Load bars vs Kayak length

The load bar spacing on my vehicle is 25" and my kayak is almost 13’ long (Necky Manitou). Is it OK to run the straps over the cockpit opening which is about 36" long.

I have a Thule glide and set system which I’d like to use but am worried that the front and back overhang of the kayak is excessive and that strapping across the cockpit opening may not be a good idea.

Any ideas/suggestions??

check the weight the manufacturer suggests and tie the bow and stern under your bumper or some other secure place… hood and trunk latch with a stocking.

if you don’t have some type of cradle you may damage the boat.

lid and boot for my bcu friends. lol


Thule minimum
You meet the Thule minimum spread between the bars. Use your bow and stern tie downs and keep it under 85mph. (ok, just drive sanely)

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Load bars vs Kayak length
"if you don’t have some type of cradle you may damage the boat."

This is what I don’t want to happen and, since almost 5’ will be outward of each cradle, if I tie it down on each end it may want to bend the boat. Would it be better to use ‘J’ cradles? I’m in Arizona and plastic gets very pliable during the heat of summer…not so much in the winter.

Bow and stern lines
Should be just taught, but not tight. They are there to hold the boat in place in case of strap failure and to counteract any sudden gust getting under the boat. Making them extra tight doesn’t make the boat more secure, but just risks the bending you worry about. Definitely use bow and stern lines given the amount of boat sticking out both side. But don’t overtighten them.

Load bars vs Kayak length
Agreed. What I’m not doing (perhaps)is a good job at explaining that the overhang in front and back of the load bars may cause the boat to droop, tied down or not.

And is it OK to strap down across an open cockpit. Both of these due to the load bar spacing vs the kayak length.


I think you’ll be OK
just use those cam buckle straps that cinch tight, not ratcheting straps. the bar spread on my Element is only 30" and I carry 12-15’ kayaks just fine, in some cases with the straps going over the cockpit. I used to have a Mannie 13 and it seemed to me a bit stiffer than some other brands. just line up the aft bulkhead about where the rear bar is. I do recommend cradles though they’re nice and secure and provide a bit of shock absorbment.

extended carrier
Might take a look at Yostwerks.com .

On the wood framed kayak section under the “transport” section, there are directions for making a extended carrier to fit overly short cross bars, relatively cheap and easy way to give more support to your boat.

Bill H.

you have it.
if you can spread the load farther apart you will be better off,

Cradles are the best way to carry most boats, upside down second if the deck will handle it and in a cradle right side up is a third option.

bow and stern straps as said before should be snug, they are the safety lines only.

i carry a 16 1/2 foot capella, the only real problem i have ever had was when my car was rolled in a low speed misshap. insurance bought me a new boat.

if your roof rack is good you should be fine.

J cradles
"Would it be better to use ‘J’ cradles? I’m in Arizona and plastic gets very pliable during the heat of summer"

I think J cradles would best minimize both your concerns about strap down pressure on the coaming and potential end drooping, especially with a plastic boat.

OTOH, if your regular saddle cradles grab the boat well horizontally and forbid lateral shifting, you don’t have to tighten the belly straps super tight; but just enough to prevent vertical movement.

Oh wow . . .
I have been checking back to read updates on this post, until just now, when it occurred to me that I could add some input. (Ancient memories of how it feels waking up in the middle of a class discussion . . .)

I just bought a Thule Slipstream, which is a combination load-assist and cradle rack system. My Volvo wagon is really long, with widely spaced crossbars. My main reason for buying this system is that it slides back along its mounts on the crossbars to allow easier loading from the rear - using a roller.

Although I have assembled it, I have not attached it yet, as I am actually going to have to move the front crossbar back to make about a 30 inch spacing. This will allow me to have the sliding range I need to get the roller over the tailgate. Here’s the realization that came to me:

The main advantage of this system is with vehicles that have short rails or tracks on the roof - with closely-spaced crossbars - because it provides the extra support along the length of the kayak by extending the space between the front and back cradles. This might be an option for you.

This is why I am considering picking up a THule Slipstream for my Yakima system (also works w/round) due to my new TideRace xPlore S on my Ford Edge. The TideRace boats have the cockpit moved about 6" further forward than most other boats such as NDK/Valley/etc and this results in the front 12" of the coaming sitting over the front crossbar/saddle. I am also faced with running a strap over the coaming and don’t want to do that. Enter the Thule Slipstream - because Yakima doesn’t offer anything like that.

Just wish it didn’t cost $300 clams!!

Thule Slipstream
I ended up with the Slipstream also because of the short bar spread on my Honda CRV. I use Yakima landing pads and bars with the Slipstream as I wanted to be able to remove it quickly. I bought a Garage Gator to lift it off. My only wish is that the kayak could stay on the Slipstream in the garage, but the garage door is to low. Here are some pictures:



And the lift:



I agree. J hooks would be best in your
situation. But even then, in hot Arizona summers, any plastic boat will suffer if it’s left on a car long enough.

Yakima Showboat
Yakima has a system called a showboat:


This system when combined with 66" crossbars cost less than $200 and works about the same way as the slip stream, it allows you to load a boat from the rear of the vehicle with a extending roller bar. IMHO this is a much easier system to use can be used when carrying multiple boats (not just one like the Thule slipstream) and its cheaper too. Just make sure that everything is square when you install it for easy operation. Any saddles or other boat carrying accessory simply installs on your existing rack.

Showboat no-go
Unfortunately I already looked at the Yakima Showboat but it is only a loading system. It does not have the saddles on that system so does not give you any additional spread to the saddles so would not help. Yakima should change that system so it does do what the Thule system does - but doing so would cost much more as Thule INCLUDES the saddles and straps WITH the Slipstream system. Way better solution I think.

Home-made, $30

– Last Updated: Jan-06-10 2:04 PM EST –

Some hardwood or aluminum would work to make your own extension to the precise length you want. Just add a set of 4 yakima clamps ($10) and some wing-nuts/bolts/washers from your favorite hardware store (stainless steel). Spread b/w the bars on my car is 22" but the boat rests on about 60" spread. Needless to say - front and rear tie-downs are mandatory with anything longer than the rack extension -;)


I have a different boat now, but the same rack works just fine.

The KayakPro version is a few hundred $$$ and works just as well but is a little more easly adjustable for length.

Check out Vbars at keystonekayaks.com These are exactly for short roofs and long boats.