Do pipe clamps fit on Yakima round bar?

I like our trailer, a modified Triton Blizzard snowmobile trailer.

It’s the padded 2x4 crossbars I’m not wild about, or the various mounts I’ve tried for attaching J-cradles or homemade cradles.

I’m mulling over alternative set-ups. The trailer has low aluminum sidewalls. I would like to attach round crossbars in such a way that I can carry 1 kayak in the middle OR 2 kayaks on their hulls OR 3 kayaks on their sides (using J-cradles). So far, padding the new bars or using foam quasi-cradles looks best for #1 and #2, since I’d be switching between the single- and double-carry configurations very frequently.

But that’s not the real problem at hand. WITHOUT drilling through the new crossbars (I have doubts about their strength after that), how can I solidly mount them? Can I use pipe clamps?

Under the present set-up, each padded 2x4 bar has been drilled so that a long bolt goes through it to the trailer underside, where it is fastened with a nut. The padded 2x4’s basically sit on top of the sidewalls and are held in place by the bolts. If I remove the 2x4’s the bolt holes in the trailer floor will still be available.

u bolts?
Can you find u bolts that will fit the holes you have? If not hose clamps might be OK but I’d trust a good rope lashing more than hose clamps.

also try the electrical department at Lowes-Depot and see if they have any unistrut fittings that will fit your current holes and your round bar.

“Yes” to U-bolts

– Last Updated: Feb-27-08 10:45 PM EST –

Here's a photo of an auxilliary side bar hanging from the end of a Yakima crossbar:

Pretend that the mounting bracket for the side bar in this photo is the attachment point for the crossbars on your trailer, and you can see that U-bolts will hold the Yakima bar down nice and tightly. One U-bolt at each attachment point is enough (I used two U-bolts just because I made the bracket to accept two, not because I thought two were needed)

I do use stainless hose clamps on
Yakima bars, but I think Pikabike is needing pipe clamps. Hose clamps have a death grip on the bars, but the only ready way to attach the bars to something else would be to put something under the hose clamps. I find it hard to imagine a “something” that would serve.

Hose clamps do work well enough as an alternative to overpriced gunwale brackets, for keeping a canoe from sliding side-to-side. But I’ve never found a way to use hose clamps to connect framing members.

For what it is worth
I have two vehicles where I have drilled through my Yakama round bars to attach other bars and items with quarter inch stainlees steel bars.

I have had thule J cradles bolted to them, (two on each side -front and rear) for the past four or five years, and I travel all over the place at high speeds.

Just this year I added a seperate rig for carrying our 23 foot long tandem and drilled and used more bolts on the same bars.

The Yakama bars are rigid steel and the only way you coud hurt their integrity is to drill a bunch of holes.



Combination of notched block and U-bolt
Thanks for all your comments. I’m thinking that (for each crossbar) I could cut a V-shaped notch in 2 blocks of wood and use a U-bolt to secure the bar end in each notch. Then it’s a matter of securing the block to the trailer. Still thinking this one over.

Pipe clamps will work but get good ones. I attach unistrut to my bars with pipe clamps designed to work with unistrut. Regular pipe straps should fit with no problem. Yakima bars appear to be plastic coated 3/4" pipe and plastic coated pipe is available at Home Depot. A lot cheaper too.

I’d stay away from hose clamps

– Last Updated: Mar-03-08 10:59 AM EST –

Hose clamps are not intended to carry lateral stress on a smooth solid bar, and will fail if overloaded.

I kinda expect hose clamps to fail if
overloaded. Question is, what practical application would cause overloading? I haven’t found one yet, but I’ll keep trying.

U-bolts work well

– Last Updated: Mar-03-08 2:45 PM EST –

For years I carried my touring kayak on a "pallet" which was atached to the bars via U-bolts.

Yakima bars are 1-1/8" OD, which translates into 3/4" pipe size. A SS U-bolt 1/4-20 with a 1-1/8" inside dimension is perfect. Zinc-plated will work, but is going to rust some day.

I used no V-block or other padding. But if you want, and are handy with a saw and drill you could fabricate saddles out of a durable wood (ash?) that would be drilled on center with the U-bolt legs. Of course, finding a longer U-bolt might be a problem.


In another life we were using them for stops on a barbell. Someone lost the load when bench pressing, I think it was about 75# per side if I recall right.

Pipe clamps, not hose clamps
Original question was about pipe clamps to directly clamp the crossbars to the trailer sidewalls.

However, I wonder if the bars would not be held securely enough. Pipe clamps are not meant for the purpose I describe.

I need a McMaster-Carr catalog
I bet they carry all the stuff I’d need. FINDING it from their huge inventory is the problem. I don’t know the names of all the HW bits and pieces.

I only recently learned that Allen bolt socket bits are available. Would have saved me a lot of grief if I’d known that earlier…

that’s an awesome catalog
I’d second the 'u bolt" recommendation. But you may want to get the catalog just for fun…

How much does it weigh?
I bet the paper catalog is enormous. Overkill for my needs.

But I found out more on U-bolts just by looking at ONE online page of theirs. They sell “guillotine” U-bolts and vibration-damping ones. The guillotine type would eliminate the need for making V-notches for the bar ends to sit in.

What is the unistrut attached to?
Van roof or a trailer???

Do you have a web photo of your set-up?

I have Nissan’s Utilitrack rails in my pickup bed and really, really like them. But that has nothing to do with the trailer. I have heard that the Utilitrack rails are the same dimensions as some of Unistrut’s, though, which means there are a lot of accessories to make custom stuff.

I would not recommend
the guillotine style. These have a fairly sharp edge (hence their name" and would cut through the vinyl bar cover as soon as you tightened them.

I will take a pic of a bar attachment and post a link tomorrow eve.


I have Yakima bars on my car and truck. I needed more space between the bars on the car so I built an extension rack with 2 x 5’ pieces of half strut (15/16"). On the truck I needed to stack the kayaks so I could pull my 5th wheel trailer and still carry long boats. I built a stacking rack out of strut and aluminum angle. I could email a picture of the truck.

Nix the guillotine for a different reaso
I checked details on some of the U-bolts. The guillotine won’t fit the bill because it’s meant for larger-diameter tubes. There is also the load limit question.