tandem kayak on roof racks???


my wife and I are new to kayaking and just purchased a large fiberglass tandem boat. I have a Nissan Xterra with yakima hully roller/mako racks. The kayak is a current designs libra xt.

Can I safely transport the kayak in the roof racks? I think that it wil hang about 4ft off of the front & rear of the vehicle.



What is the length of the kayak and
what is the spacing between your bars ?

I am transporting a 23 foot long, 100 pound tandem with a bar spacing of about six feet, but I also have a third bar at the back of the roof where I use a third strap to make sure the boat stays in place even though I don’t have the strap snugged down tight.

With another light weight 23 foot tandem that I had, I made some cantilevered bars out over the front with a set of saddles to keep the bow from moving in case of strong cross winds

Jack L

Front and Rear Tie Downs
are de rigeur. For years I transported my 100 lb. Seda Tango and (at different times) my 63 lb. Pygmy Osprey Double on my CR-V. The Thule bar span couldn’t have been more than 32". However, I use four saddles vs. a roller/Hydroglide (Used an Oak Orchard roller to get them up there solo.), and ALWAYS tie downs front and rear (the Thule ratchet ones to the factory tow hooks that came on the car). No problems. I used the whole Thule setup though-no factory load or cross bars. There was quite an overhang, but I red flagged the heck out of the back of the boats.

Can Work
I’ve transported a 22’ double kayak on my Suzuki Sidekick, which has a short roof. It worked fine.


Have the crossbars as wide as possible

Tighten the tie downs as snug as you can without compressing the hull

Use bow and stern tie downs, snug but not overly-tight (non-stretch rope works better than straps)

Use flagging tape on the stern

Test wiggle the kayak up and down and side to side before leaving.

Stop after 10 mins of driving to re-check and tighten tie-downs

Loop the tie-downs over the kayak once, and looped under each bar once on each side (so the tie-down makes an inverted U over the kayak). I see many people loop the tie-down all the way around the kayak or around the bar multiple times. All that accomplishes is making it hard to properly tighter the tie-down.

Avoid foam saddles (sound like you dont have them). For a 100lb double, they will compress as you drive, causing the tie-downs to be too loose.