So, what to do? We are trying to decide how to transport 2 Loon 138's on a 2001 Chevy Impala. Yakima or Thule racks seem to be the most popular choices but they are pretty expensive. Blocks of course is the other but can we fit 2 boats on blocks on an Impala? We have talked to some pros and they don't think so. We are not set up to haul a trailer and we live in a crowded metro area so that would make me very nervous.
Are there other options, ideally cheaper than Thule/Yakima? Or should we just bite the bullet?
PS: We also have a Honda Civic, but in that case I think I'd have to mount the car on the roof of the kayaks. :)
Bite the bullet - you can’t beat the safety and long life of a Thule. I assume Yakima is the same. I still use the bars I bought for my first Saab in 1984. My advice - get Thule bars and feet, then use foam blocks on the bars - or get stackers and use pads or pipe insulation on the bars. The last is what I do with our 14’, 16’ and 17.5’ sea kayaks.
I can’t remember when I’ve regretted spending more money on a real quality bit of gear (though it hurts at the time).
Get the racks.
I use Yakima. Better for you, your boats, and other drivers.
you might check out…
proline racks - www.prolinerack.com - they sell some of their own brand of racks and also have thule and yakima cheaper than alot of other sites
Check craigslist or other used options. I got my Thule racks for less than half the price they were brand new. Likely you can buy the racks used and then just get the fit kit for your particular car.
Bite The Bullet
I once heard an analogy in a photography class regarding tripods. It stated “would you trust your $800.00 camera on a $19.95 tripod?”.
The same analogy also should apply to your kayaks. Why take a chance with damaging or destroying your hard earned investment? With proper rigging (ex. Thule/Yakima, etc.), you are safe, your yaks are safe, and, you are possibly saving the life of another motorist should your yak decide to make a quick exit from your car at highway speeds. Many do have a mind of their own and try to escape!
If your budget is stressed, buy the bar units first and add the saddles as soon as you can. In the meantime, you can temporarily use inexpensive pads that fit around your bars.