Roof Rack System

-- Last Updated: Jan-26-15 1:49 PM EST --

Looking for a better way to haul my 12 foot kayak. It already has a manufacturer roof rack with crossbars, considering vertical or horizontal kayak storage kit to attach to my current system, also not sure if I should go Thule or Yakima.

I’m not sure what you have, but…
Here’s a link to a good place to start identifying the pieces you are looking for. Thule probably has a similar guide.

You can save a bunch watching Craigslist, the classifieds here, Ebay, and other sources if you have the patience and know what you’re looking for.

Hope this helps,


12 ft kayak
If all I had was a 12 ft kayak, I’d stick with the rope on my vehicles crossbars. It is not worth the expense and effort for anything else. Tim

What exactly is the problem
with your current system? Some prefer rope over other solutions anyway so needing to use rope is probably not a problem in and of itself.

why rope ???

– Last Updated: Jan-26-15 10:40 AM EST –

Why are U using rope? ..there are so many cam buckle / ratchet "tie-down" straps on the market that are fast and secure......using rope is stone age strategy. A good quality set will last many yrs if used and stored properly. I 2nd the Craigslist advice..u can find good, used kayak saddles if you are diligent in keeping a eye on Craigslist ads for your area and as long as the factory rack consists of the crossbars and side rails...why spend money on anything else?

I meant to say I’m using tie down straps, not rope… I do have crossbars already on my factory roof rack… my question is which is better, vertical or horizontal kayak kits that attach to my current manufacturer system? I’ve seen both and just need opinions… Thule or Yakima also?

No ratchets
There’s nothing wrong with rope, many prefer it, but you have to be a competent with knots.

Using ratcheting straps with kayaks is a pretty well-accepted no-no. It’s too easy to ratchet the end right off the boat or collapse the deck if you’re not careful.


– Last Updated: Jan-26-15 2:50 PM EST –

Well these are load straps.. not tie downs, similar to ones made by Thule.

my vote …

– Last Updated: Jan-26-15 5:22 PM EST –

...i would vote go for the horizontal carry using saddles ..i tried the vertical J-bars and did not like them. I'm sure U'll get arguments 50 /50 for and against each style. My big issue with the J-bar style was threading the tie down around /over/ thru the j-bar. Gr8 big PITA !! I had a difficult time trying to muscle the boat up onto the J-bars on the van , much easier to slide a boat onto saddles, from the rear , than muscle a boat up on the J bars from the side of a van. Below is a link, if u have not seen them already, for a roller that fits in the rear van door top seam ..its a big help loading and unloading a boat by yourself ..(( just remember to "TAKE IT OUT" before u leave or open the rear door !!! ))
PS: I had some issues with Thule bolts being too long and protruding too far below the saddles and hitting the vehicle roof..I like Yakima better..on my Yakima saddles..the bolts mounted from the bottom up...on the Thule ...they mounted from the top down. Poor design/ poor results for the Thule's.

Stone age technology?
Ahhh - for what its worth - if you have knot skills rope is superior to cam buckles and straps by a long shot. Might be more accurate to say that straps and buckles and cams are unnecessary mumbo jumbo bound to fail and designed for people without experience and skill transporting boats.

ropes are old school,

– Last Updated: Jan-26-15 6:59 PM EST –

old ww open boaters still use ropes and mumble about trucker hitches. ww kayakers are strappers, some twist and some don't. The really young and hip ww crowd have short boats and go strapless, they carry their boats inside their vehicle. Rafting companies use wide cam straps and flatbeds. Don't know what ocean kayakers use.

Whatever you use, they all can create an annoying hum when your headed down the road.

Write your name on your straps with a permanent marker. Replace lost and torn straps with your annual paddling perks membership.

Saving time by having two people hold the boats (while leaning out of the vehicle window) while holding their beer in their free hand, is a bad idea. They might spill their beer.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to either the Thule Glide & set 883 or the Thule Hull A Port Pro 835… any suggestions?

PRO = good
I have 4 of the Hullaport PROs on my suv. Nice not to have moose antlers when not carrying kayaks.

As to the hull down application, go with Marco Kayak Saddles. Less finicky, better/broader support.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY