Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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I’m in the market for a new carrier to go along with some new roof bars, what do you guys recommend? Will be for a sea kayak at the moment and in future whitewater, are J bars best or would a lie flat cradle be more appropriate
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I went for this https://www.thule.com/en-gb/gb/sport-ra ... -_-895000/ . Initially just had padded bars. I put self adhesive felt pads on rear supports and boat slides on and off roof so no more risky lifting. Flexible pads conform to hull. No sideways movement. Halfords came out cheapest.
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I've used Thule bars on my cars for years, for wave skis, bikes, roof boxes etc and always found them to be decent enough quality, however since getting a 'high top' van conversion, I had an Easy Lift Roof Rack (ELRR) fitted by Kari-Tek in Ayr to allow me to carry my sea kayak and I've found the quality of their J-bars and other cradles for my 'fishing sit on top' to be compatible, if not better quality than Thule.
If I ever return to cars, I will have no hesitation in getting another Kari-Tek system fitted.
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I'm not a fan of J bars or cradles, which I've used occasionally on friend's cars. I've always used simple uprights, and it's never done any harm to my boats. They're much easier to load than cradles or J bars (you don't have to lift so high), and you can get more boats one roof if you're shuttling a group. However, I currently have Thule uprights, and they are the exception to the general quality of the Thule range. They take up a lot of space, they have big plastic adjusting nuts at the base that contacted the hull of my sea kayak, and they just don't look like quality items.
I use these: http://www.ajkayakequipment.com/foam-kayak-cradles They are shaped foam cradles that conform to the shape of the hull. I fasten them into place on the roof bars with a velco strap. They are narrow enough to get two boats side by side on my roof rack. I'm very pleased with them and they don't seem to damage the hull at all. They aren't as 'solid as a j bar but I always tie the boats down at bow and stern anyway and the boat can flex a little but has never moved off line on the roof.
Have used the same set of AJ foam cradles for the last 6 years with no problems at all, they are cheap, simple and effective. To prolong their life and stop the keel being abraded by sand embedded in the open cell foam I stuck some Karrimat to the upper surface. This also allows the boat to slide on and off more easliy.