Over $400 For My Kayak Rack Setup?!?!

Hey all,

I have a Perception Carolina and a Perception Acadia. When I only had the Acadia, I bought the Yakima kayak stacker to transport it on my Xterra. This did the trick just fine until I got the second boat. These two boats are too much concentrated weight for the kayak stacker (as witnessed by the popped mighty mounts that almost led to disaster).

So now I’m looking to upgrade. Here’s what I wanted:

1 Yakima Lowrider ($120)

1 set 58" crossbars ($42)

2 pair Mako Saddles ($110)

2 pair Hully Rollers ($130)

1 extra set of 4 mighty mounts ($20)

This puts me at $422!!! I’ve seen plenty of kayaks hauled on other cars with this setup…is this what you paid???

Looks like xterraparts is the cheapest for everything except the Lowrider, which I’ll probably order from Rutabaga.

This is all assuming none of you can suggest anything a little more affordable!

You’ll save a bit through these guys. Also, you’ll save about $30 by getting the 4 towers + 2 bars as a set.

A homemade possibility…
You can check out Ross Leidy’s site…which is incredible to browse through anyhow! See the following site for his plans for building cradles…a $ saver?


Ross Leidy’s website:

I’ve heard a lot of bad things…
…about the Yakima products. Enough so that if I

needed a commercial rack, I’d think long and hard

about going that route.

On the other hand, I’ve never heard a bad word

about Thule.

(My rack system involves a pick up truck, a camper

cap, some very sturdy J hooks, and a homemade

support, so I have no commercial interests in

either Yakima or Thule. I’ve just had a lot of

friends and acquaintances who feel they have been

burned by Yakima.)

EBay will sometimes have this stuff
for less, but everyone knows roughly what it costs so you never get it dirt cheap. The Mako’s worked fine for my plastic boats, but needed to be covered as they gouged the glass boats.

Buy a used rack.

– Last Updated: Jan-19-04 3:46 PM EST –

Chances are there will be several for sale in your local classifieds. All you need do do is find one with the right bars and feet, then purchase the necessary clip kit.

I Bought ALL this SHI___
and was NOT happy with any of it.

If I had it to do all over again, I’d use 2 by 4’s and carpet.

E-mail me and I’ll tell you how.


I’ve heard the opposite
Interesting. I love my Yakimas. Around here just about every one has Yakimas. One thing most people say about the Tules is that the square bars flex more.

Rack system…
Yep, a good rack system can cost big $$$$. I’ve said many times that if I had to do it all over again, I would seriously look at getting a trailer. I probably could get a nice one for what I’ve already spent and still need to buy!

I’ve got a Yakima rack system and have had no problems. The only bad things I’ve heard about Yakima is the Mako Saddles damaging gel coat on composite boats (before Yakima came out with padding) and mounts rotating on the cross bars. I looked at the Thule and probably would have bought one of their systems but they didn’t have the gutter mount kit for my truck (2001 Toyota Tacoma) but Yakima did. Now I’m glad I got Yakimas as the Thule crossbars I’ve seen while helping folks load have more “give” than what I would be comfortable with while the Yakima are rock solid.

One vote for Yakima
As someone who has regularly hauled two 17’+ sea kayaks over 1000 mi. at freeway speeds, not to mention luggage and other crap in a basket, I have to say that my Yakima racks were an excellent investment. Neither my car nor my gear has been harmed (couple of gelcoat scratches here and there, but that’s what the gelcoat’s for) and most importantly, my stuff arrives safely at the destination.

Not to say that I wouldn’t have liked to save a few $$ (I did get the stuff at sale prices) but quality is worth the money. I remember back when I worked at a bicycle shop and two customers brought in their titanium road bikes that were fully decked out. One tumble off the cheap-o roof rack and their high digit bikes were now interesting road kill sculpture. Not to mention what would happen if the projectile causes a wreck behind you.

a steel of a deal
a buddy of mine consulted with a metal shop and they had a pair of 58" bars made for him at $15 total. we’ll get you some beer money out the deal yet.

Thule rectangular cross bars.
I’ve had Thule’s cross bars on my car (not garage kepted) since 1997 and the Thule cross bars plastic coating has cracked. Not structurally weak as far as I can tell (I haul bikes and skis only so far, I am looking at getting a kayak), but cosmetically perhaps the round bars from yakima are better? Also if your roofline isn’t entirely flat, the cross bars might not be horizontal. There is a slight bow on my car, nothing that the bike carrier doesn’t allow for but not as convienient as a round bar which doesn’t matter how your roofline is.


$15 Crossbars
That metal shop should make more of those crossbars and sell them on Ebay or something. Even at double their price, they are cheaper than the Yakima bars. I guess there is a liability issue when selling them on the open market though.

Put em on their sides…
I use Thule which I bought used and I stack the yaks on their sides. One on each side of the stacker with foam on the bar and the stacker. This works really well and I did not have to buy saddles and rollers. Had a friend scratch the gelcoat on his new Argonaut using the saddles. His wife had to sew some fleece covers for the saddles to keep from scratching the gelcoat even worse. Thought the guy was going to stroke out when he discovered it. By the way I have hauled the yaks this way hundreds of miles and it works really well. If you want you can even 69 a couple of whitewater boats to each sea yak and carry four boats on their sides and do quite well. Remember to tie the bow and stern of the sea yaks to the under carriage of the car in some fashion. Happy hauling.

You have $240 in saddles and rollers…

– Last Updated: Jan-19-04 10:00 PM EST –

...alone. You don't "need" those, except in the sense where "need" means "want."

For quite some time, my set up was a used set of Thule cross bars with the rain-gutter feet (bought for about $50 on Ebay). Then I used some foam pipe insulation bought at the Home Despot. The kayaks settled in nicely and when properly tied down, didn't budge. I still think this is a very reasonable option, especially for poly boats. I made at least a half-dozen or more 500 mile+ trips at highway speeds with two sea kayaks side-by-side, and never a problem (I do use bow and stern tie-downs). The only drawback is that this way can be a little bit of a hassle.

I only went with Yakima cross bars and their J cradles (I forget what they're called) when we bought a Volvo Cross Country and I couldn't use the Thule attachments. I bought the J cradles because I had always had a bit of a personal problem with mounting a wooden boat to foam-covered bars. But I wasn't going to spring for saddles and rollers.

For me, the convenience of the Yakima J cradles is a big plus.

So, you have some options--but I don't think Nissan did you any favors designing their roof racks the way they did.

either way
I’ve heard good things about both Yakima and Thule, and bad things about both Yakima and Thule. I myself use a set of Thule J-cradles. I only carry one boat and the cradles mate perfectly to the factory rack on top of my Jeep, so I just plunked down $70 and was done with it. They’ve held up very well to multiple 500+ mi. trips. However, I had to replace the flimsy rubber washers they came with with some nylon versions (at the cost of about 75 cents) so nothing is perfect.

It’s the towers and cross-bars where they get you. Don’t Xterras have some pretty beefy rack bars already? Do you really need the Yakima bars? My not so hefty factory Jeep rack is rated to about 150 pounds. That should be more than enough for two boats.

I am with you, and…
if you have had them as long as I have had mine, and used them as I have, you would not hesitate to start with a set, and then add as you go.

To my knowledge the only other one that comes close is the Thule.

I mix and match, ski racks, bike racks, yak stacks, gunnel brackets and kayak saddles, and I don’t think you could easily do nthat on a homemade rack.

I agree that the cost is high, but you get what you pay for.

I started like most people years ago, since I couldn’t afford any thing more than homemade, but I highly recommend that if you can afford a good rack system, you should get it.

I had to finally retire my gutter mount towers, after them being on three different vehicles, and I think their new “Landing Pads” are a fantastic piece of engineering.

I have had several occasions in the past where I lost one of the large wing nuts, or bolts, and when I contacted them, they would send me new sets, free of charge.



Bryan is right, and
…I have also seen on our local kayak store’s bullitin board both Yakima and Thule racks for sale, so if you have a outfitting store near you, check there.


You can do that.
yourself if you just go buy 3/4" galvanized pipe.

I wanted a set of longer bars than Yakama makes so I bought pipe at Lowes, and then used small washers for shims for the tightening screws to take up the space of the PVC.

I checked on Electrical PVC coated rigid conduit, but the cost would have been too much.