Anyone ever made a stacker?

-- Last Updated: Jul-26-10 1:51 PM EST --

I just refuse to shell out over a hundred bucks for Thule's stacker bar. Anyone ever made one that would work properly?

I was thinking of some galvanized water pipe but not sure how i'd secure it to the bars. I don't weld.


I’ve seen J-cradles be made.
BUT- even if you don’t weld - that doesn’t mean you couldn’t contact a small weld shop. Or, have fun with it and go to the local vocational high school. They’ll weld up all kinds of things for the project.

I wouldn’t weld anything to those bars.
I wouldn’t trust the weld and the weld would weaken the bar. And the first time your load runs into a low overhang, you’re going to have real damage.

It’s more a matter of your cleverness. You have to find a way to clamp an upright to the crossbar. It doesn’t have to stay there all the time, only when you transport boats. Once you have a kayak on edge and tied on in the usual way, you can tie another on either side with more rope. When you’re done, put the uprights in your trunk.

You can always make them from laminated wood. I’ve done that for odd shapes that the Yakima’s don’t work for. You can buy Yakima’s bar clamps, makes the mounts easy and relatively cheap.

Might check out Ross Leidy’s web site, think he’s made some and it’s where I got the idea.

Bill H.

There’s the whole liabiality thing

Ok, Thule bars are square. Take a round pipe for the upright (Black iron maybe?) and weld a flat bar to one end (yeah, I know, no welding. See some of the previous answers for options. This would be a very simple weld). Drill holes in either end of the flat bar (flat bar maybe 3" long?). Take another flat bar the same length as the first and drill two holes in it identical to the first. Put your round pipe and flat bar assembly on top of the Thule and the other flat bar below it. Bolt them together with lockwashers.

Will this work? I have no clue. I think it ought to, but??? Try it and see.

Another idea
I’m full of 'em! (Well, full of something at least!)

Once again, black iron pipe. Get a black iron pipe Tee that will fit over the Thule bars. Drill and thread two holes into the side of the Tee and insert two bolts. Use the bolts to clamp the Tee to the Thule bars. Screw a Black iron pipe to the tee for the upright.

Will this work? See prior message. But, no welding!

Don’t use galvanized if welding
If you make the parts and take them to a weld shop, they might not want to weld galvanized pipe. The zing causes fumes that are hazardous.

I’d work on finding someone to weld it. I’d do it for you for free just to practice my technique but you’re probably not near me. Someone must know someone that can do it for you.

Maybe cut plywood to the right shape, make a few copies, then glue and screw them together to get it thick enough to hold a few hundred pounds. Tie the boats to this wood rack but also to the car/truck in case your craftsmanship sucks.

Just some ideas. Good luck.


Stacker is not much…

– Last Updated: Jul-26-10 6:25 PM EST –

I spoke before looking at the stacker. It's just a vertical piece sticking up fro the bar. Even if it broke off, nothing needs to be tied to it and the boats would probably stay upright when it fails.

Go with two pieces of 3/4 plywood shaped like a T. Flip the T over so that the wide cross piece is at the bottom of the part and secure that tot he rack cross-bar using long bolts above and below the cross-bar. If that doesn't make sense, I can draw a picture.

Make some spacers the thickness of the cross-bar and place them between the two T pieces where it is now sticking up in the air. Glue/screw the whole thing together and it should be plenty strong for the intended purpose (as shown on the Thule website).

This can be easily removed or moved.


[edit to add this picture]

or, another pipe idea
get a black iron tee, with ends that are 1 1/2 inches (or whatever will slide over your crossbar) and a middle that is 3/4 or 1". Screw a piece of pipe into it, slide it over your crossbar, and it should tip up when you need it.

Or you can always use PVC pipe.

Or, buy the Thule one. I made a few similar items, and invariably by the time I was done wasting time, and building things that didn’t really work all that well, I would have to buy the factory made item, leaving me out roughly double what it would have cost to just buy the equipment in the first place.

Pipe suggestions are missing the obvious

– Last Updated: Jul-26-10 7:23 PM EST –

...I think.

Pipe flanges! This gives you a place to screw the pipe into, as well as 4 holes through which to run square or round U-bolts, which would run around your rack bar. The holes may need to be expanded. U-bolts come in several materials. Stainless steel will be stronger than cheaper zinc coated.

Used / Off Brand
I bought an off brand for $48 a couple of years ago and they are definitely worth the money. They have the right shape and no hard edges to mess up a rope or straps. Mine also match up with the hull shape of a boat pretty well, so when you snug a kayak up to it, it’s very solid. I’ve managed up to 5 kayaks using 1 set of stackers – not saying it was pretty, but it worked.

$100 for hauling 4 boats over several years is really not a bad deal.


great suggestions

– Last Updated: Jul-27-10 8:24 PM EST –

Edzep...i thought of the flanges (as they hold up my boats now with pipe) but the holes are well spaced out...maybe smaller versions are available?

Redmond...I like your pipe idea best (no offense to others).

C.M. Do you have any photos???

Squid...good wood idea also.

Thanks everyone!

as far as height, thats no longer a problem as i've converted a jon boat trailer to carry the yaks on my thule rack system. NO MORE LIFTING or sore backs!!!!


I won’t be hauling 4 often enough to pay even that much but i suspect the pipe ideas will round out to that!

i’ve been looking craigslist for awhile but nothing has shown up.

I may post some pics of my trailer and gear when I get it all done if anyone is interested.


My Trailer
This is my setup with the stackers on a trailer


Cheaper Iron fittings
Try these folks, I’ve gotten fittings from them for less than Lowes/Home Depot.

can’t view it jim…


– Last Updated: Jul-29-10 9:14 AM EST –


– Last Updated: Aug-01-10 11:33 AM EST –

I used 1/2 galvanized pipe (some of which I already had) and floor flanges (thanks to the reminders on this post).

2 flanges sandwiched onto the Thule bars with stainless steel hardware. I put some anti-seize lube on all the threads - pipe too. I had some 12" long pipe already on my kayak wall mounts but the original flanges were too wide. The new ones by SLK from Home Depot were perfect for the Thule bars.
I used a coupler to join 2 12" pipes and put a T on top to kee the straps in place. I placed some pool noodles over the pipe to protect the boats.

It seems very sturdy and since this in on my trailer, I can leave it in place all the time.


The flange sandwich is a nice idea
… rather than looking for SS square u-bolts of the right size. I have to say, though, that pipe looks a bit, er, delicate, for the task. Maybe my perception is incorrect.