Getting your Boat to the Water - Part 4 of 8 - Using Saddle Style Cradles or Foam Blocks on Roof Racks

Getting your Boat to the Water - Part 4 of 8 - Using Saddle Style Cradles or Foam Blocks on Roof Racks

Posted by Laura Vanderhoek (WCK Staff) on 2017 Aug 9th

Saddle Style Cradles or Kayak foam Blocks mounted to Roof Rack –use with almost any type of kayak


-Easy to load by yourself

-Low profile clearance for entering a garage


-Takes up more space on the rack

How to use Saddle Style Cradles

1.Follow manufacturer’s instructions to install cradle/foam on rack

2.Start by looping the cam straps around the roof rack crossbar on one side, then place the free ends lightly on the hood and trunk. I would recommend that the buckle ends up situated on the passenger side of the vehicle so that if you have to stop in traffic to adjust your straps you are not standing on the side of the vehicle with traffic.

3.Center the kayak on the cradles hull down. I prefer to make sure the bow is at the front of the car, more for ascetics then anything. You may also want to use a cockpit cover to prevent your boat filling up with water while traveling.

4.Standing at one end of the kayak grab a hold of both loose ends of the cam strap and flip them over the boat

5.Take the end of the strap with the buckle and adjust its position so that it’s in the center of the kayak. If it is hard to adjust the strap it is likely crossed over itself at some point so take a look and make sure they are not crossed.

6.Take the loose end of the strap without the buckle and loop it around the rack’s crossbar, thread the end through the cam buckle. Always make sure you will be pulling down on the strap and not up to tighten

7.While holding onto the side of the strap without the buckle pull down on the loose end to tighten the strap. Use some body weight here to help but be careful not to overtighten the straps. They only need to be tight enough to hold the kayak in the cradle.

8.Repeat the above steps for the other strap

9.Adjust straps as necessary making sure the protective pad is under the cam buckle to prevent rubbing on your kayak

10.Attach Bow and stern tie downs to the front and back grab handles of your kayak using a bowline or other secure knot – Some find this is easier before the kayak is loaded on the car

11.Tie off the bow and stern lines to the front and back of your vehicle and use a truckers hitch to get them snug. Remember that these are only back-up safeties so they don’t need to be very tight. The cam straps in the center are doing the job of keeping the kayak in the cradle. Make sure there are no loose ends of rope that could end up under a wheel during transport as this can cause costly repairs to both your kayak and vehicle

12.Lastly test your tie down. Give the kayak a good tug and if the load shifts go back to step 7.