Transport 2 kayaks on rooftop - how?

-- Last Updated: Jun-04-08 9:00 PM EST --

Got a sea kayak & a ww kayak that I want to take both on my roof-top bars. Both are plastic.

I have Yakima stackers so my choice is to put one of them on its side and the other on its deck or hull (I have been putting them hull-up so far with good results - the hulls have not changed shape during transport noitceably).

The question is, which would be more stable over a 4-hour drive, much of it highway: sea kayak on its side and ww flat or the other way around? Or should I put both on their sides??? I do not think I have enough room to put both flat (48" bars are not wide enough). The bars are 28" apart, so the sea kayak will also get a rope to stabilize the front and most likely rear in addition to the tie-downs on the rack in the center.

I've done both configurations on shorter trips and have not really noticed any significant advantage one way or another, but I theorize that the longer sea kayak would be better off flat to minimize effects from side winds on it (winds should affect the ww less as it is shorter).

I suppose the 4th configuration that I have not tried would be to sandwitch one over the other, both flat - the car will get some higher center of gravity, but that should not matter much as it is a sedan. But I fear that the bottom boat will deform too much from having to carry the other boat on its "back" & being tied down tightly enough itself...

Thanks for any suggestions.

if you have the room…
I’d take the wide boat mounted flat, and put the narrow boat on it’s side.

It will give you a lower profile, and may help in strong side winds, or passing semi’s.

Have fun,


They are both on the wide side

– Last Updated: Jun-04-08 9:09 PM EST –

The sea kayak is 14.5' by 24.5" and the WW is about 8' by about 30" give or take a few inches.

I can put either one sideways as I said.

My initial thinking was that the sea kayak will be more susceptible to twisting due to side winds due to the longer hull.

But I think I now begin to reassess this and lean towards putting the short boat flat and the long boat sideways. Not because of width but because of my ability to better control the twisting forces on the front bow and stern of the long boat via the tie-downs on its front and rear. Because the WW is shorter, I think I don't even need to tie its bow and stern down, especially if it is flat (but may be I should anyway - would be funny to have a web of ropes - a pair for each boat up my hood and trunk...)

Only 2?
Just carry them on sadles or stackthem. I have carried 4 on the roof at highway speeds no problem

Get two pairs of J cradles
simple fix!

No need for front or rear straps if the cradles are affixed properly and you are using cam-lock buckle straps. It also keeps people from tailgaiting you.



Gone back to stackers here

– Last Updated: Jun-05-08 7:39 AM EST –

Tho' it took EBay to find a second pair of the taller angled U's that seem to work best rather than the vertical ones. Started with stackers for the plastic boats, put them in storage and went to saddles and rollers for the glass boats, and when we added WW and carrying more than two boats to the mix we went back to the stackers. Yakima makes nice long pads to wrap around the rails, others do as well but Yakima's are longer.

Jim also cut pool noodles and cut lengths to cover the section of strap that goes over the inside boat on each side. I protects the inside boat from getting scraped up by the outer one. The only thing we've needed to occasionally add is a strap-on foam garden kneeling pad to protect spots if carrying multiple long boats.

I'd suggest the WW and sea kayak on opposite sides, but we've carried two of each in various arrangements. I think the last long drive with four it was WW boats over the sea kayaks, but then we switched to long over short for the shorter trips around the area once we got to the symposium. Came back with all four boats so it worked.

If you are going to carry the WW boat on saddles, it's not uncommon for them to travel more securely upside down.