Stopping oil canning with saddles

I have a 12ft Old Town Sorrento w/skiff that a transport using saddles on my 2016 Chevy Trax. I have occasions when I have to leave the boat on top the car for a day or two. I have noticed I’m getting oil canning where the saddle sits supporting the boat on just one spot where I tighten the strap.
Other than loosening the strap, because I want to be sure the boat is secure transporting, any ideas how to prevent this.
Would J Hooks maybe be a better option?
I would rather stick with the saddles for its easy of loading and unloading, but the indent the saddle is leaving is annoying to see.
As always, thank you for any advice.

How well do saddles fit? Post some pictures. How tight are your straps?

I keep the straps pretty tight for 2 reasons, a. I’m afraid of the boat coming loose in the saddles and moving while transporting(had it happen and that was awful) and b. I was taught this way. I hope the picture can help. If I used J Hooks would I have this problem?

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We have an OT Trip 10 that’s similar to yours in how the cockpit is shaped. We ride it upside down just on the rails sitting the opening against the rails and the straps around the hull. If leaving on for a few days I would want it that way just incase it rained.

I don’t over tighten the straps and if it was spending a day in the sun I would loosen them till I was ready to go. For a really short slow trip I just use the straps but anything fast I will run a bow and stern line. As an example we live 3 minutes from our launch ramp but the return trip is about 10 miles on the highway. I’m 99% sure it would be secure without the lines but that 1% is worth taking minute and putting them on.

You already stated the obvious answer.

When the vehicle is parked for more than a short time, loosen the straps. Make sure you leave yourself an obvious cue to tighten them before driving again. That could be as simple as letting the straps dangle down to your eye height. Or add other reminders if you think they would help, such as tying a piece of bright fabric to the strap end. Tie on a sock containing two jingle bells, if the aural cue catches your attention better.

Whenever I took road trips with a kayak, I loosened the straps a little at every overnight stop, and even just for meal stops on hot days. It became a habit to check the boat frequently. This also shows whether the boat has moved any significant amount.

BTW, from the photo, it looks like the crossbar spread places one of the straps below the cockpit. That is a weak place to strap the boat.

I’ve hauled a plastic kayak a couple of times during mid summer knowing the kayak would have to stay on the roof for a week and bake at times. I made wood support bars that run along the length of the kayak from front to back. For the kayak in question, they distribute the weight better than any narrow cradles. The kayak is a “beater”, so I didn’t even pad the wood bars. The scrap wood I used had a tapered cut on the edge and that helped cradle the kayak. But padding would be easy to add.

The wood bars are shown in the attached photo. Ignore the white plastic on the ends of the crossbars - that serves a different purpose.


An advantage of those additional bars is that they would stop any lateral movement. A good idea, nicely done.

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Carry the boat upside down. A little oil canning on the deck, if it were to occur, would not affect performance and for many kayaks, the deck is a bit stronger than the hull.

Use quality nylon cam buckle straps, like those sold by NRS. They don’t stretch or come loose. Don’t overtighten the straps. They just need to be snug. The shape of the boat will keep the boat from sliding. If you have factory rails, put the straps around the boat, the rack, and the rail closest to the boat.

Always use bow and stern tiedowns. They are required by most rack manufactures for warranty coverage. They provide additional security for both the boat and rack system. Again, don’t overtighten.


Are saddles flexible like a yakima nako saddle? Bow and Stern lines less tension on the straps.

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Thanks for your help, I didn’t even think of adjusting the crossbar setting of the saddle! And it’s the rear tie down I’m having the issue with. It’s funny because OT, on my kayak, has a place on each side of the cockpit for the tie down strap to sit in for strapping down.
Over the last few trips I have started, as you suggested, loosening the straps. I make it a habit before I leave to check them…safety first.
I thought of carrying it upside-down, but weighing in at 50lbs can already make the boat sometimes a challenge to load. I can’t even imagine getting it on the car, turning it over, strapping it down, etc…too much for a little person like me.
Thanks again for everyone’s help.


I’m only 5’ 4" (and will be 71 in a couple of weeks) and have a taller car than you and I have always carried my hardshell canoes and kayaks upside down.

I first loop the straps over the middle of the roof rack and lay the ends towards the windshield or the trunk. Then I slide the boat onto the roof from the side of the car, deck side up, then pivot it to be aligned back to front.

For safety’s sake I then toss both ends of each strap over the boat towards the outside of the car, secure around the rack on the near side and fasten the buckles, leaving the loops around the boat loose (to keep it from accidentally rolling off while I flip it). Then I grab the stern of the boat and flip it from the rear (my boats are longer than yours so that is probably easier with mine) OR stand on my little folding step stool I carry in the car and grab and roll the kayak over from the side of the car.

Once the boat is upside down and in the best front to back position (with the coaming lip tucked in behind the front rack if you can position it that way to help keep it secure in a panic stop) I tighten the straps up and add the bow and stern lines.

With her rack spacing and the length of the cockpit coaming on the OT rec kayaks the flat of the coaming will straddle both rails. IMO that’s the strongest thickest part of the whole boat.

If you carry it upside down it is pretty easy to place it upside down. I have done ours both ways and flipping it on the rack is harder than just putting it on flipped. The straps form perfect to the hull shape so there is no pressure points like a cradle might have.

If there is one problem it is the seatback flops down and gets in the way. That can be fixed with a bungee in any number of ways.

Snug it up good and if its going to sit in the sun pop the cams and leave the tails hang to remind you buckles on driver side.

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Maybe you could try moving your kayak back a few inches and/or change the position of the saddles.