Malone J-Cradles Vs. Thule Hull-a-Port

So I’m wondering how the Malone and Thule J-cradles compare? At first I was leaninng towards Thule, but then with the price of those at $130 and Malone cradles at $87 I’m starting to change my mind. It will be carrying a Walden Vista plastic boat.

Who wins??

I have the Thule’s
and I think they work fine. The Malones look good in the pics I see of them. One observation, the Malones appear to be shorter (I have only the pics to go by) this may make it more difficult to reach over the Yak to manipulate the tie down strap (I thread my forward strap through the upper loop by reaching over the top once I put the yak in the rack). The Malone’s may require a different technique than I am using…

Cheap alternative
Being that it’s a plastic boat might want to consider Wildwasser “J” Bars. $56 for a pair. Clamps onto most bars 1 7/8" wide. I’ve replaced one of the metric nuts with a wingnut to make it rapidly removeable. Works well.

See you on the water,


no comparison
had the thules- they were junk and i threw them out. silly allen bolt attachement, cheap plastic clamps, flimsy foam pads, and then the bars themselves started to rust. just crap.

the malones are great. super beefy plastic, tremendous metal clamp, sensible nuts and bolts. holds my kayak, ski and k1 just perfectly.


similar experience
I gave away my Thule’s (one set was nearly new) in favor of another set of Malone AutoLoaders. You can’t beat the Malone’s with a club. It’s the best system I’ve seen yet for J cradles and I’ve owned most of the other systems as well.

It’s worth getting the more expensive AutoLoaders over the cheaper version from Malone but both beat the heck out of other systems.



Another fan of Autoloaders
Solo loading a boat is very easy with the Autoloaders. The rampis the key.


Two sets
I have a set of the “original” Malone J cradles and they are the best of any by far. Thick padding the entire length, not skimpy like the new ones.

I also have a set of Oak Orchard Deluxe J Cradles that have full length padding and are VERY heavy duty. These go for $119 at Oak Orchard Canoe and Kayak. I don’t use mine anymore, as my Malones are mounted on my bar right now.

I have the Thule on Yakama bars…
(two sets),and I wouldn’t get them again.

I redid the hardware on mine and now they are fine, but for the big bucks you pay for them they are not worth it.

I have a bunch of yaks and canoes, so I am constantly changing the set up.

I had to throw away their phillips head screws and those idiotic small knurled nuts, and replace them with regulare hex head bolts with lock washers and nuts.

Then I drilled down through the outer hole on their clamp and drilled a hole through each bar for another bolt.

Now they are wonderful, they don’t rotate, and I get them on and off very easily.

I don’t know about the Malone, and the Thule might be good on the square bars, but they suck on the round bars.




– Last Updated: Jul-14-05 9:27 AM EST –

I use the Malones "Super-J" to Transport my "Necky" Zoar Sport.
A little rough for me to get up there ,by myself, on my Jeep Cherokee. But it holds the Kayak well !!

Necky and…
…what is that other boat next to your Zoar Sport in the second picture? Is that a Nick Schade boat?

Had Thules for three weeks…
They left rust puddles on top of my car…

I’ve been very happy with Malones for the last two years…

The Red one is an Oldtown “Nantukett”

Malone Super-J’s or AutoLoaders ?
Which model would you use for a Necky Chatham 16 and a Valley Avocet? I can’t find a “fit guide” for that.



They used to give max beam for…
the autoloaders, I think it was around 25"…

my 23" Tern fits fine. Yours should be fine…

max beam
here is the cheapest place I could find and they have the beam size

Should I get the super J or the autoloader? I have a 24 inch beam.

Depends on your spacing
If you can space the cradles close to the bulkheads you can probably use the Autoloaders. The closer to the ends of the boat, the more cradle heigth available.

I haul a QCC 500, cradle spacing about 5 feet on center, and have no complaints.


Malone J-Cradles Vs. Thule Hull-a-Port
Go with the Malone racks, they are great. I use the auto-load for my Looksha Sport and the J racks for a Sky II. This year I used a little piece of shelf liner where the racks make contact with the factory racks on my old mini van and now the setup is rock solid. FYI if you place a pice of cardboard under the rack while working on the nuts the car does not get scratched.

install time?
How fast can you get the Malones on and off? I plan on taking them off after I go for a paddle. Can I use wingnuts to make it faster?

I use the autoloaders for my
rec and ww yaks and my gullwings for my QCC-Malone that is…love em!

I leave the Malones on the cross bars and remove the cross bars (maybe 3 minutes).

I would not want to remove the Malones everytime…