Loading Kayak in Winter

I have Malone J-Cradles and Malone’s Telos loading system. But the “loading ramps” use suction cups to attach the botttom of the ramp to the vehicle – in my case, a tall Xterra. I manage to get my 9 1/2 foot plastic rec boat loaded by opening a door and sliding the boat up there – kind of like people use an extension bar on a rack. I only manage to drop the boat once or twice doing that – not a big deal with the plastic boat, but I’m not sure I want to risk it with the 16 foot fiberglass sea kayak. Any advice/suggestion?

Get a different rack system such as
saddles, and then slide the boat on from the rear, or get a different, (much lower) vehicle.

jack L

extension bar
You’d probably be more secure with a proper extension bar and a small step stool. Car door is clever, but perhaps less reliable? Extension bar will have a stopper on the end to keep the boat from slipping off the end.

I have an Xterra too
Use both doors. Once the boat is resting on both, throw a strap over one end and fasten it loosely to the cradle at that end. If its relatively loose, the boat can move as it has to while you load the other end but the boat can’t get away and hit the ground.

Its a pain in the neck but if you’re alone, you have to do what you have to do.

Thanks, I’ll try that
The funny thing is, if I had the nerve to try it, using the doors as an extension bar will probably work better with the 16 foot boat than the 9 1/2 foot boat, just as it was easier to slide the longer boat up from the back when I had saddles than it was to load the short boat. It’s all about leverage. I like your idea about loosely attaching one end to the cradle.

Dumb Dumb Dumb
J-cradles on an X ??? You have got to be kidding.

Pad the factory rack, rest the stern of the 16 foot boat on the ground lift the bow and side it up onto the rack … no effort.

You have the wrong rack system for an Xterra and a seakayak.

I also suggest
That you get a piece of black foam pipe insulation. Split it lengthwise and slide a piece over the top of each door. The boat is less likely to try to slither off the foam than off the edge of a naked door.

I Disagree
The Xterra might not be the best car for a 5’3" female who puts things on the roof, but works very well for a 5’3" female who needs a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle for a number of activities that involve road-tripping and sleeping in the back of the vehicle. I had saddles and it was actually more difficult to deal with and I could only carry one kayak. Now I can carry two and, with the Telos loader, I can load the boats fine EXCEPT when it’s below freezing and the suction cups don’t “work.” I do use a step stool to help when loading. It also make a nice bench to sit on or use for a table for my Jetboil.

Question on pipe insulation
The “I disagree” line referred to the earlier post, not the one about pipe insulation. Just wondering: Would a pool noodle work, too?

Not as well
Pipe insulation will be “grippier”, both on the door and the boat.

Boatloader stoppers too small to stop
…a kayak from sliding right over them, if there’s some momentum going.

Doors as extension bars
Extension bars are much cheaper than door hinge replacements.

Just a thought.

It’s not the X, it’s the rack …
There is a much easier way …

Proud owner solar yellow 2001 X …

Pipe insulation
The biggest problem it poses is the tendency to blow off in a stiff wind before you can get the boat up. Insulation is also better than a pool noodle because it has a bigger center void and therefore fits on the door better.

As for the door hinges, I suspect that a 50-pound boat divided over 2 doors puts less stress on the hinges than some of my bloated friends hanging on the doors as they enter/exit.

Sorry, friends. You know who you are.

Bought pipe insulation
Bought pipe insulation today. Tried it on doors and it fits nice. I definitely see the advantages over a pool noodle. Everything is frozen and there’s close to 4 inches of fresh snow outside. But there’s a pool session on Jan. 2, so I’ll let you know how it works out for loading.

Works fine for me
I have Malone j cradles on my 04 Xterra to carry an Aquaterra Sea Lion,and a Current Designs Breeze.I don’t like bars that stick out over the side of the roof(too hard on heads)so the best way to get two boats up there is Js.Besides,who wants to buy extra bars and towers when your rig has one of the strongest factory racks arround.As for the hight, I load the Sea Lion with a homemade, one by four extension that I cantalever over the factory rails.

I can reverse the extension to load the Breeze, but I often load that boat withot it ,at least on the way out;).I’m 5’11" and 65yrs old, in reasonable shape, and, with the extension,loading both boats is easy even without a stool. for strapping down, I’ve got those nice factory running boards to stand on. I Selected the X to pull a 16’ fiberglass travel trailer and carry kayaks on top.The bikes are on a rack on the back of the trailer. I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s choice but, while my health holds it dose fine.


Change the cradles to a system
I use on my Liberty. I have rollers on the rear bar and saddles on the front bars. Just lift the front onto the rollers and then pick up the back of the yak and roll it into place. We have 2 18’ yaks and this works great for us. IMO much more secure tied down than just tied on to the cross bars.

get a new rack!
I have an Xterra as well. When I bought my vehicle-I actually went to my local kayak dealer 1st to ask his opinion on the rack system for the car & the tentative boat(s) that I would be using. I was suggested Thule saddle rack. The back of the rack swivels downward & assists when you are loading from the back of the vehicle. It has been the best investment & all of my kayaking friends are impressed w/the ease of it’s use.

how about a magnet
having looked at the telos system, i think you could replace the suction cup with a magnet that should help in winter

Intriquing Idea
I’ll have to try that. Sounds like a good idea … one that someone should suggest to Malone, if it works. Next trick will be to find the right magnet(s).