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Inno J-Style Kayak Carrier with Tie-Downs Review

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Review of the Inno J-Style Kayak Carrier with Tie-Downs

Colin: Hey everyone, it's Colin here at etrailer, and today we're going to take some time to show you guys the Inno kayak carrier. And this is a J-style carrier that mounts to the roof rack of your vehicle and it's going to allow you to get up to two kayaks loaded so you can haul them to and from the water. What's kind of unique about this J-style carrier is that most of the time when you see a two kayak carrier you have a center mast and you have a kayak on each side. With this one, we have one of our kayaks leaned up against our masts right here, we've got some supporting pads underneath of it, and we have our second kayak with two support pads underneath, leaned up against our first kayak. And then we just get our straps run through and secured and that's one of the nice things about it that I personally like is that it's just one set of straps for both kayaks. With those other ones I talked about, you have one set of straps for each kayak, so it's a lot more to secure.Now I've been working with this carrier all day and one of the things that I really like about it is that we just have that one set of straps to work with.

Honestly, at first I was a little hesitant to have one kayak leaned up against another, but after just going through the procedure of securing it, I have a lot of confidence in the rack. I see no reason that it won't do great on the road. We even had some customers comment a year later saying that they've taken it about 50 miles an hour and they didn't feel uncomfortable at all while they we're traveling.Another thing is really nice about it is that it's not taking up all the space on top of our roof rack. So if we wanted to, we could get another accessory loaded up here, whether it's another kayak carrier, maybe even a bike rack.The carrier is going to come with everything you need to secure your kayaks. Like I said, we've got our two straps right here.

What's nice is that our metal cam buckles do have this nice foam pad underneath them, so if it we're to make contact with your kayak, you're not going to have to worry about it scratching it up at all. And then we're also going to have our bow and stern tie down securing the front and the back, making sure that our kayaks don't lift up at all while we're traveling.Now one thing you do want to keep in mind with the stern tie down, is that whether you have it tied off to your hitch or to an anchor like we have in use right now, you are going to lose the ability to open up your hatch unless you remove your tie down. You can see our hole straps have a loop at the top of each mast where they come through and go back over to the other side. And like I've been saying, these kayaks are very secure. I've got a lot of confidence in it.

And each upright mast is going to have a really nice soft pad that's going to help protect your inner kayak from getting any scratches or abrasions from the kayak carrier, just going to help to protect it.Now keep in mind that your weight capacity does not go up if you're carrying just one kayak. Now these four pads right here that support your kayak have a nice soft textured pattern so you're not going to have to worry about it harming or scratching the finish of your kayak. And that texture is also going to provide pretty good grip so it's not just a smooth surface where your kayak could slide back and forth. It's going to have a nice grip on it so that you can secure it with the straps and make sure that it's tight for the ride. Now in cases where maybe you want to leave your kayak carrier installed on your roof, you can fold these arms down to take away some of that height clearance of your vehicle.

We're just going to loosen up this knob first.Now as we're loosening this we are going to have to slide our pad up a little bit so this pin right here can come out, and then from there we can just scoot the pin down. We can fold it 90 degrees, bring the pin over, we reinsert right there, and then tighten up that knob to keep it secure. With the arms folded down now if we measure from the top for our crossbar to the top of our bar, it's only about five and one quarter of an inch, so we took away a lot of height for any low clearance situations like maybe parking in your garage. We want to keep this feature in mind. Now you can see how all those pads and our mast clamped down onto our roof rack. We just have these nice clamp systems. We have the Inno Aero bars right now on our vehicle, but this is also going to work for round bars, square bars, elliptical bars, and most factory roof racks. However, I do want to point out if you plan on using this for our round bar roof rack system, there is an adapter kit that you need to get that is sold separately here at etrailer.Now I do want to take a minute and just give you guys a quick comparison. This right here is the etrailer J- style kayak carrier. They're pretty similar. They have a similar aluminum construction to them so you're not going to have to worry too much about that rust and corrosion. They have nice padding where your kayak is going to be sitting, so you don't have to worry about it getting scratched or anything like that. One thing that's great about the etrailer carrier that our Inno doesn't necessarily do is that it does adjust for different hull sizes just like that, so it'll accommodate a wider variety of kayaks.However, with this one you can only carry one single kayak on it. If you wanted to carry two, you could go ahead and grab two of these. With our Inno, we can carry two like I said, but if you're still not sure about the Inno and you want to have one kayak carrier that can carry two, I would suggest maybe looking at the Thule Compass, that's one of my favorite racks because not only do you have the option to carry two kayaks, you can convert it to carry one kayak in either a J-style like this and have the arm fold back and forth, you could carry a kayak in a saddle-style position or you could even carry a couple of paddleboards if you are a little bit more adventurous and you have paddleboards to carry.Now that we've gone over some of those features, let's show you guys how to get this installed. Now we've got the back half installed right now, the front half is going to install the exact same way. So first we'll get these pads installed. Going to have to loosen up that bolt, get it off of the bracket, and then we'll set it onto our crossbar. And then we'll just thread it back onto the bracket right here, and then we can get it tightened up. We're just going to tighten it up until it's just underneath our crossbar. We want to leave it loose so that we can get our kayaks loaded and be able to adjust them freely. So I'll just push it back there with the other one. We'll come back to that when we load our kayaks.Now over here, we'll just get our brackets off of the tabs right here. We can flip up the clamps so we can get them off and loose. Do that on both sides, and then we can get it onto our crossbars. And we'll feed each bracket underneath our crossbar and get it back onto the other side just like this. Now the idea is to be able to get it tight up to where the clamps add extra security. You can see even right there, it's still loose. So I'm going to pull it back down and tighten up this nut on the bottom and we'll just check it again, see how much tighter it is. That'll probably work right there. And then we'll just do the other side. It should be good right there. Now because it's a rear loading kayak system, went ahead and scooted our vehicle up so we can get our kayak installed. What I'm going to do is just kind of shimmy it up and then just push it on up there. You can use those posts to lean it against.Now I'm just going to come up here from the other side and just help it along. I want to make sure it's pretty close to upright leaning against those supports. And what we'll do is take this first set of pads right here and just lift up on our kayak and slide it underneath. Now because of the size of our vehicle, I actually found it a little bit easier to come over to this side and kind of get more leverage underneath the kayaks. You can slide those pads underneath. Once you slide those pads underneath, go ahead and just tighten down.And now we'll just get our second one loaded up. This one we're just going to come from the side a little bit. That way I can utilize this step on my vehicle. You just kind of let it sit right here for a second while I gain some height. There we go, and I'll adjust it. Now if you've noticed I've had both of the holes of my kayaks facing towards those center masts. You want the cockpits right here to be facing away from the masts. And then we'll just lean this up against our other kayak. And then we'll do the same thing with these pads, slide them and get them underneath our kayak.And now we'll just run our straps through the loops on top. This side with our buckle right here we're just going to take a little bit of slack and then toss it over the top. Then we'll take the rest of our strap and we'll toss that over the top as well. And we'll do this for the other side as well. And we'll just run our strap underneath our crossbar, bring it up to our cam buckle and then cinch it down. And then just tie off your excess.Now for your bow and stern ropes, you can see right here all we did was we tied a loop on the end of the rope that they gave us, ran it through the handles of our kayaks, and then just found a spot underneath our hood, a nice part of the frame to wrap the rope around and then tie it off on itself. Something I would suggest, it would make this process a lot easier, is if you have some type of carabiner or a hook at home, you could just tie the hook or carabiner off onto this. Makes it much easier to find an attachment point than just tying it off on a part of your vehicle. Now let's go back there and do the stern.Now for the stern, I had to use a trunk anchor, because normally I would use the hitch receiver of a vehicle, but with the rope that they give us is not long enough to go through both the kayaks and reached down there, so I just got a trunk anchor. We sell these separately here at etrailer, it does not come with your Inno kayak carrier. Once you've got that mounted, just tied another loop into the end of the rope. Just going to pull up on it and then tie it off.And now with both of our kayaks fully secured, we're going to be ready to hit the road. Well, thank you all for watching and I hope this information helped you out. That'll do it for our look at the Inno kayak carrier.

Info for this part was:

Employee Andrew K
Video by:
Andrew K
Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Colin H
Installed by:
Colin H

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