Leaving Rack on Vehicle

Having just spent almost $500 on a Yakima setup with Hully Rollers and Saddles for two kayaks, I am finding myself paranoid about leaving it all on top of the van while I paddle. I have the locks on the rack towers, but someone could just undo the little wingnuts and take the rollers and saddles. I know there are locks for those too, but looks like it would be a good amount for all of them (would need eight alltogether). Am I overly worried, or do others feel this way? It is not too hard to take the racks off and throw them in the van, but leaviong them on would save some work. What about the straps? Do you take them off just in case? Has anyone ever had a theft of a rack or other equiptment?

I leave-
the rack on my car all the time and have never had a problem. I do have locks for the rack itself, but I don’t have locks for my “stackers” which I do leave on the rack if I’m out paddling (and have them on “da caw”- lately I’ve just been using those sponge foam block thingies).


i’ve had my whole setup on the roof for 2yrs with no problem - i do NOT leave the straps - ever - - now excuse me for a moment while i go check to see if it’s still there this early AM =:-)

I may be overly cautious, but . . .
I have a Yakima set-up with the HullRaisers. I remove the crossbars with hullraisers still attached and throw them in the garage or back of the car when I’m not using them (with the landing pad set-up on my vehicle, it’s easy to remove them - not much more than a minute).

When in use, I have the towers locked to the landing pads and then I replaced ONE of the wingnuts on each hullraiser with Yakima’s accessory lock housing and lock core.

With the amount of money invested in the rack system, I prefer not making it too easy a thief.


– Last Updated: Oct-06-04 8:32 AM EST –

Get a bike lock and loop it through the rack. Quick cheap and keep people from taking it, unless they really really want it..

go to your local hardware & get locking nuts which have to be put on with a wrench your worrys are over unless the yhief carrys a wrench

I agree with Swedge
Get a bike lovk. Run the lovk through your accessories and don’t worry. Most theives are looking for a quick grab, so a bike lovk should deter them.

What I would worry about is the effects of water and UV radiation. Use 303 on the plastic parts, and lube the metal ones and the lock cores.

You DO have the bar system locked on, don’t you?


(sorry Swedge, couldn’t resist!)

I was worried too
I have the same system and I went ahead and bought the locks. I know it’s expensive but the thought of returning from a paddle and having no way to transport my kayak home was too much for me to deal with while paddling. I used to remove the system from my car while I was paddling. But I got tired of spending 10 to 15 minutes setting back up all the time before going home.

Ditto That
Ditto that and double nut it for more pleasant sleep. Any would be thief would need two wrenches to break it free.


You guys work too hard!
I have a Saris rack - and so don’t have such worries. The locks are built into the ends of the bars and secure both the rack to the roof AND the accessories to the rack. The whole thing (kept together) also goes on/off in seconds with no tools.

Anything can be stolen, but the Saris rack system is super slick - and stronger too!

Don’t kid yourself.

Rack on vehicle
Old expression courtesy of my Grandmother: “For an honest person you do not need a lock, and a lock will not stop a dishonest person”.

If someone wants to take the saddles, even if they are on with locking nuts, or cable locks threaded through them, and secured to the racks, they will do it. All it takes is two wrenches to remove the locking nuts and/or a set of bolt cutters to cut through the cable locks.

I keep the Yakima racks (that do have locks) on top of my SUV, but take the Land Shark saddles off when not in use.

Better safe than sorry.

never had a problem.
i slide my outside saddles to the middle of the rack when i’m out of town. they’re hard to mess with on my suburban anyway, you’d have to get up on the roof to take them.

Triple channel cross bars vs. single
Saris bars are triple channel construction - not just round or square pipes. They are also MUCH larger in cross section.

Very basic engineering/load analysis. Do the math.

Have you ever even seen a Saris rack?

You and the catalogs can write “triple channel” 'til the cows come home – they’re still aluminum.

We have 2 setes of racks on our van [yes it is a very big van and have traveled all over the U S and never had any problems Must be like GRANDMA locks only keep honest people honest

just had a theft…
I now believe in taking the rack off when doing trips with the car parked in a remote (unmonitored) parking lot. Last week I had part of my Yakima rack taken-just one of the bike holders, an eighty dollar theft. The car was parked in a backcountry access parking area. Also, last year I had my car broken into at the Bell Lake access point where I was renting a canoe from Killarney Canoe Outfitters.


How long have you been working for
Yakima? Saris is absolutely a superior bar, but I’ve yet to see the kayak saddles.

on top all the time -except when we’re going on a long trip where we won’t be paddling: in-laws in IL, out-laws in IA, in winter, for example. Rack removal will save a mile a gallon or 2 at hi speeds over long hauls…

But otherwise?

Nah… If somebody wants’em badly enough to get up there on top of the Jeep, usually in the midst of a crowd at the parking lot or on/along the beach, or in the crowded parking lot at the store, and mess with the locks or the allen screws that hold the towers on the factory rack, on top of a moderately tall vehicle? Let’em have’em -insurance will cover the theft.

Besides, who’d be foolish enough to run off with a pair of half-towers & bars clad in lime green, or day-glo orange, or red faded-to-pink and blue swim noodles, LOL!

I’d just have to use my other set of Yakimas, or maybe my 3rd set -Thules -to tote the boats now, and get reimbursed from the car insurer later, as I’d STILL find a way to rack’em and

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

Saris saddle look odd, but…
…are super kind to the boats. Most gentle saddles available. The entire thing that grips the boat is soft (skinned over) foam. Those are attached to strong plastic mounts (that doubles as a gunnel/ladder/lumber carrier brackets) that the tie downs feed through. The saddles pivot on these and you can tip the boat off toward you. These ride in a slot in the bars and have built in tightening wheels (again - no tools needed to adjust). The slot will also accept standard carriage bolts so its easy to adapt other equipment to fit the the Saris bars.