Seats and car racks

My girlfriend and I just purchased 2 Mainstream Jazz 9’ kayaks and are now trying to figure out the best way to transport them. I drive a 2006 Chevy Colbalt 2-door and she drives a 2003 Ford Focus 4-door (with a pesky antennae that sticks up in the front middle).

A gentleman that we ran into while buying them swore by the Malone Stax Pro2 (, but I have my doubts it will work on her car.

Also, we are now faced with getting seats for these kayaks, as sitting in them is incredibly uncomfortable.

Overall, the goal is to try to do this as inexpensively as possible, but in the end, I’m appreciate any help and input I could get. I am completely new to this.



The Malone stacker looks like a good
solution for two kayaks (provided you have a basic rack to attach it to). The stacker style carriers aren’t so great for longer boats (say 13+ feet) but are perfect for short recreational kayaks like yours. I use something like this for transporting my two 11 ft boats:

It’s simple and works fine (and I bought it much cheaper than $95). Still The Malone system you link to looks very nice and complete with the straps and foam.

I’ve also been looking
at setups from Thule that will run us around $650, but it seems like those will for sure fit the Focus. At the same time though, we don’t know if we want to spend that amount.

I started off with the Malone Stax…

– Last Updated: Sep-24-12 11:56 PM EST –

I started off with the Malone Stax, but later (10 trips ) moved on to a Kari Tek Easy Load Roof Rack w/ 4 Hull-a-port pros...

However in your situation with cars (vs tall suvs) it probably would be pretty good. With the Jeep - I had to always carry around a 4 step ladder, and when moving a 60lb plastic sea kayak up the ladder it wasn't fun (especially if it was windy)....

In your situation you probably can just load them onto your cross bars (easily since your cars are lower), then flip them up against the "stax" (without a ladder - envious). Tying them down is a little more work than with J cradles, but not by much...whats really nice about the stax system, is that you can potentially load up to 4 kayaks on your roof - or at the very least 3.

Let me know if you would like to buy a slightly used set of stax - I was thinking of selling them ;-)

$650 is a bit steep for
just a kayak carrier. Do you not already have roof bars? If not, then in addition to Thule and Yakima (the market leaders), there are companies such as Inno and Sportrack that sell considerably cheaper (but still good quality) product:

I have recently bought a Sportrack Frontier rack for our Corolla. It cost $160 Canadian (on special, list was $220). I’ve seen the same racks listed on for less than $200 US. I don’t know anything about Inno other than the positive comments made here by others.

You can also check local classified ads for used racks.

Oh, and regarding the antenna
Have you checked that it doesn’t just unscew from it’s base? A lot of them do, you know.

We might be
interested in buying those stax…although right now I think we’re still recovering from the initial funds depletion of buying the kayaks (being college kids is not cheap in this town).

And as of right now, we don’t have cross bars for her car. Unscrewing her antennae is something I need to check. It had crossed my mind but I forgot to take a closer look at it. It’s really frustrating that my car won’t accept any bars as far as I can tell. It was bad enough to have to deal with my ridiculous spoiler…

All of this input and advice has been super helpful. Keep it coming, I appreciate it!

Cheaper options exist
for transporting a single kayak on the roof of a car e.g.,

(and check the Malone site).

But I don’t think that you’d be able (or advised) to try and mount two wide boats (like yours)onto the Focus using these foam block carriers. So to transport two boats you’d probably need to take two cars. And I’m not sure even one rack would fit on your Cobalt.

Good luck in your search for a solution.

That’s the thing
I know we can find cheaper single options, but just from transporting one kayak via foam blocks on my Cobalt, I would not want to use that again unless absolutely necessary.

I looked at this from Thule:

I’m not sure if you are able to see that or not, but basically, I was thinking of getting the rack from them (their site says it will fit a 2003 Ford Focus 4 door sedan) and then using the Malone Stax with it to transport 2 kayaks. All together, the weight of the kayaks wouldn’t exceed 70lbs.

I was skeptical that 2 would fit on a Focus, but it seems doable from what I’ve read on Thule’s site at least.

Sorry, I can’t see
your link, but this might interest you:

As you will see, “Sportrack” is owned by Thule. I have both used both Thule and SportRack products. The SportRack is slightly less sophisticated, but it is plenty study enough. In theory it is rated up to 110lbs, though you should check the upper load limit for your car to verify that it isn’t lower. I believe you would need the A21002S model for 2003 Focus (I assumed 4 door). The fit guide is here BTW

You should also look at Inno for alternatives. And at the classified ads!