Melba Kayak May 03rd, 2018 - 10:23:58
Pros: J-carriers work well to protect the kayak hull from damage when tightening the straps. They will also maximize your roof space to allow for extra kayaks or other accessories. Cons: It can be tough to maneuver the kayak on top of your vehicle and into the side position of the J-carrier, especially if your vehicle is tall. Also, be careful in parking garages as the added height could be a problem. Some examples of J-carriers are: Thule Hullaport and the Malone Autoloader. Vehicle types Cars Cars with short roofs can be a challenge - especially 2-door cars. The shorter the distance between the straps/bars the less secure the system will be. Always, use bow and stern lines when transporting by car or any vehicle with a short roof span - a favorite of ours is the Thule Quickdraw.
But, as important as the structural makeup of the kayak is, kayaks are typically classified to the type of kayaking theyre designed to do. Kayaks built for touring are much different from those for whitewater paddling. There isnt any single kayak that will excel in every type of paddling category. As you shop for your kayak, you need to anticipate your future paddling style and then select a kayak that should perform well in that primary kayak category but also keep in mind your skill level and price range as well. Now there are kayaks out there - especially in the inflatable kayak category that lends itself better to multiple styles/designs then their counter parts. So if you are not sure if you will be using your kayak in any one particular category, consider some high quality companies like Sea Eagle, Innova, Airis and Advance Elements to name a few who use a lot of cross over inflatable kayaks to fit multiple needs. But keep in mind that they will not excel in all categories, they still focus on one particular category but do well in other categories better then most. So focus still on a particular category.
Of course, adding a quality rack system to a SUV or Mini Van will offer the most room for accessories and carrying capacity. Note: Its OK if the bars extend out past the roof. According to the law, they can extend as wide as your side-view mirrors. On tall vehicles this works well, on shorter ones make sure you wont be hitting your head on the ends of the bars when you enter or exit the vehicle. Pickup Trucks Nothing is easier than strapping a kayak into the bed of a pickup and hitting the road. If the kayak is hanging over the end of your tailgate you must hang a flag on it for safety. Another option which makes this method of transport safer and more practical is a bed extender. An extender is a device that plugs into a standard 2- hitch mount and will give you up to 4 more of support under your kayak. (An extender can also be reconfigured to support your kayak over the bed, with one end resting on the cab roof and the other on the extender in the vertical position.)
While foam blocks will work, we strongly recommend putting a rack system on your car - this will make life easier, protect the roof of your car, and leave you more room for other accessories & gear. Most rack manufacturers make special rack adapters for 2 door cars with shorter roofs. Both Thule and Yakima make good system for cars. SUVs and Mini Vans The longer roof frame of an SUV or a Mini Van does give you some advantages over cars, but sometime the added height of an SUV can make getting your kayak on top a little harder. Most SUVs come with factory racks that work well to receive most kayak carriers and transport accessories. Factory racks systems do have weight limits, but most can handle 1 or 2 medium to light weight kayaks without a problem. A popular way to transport two kayaks with a factory system is to transport one in a J-type carrier and the other flat or face down on the bars. You can really maximize space by using two J-Carriers.