I have a trailer with Thule J racks. The original padding was a thin flat foam under a canvas(?) cover, about 6 inches long. Noticed that the padding had compressed over time and yak was basically riding against the metal. Turned pads over, same thing. I replaced with noodles, slitting the sides and covering entirely. They also compress rather quickly. Noodles are cheap, but want something more durable. I even doubled up at some of the contact points. I can get the expensive replacement rubber pads from Thule but I need more width. The hull of my boat has to be “exactly, precisely” on the padding to prevent damage from the metal, so I would like something that would give more contact against hull. Suggestions?
Have you tried mini-cell foam? It’s thicker and denser so it will be easier to cut to the shape you need and holds its form very well.
Also try pipe foam insulation
Not the soft, sticky black neoprene-like tubes, but the stiffer, “airier” tubes. They come in different colors, which may or may not mean different densities. Sounds like you need a very dense foam for this application.
I just bought the Hull-a-ports myself and have been happy with the stock pads. The (plastic) kayak emerges dent-free from them. I’m actually storing the kayak on them now, for a long-term test.
The Thule pads (under the black nylon) appear to be the same material as the aforementioned pipe foam insulation. Also, I have some scrap foam from a cheap sleeping pad that a friend gave me to cut up for another application. It looks like the same kind of foam, too. You can buy these at army-navy stores. Worth trying.
Minicell foam seems to resist compression a bit better than any of these, but the thick versions can be hard to bend. It comes in different thicknesses, so buy a few and see what’s the thickest that will still wrap around the cradle bars.
Maybe try some gel pads, the kind used on some bike seats???
Just get extra Tube Pads from your local Thule dealer. Part #853-5540 Cost=$8. Instead of reinventing the wheel.
See you on the water,