kayak rack for Honda Element--HELP

Hey everyone! I need some advice. I am just starting out kayaking. I am buying 2 kayaks and the big question on my mind is how am I going to haul them around?

I have a honda element and have looked for racks but I must admit I became overwhelmed with the options. My Element didn’t come with the factory roof rack so I’m sure I need a rack and then the kayak attachments. Does anyone else have an Element or small SUV with a Kayak rack on top? any advice as far as brands go? or installation? I’d like to stay as cheap as I can without sacrificing quality. I’d be interested in self installation, also.

Can anyone help me out?

I have an Element
Check that, my WIFE has an Element (I drive a Ridgeline).

Go Yakima or Thule and forget the factory set up. Check their websites for specific fit kit, but it should be easy to self-install.

Better yet, in my area, the Yakima reps have been setting up a tents at many of the local bike or kayak shops and offering 20% discounts AND professional installation (no charge) while you wait. I’d investigate that a bit.

The Element has two plastic covers on the roof that pry out. Both Thule and Yakima have fit kits that attach to the factory points AND cover the hole from removing the trim. From there you can decide on whatever saddles or J-hooks you like. BTW, which ever way you go, the fairings not only cut down on wind noise, but really dress it out for you.

Hope that helps,


Several friends have Elements
Although the bar spread (front-to-rear) is not great, they haul touring boats with no trouble.

Yakima or Thule, your choice. Not cheap, but solid. Not having the factory crossbars is a plus - they would just gather dust in your garage.


Love the factory cross-bar

– Last Updated: May-08-08 5:11 PM EST –

Love the factory cross-bar in my Element SC, I would never get a Thule/Yakima again. Just a matter of preference.

In fact, one of the key point to get the Element was not to have to deal neither Thule nor Yakima. They look awful, are costly, and in fact, a piece of ^%#%$.


Sorry just my opinion,

Not expensive either
While you can call Yakima or Thule roof racks not cheap, they are less expensive than the factory rack which is not as strong and not as functional. So I would say a Yakima or a Thule rack is a great deal.

I bought the thule…
kit that has push button locking feet that clip to little stainless loops you bolt under the plastic caps. I have the CRV but a friend has the same set up on his element. and to save gas its nice to just take the bars off when you don’t need them. they are a little pricey but strong enough for two yaks or the occasional piece of lumber or a box.I used the cheap foam saddle blocks until I could save for the bolt ons

Element Racks
Go to the Element Owners Club URL and search kayak racks


dumb question…
…but are you tall enough to load kayaks on top of an Element? Strong enough? A small trailer might be a better option - YMMV of course.

Thule Tracker II

– Last Updated: May-08-08 9:39 PM EST –

Have had an '05 since October '05 and it's the best vehicle I've ever had. With the Thule Tracker II the rack can be placed on the Element and removed LITERALLY in less than a minute. I have the 78" racks and can and have hauled up to 3 boats all over the country with no problems. Heres a couple pics of ours. WW

I drive an E
and I have the Yakima rack with Mako Saddles. I like the idea of being able to take the racks off when I am not using them. Yakima holds my 17 footer just fine- I did add a bow and stern tie down- I bought the Yakima deal on those too they are slick and easy to use.

Good question! I play basketball so I have the height and strength. (maybe thats just my 22 year old “i can do anything” attitude. haha) it would be feasible to get the yak up there, in my opinion. plus, my friend and i always go together so that makes it even easier.

really? prys out?
The black plastic on the roof prys out? i will have to try that, see whats under there. Maybe it’ll give me a better understanding for picking out a rack to put on…

Just to be clear . . .
Not the entire LENGTH comes off. About a 6" section, two on each side. When you get above and look at it it’s obvious. If it isn’t obvious to you, then you probably ought to have someone else install for you. ;~)


Element rack
Below are some photos of my 2007 Element with canoes and kayaks on the TPS rack with Thule cross bars and saddles that I posted on the EOC website. Since the Element is tall , I suggest you get a small plastic step stool and or a roller loader.




Element rack with Roller Loader
Below is a post of a photo from the rear of my Element of a roller loader


Element Thule Rack

– Last Updated: May-10-08 8:10 AM EST –

I have the Thule rack specific for our '08 E!. It IS a tall set-up. I can get two 16.5' boats up there by myself. I use a piece of clean carpet to pad the roof/rear-gate. I set the bow up and then lift the stern... slides right on. I am using Rhode Gear saddles (now discontinued). The Load Bars are fairly close together, so there is some yawing. Ergo- tie down the nose and tail of the boats. Each boat weighs 60 lbs. so it is a bit of a grunt... but then I'm only 68 yrs.

I also have a small utility trailer outfitted for 5 kayaks. It is very easy to use... only need to lift a couple of feet. It is another good option. I pull this trailer with either the E! or our '97 Odyssey.

Isn't the E! just a great vehicle???

George in Cody

The E is great!
Its a pretty sweet vehicle. Gotta love the E! there is so much that you can do with it as far as outdoor activity goes. the accessories are endless and I enjoy seeing everyone’s pics of their Element’s set up. keep 'em coming! thanks

Drove Element for years
Thule 430 foot packs with 544blocks, 65 inch load bars, TK9 attachment kit and there ain’t nothin you can’t carry! I’d use the Glide and Sets since the J racks style (Hullaports) mean a pretty long reach and use of a small step ladder to wrangle the straps. But if you DO use the J racks, you can carry bikes or a roof box in the middle too. Drove from Michigan to Georgia a few times like that with zero problems. Installing is simple and important that you do yourself so you can take the rack on and off in under a minute!

Thule Hullivator
Being 5’5" and loving the Element, I purchased the Thule Hullivator. Easiest thing in the world and very safe transporting. I also own a kayak trailor but there are times when parking is very tight and limited when the trailor can not be used. I love the Hullivator and added another so I only use the trailor when transporting more than 2 boats, can fit 4 on the trailor and 2 on the Element. In the past I’ve owned the rollers, saddles, used foam etc and had to climb all over my vechiles and bring step ladders along. Not any more, Life Is Good. Thule Hullivators are the way to go. :slight_smile: