spacing between your racks

-- Last Updated: Apr-08-04 4:01 AM EST --

im about to get some racks mounted on my truck, just a ranger super cab with a topper on it. it seems that the kayak would be more secure by mounting the crossbars so as to maximize the width between them (at the front and end of the topper) but i rarely see it on other trucks that carry sea-kayaks. i'll be doing a lot of interstate travel and i've just heard a lot of stories from friends about kayaks flying off. any suggestions would be appreciated. also, are the mako saddles from yakima a good investment?

thanks, zev

If it is a plastic yak…
…try to space them so they will be under the bulkheads, this will allow you to tighten the straps as tight as you want without the yak “oil-canning”.

If you are putting them both on your “topper”(assume you mean camper top), put the forward one as far forward as possible, and the rear one as far back as possible.

If you will ever be adding a bike rack, make sure you take that into consideration on the spacing.



I hope this helps a little…
Hi Zev,

I, too, had a Ranger extended cab when I started. I agree with you about having the racks spaced out fairly wide (as long as you are still getting a good “bite” on the yak). I used a Yakima Dry Dock in the receiver hitch and mounted my front bar just as far back as I could on the cab. It worked well as I was hauling fairly long boats (16-18 feet). If I had something in the 14-15 foot range, I don’t think my set-up would have worked well. I now use the roof rack on my Chevy Avalanche. It is much closer together and I will put a bow line on when I’m driving in very windy conditions. While this set-up has worked very well, I would prefer to have a little more separation between the racks.

As for your other question, I am a big fan of Yakima and I like their Mako saddles. But, take a look at the mounts from Malone. I believe they are made of polypropelene (sp?) which does have a little flex to it. I went with them after reading about several people on this site who experienced cracking on their composite hulls from Yakima and Thule mounts. I realize this is a rare occurance and they straps were probably over-tightened, but I tend to be a gorilla with some things and I thought it best to play it safe. The people at Malone were extremely helpful and friendly. I’ve got two sets and some of my friends have them as well and are quite happy.

Good luck to you and happy paddling…



Jack is absolutely “spot on” with his recommendation about rack location in regards to bulkheads on plastic yaks. I should have thought of that… Good catch, Jack.



Jack and Joe
thanks for the advice, it’s a kevlar kayak so that’s not an issue but i think i’ll check out the malone site.


Bulkhead & racks
I believe it is important to support ANY sea kayak as close to the bulkheads as possible when carrying it right-side-up. I even constructed a “pallet” to do so since my Suby SB only allowed X-bar spread of 41". I have since switched to Malone Autoloaders - thumbs up! On edge, the natural stiffness of the hull makes up for not having the cradles close to the bulkheads.


I’ve got the Mako’s
and have been happy with 'em. Fairly inexpensive saddles, I’ve only used them with plastic boats and yep, put 'em close to the bulkheads.