Need help fitting two boats on van

I am driving a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country van. It has a Thule rack on top of the factory rack. The space between the bars is about 38 inches. I have a Thule Glide and Set for my 23 inch wide Sirocco. But, here is the problem. I cannot fit my 25 inch wide Calabria in the space that is left.

Any suggestions on how to carry the second boat. Don’t want to always kayak alone.

Was wondering if Malone J cradles might work. Is it impossible to lift a boat that high. The roof rack is up there in the air.


Do you have a second person with you
If yes you can probably do as I do.

I have a 4x4 pick up with a cap on the back which is every bit as tall as your vehicle.

I have J cradles on a Yakama rack on the cap.

It requires a small 4 foot step ladder leaning against the rear side of the vehicle.

I keep the step ladder folded and have a couple of gray foam pads taped to the top so it doesn’t scratch the finish of the vehicle.

From the rear of the vehicle my wife picks up the stern of the yak and I pick up the bow. I place the bow on the rear J cradle and then go around and get on the ladder and grabbing a hold of the cockpit slide the yak forward with it at an angle up in the air, (I have padded the J cradles with some carpet so the yak slides easily). Once it reaches it’s fulcrum point, I let it down on the front J cradle and then slide it to its travel position.

Just make sure you bring the ladder with you!




Malone “J” Cradles are worth looking at

– Last Updated: Sep-22-07 8:44 AM EST –

They work fantastic, the loading ramp allows the boats to be pushed up into the cradle,and on a high van,(although I am 6" tall) this is a big help and they flex enough to hold the boats firmly in place when strapped correctly. I have driven at highway speeds and have confidence the yaks are secure. My Full package - 2007 Chrysler Town and Country Van, Thule 400 series racks w/ 58" load bars, Malone Autoloader Xv's, Pungo's... Could fit a 3rd yak flat in between the Malone's when using a 58" bars.

Width of bars, Jbars?
Thule makes their bars in lengths up to I think 68 inches, which we’ve had. They overhung the edge of the roof a bit but we found we could get up to two boats and two bikes up there. The boats were 22 inches wide but the bike mounts took up several inches themselves (they weren’t the skinny bullnose type).

J racks or a home-made bed that allowed you to slide the boat up the side then lash it down from a ladder would work too. There are various devices that you could use to help slide the boat up there yourself when alone - extender bars on the side or roller-loaders slung over the back - then get onto a ladder to do the lash down. You’d just have to mount the Jbars towards the outside of the rails.

I also saw an older couple with a homemade bed over the Thule bars on a van recently that was an impressive compromise. They each had very basic plastic touring boats, and neither was terribly strong. The bed overhung the sides of the van and had a small lip. The two of them would push a boat up until it was basically resting somewhere up there, didn’t seem to be a herculean effort, and the boat wuold sit nicely in the bed while thy got out the ladder to strap it down. I didn’t see them take the boats off, but I suspect it worked as well in the opposite direction.

Get wider bars
I carried 4 kayaks on a Nissan Skyline wagon.