The Second Step to Safe Transportation of Your Gear- AQOutdoors

The Second Step to Safe Transportation of Your Gear- AQOutdoors

AQ Staff
8 minute read

Getting the right accessories and carriers for your vehicle is as equal as insuring you have the right bars and installation. This is step two in gearing up for your next adventure.

Picking Your Carriers

Depending on your lifestyle, certain carriers and systems may suit your needs better. When it comes to transporting your gear, it is important to remember that proper carriers aren’t only safer for your gear, but also safer for yourself, vehicle and the others on the road.

 What are you looking to carrier? What you are transporting is the first step in deciding what kind of carrier you need (Example: Bike, kayak, storage box, etc.)

How do you wish to carrier it? For every carrier there are variations and options to suit your needs and depending on your type of vehicle, will depend on what system works to satisfy your wishes.

Bike Carriers

There are two main carriers for transporting a bike; Roof Carriers, Rear/ Hitch Carriers.

Roof Carriers: Roof Carriers are a system that carriers your bike on the roof or your vehicle. They are a great way to get your bike out of the way for traveling and opening the rear gate of your vehicle. However, this does add a fair amount of height above your vehicle and can be pricey.

Depending on the style you wish to have, you can either get a carrier that latches down over the front wheel or ones that you remove the front wheel. The advantage to the latching style is you don’t have to take off the front wheel making it faster to get on the trail.

Rear/ Hitch Carriers: Are the ideal way to carrier your bike if you already have a carrier (like a cargo box or kayak) on your roof and wish to bring bikes with you as well. It is the best way to carrier multiple bikes on your vehicle without spending a lot of money. They are easy to load and unload your bike but can make it more challenging to open your rear gate on your vehicle.

Hitch Style bike carriers are the easiest to install, and require no extra rails and bars on your vehicle. They just install into the factory hitch already on your vehicle. They work great for multiple bikes and are often the cheaper way to go. Plus, they can also be put into a hitch on the back of a trailer.

Rear Style bike carriers are great for vehicles that do not have a hitch, but you still wish to carrier your bike on the back of your vehicle. They rest on the back gate of your vehicle (works for cars and SUV's) and clip to the edges of the door. They are more challenging to install but work great for loading and unloading bikes, however are not as sturdy as hitch or roof carriers.

Kayak/ Canoe Carriers

Kayak carriers make transporting your kayaks easier and safer. They have many different variations and styles, and make your time from the vehicle to the water much shorter.

What carrier do I need? Choosing what carrier, you need depends on three things;

  1. Do you have roof rails and bars?

Roof rails and bars make transporting your kayak easier and safer. All kayak carriers we have will fit almost any type of bar, or we can suit you up with bars if you do not have them.

If you have them, there are two forms mounting systems; Track Mounting or Clamp Mounting.

Track Mounting systems work with wing shaped bars, that have a track in them. Most wing shaped bars have a track.

Clamp Mounting systems clamp around the rail and work for almost any type of roof bar.

  1. How many boats are you carrying?

Depending on how many boats you are wanting to carry, will depict what kind of carrier you will need. The type of boats will also change the carrier style, but in general there are three styles.

J-Style kayak carriers cradle your boat on its side. These carriers work excellent for carrying multiple Touring, Recreational or Whitewater kayaks or for having a box system or bike carrier on your roof also.

Saddle Style carriers cradle your boat flat and upright on your roof. They work great for loading and unloading kayaks by yourself, but often make it hard to carry more than one kayak. You can carry two Touring Kayaks depending on how wide your vehicle and roof bars are.

Stack Bar Style carriers work great for carrying two or more boats at a time. They hold your kayaks vertically on their sides against a support bar in the center. This makes it easy to carry more than one boat against each other. Works great for transporting 4 or more Whitewater Kayaks.

  1. What kind of boat?

Certain styles of kayaks work better with different carriers, and this will also help you decide which style will suit your needs.


Recreational Kayak

Touring Kayaks

Whitewater Kayaks

Fishing Kayaks


J Style Carrier

2 Boats

2 Boats

2 Boats



Saddle Style Carrier

1 or 2 Boats

1 or 2 Boats

1 or 2 Boats

1 or 2 Boats

1 or 2 Boats
Stack Bar Style
2-4 Boats
2-4 Boats
1-6 Boats

Cargo Carriers

Cargo Carriers are a great secure way to transport gear on top of your vehicle. Almost any crossbar system on a vehicle will fit a cargo box. It is just deciding which style is perfect for you.

What they are made of. The cheaper the material, the louder they often are to drive with. If you are planning to use a Cargo Box for long trips or day to day use, a more expensive box that is more durable and quiet to drive with may be a quality decision. 

The loading/ locking mechanism. Cargo Boxes lock and open differently. They may open only on one side, or they may open on both sides. Some boxes have a turn key locking mechanism and others have a push lock mechanism. Each style has its advantages and may suit you better.

Amount of gear and size. Depending on what type and how much gear you are carrying, will help depict what box is great for you. Longer boxes are great for skies and paddles. Large boxes are great for packing a lot of gear into. It all depends on your lifestyle.

Which box fits my lifestyle?

Boxes have many variants and options, but not all boxes will suit your lifestyle.

Camping: Cargo Boxes are excellent option for camping. When choosing a box, you need to think of how much gear you are packing? Are you carrying anything else on your roof (kayak, bike)? And how quiet do you want it to be when driving with it?

What to look for;

  • A box that is made of a stronger material to reduce noise when driving with.
  • Large box for storage
  • Large Narrow box to carry a kayak or bike beside it.
  • A box that opens on both sides and has a push lock so you can pack more stuff in it a push it closed.

A Great Box for You: Thule Force XT XL, Thule Motion XT L, Thule Motion XT XXL

Day to Day: Cargo Boxes are excellent for day to day use for extra storage and security.

What to look for;

  • A box with a strong material for noise reduction
  • A secure box
  • A lower profile box to fit in garages and covered parking in the city

A Great Box for You: Thule Force XT XL, Thule Motion XT XL, Thule Motion XT L,

Multi Carriers: Smaller Cargo Boxes are great for placing beside a bike or kayak on your roof to get most of your gear on top of your vehicle.

What to look for;

  • Small and secure box
  • Does not need to open on both sides

A Great Box for You: Thule Force XT Sport

Ski and Snowboard: Cargo Boxes are a great way to pack your skis, snowboards and some gear on top of your vehicle to free up space inside.

What to look for;

  • Long Cargo Box
  • A strong material for noise reduction and security
  • Ability to open on both sides is an advantage

A Great Box for You: Thule Force XT Alpine, Thule Motion XT Alpine

 Click Step Two, to finish suiting up for your next adventure!

Give us a call, email, or visit us in-store at either our Calgary or Edmonton location, and we will help gear you up for your next adventure!

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