Tandem Kayak Roof Rack Help

Hi all - I have an Old Town Dirigo XT Tandem Plus kayak, and I am looking for a better way to secure it to my Ford Explorer roof rack. Anyone have any suggestions out there on products or brands of accessories that I can add on to my existing roof rack to make it more secure? And a bit easier to take on and off?



I have a Loon 160T

– Last Updated: Jul-16-10 9:23 PM EST –

Which I guess you could call the predessor to yours. Mine is 16 feet long, and about 80lbs. I have only used foam blocks on my nissan quest factory racks. Never had a problem with one strap for each cross bar, and, of course, bow and stern lines. The biggest problem is humping that barge onto the roof. But I found that the best way to do it by myself is to slide it on from the back. I am by no means a strong man type, but I can get it done. Good Luck.
BTW, put a bath mat on the back part of the roof to keep from scratching it.

If you have a receiver hitch
One of the guys in our club built a T-bar with a saddle on it. His great idea was to make the upper section of the T-bar pivot when it is un pinned. He sets the boat down 90 degrees from the car. Lift the stern of the boat onto the T-bar, then picks up the bow and walks it around until he can ste the boat into both sets of saddles on the roof rack. Since the T-bar is a couple inches lower the boat is not carried on it.

On a taller vehicle you might want to use a roller on a t-bar.

Good Luck


Yakima or Thule cross bars!
Your best bet, albeit most expensive, would be to get a set of aftermarket Yakima or Thule crossbars and towers that clamp to your existing roof rails.

I’ve always been partial to Yakima rack systems, and have had good luck with their lowrider roof towers used on several Subarus and my Honda minivan. Towers, in case you don’t know, are the part that clamps to the vehicle and that are the base support for the bars and entire rack system.

Beware, though, that a crossbar setup attached to your factory rack is not as strong as a rack setup attached directly to your vehicle (i.e., don’t carry 1/2 ton of plywood up there). More than strong enough for most car-toppable recreation gear, though.

I miss the days of all cars having raingutters, which made rack installation easy and gave super-strong rack setups.