$190.00 roof rack?

Firsat of all, I would like to thank those who advised me on my first posting. I bit the bullet and spent a decent piece of change and got a good paddle. Now, I’m again weighing the merits of a good roof rack. I came close to purchasing a Tule roof rack for my 2000 Xterra for $180 when another shopper told me that because my vehicle already has a roof rack there were many less expensive alternatives. Is he correct? I would pay the $190 for a roof rack if it provided more security, but not otherwise. Any advice on this one.



Compare the two
The two things I would look at would be comparing the load limits (lbs) and the ability to mount different boat saddles, hulley rollers, mako saddles, etc. If the pre-existing rack can hold as many kayaks and as much weight as your after market rack can, then stick with what you have. Look up what the manufacturer ratings are for the Xterra rack and compare.

Xterra Racks

– Last Updated: Oct-14-05 11:36 PM EST –

How big of a boat do you have? If you are carrying a whitewater boat or a waveski, surf kayak, you could probably risk using the factory crossbars. They are not very sturdy however, just check out how they attach to the main rack . When I first got my Xterra I read the postings on the Xterra Clubs webpage and heard about several people having their cross bars fail with loads. I bought Yakima Lowriders that fasten on the main bars and have since carried way over the load limit on my roof. (5 kayaks at once) It seems kind of expensive to spend about $200 bucks on a rack to put on your Xterra, but if you use your kayak a lot or drive long distances or have several kayaks or a heavy or expensive kayak it's probably worth it.

Some pictures of my 2001 X having fun ....




don’t forget the accessory cost
Once you buy the rack you need to get the saddles. Then you realize you have almost $300 on top of your car and need to lock it up. another $40 if you just lock the rack. Another 60 to $80 if you buy locks for the saddles. Next thing you know the rack cost as much as some of the cheaper boats. Just something to think about when they tell you the cost is $180.

Try finding Rutabaga online in Madison
I got a pretty good deal on the racks and mako saddles, surf board pads were cheap here in town. Cost me about $220 bucks at most, I’ve heard there are cheaper places than Rutabaga, don’t pay full price for a rack at you local bike or outdoor equipment rip-off store, you can also find them on Ebay used too. I picked up a used rack for my son’s old Volvo wagon for $20. Works fine.

Yes but…
—then fifteen years later when the same rack and accessories has been on three different vehicles and has properly carried your boats for a few hundred thousand miles you realize you were not "penny wise and pound foolish: !



ripoff store?!
Would hate for other readers to be discouraged from buying from their local bike or paddle shop. Yeah they may charge more money since they are small businesses and can’t buy at the same level as the big guys. But my local bike shop is always there for me and has given me great service and advice. Be very careful when you call small retailers rip-offs or all you’ll be left with in a few years will be internet retailers who could care less about you.

xterra roof racks
Take a breath folks,

We have all this great advice going on when in actuality this person has a factory roof rack that should make Thule and Yakima blush.

An answer to this email should simply be, keep the current rack you have, it stronger than anything you could buy as a replacement and pick a solid carrier to bolt to it.

I suggest the Malone system as it matches the Xterra in strength and carries the lowest cost with the best warranty.


RE:Ripoff store?
>>>>> Yeah they may charge more money since they are small businesses and can’t buy at the same level as the big guys.

Why are you encouraging ppl to spend more than they have to? Are you independently wealthy and $$ is no object? That’s good if you are—but many of us have to purchase things within our budget.

Yes, but
the real issue is with the factory crossbars, not the factory rails. I too remember a posting that chronicled the loss of boats due to the failure of the crossbars. I am impressed with the rails, less so with the factory x-bars.


Xterra crossbars
I just traded in my '02 X. One day, after loading my boat, I caught one of the crossbars nearly ready to slip off. I used Hully Rollers on the back and one of them used to stick causing more pull on the crossbar. I never quite trusted them after that. Also, with two boats, you could see them flex. They are not secured real well onto the rails. Just make sure you inspect often. You can tighten them with an allen wrench.

Also, I took the basket off the front and extended the crossbar as far forward as it would go. Otherwise, they are quite close together.

Xterra crossbars are flimsy.
The rack seems pretty solid.

I may be wrong but doesnt the Xterra have round rack bars? Not the cross bars. If they are round, you can get Unistrut and clamps for about $20 at Home Depot. There are clamps available for other shape racks but you may not like the looks. The thinner strut would look better and be lighter but plenty strong.

Eliptical shape
The rails are round, though.

I use Unistrut for some of my roofrack applications, but all struts are oriented front-to-back. If oriented side-to-side, wouldn’t they howl in the wind?


I just rebuilt the rack on my truck using strut on Yakima cross bars. I have not had a chance to road test it yet but It did not seem bad for the few of miles I did go. I have strut going both direcitons as well as verticle. I pull a 5th wheel trailer and need to stack the kayaks when towing. There are plastic insert strips available probably at an electrical supply. I use strut on the car front to back as an extension rack to get more space between the saddles. The rack is set on Yakima bars and the bars and towers howl even when the strut is not on.

You don’t “NEED” a roofrack…
You can get one if it makes you feel more compfortable, but you don’t “NEED” one.

As I try to explain to my “yuppifying” friends, I used to haul my boat (for 2 years) on my factory racks till a friend of mine “gave” me a set of Thule cross bars. I have stood on my factory racks & I weigh 156lbs (just weighed myself for this post…lol) with no problems- my boat weighs 38.5 lbs.

Do the math… If my factory racks can support 156lbs, then I can safely haul four (4) 40lb boats. Before I had Thule crossbars, I hauled 3 9’ rec boats @ about 40lbs each for 70 miles (round trip) with NO PROBLEMS what-so-ever!

So, you don’t “NEED” roof racks unless you feel uncompfortable with your situation.

Paddle easy,


Don’t stand on your Xterra Cross-Bars
They will break, I promise.

I don’t know how the crossbars are set up on the Xterra, but on my Caravan, the crossbars are flimsy. I just went to the junkyard and picked up another crossbar so that now there are three crossbars supporting the weight of the canoe instead of two. I drill holes through the front and back crossbars and insert eyebolts and wood stoppers at the correct gunwale widths and voila, a custom roof rack. I’ve driven this set up over 600 miles without needing to make an adjustment. It’s pretty stable.

Alot depends on

– Last Updated: Oct-21-05 6:59 AM EST –

boat size and rack stength. While Coffee can put his 9' boat on the factory racks a 15' or 18' might not ride as well. I half tore the factory rack off my wife's Pontiac Transport hauling a 17' canoe. Luckily I got rid of both.(wife and pontiac)