3 posts in this topic

Loaded two 14 foot yaks on a Ford Escape roof using a Thule J-Hook system and headed down I-95 for Florida yesterday.

Let me say, that I do NOT recommend using this method.

The factory rack on the Escape is a piece of crud, big time.

The yaks were firmly strapped into the J-Hooks which were on the cross bars of the rack. These things were sails and caused undue strain on the cross bars. Mind you, the weight limit is 100 lbs so I thought I was ok.

Starting at about 60 mph, the yaks would oscillate with a side to side motion, not bad though. Anytime a truck would pass me, the turbulence would cause the yaks to really rock back and forth causing the Escape to rock quite uncomfortably. I was afraid it would break the cross bar or cause failure of the J-Hooks. I had to slow down and allow the truck to get at least 200 feet in front of me before the rocking stopped. Each and EVERY time!!!!

The Ocean Kayak seemed to rock more than the Malibu Yak.

I stopped several times and readjusted the front of the Malibu to attempt to get it to quit rocking. No dice.....

My recommendation AT THIS POINT, is to mount the yak flat on the roof rack, bottom side down. I will try this method at the standard speed limit in the Keys, which is 25 mph. I figure this will work better than trying it at Interstate speeds, LOL!!

What will be interesting is stacking the 2 yaks on each other, this will be a feat....

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good luck with coming up for a solution. some kayaks are "stackable" meaning that they are molded to fit on top of others of the same model and in that case it would be easy. I have had problems with putting 2 different model kayak on top of each other and strapping them down in the past. nothing that cant be fixed and no damage but just not fitting on there straight and being worried about driving down the highway like that. hope it works out okay for you.

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An update:

I believe the key here is to make sure the cross bars are beefy enough to not flex. If your factory bars do, then I would recommend getting a Thule or Yakima cross bar with an appropriate yak mount system, such as the Thule Hullo-Vator (spelling?).

Having the yak laid flat will greatly reduce the side to side oscillation you get with one standing on it's side. If you have a beefy mount AND heavier vehicle, side stack is ok.

Another key is to reduce the length of strap that is subjected to wind blast, the straps will vibrate and create an awful noise. Use short runs between the mount and the holes in a sit-on-top yak. Run the straps around the side and cross bar for added system strength.

Any amount of strap leftover after the cinch should be wrapped and tied to avoid flapping. Be sure to keep the ratcheting mechanism away from other straps so it doesn't rub a tear or hole in it.

Test it out locally at slower speeds, graduate up to highway speeds up to what the real world does. After this last trip to the FL Keys, 85 mph IS real world..... Of course, I wouldn't recommend speeding. :D

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