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Malone DownLoader J-Style Kayak Carrier Review - 2021 Toyota 4Runner

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Review of the Malone DownLoader J-Style Kayak Carrier on a 2021 Toyota 4Runner


Hi, everyone. Aiden here with each trailer.com. Today, we're gonna be taking a look at the Malone Downloader J-style kayak carrier here on our 2021 Toyota 4Runner. Now this J-style kayak carrier, as you can see, is gonna hold our boat in this more upright position. Now for me, I really like J-style because I feel like it gets a really good hold on the boat. It's kind of cradled into the carrier here, and you can store more on your roof.

We can easily get another J-style carrier on the other side of the vehicle and have two boats on the roof ready to hit the water. Now the Downloader is really nice because you have integrated spots on the carrier to feed your main straps through here. I really like this because it just gives a cleaner look. It's easier to get the thing strapped down, and it's all really solid in there. We've got the loops on the front here that we can feed through, as well as a guide on the top, at the back end, to guide the strap through and around the bar.

It helps kind of keep it in place when you're strapping it down too. It makes the whole experience a bit easier. Now for the bow and stern tie down straps, you are gonna get this rope here with an S hook on the end. Ours is hooked inside the engine bay here. Now this isn't my favorite method of tying these down just because you do have to tie a specific knot to get everything nice and stable.

And it can be a little bit of pain when you're setting up. Especially if you've just finished boating. You're probably tired and wanna just strap it down and get going. So for me, this isn't the best way. It gets a good hold.

If you are interested in something easier, the etrailer strap kit for tying down your kayak is really nice, really easy to use. You don't have to mess with any of the ropes like this. Everything's strapped, so it's easy to use, and it comes with two of these foam dog bone pieces. So you can kind of anchor that in the hood. You're not having any metal hooks hooking onto anything and applying weird pressure in places where you might not want it. Now if we undo the rope on the back here, you'll see that on our 4Runner today, we actually have enough clearance to open the hatch. This will depend on where you have your roof rack set up, how big the boat is, that sort of thing. But with the way we've got it set up, we don't even have our roof rack all the way as forward as it can go. So there is room to spare here, which I really like to see. Now like I kind of mentioned before, the knots can be a bit troublesome to undo just because you've got a lot of this rope kind of feeding in and around itself, looping back and forth. Eventually, once you get it undone here, we can take that off. And we've got ours hook just down on the safety chain loop of our hitch there. So for the back end on the 4Runner, that's nice to have there. And yeah, you can see here you get full hatch clearance. It's definitely close, but it's nice that we're not sacrificing that functionality. Holding the boat like this, you kind of match the curve of the end there. So that's what let's us do that. If we we're gonna be holding it kind of flat or on its bottom side, we probably wouldn't be able to do this. It wouldn't kind of match the curve of the boat to open the hatch. Now the one thing you're gonna want to keep in mind with hauling anything on your roof, especially a kayak like this, is loading it and unloading it. The 4Runner is a pretty darn tall vehicle. So loading it on your own might be a bit difficult. Luckily, we have these sort of ramp like surfaces on the Downloader, which do make it easier to set up there and kind of push it or lower it out of place, as I can kind of show you here. Now this does bring up a good point though that those ramps do serve some other functionality. If we come in a little bit closer after I set the boat down here, those slots that we ran our strap through here actually act as little holding places for a potential load-assist system. So that'll hook into the front here and run down the side of the car to help you lift the kayak in place. It doesn't come with it, but if you do need that extra help getting the boat up into place, that's gonna be a really helpful system. And it's nice to know that it is compatible with this carrier. You are gonna be working with a 75 pound weight capacity. I think that's pretty good. And as far as how much height it's going to add to the top of your roof, we'll take that measurement from the top of our crossbar. We're gonna be sticking up about 19 inches here. Every roof rack's gonna sit a little bit different. So just go to your crossbars and measure up 19 inches to see how much it's gonna add. The nice thing though is, after I set my tape measure down, we can fold it down. So we've got a really easy lever right here on the side that can pull, and now it'll free up those jaws. We can fold it down and reengage it right there. So now, the only thing that's gonna be sticking up is this ramp portion here. And from the top of the crossbar, it's only gonna be sticking up about 5 1/2 inches. So that's a significantly reduced height. If you want to leave this on between your outings on the boat, you absolutely can. It's gonna take up not as much space this way and be a little bit more low profile. Everything secures up top with a plate on the bottom of the crossbar and two hand knobs to get everything nice and tight to the roof rack there. My only complaint about that system is that there isn't a way of locking that. It's really nice 'cause it's tool free, but if you do want to have them locked on the top of your roof so no one is going to take it when you're not around, you can check out the Yakima JayLow. That doesn't come locking right out of the box, but you do have the ability to add Locking Cores to it. So if that's a security concern for you, you can check out that option. Otherwise, I really like the Downloader. I think it's really easy to load. Even if you don't get that load-assist option, you can still use this little ramp to help push the kayak into place. And it's gonna do a really good job of holding that kayak up on top of your roof and keeping it secure. Thanks for watching..


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