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Choosing the Best J Style Kayak Carrier

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Choosing the Best J Style Kayak Carrier


What's up everybody. It's AJ with etrailer.com. Today we're going to be taking a look at the J-style kayak carrier. Now, this is my favorite way to carry a kayak on your roof. The J-style, all the same, have that shape, and that cradle, to hold that kayak in position and makes it feel safe going down the road. But within that category, there are a bunch of different options.

Each one has something different to it that you may or may not want. For example, some of them are in fixed positions and some of them you can actually fold down when not in use. Which one's going to be better for you Let's check it out. First one we're going to take a look at is a fixed mounted J-Style carrier. So by fixed mounted, I mean, it doesn't fold down.

We'll show you some options later on that do. But this one, this is what you're going to get. You're just going to get an upright J-style carrier and it's going to stay like this. Which, the positives of that would be, you don't have to mess with anything, you don't have to worry about any moving parts. It's not going to be moving around or anything but if you have a taller car than this, maybe you have a low ceiling on your garage, you're gonna have to remove this before you pull in there.

You don't want this sitting up there and you have to worry about clearance. The folding ones, give that option to fold them down, get them out of the way. But maybe if you don't go kayaking all that often, you only go a couple of times a year. You can throw these up there, throw your kayak in place, take them off when you're done and just put them in the garage. Now, this is one of the more entry-level options of carriers but there's nothing wrong with it.

It just doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that the other carriers will later on. I do like, though, that it still has the thick foam pad at the top and at the base because that's where your kayak's going to be making contact there. And then even at the bottom, with the hard plastic, you have a rubberized top for that. So when you set your boat down in there it's not going to scrape it up there on the sides. This is going to be more of a step up in the J-style carrier category. So right away, you can see that it's got a flat bar design instead of the standard round bar design that some of the others have. Along with that, it's got a few more points of padding along it, and it's not the soft foam pads, it's actually a rubberized pad. So I think that's going to last longer and grip your kayak better, when you go to set it in place. The foam is great and all, but as it gets wet or you leave it out in the elements, it's more likely to rip and tear. You're not going to have that problem with the rubberized pads here on this one. Another thing I really like is the slot here at the top to run your strap through, because it can be kind of a pain to get this set up, go to set the kayak up there, and the strap falls out because it doesn't have a guide to go through. And then you have to bounce back and forth from the passenger side to the driver's side just to get it strapped down. Now we're gonna start looking at some of the carriers that actually fold down. Now, why that'd be good is because you can leave it on here all the time and just fold it down and out of the way when you're not using it. Maybe you live closer to a lake or wherever you take your kayak out. Maybe you go every other day. You're not going to be wanting to take this completely off and put it right back on every single time you want to go. You're cool with just leaving it on here, folding it down and keeping it like this. You have plenty of clearance then to get in your garage or wherever you park. You just don't have to worry about it. And then when you're ready to go, you just flip it back up. It's that easy to snap right back into place. This one's much like the first one we looked at that was in the fixed position. This is an entry-level folding one that works just fine. There's no issues. Just, there are some things done better on a few of the other ones. It's got the foam pads, like we already talked about. There. And you know, we're just not sure how long those are going to hold up in the rain and the weather, if you leave it outside. It still folds up and down pretty easily. It's got a nice rubberized base. So you don't have to worry about damaging your kayak there. One of the benefits it does have, over some of the ones that's going to come after it, is that it comes with a great strap kit. Some of the other ones just come with some rope that you have to tie some loops yourself on some hooks. And it's not that hard, you'll figure it out, but the strap kit on this one kind of surpasses the other ones. This is where you're going to see a bunch of the upgrades added all in one. So, right away, I want to point out one of my favorite things is this loading ramp. I really like it 'cause you can set the kayak up against it and then push it into place from there. It just helps having something to set the kayak onto. Maybe you have a taller vehicle. Maybe you're not that tall to set it against this. To have that flat surface and then to push it into place really helps out. And you can see this being a higher tier than the last one. It's got some better features. Like the dense foam here on the base is really going to hold up to those elements better than the soft foam or just the rubberized areas. Up here you have that foam again, but again this part is covered by this fabric, this hook and loop. So that's going to keep that foam from being exposed to the elements or even the water when you set your kayak up there. That's going to make it last a little longer too. Now we still have the strap guide up top. And there's even a guide down here at the bottom of the base. So when you go to strap it down, it tells you exactly where to put the straps to help you tie it down. I really like that because it just makes it easier to tie down your kayak, which is a big process of this whole thing. Now much like the other one, it does fold down. Except this one just has one latch on the side. The latch is far easier to throw. And again, there's only one. So I really like that it's easy to reach out there to release it, or tighten it back up. Just makes, overall, everything way easier. This would be an example of a more premium rack. So what sets it apart right away is going to be the way it attaches. So you can just turn this knob on the side and these clamps expand and let go of the roof bar. So you just do that and you can see how it's loose now and to tighten it back down, you just go the other way. And it tightens these clamps around the bar which is really useful. It's really easy. It's easier than dropping the bolts through and using a plate at the bottom. It also helps out if you have low clearance between your roof and under the bottom of the bar some vehicles don't have a lot of space here. So it's hard to get those knobs in there just to get them started and tighten down with that plate. That's going to eliminate those issues and they're just easier to use in those instances. Now also it has the option to add a lock core in there and that way you can lock it to your bars on the roof and nobody can mess with it when you're not around. Another thing it has, it returns to that rubber base that some of the other ones had. So that's going to hold up way longer and add that grip, when you put that kayak in there, like I've said before. Along with that though, you still have the loading ramp, the coated foam here, and the easy lever, to throw that, fold it down and put it back up. Either way, whichever one of the J-Style you go with they're all going to do a great job of holding your kayak up on your roof, keeping it safe and secure. Hopefully this video showed you a couple of different options you might not have known about or helped you filter out in your head which ones you do care about, which ones you don't care about. That way you can pick the one that's best for you and your vehicle. Thanks for hanging out. And I hope this helped..


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