 5:30 PM EST –

does not recommend the use of hully rollers by yakima. Apparently they don't have enough surface to cradle the boat. Mako saddles was recommended but I have to get this new boat onto my van which is high so a roller type system is needed. The land shark saddles are not made for composite hulls according to Yakima.

Makos & Hullys

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 7:49 PM EST –

I use Makos and Hullys on my Kevlar Swift Bering Sea. Some people don't like the Hullys on back for the reason QCC gave you, however in my case they are very far back (pickup truck) on the hull - not in the "soft" flatter area of the hull. If you use Makos on the front and/or back make sure you get the pads (sold seperately) that cover the hard plastic or make a pad of your own to attach to the saddle. Road vibration using these saddles without pads will damage a composite boat (see Hully Roller reviews on this site). Another option is this device (I haven't tried or seen it, but it might work depending on your vehicle).


I recently saw a system that used rollers for moving a load onto the rooftop but not for carrying. The rollers folded down and out of the way during transport. I wish I could remember who made them but I cannot. It may have been at a truck topper shop, so check those places.

Are you handy? Maybe you could make your own saddles and attach them to crossbars. That’s what I did for my wood kayak. I carry my plastic kayak strapped directly onto padded 2x4’s on a modified snowmobile trailer, but for the V-shaped hull of the wood kayak I measured the V angle and made custom cradles out of scrap pine and minicell foam. I strap the cradles to the 2x4 (through an opening in the cradle base) and strap the kayak to the cradles. Works well. You could make the cradles extra-large to provide lots of surface area and roll the kayak onto them via the fold-down rollers.

Just make sure you measure the hull contours well so that the kayak isn’t being “transformed” into another shape when strapped down. I don’t worry about it with stiff wood-glass-epoxy but a light-built Kevlar kayak might be another story.

It’s too bad you didn’t know about the racking restriction before you bought. Oh, well.

I’ve been looking at…

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 6:29 PM EST –

boat trailer rollers in West Marine and thinking they could be adapted for such uses. Glad to se someone has acted on the impulse.

You have to evaluate this for yourself.
We know that Mako saddles have been criticized for marring composite surfaces. I’m sure they would work OK for me, because I am not obsessive-compulsive about “marring.”

I no longer use my old Yakima cradles because they are too much trouble to mount and demount, what with me kayaking, open-boating, and c-1’ing. I use those cheap blue foam cradles, and I just strap the boat down to the crossbars.

should have stayed with plastic???
no effing way. First off consider changing your technique for getting the kayak on the roof. Look at a step stool and movable extensions off of one rack so you can lift the kayak by one end, rest it on the extension, move the step stool and bring the other end up. Then figure out some kind of minicell set-up that cradles the deck or hull effectively,honestly I’d consider mounting the kayak upside down if it’s possible as it’ll eliminate any chance of filling with rain water without requiring a cockpit cover. Get creative,don’t get fixated on $200 devices that can only fit one kayak. Stick with the rack then make up your own minicell blocks to fit the kayak/roof.

I transport two kevlar QCC,s
on the same yakima saddles that I transport our two tupperware kayaks.

Way back about eight years ago, I covered each saddle with indoor/outdoor carpet just so the poly kayaks could slide on easier.

I cinch them down as tight as I can and have never had a problem.

Don’t baby them they are tough and strong.



looked at my van
and it has a spoiler on back that won’t work with the very nice roller idea from Orchard. As I am understanding it, those foam minicell cradles that fit the round bars should be sufficient? That would be great because then I would not have to mess with removing the yakima or thule cradles when I take my canoe out. I will look at the side loader idea did try it once with my plastic touring kayak but it was so heavy I could not get it to work. Maybe this boat won’t be as heavy…

As far as me being handy, unfortunately I’am not. But could rig up simple stuff. Nobody liked the Marco Saddles?

We Transport 2 QCC Kevlar
boats using Thule racks. The adj rubber racks on the front and carpeted ones on the rear. I had no issues until I waxed the boats and now they slide around on the rear carpeted mounts. I have cut two pieces of soft rubber sheeting and plan to replace the carpet pieces on the rear supports. The carpet was intended to allow you to slide the boats on from the rear. In my case the car is low enough and the boats light enough that I just lift them up into the racks from the side.


Paddle! !! I used my 500 on

– Last Updated: Apr-18-05 11:27 PM EST –

hully rollers for the year that I owned it, no worries. It's a boat; it will get marring etc that's life. If you are worried about stratches causing inefficiency your stroke is a much bigger factor than scratches on a boat.

Just paddle and don't tighten the straps too tight and keep the tension off the bow andstern lines. After tightening the straps, try to shove the boat forward and backward, if it moves you left them too loose. Tighten the straps so that the boat does not move wiht a powerful shove or pull but it should in no way take a lot of force. Then put on your bow and stern lines.

that’s a bunch of hooey, use whatever you want.

Just adjust the rollers so they hit the hull at a bit of an angle and call it a day!

mako saddles and side loader
I have a kevlar QCC 600 and a Ford Escape and am short. I use the Yakima side loader. I did not like the rollers. I didn’t feel that they held the boat securely. I have land sharks in the fornt and mako saddles with pads on the back.

spread the hully’s apart till on chines
The area of maximum curvature on the chine is the place to put the rollers of the hully set up, not on the flat, thinner, and structurally weaker area. This will allow easier on and off and ability to tighten down sufficiently.

An exception
Though not pertinent to the question as regards a QCC boat. I just wanted to note that in the case of boats with a third bulkhead the rollers may end up directly under that bulkhead. With our Brit boats, the Hully Rollers end up directly under the bulkhead between the day and rear compartments. I believe this provides the structual support to be able to have the rollers under the boat.

Hullys and new Makos work great
I have a Kevlar Necky Tahsis 18’+ using the Yakima system on a 2002 Jeep Liberty. The Mako saddles conform wonderfully to the hard multi- chine hull. The challenge is adjusting the roof rack pieces to contact the boat. I use a safety strap on the bow to prevent lateral movement from occurring since the boat is a little bow heavy on my vehicle.

I have loaded the boat myself a couple of times without serious incident or marring on the boat.

I use a couple of cheap carpenter’s horses to rest my boat on in the garage-back my vehicle into position the load it up. It is a little easier that a dead lift from the ground. Good luck-yakima makes a nice system-I wouldn’t get discouraged.

Thanks everyone!
You all sure gave me alot of good solutions to think about. I tried to side load my Wenonah Vagabond canoe which weighs about 42lbs and it was almost impossible for me to do with the van being so high but I did accomplish the task. So the easiest way for me to load is from the back. Got some good input from Marco Saddles and asked QCC about them as well. While they do not endorse any product they have not tested they seemed to think it would work fine. I would have preferred the foam cradles and side loading idea for ease of changing rack to accomodate kayak/canoe not to mention costs.

Anybody want to buy 4 used Hully Rollers?