rack question for fiberglass boat

Wondering if anyone has any thoughts regarding what would be best and most economical to transport a fiberglass boat—saddle, cradle, J or stacker system? Have been using the stacker Yakima system for the plastic boats but am in the process of upgrading to a glass boat.

Thanks, any input would be welcomed. Before I get the boat and go to the expense of such an upgrade I need to know that I will be able to carry it on top of my Honda Accord without trashing the new boat.

Thanks, betty lou

We’re on our third Accord, and have
several composite boats. If you’re talking kayaks, composite kayaks are plenty strong enough to rest on their seams. Folks who have shiny, gelcoated composite boats may be bothered by the minor wear to the gelcoat where the boat rests on the rails and against the uprights. Usually tubular padding is enough to protect the finish.

When carrying a single decked boat across the country, I have sometimes used cradles to hold the boat horizontal and upright. This has worked well enough. However, owners of gelcoated boats have sometimes found that various cradles have caused superficial damage to the finish of their boats.

Most of my composite boats have no gelcoat, and as I use them in whitewater, I really don’t fuss over superfical wear. But if you do, plan ahead. Remember that you may not only need to pad your boat(s), but that the real key is to use your ropes in a way that your boat does not shift on its mounts. I sometimes use a snub rope to prevent such shifting.

foam cradles
all the way. the best way to transport a sea kayak, easiest on the hull if you get the good ones, and requires the least amount of pressure to tie down. i had nearly every cradle system, as a friend owns a major national rack store, and i switched back to foam for the above reasons. then i can take them off when not in use. i hate the look and sound of the various cradles on top of my racks, super dork, and they’re ridiculously spendy when foam works better.


these are the cats ass.

Home made
I make my own saddles out of wood form fit to the hull and carpeted. Boats are carried hull down. My Yakima racks are fairly close togeter so I made a 4’x5’ extension rack out of angle and 7/8" strut. Could be made from all aluminum angle. The angle makes it easier to mount the wood saddles. Takes about 5 minutes to change saddles if I switch boats. I have used this system since 2001 and have never damaged a boat.

I don’t think the answer should …

– Last Updated: Jun-16-08 6:49 AM EST –

have to do with "economics" !
But for what it is worth, 1f it was me I would consider either saddles or "J" cradles
I would much prefer the glass boat nesting into them then against single stacker pipes.
Since you already have a Yakama system, I would opt for which ever is easiest for your loading, (possibly the Yakama saddles). Then you can get the proper spacing for your hull to nest nicely.


rack question for fiberglass boat
Thank you for your input. Really found it to be helpful. Having owned and paddled only plastic boats I am a little nervous in going with glass when it comes to the care of it and transporting it. I appreciate you reply.


betty lou

Went back to stackers
We got rollers and saddles when we got the first glass boats, but after a while of carrying boats needed to get up to four on the racks and went back to stackers. Have that on both cars now and use that for whatever kind of boat.

Only advantage to the roller/saddle combo I see is if you are loading and unloading a boat that is heavier than you can easily lift alone. While I have managed to load a 17 ft boat on rollers and saddles by myself, I haven’t figured out how I’d manage that safely (for the boat) with the stackers.