Long Road Trip w/kayaks...

j racks on a tall truck
j racks are the safest to use as far as securing your kayak—I know at least two people who have tall vehicles who carry a short (three foot) step ladder to put the boat on and off the roof

Kind of like this

I had the saddles on that day, when I am carrying the canoe in between the two yaks as I am presently doing, I use the J cradles.

Also my ladder is a four footer. I have nice soft pads where it goes against the truck, and also padded feet so it won’t slip.

I don’t leave home with out it when I am using the truck

Jack L

If you bend a composite deck over a bar, the gel coat will spider-crack (mostly a cosmetic issue, so not that big a problem for many), and I’d guess that repeated flexing like that will eventually weaken the composite, and create a soft spot.

Use the J Rack!!
I don’t think foam racks are that bad, but they’re a lot less secure than J-racks. You’ve already got a $150 J-rack in the garage! I’d definitely use it for this long trip. It’ll make both boats more secure since you can butt the rec boat on foam blocks up against the back of the J-rack with the Capella. If you hate loading the boat on and off the J-rack, bring the foam blocks and use them once you’re at your destination (on my truck rack there’s enough room for 2 boats next to the J-rack).

Cockpit covers etc
Re cockpit covers, my comment was really just about the Capella, and neo cockpit covers preferred. I doubt there is a perfect way to secure any cockpit cover for the Pungo if it is right side up, or out.

Re the J-racks, I can’t imagine why you would use foam blocks rather than a fixed rack if you have it. You could also use them to handle the issue of the big cockpit on the plastic boat. There is an idea above. or load the plastic boat on its own J rack cockpit side in, and have a couple of plumbing insulation foam pieces of the verticals. Also run a long bungie around the boat between the J’s. That’ll help hold the cockpit cover against something.

Or, travel the Capella on a J rack shifted off to one side and tighten the crap out of the plastic boat deck down on the foam blocks. We’ve seen plastic boats get boats fatally deformed trying this in the summer because of how tight the bow line and straps to the crossbar needed to be to hold things in place. But at this time of year temps shouldn’t be so hot.

With foam blocks, hull up or down
For trailering, I still prefer J-cradles (though I went back to using foam blocks after my Autoloaders cracked). For rooftopping on a tall vehicle, hull up or down is less of a windwall than sideways.

On my drive between CO and FL, I used the J-cradles on the trailer. For this trip, I didn’t want to bring the trailer, so I rooftopped. Yakima round bars with Spring Creek’s saddles carry the boat right-side-up. The saddles are “sticky” so don’t require supertight straps. With painter lines, of course.

But you can haul the kayak upside down on foam, if you want. I talked with a guy who had driven from WA state to FL with his Explorer LV upside-down on foam blocks, on a truck topper. He said that’s how he normally carries it; no harm done. He had wrapped the crossbars in pipe foam and wide electrical tape so the boat never touched unpadded bars on its way to the foams. He had also made a folding stacker rod for more options.

Check boat position frequently
With foam blocks on the trailer, the boat moves noticeably, which is why I prefer J-cradles with additional padding on them.

I don’t dare use foams for rooftopping a sea kayak. But other people do it.

Whatever you do, you’ll still want to check straps and boat position. It’s just that with the foams, you’ll find that there’s been more movement unless you strap very tightly.

That’s a great tip!
Off to look for a cheap beach ball, on sale off-season…

Bring foams regardless
They come in handy for all kinds of tasks, and serve as backup cradles in case your first choice breaks.

For the love of God… And the 3rd time
This year-

Read your owners manual on transportation & storage… How many times must we go over this? There was a thread on this two weeks ago.

Another tip is to search the archives. There is a little tab at the top, (RIGHT NEXT TO THE “NEW TOPIC” TAB) you can click on to find your question latest to distant past.


Paddle easy,


Here, I did the leg work for you…

Paddle easy,


Decaf Coffee II.
The owner’s manual for the Capella does not go into any great detail about situational travel which is what this thread is about. Owner’s manuals provide theory and information. They do not provide real world experience combined with thoughtful advice and flowery prose about people’s own experiences. To me, that’s what these boards are about. I’m not looking for what’s in my owner’s manual, I’m looking for practical real world advice and suggestions. If I’m looking for some human contact to go along with my advice, hey, who am I hurtin? That’s between me and my shrink. But unless Brett is paying you to be some sort of thread cop who is drunk with the power of his “badge”, why don’t you just ignore the thread that does not meet your definition rather than insert your directives and reminders.

I’m in the right forum for for this discussion, and if you’re not interested, I suggest you exercise your right to ignore this post so that we don’t have to be constantly reminded of the obvious.

Thanks for listening.


By the way…
TJ, sissy, kyakrazee, and any other florida p-netters, I’ll be in the Clearwater/Venice corridor, staying in Palm Harbor and I’d love to get out and paddle with y’all. I’ll e-mail details.

J-rack concerns…
I know the J rack is safe for the trip, but with the Thule racks extended up high enough to clear the roof, the boat is way up there in the slipstream and more of a target for strong crosswinds. With the hull up and on the racks, I think the lower profile is going to cause me less resistance and reduce noise while maybe helping with gas mileage. I always check the rig whether with or without trailer, at every gas stop. Just a habit.

Thanks for the tips everybody. Hope to see some of you in Florida.

Nothing personal Coffee II. You caught me on a bad day.

J cradles
I’m in agreement with your feelings about J-cradles. I had a J-cradle with a boat on it blow loose from my factory rack due to a passing violent squall that hit me from the side with winds of probably 50-60mph. The other boat on the much-more-secure EZ-Vee kept the whole mess from blowing off the car - bow and stern lines kept it from taking flight. That’s why I have two EZ-Vees up there now. I just don’t like a boat sticking way up there in the air…

Doesn’t bother me one bit…
After 11 years here on p.net and gaggle after gaggle of a$$hats (at times, myself included), I couldn’t give two shakes on attacks at my nature.

Like I have said for years:

“Some people will like me, some people won’t. If everyone liked me, then I would be a phony- playing both sides of the fence for attention.”.

Paddle easy,


can’t say for your boat vehicle combo
but with my V8 Tundra and high Q towers the buffeting is not bad. Its far worse with my Forester and the boat on a low rack.

My boats are over seven feet off the ground on the truck. Wish it weren’t so for loading but short boats with significant sheer lines need the clearance.

And I often forget the boats are there. No noise. Thats not always a good thing. You have to remember that McDonalds drive ups are verboten to you.

Soooooo, why not…

– Last Updated: Dec-15-10 7:51 AM EST –

Get a "low bed rack" which would put them acouple feet over the top of the bed line & behind the cab?

The third one is even "yuppie name brand" even though the second one would work fine, but it isn't "kayaker name brand".

That would solve 3 of your minor problems & make them almost "non-existent".




Paddle easy,


was that for me?
Its an aside but both of my racks have to be on the cap. I live on an ole dirt road currently a logging road and haul wooden boats. The bed and the cab twist quite a bit when negotiating potholes and culverts. The bed of the pickup is covered with a cap so I can sleep in it in any weather.

I think the biggest obstacle for anything up high is overhangs at places you are likely to visit on a road trip.

Yes, but…
I didn’t realize you had a topper on your truck. If you didn’t have the topper, it would lower the height of your “lift” to load the kayaks & they would be down behind the cab. You said you have short boats, so it would’ve been perfect.

Paddle easy,