Factors to consider when deciding which kayak carrying system to purchase are: weight and width of the kayak, height of the vehicle, and if you’ll have help when loading & unloading. Keep in mind, if you have more than one kayak, you may want to consider 2 different kind of carriers, for example, a J-Cradle for when 2 people are loading and saddle type carrier when only one person is loading. These options attach to load bars (CROSS bars)
Carrier style: J-Cradle, saddle, stackers and wing styles will work on all kayaks. J-Cradles carry the boat on its side which takes up less width across the top of the vehicle, but work best when two people load the boat – one on each end. Load assist systems, such as the Thule Hullivator and Malone Telos make loading much easier for a single person.
Saddle carriers carry the boat right-side up and are pretty easy for a single person to load, starting by placing the bow of the boat on the back of the vehicle (use a bath towel or the Malone K-Rack, or Thule Waterslide to protect the vehicle and make sliding easier), and slide it up until it is in position to strap down.
Wing carriers extend the width of your vehicle by allowing a portion of the boat to extend over the top of the vehicle. They are also pretty easy for one person to load in a similar fashion as saddle carriers, as the boat stays right-side up. Malone Seawing is a good example.
Stackers allow up to 4 kayaks to be carried on top of the vehicle by allowing the kayaks to be “stacked” on their sides. They are much easier to use when there are at least two people loading, and they fold down when not in use. The Malone Stax-Pro 2 is an example.