transporting kayak

I’m looking to buy a 10 foot kayak and the crossbars on my SUV are 20 inches apart, is this enough distance between the J carrier racks to transport safely? Thanks

why j-racks?
10 foot kayaks are wide (they have to be to get enough displacement to support the paddler). J-racks are not that great for wide kayaks. Just my opinion from years of hauling a range of kayak models, but I would carry it deck down directly on crossbars, with foam or carpet scraps to cushion the bars (hollow hard foam pool noodles slit with a knife would work). Since the spacing is so narrow between your bars, front and rear bumper tie downs are a must to keep it from shifting at high speeds or if there is a rack or strap failure.

If you do elect to go with the j-racks, you still need the bow and stern bumper lines.

transporting kayak
I was thinking about using J racks because I want to be able to haul two kayaks. The one I’m looking at is 30 inches wide and I can’t fit two on the roof if I lay them down.

you mean j cradles?

– Last Updated: May-26-14 12:30 PM EST –

Take a look at the kayak stacker instead, it's marketed in part on the ability to carry multiple boats. It's lighter and you can fold it down when not using.

Malone SeaWings
can carry two wide boats, side by side, hulls down. Easier to load than J cradles or stackers.

I regularly use these to carry a Hurricane Skimmer and an Eddyline Skylark, on a Hyundai Elantra Sedan and a RAV4 SUV.

As long as your front strap is lower
then the widest part of your boat, and rear strap is lower then the widest part you should be OK.

In other words, if the boat can’t slide forward or reward after the straps are installed.

Jack L

I agree, a stacker arrangement would work better if you want to carry two.

just curious, are you familiar with Malone SeaWings? Is there a reason you would choose stackers over them?

I just find it so much easier to load a boat hull down, especially if I’m loading it by myself.

you can fit more than two boats
The only difference in loading is that for a stacker, once you get the boat on your roof, you just have to tilt it toward the rack. I’ve fit four boats on my roof using a stacker, but more often a few boats and a bike.

I use J racks for two 9.5s

– Last Updated: May-28-14 12:43 AM EST –

I have two 9.5s and have drove 400 miles straight with them on top of a Honda Fit. I found that if i mount them a little further back they cut the wind (no pun meant) better. I use 2 straps on each for short runs (less then 20 miles), and 4 straps each for a longer trip. I use these and they work great.
Here is a pic of my rig.

height vs. loading
One factor is your own height. I know for a fact I am too short (5’ 5" with short arms) to load a wide short kayak on j-racks on a taller vehicle (could barely manage a normal touring kayak on j-racks on my old Volvo wagon.) So it depends on what your individual capabilities are to a large extent.

transporting kayak
20" is too short of a distance to support a 10’ kayak. It will put too much strain on the mount + the force of the wind . You might be fine for short distances and low speeds.