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Old 04-01-2014   #1
gringoanthony's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 115
Kayak Rack Advice

I'm looking for feedback / pros and cons on different types kayak roof racks, such as the j-cradle style vs stacker style vs cheap universal foam blocks.

I have a Yakima roof rack & cross bars on top of a camper shell on a Tacoma. We also have a '10 Outback with factory cross bars.

My boat is a LL Remix 79.

Any input/feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 04-02-2014   #2
hippietendencies's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
I have the Yakima stacker (both models). It's nice, you can sit your boat on edge and wrap the webbing around the mount and be done quick. Along with that I can get 4 or 5 boats on my Subaru easily. I like to believe the j- cradles are best for sea kayaks. There's no way you could set it on edge and tie those down to your cross bars. The cheap foam blocks are exactly what they sound like. Cheap and foam. If you already have your cross bars you can get a pair of stackers for dirt cheap around here. I have a pair I'm selling if your interested- comes with all hard wear.

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Old 04-02-2014   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Seems to me like the J-cradle thing is good for ONE boat... and takes a lot of room on your rack and makes it harder to carry many boats.
So, assuming you want your vehicle to be good for helping to shuttle with a crew, go with the Yakima stackers. They are excellent. I also used to put lots of boats on my Subie... but not on the factory cross bars. Don't even think about it.
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Old 04-02-2014   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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The more boats you can carry, the better. I have a Subaru Impreza with a Thule setup with stackers. I like to put pool noodles around the bars to limit oil canning. Can easily transport 6 boats.
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Old 04-02-2014   #5
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 175

I have stackers but never use them. When I'm solo the boat goes upside down with 1 strap if local, 2 if going far but still faster than lacing straps through the stackers. If you're going to carry a bunch of boats, you'll have more room by tying them like this instead of using the stackers.
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Old 04-02-2014   #6
basalt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 59
take off your camper shell and you have the best rack on the market
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Old 04-02-2014   #7
., Arizona
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 83
Stackers are simple and effective. My little truck has run shuttle for 7 boats +people +gear.

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Old 04-04-2014   #8
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
This is a no-brainer. Keep in mind that more boats are destroyed on racks than on the river (well, at least in states that don't have Colorado mank-runs!). Get stackers and use them. I use and prefer old-style Thule, but I don't think it really matters whether you use a 2x4 with 3/4" pipe or $100 Swiss stackers.

You want to use stackers because :
1) they're a *LOT* easier on boats because you're not directly compressing the hull or deck, especially in hot weather.

2) you can more easily carry more boats, which for many of us is a big deal.

You may need to be a bit more careful tying boats on, particularly with some of the large, roundish creek boats. You'll figure this out. I might add that a sun roof is really handy - you can see when things start to slip!
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Old 04-19-2014   #9
gringoanthony's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 115
It seems clear that the stacker style rack is the way to go.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-20-2014   #10
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
Fabbed this up from Momma's old lawn chairs. The J-portion is the arm rest and the rest is made up of legs and cross-sections. Built to hold 4, but I can add a 5th or 6th on top if needed.

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