Car rack. Thule or Yakima????

I am looking for suggestions. Should I buy the Thule car rack or Yakima? I will use it with a 14 feet kayak. Thank you.

They’re both fine.

the choice is yours
I am partial to the round Yakama Bars.

If you want to extend them, a piece of rigid galvanized 1/2" pipe fits inside them perfectly.

I use them on both my vehicles with their “landing pads”

You can take the whole rack off in a few seconds if you so desire.

I do know that the Thule hardware(nuts and bolts, etc suck.

I have the Thule Hulaports and I have had to replace all the hardware

Cheers and Happy New year,


Thule of course
Personally, I don’t think round bars make sense. But let’s see which one gets the most votes.

My Yakimas work great. I went with them because someone very nice gave me the towers.

Thule hands down
Used both over the years and Thule square bars hold stackers and J racks way better. My Yakima bars rusted inside and out and didn’t have as tough of plastic on the outside. Also owned roof boxes from each and the Thule is really fast on and off every time.

My Ranger PU has Thule mounted full time to a camper shell. When not hauling boats it carries ladders, boards, pipe etc; When I carry the boat, I clamp a Yakima bar over the cab. I think I like the rectangle bars better, but they are both excellent products.

I’ll bet…
That they are both fine products. I have the Yakima, and am very pleased with the quality and ease of use. The round bars work fine, if you tighten the locks. It’s not difficult.


Yakima round bars because I can
lay down the J cradles when I am not using them. With the Thule bars you can’t do that. Other than that I have owned both they are both fine.

Thule or Yakima rack?
I have the Yakima only because of the price. I had to go the cheapest route possible.


Have both
I have Yakima, only because I started with them long ago, so its cheaper to add to what I have.

My son sells Thule and gets a good discount, so he uses them. He thinks Thule is a little more time-consuming for initial set-up.

I mark the clip locations on the car with a crayon and it takes me 5 minutes to put them on exactly where they belong with no measuring. He leaves his on all the time.

Both are high quality and you can’t go wrong. Some people prefer the looks of one vs the other on certain vehicles…Prices are very similar for comparable components.

Hmmm … not so sure.
Correct me if I am wrong here, I have not bought a rack in about 5 years.

Thule has square cross bars and Yakima has round cross bars. On the round crossbars I noticed that my kayak stacker would often rotate on the Yakima system no matter how much I tightened it. This would allow my kayaks to move around on the roof etc. and require constant monitoring. The Thule by comparison was bomber. I, for one, vote for any system without round cross bars.

It takes me a good 45 seconds or so to take off or put on my Yakimas. Speed is mute point there.

As to the square vs round, you may have a point, but I paddle canoes and have not had any problems with the bars. I have a set of 72" bars on my truck, no rust, look great.

I have a Yak system…
Round bars… Hulley Rollers, Mako Pads, Q-Towers…

Pretty happy with it.

Both Yak and Thule must have tremendus profit margins though… both systems were a bit over $400 for my SUV… within $5 of each other…

If you can find one…
…Saris roof racks are far better than either Yakima or Thule.

they’re both fine…
I’ve owned both, and have no strong preference one over another. Yakima’s gutterless system (Q-Towers) are faster to put on and take off (less than 30 seconds both ways), but aren’t as exact a fit as you get with Thule’s gutterless system. The square bar does have the advantage of keeping the accessories upright, but has the disadvantage of skewing kayak cradles off at vertical angles if you have a roofline with a fair amount of curve to it. They both show the same load limit, but my experience is that Thule’s bar is more likely to bend under heavy load than Yakima’s bar.

Pricewise, they’re almost always within a couple dollars of each other, so unless you have a retailer looking to push one brand or another, chances are there’s no financial advantage to be had.

Round bars
Once the boat, bike, box, or other toy is strapped or locked into place, the bar issue goes away.

In fact, the round bars offer more flexibility in my opinion.

Saris is good, too. Small company, weak distribution.

Thule’s glide and sets.
I have Thule bars with Glide and Sets. I find they easier to load than the Yakima’s Mako Saddles. The Makos have built in slots for the tie down straps, but they are more of a pain than they’re worth.

I have found Yakima’s stuff to be less than durable. The Yakima Viper bike carrier failed after 1 year. But I still have Thule bike carriers from over 15 years ago.

I also very much like Thule’s heavy plastic coating on their bars. Hard, slick, and non marring to whatever I put on them.


Thule attachment system
I use a Thule system on my Nissan Pathfinder. For each cross bar there is, on each end, a foot to adapt to the vehicle roof and a cross bar holder that snaps (and locks) onto the foot. The adapter feet stay on the car, and the rest of the assembly (cross bar, cross bar holder, kayak saddles, etc.) is removed, without further disassembly, by pressing a button on the cross bar holders.

This system, with two kayaks on it, has suffered no problems on several 70mph trips from NJ to SC.

Round bars can have some probems
Have both and both have different strengths. Though am find I am liking the yakima stuff better with one big (and costly) exception …

saddles and round bars…

I now have a good size dent (with crease) in the roof of my new car when the saddles rotated on the round Yak bar and dug a mounting bolt into my roof while I was loading my boat.

Not a very happy camper with that “design feature”.