Malone Stax Pro2 review
Congratulations on your new kayaks! Now you have to decide how to get them home! The good news is that if your car is already equipped with a roof rack, then you are half way there. Two kayak roof carriers from the big guys can be expensive, but there is an affordable option from Malone named the Stax Pro2 that can do the job. Keep reading for our Malone Stax Pro2 review.
When we were looking for a solution to carry our kayaks, we initially looked at cradle carriers, but later found the Malone Stax Pro2 which was at least half the price of comparable carriers. We went the Stax Pro2, and have been using for a few years now with mostly positive results.
Would we recommend the Malone Stax Pro 2?
Have we had a positive experience with the Malone Stax Pro2? In short yes, but in our opinion, it depends on how you plan to use it.
First the good:
Price The most obvious positive to the Malone Stax Pro2 is the price. At around $125, it’s hard to find anything that comes close. Used equipment is a good option, but it may require some searching in order to find that good deal.
For $125, you get everything you need in one box (assuming that your car already has a roof rack). In the box you will get the two support posts, four foam blocks and all of the straps needed to secure your kayaks.
Lightweight and easy to store When not in use, we just keep everything in one of our kayaks. The whole system is just two small posts, straps and four foam blocks.
Installation is quick and requires no tools While loading and securing the kayaks can be a hassle (more on that below), the actual installation of the stacking posts is a breeze. No tools are required. Just loosen the knob, center the post on your crossbar, and then tighten the knob. If you choose to leave the posts on your vehicle, they fold down, but it’s so easy to remove them that I just opt to remove them completely in-between outings.
What could be better:
I won’t lie, we had some complications on our first outing. Now, I have to say that this was our fault, but it brings me to my point; loading and strapping the kayaks (especially for the first time) can be a hassle.
Straps, so many hard to reach straps.. The carrier relies on a t-shaped hook at the top of each post to grab the straps. The opposite facing straps must be in place around the pole and overlapping in order to snug up correctly under the hook. This takes some practice to master, especially if your vehicle is tall enough to affect your view of the straps. It’s pretty frustrating to finish loading everything only to realize that you have to start over because one of your straps didn’t seat properly in the hook.
Foam block frustrations The Stax system includes four foam blocks that attach over your crossbars. One downside to the blocks is that they don’t offer the fixed positioning like a cradle would. So instead of always having a correctly-positioned resting point, there is a lot of adjusting that needs to be done in order to ensure your kayak is angled and balanced properly. I have found it to get easier with time, but it certainly took some practice.
Budget for better tie-downs The included bow and stern tie-downs simply consist of open metal hooks and braided rope. I would recommend replacing the hooks with a t-style hood anchor straps. Hood anchors like the Malone Quicklash loops allow you to simply close the anchor in your hood and trunk and then secure your rope.
If budget is your first priority, and you only plan to haul your kayaks a few times a month, we think you will like the Malone Stax Pro2. While loading kayaks can be time-consuming, most casual users will find it to be a fair trade-off given the price.
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