Have a Pamlico 135t that we transport using Thule hull-a-port. Ready to buy a second one now. Concerned about transporting both on top of Town & Country van. Any suggestions on best way to do this. Flat or on edge? Thanks.
On edge and tie front and rear
Don’t worry - if you use a good rack system you will be fine either way. I can get my 160T, two Charlestons and a Blackwater on top of my Suburban - no problems. Just be sure to keep everything well attached according to the instructions and by all means use bow and stern tie-downs.
Don’t exceed total rack weight
Before you relax, make sure you know the rack’s max weight design and don’t even get close to it without testing how well it connected with your particular car, and do use mutiple tie downs. The amount of force on two boats is considerable with air speed, turbulence from two boats, and side winds, braking etc. Test the system out by seeing if two of you push pulling on the rack can cause it to shift etc.
Rechecking the rack, like a pre flight airplane pilot check it good as Murphy has a tendency to make all things loosen if they need to be tight and tighten if they need to be loose.
Is the boat plastic? If yes on their side, against stackers. Plastic boats are strongest there. If you don’t already have one, you’ll want a third party rack like Yakima or Thule. Handles any weight issues, and we transported our plastic sea kayaks (CD Squall and Necky Elaho) all over the place on stackers with no issues.
We never used tie-downs - found that against stackers a plastic boat just doesn’t budge even in heavy shoreline storms. Would recommend double straps for long hauls though, a practice we have since adopted with our composite boats.
I wouldn’t recommend against tiedowns
but I never use 'em. I use Hulaports modified to fit my P/U ladder rack which is on 6' centers. I do double strap for longer trips though, one strap to the hulaport and a longer one lashing to the crossbars. If you have a strong rack system I think tiedowns are not necessary, I'd always use them rather than rely on most factory crossbars or gutter clamp rack systems.
I’m not going to start a tie down debate - suspecting that can get as bad as rudder/skeg. Suffice to say that we do the double strapping on the advice of a extremely knowledgeable long term kayaking pro, and once did barely miss having one of the risks w/regular tie-downs.
I have seen tie-downs run to clips that fit under the hood and rear gate of a truck, which seemed a brilliant solution. All the benefits and none of the risks. But it looked like one the owner had worked out himself.
Total rack weight
I agree that checking the total rack weight is important. If your Thule hulliports attach to the factory rack, you will need to know what that rack is rated - hopefully it is in your owner’s manual. If you are using a full aftermarket system, you are probably fine. Two kayaks shouldn’t be too much for a good quality aftermarket rack, but it never hurts to make sure…
I always double-strap the front. To me, that falls under the category of “cheap insurance”. I also use tie-downs for the same reason.
Frankly, what scares me most is not what might happen to the boat, but what might happen to other drivers of they come loose…
Front tie downs
The front tie downs are to counteract the lift effect on the kayak hull at high speeds. I have seen a rack (not mine) ripped off of a car that was traveling a 70mph. Luckily no one was injured but easily could have been and the person hauling the kayaks would have been responsible. Think about a couple of kayaks and a rack flying off a car into traffic moving a 70mph. Rear tie downs would possibly keep them connected to the car if they came loose.
I take it those that say dont use
tie downs have never seen a yak come off. Please don’t use them and when your yaks come off someone will have a nice law suit against you. PLEASE USE FRONT AND REAR TIE DOWNS!!! ALWAYS!!!
Legal matter in some states
If occurs to me that you might check to see if there is a legal rule that requires you to use tie downs, regardless if they are needed or not. Aside from the wish to not injure anyone or lose your boats, being sued and fined are not pleasant outcomes.