guitaristgene

Separation distance of kayak racks?

12 posts in this topic

I have a dilemma that I need to address before making the trek from Cape Cod to the Keys with my kayak in about a month. I've done a lot of transport of various kayaks for the last 20 years, mostly in the back of a pickup truck that I no longer have. For the last year I've been transporting my 12' Santee Hurricane (which I love!) on top of my Subaru Crosstrek on Yakima crossbars with Yakima saddles or occasionally on off-brand J-racks. However, on this trip we will be using my wife's new Kia Seltos small SUV. We spent the long dollar on Kia branded crossbars that the dealer installed on the roof rails (to be honest, if I'd known what a PIA roof rails are vs the built in racks on my Crosstrek it might have been a deal breaker, but that's another story....). These new crossbars are screwed into set spaced openings on the rood rails that are in specific places. I asked them to space the bars a good distance apart for use with kayak racks but they went with the enclosed instructions, placing them 24" (on center) apart. They did this (they said) to minimize wind noise. I could move the rear bar back to the next set of openings near the back to vehicle but judging by their explanation of the process it looks like a job I do NOT want to take on, especially in sub freezing weather. So here's my question:

 

I've read on a couple of kayak sites that 24" is the minimum space between any kind of racks for safe transport. To me, that seems kind of close but I would love to hear from anyone who has their racks, either saddle type or J-racks, set that distance and their experience. Pressure points from the saddles on the bottom being that close together are a concern, especially if I have to really use some force tying it down, which I most likely will have to do. So even though I prefer the saddles to the J-rack for ease of getting the kayak on and off the car, I might have to use J-racks. Would it make sense to buy better quality J-racks, either Yakima or Thule (both will work on the crossbars from what I can see) as they are somewhat wider both on the bottom and the upper parts, giving four well separated padded contact points on each rack? 

 

Going back to the dealer is not an option as they are up in Framingham which is at least an hour and a half away, FWIW.

 

Sorry for the long post! I just want to do everything possible to make this trip as safe as possible. Thanks for your time & responses!

 

Gene

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Saddles are better then j bars at keeping your kayak attached to your roof. I normally transport my kayak upside down on cross bars with pads.  If you can secure the front and rear of your kayak to the car you should be ok with saddles.  Some people who don’t have a place to attach the  front of the kayak to the  car use some type of hood loops. Good luck with your transport. I use to transport a 17 foot Grumman kayak on a VW  bug with rubber pads. The key is the front and rear tie down points. Also much better to transport things upside down. More aero dynamic.

Edited by dbjpb

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The further apart you can mount your bars the better. It's a leverage thing, the wind will be trying to force the boat off of one bar using the other as a fulcrum, so the closer they are together the more leverage it has. I loved my old Caravans that had gutters or tracks that let you put them wherever you wanted. The rail on my Odyssey is far more limited, but they're probably three feet apart.

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51 mins ago, dbjpb said:

much better to transport things upside down. More aero dynamic.

Hmmm.....I wonder which is really more aerodynamic, hull up/deck down you have the air stream getting directed over the hood, up the windshield & into  the kayak, there could be more drag that way....

 

Hull down that air stream is directed away via the shape of the hull..

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Looks like you may be right about aerodynamics? It depends on the style and shape of the kayak.  This particular kayak looks like a sik kayak. It could catch a good amount of wind upside down. It  also looks like a thermo formed kayak  which may need saddles to transport right side up without damaging the hull? I always transport my sit on top kayaks upside down.  I used to transport my sea kayak right side up with saddles. It looks like there are many opinions on how to transport a  kayak?  This kayak looks like the seats are permanently attached? This could also complicate the upside down transport?

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Interesting responses, thanks. Still would like to hear from someone who has transported their 12' kayak with crossbars 24" apart. I'm concerned about tying down the bow and stern with ropes going to the front and back of the vehicle causing lots of noise. If it was just me going, no problem, but "happy wife, happy life" as they say and mine would NOT be happy with lots of noise from the ropes on a 1400 mile journey (she does accept that there will be some noise no matter what I do, BTW). The seat is removable in my Hurricane and I have a good quality cockpit cover if that means anything re: upside down or right side up and relative wind resistance. I will definitely be using the cover because I need to transport the paddle (2-piece, separated) and PFD inside. At this point I think I'm leaning toward springing for the fancier, wider J-racks from Yakima or Thule.....

 

Gene

 

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

  Get the xbar moved back, it’s a PIA, but it will be a done deal.
  If it were me with a 24” spread, I’d go cockpit down on padded bars, or cockpit up on saddles. The bow and stern lines don’t have to be killer tight. Rope as opposed to straps shouldn’t make much noise, use a truckers hitch type ‘pulley’ knot, with a quick release draw loop. Slide some pool noodle on the bow line to protect your hood.

  A twist in the lashing straps that attach it to the xbars will stop them from singing. 

Edited by cheech
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Jersey to Keys did about 3500 miles on that trip . I carry deck down and alway use front and back straps. No wind noise that I ever notice from straps or up above and I’ve hate to admit it but done 95mph with kayaks on roof. My cross bars are 37” apart.

 

463D9088-4FD3-47A4-87BD-C9D6A3D9C682.jpeg

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On 2/24/2021 at 4:57 AM, oc1 said:

Dude!  It looks like you don't even need to own a wrench to adjust the bars.  I think you can do this.

Genuine Kia Sportage Roof bars: How to fit - YouTube

Dude, read the thread. It is a Seltos, not a Sportage. I would have no trouble moving the rear bar back to the next set of insert points but the directions specifically say to NOT do this. But in any case, did not not use that car to bring my kayak from Cape Cod to FL, used my Subaru Crosstrek with Yakima crossbars and saddles. Worked just fine on the 1700 mile journey.

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You can also get something like a Thule Slipstream, which is basically a frame that's secured to the cross bars. It would spread out the actual kayak bearing points. It also makes rear loading easy with the sliding roller. I found one CL for pretty cheap and it works great.

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