Canoe Rack Gunwale Brackets???


I am in the midst of changing out racks and am putting a Yakima round bar rack on my wife’s Subaru Outback. I plan to use this rack to carry my canoe on long distance trips.

What is your recommendation for gunwale brackets? In the past I had used the brackets that were designed for round or square bars and seem to recall that they held pretty well. Now both Yakima and Thule make brackets designed to also fit on the aero bars (like the Yakima Keelover). I have tried these on aero bars and found that they don’t hold well because I can’t get them to clamp down tight enough.

What about for standard round bars? I am not sure whether to order some of the newer style clamps or find some of the older style ones on ebay that are designed just for round bars. My gut feeling is that these will be better able to clamp down tight on the round bars than the ones desiged to also fit the newer aero bars.

Any opinions?



Yakima Load Stops
Is what I’ve been using for 20+ years on my round Yakima bars. They hold tight. The load stops are different from their gunnel brackets - they are taller and suitable for carrying ladders as well.

I have used the
standard Yakima Gunwale Brackets (shorter rise) for 20 years and I like them.

Well we have a poll going
I have had my Yakima round bars for over 20 years too and the Loadstops that fit still just fine…

I like the higher rise… Sometimes we carry lumber and stuff like that.

Once upon a time the loadstops were eleven dollars a set

The load stops are easy to trim down if
you don’t need the extra height and it makes loading from the side a bit more difficult. My load stops have always held tight on my Yakima bars.

Another load stops believer
You don’t have to trim them if the outside stops are hard for you to lift over. Just loosen the wing-nut and rotate. Load boat, and rotate back & secure.

Standard Yakima brackets
Have worked for me for 25+ years

load stops $55 for set of 4

gunwale brackets $89 for set of 4

I find load stops work just fine for my canoes.

And one more for "load stops"
Don’t waste your money on “gunnel brackets” !

They are for rich paddlers.

Us peasants use “load stops” and save some bucks

jack L

Load Stops???
I had been looking at those as well. How are they with wood gunwales though? Would like something that is not going to mar up my gunwales.

I imagine they load stops would be fine in this regard, but just wanted to check


easy to tie 5/16 nylon rope
Carried my vinyl gunnel canoe on those slick round coated bars for over 14 yrs. After strapping down, tie rope on one side, bring it under to other side loop around bar tightly and secure. Repeat on other bar. Once you get the hang of it , you’ll realize that those costly accessories just ain’t worth the money and trouble.

Save gunnels
By covering them with clear vinyl tubing about 8 inches long split lengthwise and wrapped around the gunnel where it sits on the rack. Much easier than trying to pad the rack. Available at Home Depot’s, etc. Very durable, been using the same pieces for many many years.

I cut and glue
small pieces of carpet on them.

Make it the size so it comes up the side too.

Then this protects the side of the gunnel also

jack L

I have the money and once on, they’re
no trouble and more secure.

I haven’t seen wear on ash gunwales
from unpadded Load Stops. Must just be lucky.

rope is less likely to prevent side
to side movement and fore and aft movement.

The brackets keep the boat in one place… Particularly important is because the gunwale width varies on a boat ( except for some ww boats) the boat can’t slide forward or back.

And you always load the boat in the same place on that boat. No more guesstimating if its too far back or forward.

People look at the up front cost. Not the cost per use. I bet the cost per use of my brackets over twenty years is hundredths of a penny…

My experience
is that no matter how well I tie down on round bars with no brackets I end up with some side to side movement when driving. The brackets - either type - limit this movement which is a good thing.

They also help limit forward movement
in a panic stop. I had a straight-sided ww canoe roped onto Load Brackets and suddenly had to make a panic stop just short of lockup. The boat did not move. Much less of a stop would have left the boat sliding forward on bare Yakima bars. When not using Load Stops, I used to tie horizontal snub ropes from the ends of the canoe to the factory rails to prevent fore/aft shifting.


– Last Updated: Apr-12-15 10:21 AM EST –

Agree with kayakmedic, and rpg51.

With a little bit of time & effort, you can find Yakima gunwale brackets at a fraction of the original cost on Craiglist.
Example: 4 of them currently for sale in Madison, Wisconsin for 40 bucks. Appear to be in like new condition.


As an alternative I just use one load

– Last Updated: Apr-12-15 10:36 AM EST –

stop...and tie down the other side. Seems easier to unload and load up...especially when in the evening, if you've been used to tying down. Ditto on the preventing fore/aft sliding. I usually tie a thwart(or two) to a bar(or two)....also does the task of preventing end-sway the best and, if you're traveling a distance, makes the end-ties an easier tie.