Rack for RAV4

I need some suggestions for a roof rack for my '01 RAV4. I am new to kayaking, really haven’t decided on which brand I am going to purchase. It will be for flat water only and I am looking at about a 12 footer. I will only be transporting the Kayak locally, within 50 miles.I would appreciate any suggestions especially from RAV owners. Thanks.

The obligatory “off question” response
I apologize for being the first to reply and “not give an answer” to your question. However, I think it would be rude not to mention an alternative until you have made up your mind–which is, no rack at all.

Unless you have a sunroof, the RAV should be able to support a 12-foot kayak without any rack at all. Of course, you want to take every precaution not to scratch it or bend the roof. You can get away for a short time with a set (4 minimum) of foam blocks clipped to the cockpit, with or without a 2’x4’ pad of 1/2-inch closed-cell foam (can get it at hardware stores or a local insulation dealer) as a “carpet.” Then you can lash it down through the door openings with ratchet straps (carefully! gently!) or even rope, with or without additional rope fore and aft for stability…

There are two points to this: First, it may take a while to find “the” rack you want to install, which I still assume is your ultimate goal. The foam/strap options allow you to mount it right


Second, it is much cheaper, and you may find that the flexibility (including customization) is better than a rack, which is usually semi-permanent, when you want nothing on your roof or to use the roof in a different way. For example, some racks will only take kayaks; if you want to use it for skis, a snowboard, camping gear, or other items, the kayak rack may not work.

I should also state that I have transported my kayak in this way for two years on over 50 trips–from 1 mile to 500-round-trip–without any mishaps worse than forgetting to loop a rope clear of my exhaust pipe; it burned through, but the center and fore-end straps held the kayak as if nothing had happened.

Now, you can start getting all of those great rack recommendations pouring in.

Rack for RAV4
Thanks Nonsense. You give me much food for thought. Appreciate your reply. Maybe I will get a few more suggestions. :slight_smile:

Thule for RAV4
I have a 97 RAV4 and found out from the parts manager that Thule made the rack for the 97 RAV4 . So I think that Thule parts ill fit the newer RAV.Check with the parts guys at the dealership. FishHawk

RAV 4 and Thule
Had a '97 RAV 4 and had a Thule. Used the Tracker II system, which with different “Feet” can fit other vehicles that have the rails for factory racks. I have the same rack on my '03 Ford Escape. Here’s a link to pics of the rack and an old pic of one of my canoes (Souris River Quetico 16) on top. BTW, the rack goes on or off in less than one minute. WW



appreciate the replies.