Pads on Yakima Rack Bars?

I’m trying to get some ideas for an inexpensive way to put pads on the load rods on my Yakima roof rack to protect the gunwales of my canoes. I know that Yakima sells 20" long pads but they cost about $25 a piece. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Pool Noodles :slight_smile:

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 6:46 AM EST –

This is a link I am using for the picture more than anything. They sell for a couple buck'$ each. You can get them at many places. Hope this helps.

Water pipe insulation
Any home material store/lumber yard sells foam pipe insulation which can be bought in different diameters. One size fits the Yakima bars. The insulation can be cut to lenght. It is split (lengthwise) to fit on and has self adhesive at the split to seal once on. If you want it to last longer, cover the foam with duct tape. I used black duck tape and it looked fine. The pipe insulation is b;lack also so it can be left not covered with tape.

Pool noodles and pipe insulation
don’t last long, unless you wrap them with tape, as mentioned above. Still, they are very cheap.

Pool noodle - no cutting
If you have the patience to take the load bars off the mounts and slide the pool noodle piece on rather than cut the piece and snap it without taking the bar off, they would last a lot longer than they do when cut lengthwise.

By the time you are on your 5th set of noodles you still will be less than 1/2 the price of the Yakima bar wraps, but I’d do it right the first time - get the kanoe support brackets -:wink:

The salmon-colored pipe insulation…
fits round Yakima crossbars well. I didn’t want to leave mine on all the time, so I just strapped my boat (a short SOT) in such a way that the straps fully looped around the foams on each side, thus securing them to the bars. If you don’t do this (or tape the foams), the foam can swivel around so that the boat ends up sitting on the split part–on the bare bars. So, put the foams on with the split facing downward, and loop the straps around to keep the foams in place.

That way, I also simply pulled the foams off and locked them inside the truck while paddling. Very quick and easy.

Do you want to look like a Hillbilly?
I used to use the pool noodles with my Pick-Up but when I bought a new vehicle, I went for surfboard pads, made for a local surf shop here. They cost the same as the Yakima pads and last about three times longer. I use my rack 3-5 times a week and the pool noodles just don’t hold up. In the long run the surfboard pads, work better and last longer, and you don’t look like Jed Clampett when that pretty attorney in BMW pulls up next to you at the light and smiles while admiring your boat. The company name on the pads in California means a lot to those in the know, so you want to choose your status symbols carefully. Insulation foam and blue pool noodles are one step above TJ rustouts. :wink:

Instead of paddling the bars
how about just paddling the boat where it contacts the bar? Easier to do with a canoe than a kayak, but most kayak carrier accessories address this problem better anyway. You could cut one pool noodle to fit the 4 pints of contact on a canoe, and if strapped down tight enough they shouldn’t move. And if they do, a replacement is pretty cheap.

That Is True, But
You are right the surfboard pads last longer than the Yakima pads, BUT

I use 1/4 rope wrap to cover the “YA” in front, and the “A” on the end.

So my Yakima pads say “KIM” which I think is pretty cool…

Good idea
Another disadvantage of the pool noodle across the bars is that on some vehicles they can make quite a howling noise at highways speeds.

Everything Yakima and Thule sell is
way overpriced. But I think the canoe gunwale brackets are well worth it. They not only protect the gunwales, they also keep the boat from sliding side to side, and, usually, backward or frontward, on the racks. Improvised pads don’t do that.

I always wondered how the gunwale brackets would do in a panic stop. Then, one day, it happened. The boat did not move a bit.

Oh C’Mon Seadart
I fit right in the Orange County scene

bar padding
use automotive heater/radiator hose. Slice it long wise, and secure with black cable ties.

Yeah but no one can be as cool as you …
How was the concert… my meeting was not so fun …

Blew it off
and went paddling instead. Had a great week up here

clear tubing…

– Last Updated: Jul-26-08 8:45 PM EST –

The local hardware had some 1 1/4" or 1.5" clear plastic tubing (looks like Tygon tubing) in the plumbing section. I just sprayed some wd40 on the bar and slid this tubing over it then re-attached the tower.
No cutting, tape or ties involved, the boats DO NOT move side to side at all. When the straps are over the boats will not move forward or backward (at least I can't move them) but without straps you can slide the boat forward or back to center it.
I've tried all the other ideas mentioned above and these are by far the best for my uses.
good luck!

edit: can't remember the exact price but I'm sure it was less than $2 per foot


– Last Updated: Jul-26-08 9:11 PM EST –

Yaws a!

Pool noodles? Wat pool noodles? Oh yeah! Jus' took some time ta notice dem.


That sounds like a smart idea.
But in my experience w/ that plastic tubing, it yellows badly w/ UV exposure, and I would imagine the WD-40 doesn’t leave it clear even if the Sun would. So my question is, how bad does it look on the bars?


1.5" i. d. tubing didn’t need lube…

The first time I did this I used 1.25" I.D. tubing which was very tight and that’s why I used wd40. The Yakima bars are 1.125" o.d. according to my calipers.

I got some more tubing that was 1.5" i.d. and it went on fine without any lube.

The tubing was slightly yellow when I bought it and hasn’t really changed much in a few years.

My neighbor got some tubing that is crystal clear - if I see him I’ll try to find out where he got it or what kind it is.

I got mine at a true value hardware store but there is no name on the tubing itself.

So does the 1.5" tubing spin w/o lube?
If I understood you correctly, that is the advantage in that it rolls around the bar to make easier loading until tightened down w/ a strap. Does it not stick to the bar w/o lubricant?