Kayak rack

I have just acquired a Chevy Avalanch truck. I had built a rack for my Tsunami 145 of 2x4 that I had mortised and connected with bolts and wing nuts and could instal or remove in 30 minits or less when needed. I can put a rack on the Avalanche since it has as much room as most sedans. I am looking at both a Yakima and Thule systems. Leaning to the Yakima just from looking at both. Anyone there with experience with either I would appriceate your thoughts and feed back. The Avalanche is an 04 if that is important. I can put my rec and SOT in the bed but want something more secure than that for the Tsunami.

Does the Avalanche
have factory installed rails for a rack?

Both are very good.
I have Thule racks for boats, Yakima for bikes.

Have Thule won’t but from them again!
They change things just to change them. I needed a small part to repair my old racks from a 2005 Chevy Aveo and they did not sell them. Told me I had to buy a whole new set of towers. I asked why they didn’t stock old parts and they said they did. The man from Thule proceeded to tell me how they had parts for racks that were 20 years old. My racks were 3 ytears old so I begged to differ.

I think Thule is like Microsoft, change is needed to keep the profits up and the [prices are fabulous.

I do really like their cross bars and the ones made by Yakima so the next time I need racks I buy used bars and make my own towers.

doesn’t have factory rack. Think it might be a little crowded up there if I tried to put more on. Am thinking I would only need the towers and cross bars and such to hold my boat. Looks to me like I could get 2 boats up there if push came to shove.

Been using Yakima racks since 1985, very solid and strong. Never had one part fail on any of them. One time when I broke a tower by accident(forgot something was on the roof) I called Yakima and the rep sent me a new tower gratis. BTW I live 5 minutes from the Thule factory and will not use there stuff.

Round bars (Yakima)
are stronger than rectangle bars (Thule). Yakima also tends to be a little cheaper that a comparable Thule set up. I have been installing Yakima racks for almost eight years and have never seen one fail. My wife had a Thule when we were dating and she had all kinds of problems with it.

Either one works fine. For me the Yak’s are built in the USA, the Thules arn’t.

Bill H.

seems the feedback has supported my own feelings and thoughts on this. Somehow they just LOOKED sturdier. Yakima it is.

Thule Parts

Sorry to hear about the issues with your Thule Rack. Please tell me what parts you need for your rack and I will see what I can do about getting them to you.


I wanted to send a quick note to clarify that 85% of the Thule products that are sold in North America are made in the USA. Also, our factory in Seymour, CT has over 1,800 solar panels that helps to provide power to our factory.

Obviously times have changed :slight_smile:

The first rack I bought…ok lots of years ago, was a Yakima, so I’ve always kept with them as the parts are easily transfered from boat to boat. But lots of friends have Thules and they work fine too. That’s why I said either works :slight_smile:

Bill H.

Another vote for Yakima
I have a Yakima bike rack as well as my kayak rack - I went with yakima because it seemed easier to install and fewer parts were required, so it was cheaper overall.

I think you’d probably be fine with either brand, in all honesty.

I’m sort of wedded to Yakima through
three generations of Accords, an old Escort, and an Outback. One thing about the round Yakima bars is they may generate moaning unless you use a fairing, Windjammer clip ons, or wrap dead birds around the bars. Thule bars are less likely to moan, but many Thule owners use fairings anyway.

An advantage of round bars is that attachments for carrying boats and stuff can be more easily oriented and leveled. I think Thule’s bars are plenty strong, but unless your car is unusually flat-roofed, your boats and accessories are not going to orient as easily. Probably Thule has been working on this.

After years of Yakima I switched to Thule for my Tacoma, Reason was I had the yakima roof top set up and it turned out the rating from Yakima for the Tacoma was only 120 lbs total (that includes the yakima parts). 2 sea kayaks were pushing that and 3 was not do able. I love the Thule set up, the boats are more stable and the rack is better made. Easier to get on and off as well. Just my opinion.

Interesting, but it is unlikely that
Yakima’s rating was related to its own rack integrity. I think it more likely that Yakima and Thule differed in their professional opinion about carrying capacity on that vehicle. Either that or there was some marked difference in mounting location.

Weighing in late - vote for Thule
While this post was really active, I was looking into buying a load-assisting rack for my heavy fishing kayak.

I checked out all options, but was biased toward Thule because of my experience with my two sets of Thule Port Side J-racks, now a couple years old. At one point, I expressed my frustration to Thule that there was not enough padding on them (problem has now corrected with their current J-racks), and Thule made it right by sending me more padding material.

I called Thule twice for advice as I was deciding on their Slipstream rack system and they patiently answered my questions and asked some of their own to make sure I would be loading my boats safely according to their intended application. (When I checked out Yakima systems, using their automated program, Yakima ridiculously tried to sell me their base system - indicating their rejection of my 260 pound capacity factory rack system - on a Volvo and made by Thule!)

I also read complaints by Yakima owners that their racks tended to slip around those round Yakima bars, whereas the Thule squares were more stable. Regardless, I have now had at least three phone contacts with Thule over the years in which I got the solid impression that they thoroughly research and test their equipment.

Another impression: they do make changes and improvements based on field experience and customer feedback, not just to make changes as somebody implied above. As I was buying the Slipstream, I was glad to be getting the new, greater extending model, as my wagon had a long stretch behind the aft crossbar to the hatch, an advantage for me over the older model.

So, when I saw that Thule actually monitors this site and posts replies on the forum, I just had to post my continuing positive impressions.

One more thing . . . at the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival opening night, who give us free beer? Thule!

Thule Bars
Thule rectangular bars, Sportrack Kayak saddles, solid under-bumper tie-downs front and rear. 50 lb kayak with gear in it, 90 lb canoe. It works. Also provides a mount system for a ski box or various construction material (lumber, plywood, etc). Speed tested to “too fast” (but sometimes necessary when passing a semi on a mountain pass).