Rack Extension Needed?

I have a short roof on my vehicle, so when using a rack there’s only about an 18 inch distance between the fore and aft crossbars.

I can buy a an extension which increases that to 30 inches, but I’m wondering if I really need that if I use a “J” style rack or saddle for the kayak to nestle into?

Will the extra 12 inches make that much of a difference if I’m using that style of rack to hold the kayak on its side when transporting it?

I’ll be transporting both 13 ft and 16 ft long Kayaks with this.

Any advice or input will be greatly appreciated.

Wider is always better. If the extension is not expensive, I would get it. Even with the extension I would use the J rack. That way you pretty much ensure the boat won’t slide around.

What I do is get a kayak minicell block and place it under the boat right above the windshield. I strap it to the kayak. Then if the hull bounces the foam stays and gives support. Close to the windshield is a strong area of the roof. I have 60" between bars but 22’ 100 lb. hull. If need be you could do the same in the rear.

I drove a car for years that had the crossbars spaced close together as you describe. I always use J cradles. I attached the bow and stern lines to hold the kayak steady. Still do. I consider the rigging for the bow and stern tie downs on the car as important as the rack itself. If you commit to securing the ends of the boat, then that rotating leverage that would cause really close crossbars to fail can be removed. Don’t look at it as back-up. Consider it a necessary measure to retain the integrity of your close crossbars. The way you secure the ends should prevent any side to side movement of the ends of your kayak.

I agree that if you use bow and stern tiedowns you should not need a rack extension. especially if you double up on them to the left and right corners of the car.

Unless you need room on your roof to carry more than one boat, I find that saddles are more secure than J-bars and expose less surface area on the boat to crosswinds. There are also reports of off-brand J-bars failing.

For a shorter person or a taller vehicle, most people find that for solo loading saddles make it easier to load the boat by sliding it up from the rear.

Thank you for the replies and info.

Apologies for the delayed reply.

Yea, I figured as much, and the extension does look like a good idea.

Of course, I was really hoping someone was going to assure me I could just “cheap out” on this, and everything would be fine, AND they would be correct.