Rack Recommendations?

Submitted byPatrick North onMon, 06/18/2018 - 09:25

Hi all-

(Cross posting this on another site)

I'm punting on a kayak trailer for the time being. Any recommendations for a roof rack setup to accommodate various combinations of SUPs and rec kayaks- up to 3 craft at any one time?

Now that my kiddos are older I have adequate help loading, so I'm not motivated by any of the "load assist" type solutions. My biggest priorities are security/stability on the road and not beating up these wooden boats with a rack that was designed with only indestructable plastic boats in mind.




Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:59

The two big names in racks are Yakima (standard round crossbars) and Thule (standard rectangular crossbars).

I have both and prefer the rectangular crossbars. The kayak cradles (and other accessories) tend to rotate around the round crossbars.

Some cradles will fit round bars and then after removing knockouts will fit rectangular section bars.

It is hard to combine SUP's and a kayak.  SUP's are really tall on edge (wide) and flat they do not leave room for kayaks.  It is no problem hailing 3 kayaks in J racks if you have a good roof rack.  


Patrick North

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:11

Yes, the SUP seems to be the problem. 

The "J hook" type kayak cradles seem great for kayaks and really spread out the load (nice for wood boats) but some manufacturers actively discourage use with SUPs. Most seem to want you to lay them flat on the rack, which does take up a lot of space.

Anyone use a "J hook" for an SUP?

I'm seeing on the big maker's websites that they suggest a limit of 2 J-hooks, and then recommend a "stacker" type system for 3 or 4 boats- basically an upright rod that secures multiple boats in a single bundle. These look like a great way to beat the crap out of a wooden kayak or sup. Anyone have experience with them? Depending on what I can fit on a rack (just a 4 door sedan, not an SUV), 2 J-hooks and a "stacker" might work.



I have two J hooks, but regularly carry four kayaks. I just put one into the J hook normally, and one on the wrong side of the J hook. The J hooks do have to be quite far apart, but it works fine. When I carry three kayaks I put the third one flat between the two J hooks.

And as an aside, I normally put my Petrel in the middle, as it is smaller and lighter, and there is no damage visible so far, even though I no longer pad it. I use Thule aero racks, which do have a rubber strip on the top edge, which stops scratches.

This is a Prijon 520, a Baffin, a Petrel and a North Star

This is actually four kayaks, the furthest away is my Petrel, then a Tahe Greenland, my daughter's tiny Black Pearl, and a Rainbow Laser. If you look closely you can just see the stem of the Black Pearl!

So I recommend putting the SUPs on the wrong side of the J hooks.



Tue, 06/19/2018 - 16:50

If you are going to be travelling at 'highway speeds' , end ties can reduce the anxiety level.

SUP flat on the rack, strapped down.  Pool noodle strapped on top of it, then load one of the yaks on top of that.  Just treat the yaks and SUPs like surfboards.  I've stacked 4 surfboards on a car then loaded kayak(s) next to them on a standard width rack.  I've also loaded my 19 1/2 foot Northbay on top of my 9 1/2 foot surfboard (in travel bag) and loaded my daughter's 14 foot kayak on top of her 7 foot surfboard, just as described.  Works like a charm.  Don't forget your stem lines for the yaks, though.  If you have a case/bag for the SUP, use it and have stem lines for it too.  Easy enough to sew a loop of webbing into the end of a bag and use that for clipping lines to while traveling.