two boats on a car rack

-- Last Updated: Aug-26-05 8:48 AM EST --

Could people please give me info on loading two boats on a car rack currently having enough room for one kayak and two bike racks (the bikes themselves will not be going with the yaks). Its a yakima, so I'm not concerned about weight. Are the upright pole thingys needed? I realize that they will need to go on their sides. If I strap them together and use all the normal sets of straps and bumper ropes, it should be enough... right? Please share your techniques for two boats, especially if you do not use upright supports. It will be a 14.5 and a 12 ft boat, if that makes a difference.
I had shipping my yak down to a science then the wife wants a yak too... I get a paddling partner out of this, so I shouldn't be complaining.

Kayak stackers
work OK in my opinion (have a set myself for “emergencies”. Shorter 7 more ridgid poly boats suffer less deformation using them than longer touring boats. Padding is needed - pool noodles work well, or Yakima makes nice & pricey pads - and I would suggest individual strap sets for each boat. I would refrain from transporting composit boats long distances unless the stackers and crossbars were padded REALLY well.


PS: Don’t forget the bow & stern lines!

Here’s what I can fit
On my Outback I have 48" Yakima bars. Two Yakima Steelhead bike racks mounted on the ends of the bars, outside of the towers. On the inside of the towers I can fit two Malone Super J racks putting the boats on their sides, back to back. I have’t tried carrying the bikes and boats at the same time yet but the racks all fit.


2 boats is easy
the go side by side lying on the keel. I have carried uo to 5. Here I have 4 on a Skyline wagon.

Two ways
I have hauled two boats on my pickup topper (Ranger Supercab w/6’ box) two different ways. Two sets of Malone J cradles or one set of Js and one set of Yakima saddles. The latter puts one boat on it’s side and one on it’s keel. Most of the time I only carry one; on side if going on short hops or on keel if making longer trips and expecting windy driving. I use ratchet straps around the boat to hold it in place and always use a bow line just to keep an eye on conditions while driving.


My ideas
I didn’t mention something on the original post. The kayak, pfd, paddle will be taking up all funds, so J cradles and stackers (unless neccessary) are not in the budget. This is what I was planning. Please let me know if this will work. I was going to get a pool noodle for the front bar (the rear already is wrapped in foam). I would place the yaks side by side on their sidewalls. Using a two pool noodles in between the boats for more security, strap the two boats together. I use two straps per rack, pulling in opposite directions (thats four total for the front and back). I would secure the boats with individual bow and stern lines. I believe in overkill. Does this seem to be what I need to do? And how do I position the boats together? Do they face bottom to bottom or cockpit to cockpit or cockpit to bottom?

I realize the best thing to do is to try it myself but I don’t have the second boat yet and I’m sure other people have had to figure this out already. I’d like to learn from what y’all have learned already.



2 OK Prowlers on Montana
I use Yakima v shaped racks side by side. The first goes on front to front the second back in to front of car. first on last off. The air between them is about 1 inch and they hang over the sides an inch or two but the racks are able to securely handle the load. I looks like a lot of boat up there and takes some planing for the straps (I lay them on car before loading boats and tie down the first before going for the second, but am proud of the end product and can travel forever with this set up. I do use front and aft lines just to be super safe. Be care of something with too much play in it. I had tried the cheap way and ended up with a kayak 1/2 on and 1/2 off the car in the middle of the road many miles from home. ugh–GOOD LUCK