Racks: saddle system or cradle system

I have a 17’8" long fiberglass kayak on order. Hard chined hull, weighs 50 lbs. I have Thule racks on my '96 Toyota Corolla. I’m trying to decide on a transport system and am considering either cradles, probably utilizing an outrigger, or a saddle system probably using Thule’s “Rollercoaster” setup.

Any input on what type of system will be easier on the hull? Can the saddle system cause any damage, especially when the boat is strapped down tightly? I was told that the strongest part of the hull is the side, which, if true, would point towards the cradle system.

Many thanks in advance for your feedback.

Depends on you…
If you’re tall enough, and strong enough to shoulder carry your boat to the car, lift and set, I belive cradles are the best bet. Very secure, easier to strap, and you can get the cockpit cover on and off while the boat is on the roof.

I like Malones, but it’s the only type I’ve used.

If you are going to slide the boat up from the rear, as described above, I’d go with the saddles.

I doubt you’ll damage the hull by overtightening unless you use racheting straps carelessly. Those suckers can really pull.


you can…
use Yakima attachments like the Hulley Rollers and

Mako Saddles on Thule bars. Yakima makes them to fit square or round. IIRC I pulled out an extra spacer to make them fit my round bars. If you leave it in place they’re good to go on the square.

If you want to use Yakima components,you have choices -a pair of Hulleys + a pair of Makos,

or two pairs of Makos. Per the previous poster it depends on whether you can shoulder the kayak up to

roof height, or whether you’d prefer a roller assist so you can use wheels and leverage to set the kayak in place. For comparision I have a Toyota Corolla Matrix and am 5’3" & def. prefer the latter strategy. My kayaks are 16’ and 16’6’ and weigh 44 and 41 lbs.

In either set up you’ll never have to deal w. the hull dragging or resting on the bar(s) (that’s contrary to the whole point of using saddles and/or rollers) or have to buy yet another Thule component to prevent that.