A new twist on the old...

how you rack your yak debate.

First off, I just bought a 2005 Nissan Xterra (see my other post, “Calling all SUV Owners”, they asked me to tell them what I got and that’s it.) :slight_smile: and I’ve noticed that the rack is somewhat narrower than the ladder rack I had on my old ranger. We have 2 rec boats. A dagger Zydeco and a fellfree SOT. On my old truck, I could tie them down upside down, side by side, without a problem. This won’t be possible on the Xterra. My first thought was to get two Thule “J” saddles, Hullyloaders, I think, and put them on that, but I think I’d need to haul a 6’ stepladder with me to get the boats on and off.

So I’m thinking of just buying a pair of Thule stackers and tying the boats on their sides together on the roof rack. Any other ideas? Also, does anyone with an Xterra use any type of padding on their crossbars if they load their boats directly on them? If so, what do you use?



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Loading the kayaks on the arrangement you suggest is going to be a pain.

I have Yakima lowriders with 58" bars works fantastic, four years now, load boats three or four times a week. Up to five kayaks at a time (YMMV)

I would also suggest going to the Xterra Owners Club Webpage, register and participate in their forum there.


There is a section on canoing and kayaking and you can get info that comes from lots of people who own Xterras and know what they are talking about as opposed to someone who owns a Ford Ranger and has an opinion to share.

Stackers are fine. I have 72" Thule bars on mine. I’m able to put 2 canoes side by side or 4 kayaks using stackers. For padding I have tried pool noodles and they work well. Right now I’m using foam pipe insulation cut into 1 foot sections I add the foam where the boat makes contact with the rack rail.

When I Had a Shorter Rack…
…and used kayaks more, I used one Thule Hull-a-Port. That way I could rack one vertical and one cockpit down if carrying two kayaks or carry one canoe and one kayak. Found myself having to use the truck more and more often because I was needing to haul two canoes more frequently, so I got a bigger rack (78"). Was going to put the Hull-a-Port back on, but one of the brackets to hold it on the rack is cracked and when I tried to order it on-line on the Thule website, I couldn’t because I have a rural route address. IMHO their site is a PIA to navigate! I am going to put it in the classifieds here today, e-mail me if you’re interested. WW

I have an '00 Xterra
I tried Thule stackers and found it very hard to get the kayaks up and on their sides. Dropping one and almost taking off a side mirror was the last straw. (Perhaps I should mention that I am a five-foot tall woman.) Also, the stackers fasten to the crossbars rather than the siderails and I have my doubts about the crossbar strength.

I have since bolted two half-inch diameter, 60-inch long steel pipes to the side rails with PVC pipe over the back bar (to make rollers of sorts) and pipe insulation over everything for padding. This allows me to slide two boats on top hull down side by side. This is still a work in progress, however, and I am seriously thinking about getting two sets of Malone Gullwings.

Memo: When Dropping Boats
If you drop a boat off your Xterra don’t try to catch it. I accidently knocked a necky jive off my rack and succesfully got underneath it to try and catch it, MISTAKE, about dislocated my back-bone from my body.