EMT for a roof rack extender ?

Has anyone ever used it?

I have a new addition to the fleet which is a 23 foot long 44 pound kayak.

My existing roof rack (a Yakama) has about a 47 inch spread between cross bars which leaves a long overhang in the front.

On our last long trip I didn’t like the wobble I was seeing at the bow of the boat even though I had front tiedowns on it.

I am thinking of putting a cantilevered, (out over the front) extender on the bars, by bolting two pieces of pipe parallel to the boat, one on each side and probably thirty inches between them. The boat is 20 inches wide.

Then a short cross bar across the front for the front saddle.

I would probably extend them no more than thirty inches or two feet.

My original thoughts were to use 3/4" rigid pipe which would add quite a bit of additional weight, but after looking at some 3/4 inch electrical metallic tubing which is much lighter I was wondering if that might be better.

I know they would not be strong enough for full cross bars, but I am just thinking of some stiffness for that front long overhang.

Has anyone ever used it for a similar application ?

thoughts from you do-it yourselfers ?



Jack, ah’ve used

– Last Updated: Dec-01-07 8:07 AM EST –

EMT in short lengths (+/- a foot) crimped an' then inserted inta de ends of Thule cross bars ta temporarily extend dem, which worked ok, but ah' persoonally feel EMT in longer lengths doesn't have de rigidity needed ta carry a load - ah' think it'll bend on yer. Me'reckons EMT is made so it can bend easier fer electrical wiring. Yer might consider using some clear 2X3 lumber instead. Ah've used dat ta cantilever out a rack in me 'ol Bronco years ago, Worked well.

Fat Elmo

pre-engineered rack solution
The price of a well engineered roof rack component is worth all the trial and error or possible catastrophic failure while driving.

I don’t know what the overall spread would be but the Thule SlipStream looks to offer exactly what you want: effectively extending your crossbar spread while stiffing the rack.


the sharpest thing I ever saw
to cut down on front wobble was an A-Frame off of the front bumper of the car,with a saddle on top. (sort of like a tow bar in the up right position). This allowed the front of the guys’ J-boat to have a great spread between the racks, and little hang off of the back to worry about.

My ideal preference on a rack is atleast 1/3 spread, so on your 24 footer th bars ideally would be 8 feet apart. That being said I have gone thousands of miles with only a 3 foot spread.

EMT extender
If you are only extending 24 to 36 inches I don’t think you are going to have a problem.

I have built indoor wall racks with 3/4" emt and foam pipe insulation for cushion and it works great.

Try putting a piece in a vise extending out 3 feet. I think you will be suprised at the amount of force it takes to make it deflect.

One problem you may have overtime is the inside of the pipe rusting and running out over your vehicle.

But a static load of a wall rack
be a lot less than a dynamic load on a movin’ vehicle. Somethin’ ta ponder.


Your thinking is along mine.
I’ll probably get thrown out of Lowes next week when they catch me with a ten foot length with one end wedged in between a solid counter and me pushing on the other end to see how much flex it has, and then slowely shortening it to see how it flexes At a couple of feet.



I am thinking that the load is pretty…
much distributed all over the place.



Well, try it an’ see wat happens
If EMT route doesn’t work out ye kin’ always go ta “Plan B”


Thanks, but…
that is basically what I am trying to do, but just out in front.

That cost is outrageous, and I wouldn’t trust their statement that it “fits round bars”.

I have Yakama round bars

Several years ago I bought two sets of Thule “J” cradles that were supposed to be able “to fit Yakama round bars” and the more I tightened the clamps, the more they bent, until I was finally all the way down on the clamps and the cradles were still loose.

I ended up drilling a hole through each of my cross bars to keep the cradles from turning and making up new clamps.

I would be afraid that after paying those big bucks that I would have to rebuild the mounts.

That does look like a good set up for those with square bars.




Thanks FE, but

– Last Updated: Dec-01-07 9:53 AM EST –

I would much rather use metal.

I also used to use wood racks many moons ago.
Much prefer metal now.

I have my choice down to EMT or rigid pipe, and would like the EMT for its lighter weight, but wanted to see if any one else has used it.


Thanks, nermal.

– Last Updated: Dec-01-07 9:59 AM EST –


THe price is high, but at least it includes clamps, straps and saddles.

This is a good idea for my needs, and the above is the best online price I found (no tax, free shipping, too). Thanks, nermal and to JackL for posting: I think you just helped with a narrow bar/long kayak problem that I have. Now, maybe had.


23 foot long

– Last Updated: Dec-01-07 10:16 AM EST –

THinking about your entire situation, JackL, at 23 feet long, is extending with EMT--whether it works or not--for only a couple feet really enough. I am sure you can get away with it, but wold you want to. You're an avid paddler, and perhaps a more robust design, such as a welded over-rack to go atop your current system, would be money well spent (and likely you can sell it someday when you decide to sell the 23 foot yak to te new buyer).

Another option that I have seen used is like a motorboat, taking a standard 8 foot section of 2x4, notching it so that it fits on your round bars (or using clamps if desired), and placing it the long way--in the direction of the vehicle--atop your current side-to-side rack bars. One carpeted 2x4 for each side of your hull. Then, see where your boat contacts it, carpet it, and it will stay in place if you tie down to the roof rack and effectively hold the 2x4s down also. Does that make sense? It spreads the weight of the kayak--which is not much, but for the sake of the yak, you don;t want pressure points--over a very long distance of perhaps 5-7 feet.

Poor picture, but sort of like this boat trailer. Key is longer spread of contact with boat to prevent pressure points, as oging too narrow and supporting only in middle--even with 2 additional feet--will twist slightly and over time damage hull. Plus, with linger contact, will minimize twist.

One idea.

set up rising off your front bumper? You could fabricate a cradle at/near the apex out front to clasp the bow section of your new lightweight duo-goer, and I think conduit would be OK for that.

I don’t know if I’d trust conduit cantilevered out front from your existing setup -it’s not the bending I’d be fearful of, rather it’s ability to crimp along it’s longitudinal axis when stressed. That’d make for a bad day I think…

In the A-frame setup, I think it’d be far less likely to have such a problem, and because of the open nature of the frame, you could easily put a cross brace or two on it and still be able to see just fine.

An added benny would be that you could -indeed, as your drove, WOULD! -always keep an eye on it. You could always preserve its foldability by screwing it together (use slim screws to maintain as much tube integrity as possible). OTOH, you could always make such a frame out of oak or ask or maple or such, too…

Looking forward to seeing you guys (even if it’s in a braced knee) on your annual Southern Swing. I hope that Sally & I (mainly me) will be able to, once again with you and Nanci and the Paradise Paddlers get together to


-Frank in Miami

Wha ho, Jack

– Last Updated: Dec-01-07 11:39 AM EST –

Jus' ta satisfy me'curiosity ah' jus' went out back an' bent a piece of scrap 3/4" EMT wit one hand witout much effort at de two foot mark over a piece of wood. Jus' fer yer information. Maybe it'll save ye a boot in de rear from a Lowes' employee. Speakin' fro' experience, put a piece of plywood in yer britches, it'll hurt less.


Attach to both bars with pipe clamps or u-bolts and use EMT for th new bars if you are using Yakima fittings. You can use the unistrut for the cross bars if you can attach your saddles to rectangular bars. I use this system and it works fine. I use the half depth 7/8" strut. Available at Home Depot or Lowes.

EMT for kayak rack
I’ve made a nice kayak rack out of EMT and pipe insulation that bolts directly to a wall in my basement. I bent the EMT with a pipe bender in the shape of a lazy J, and slid on the pipe insulation. Works great.

Convert the boat to a two-piece?
Will that boat even make it thru the bends in the Estero River Race?:slight_smile:

Can’t wait to see it in action…

I just got a private e-mail from…
Mark in NC and he suggested the same.

I’ll take a look at it as soon as I can get to Lowes.



You just ruined my whole scheme !
maybe I’ll think unistrut.

On second thought anyone got about a ten foot length of 18" wide aluminum cable tray?