Rack question

I drive a Toyota Matrix, and my Yakima cross bars are 48" long. This length doesn’t allow me to carry both my yak and canoe together. There are times I’d like to take both. I have an old set of 58" bars from a previous vehicle. Is there any reason that the longer bars can’t be used in place of the 48"on the Matrix?

Together the boats weigh 100 lbs. I think the manuf. limit is 125 lbs.



no reason
48" is the minimum length required. You could even use the bicyclist beheading length of 78" if you want. Having racked plenty of Matrix’s and Vibe’s, Bow and Stern lines are very necessary.

I love my Matrix for hauling kayaks and camping gear, and ALWAYS use bow and stern tiedowns, but am curious about why you so adamantly suggest them? Have you had a high rate of racks coming loose from the Matrix?



I always use bow & stern tiedowns;

sort of the belt and suspenders thing I guess,peace of mind insurance;-)

How about putting
the kayak on a J-rack?

I’m thinking I’ll do that as well,
but I’d like to see if I can get away with the longer bar first, since I already have it. May end up still needing to go with the j.



Head knocker
The longer bars can be a real hazard to your head on the Matrix. For me it is just high enough to be out of direct line of sight yet low enough to run into.

I have the shorter bars and use J cradle for kayak and have room for the canoe on the other side. I like J cradles for the kayak anyway.

The bar spread on the Matrix is kind of short. With longer kayaks I find that at highway speeds I can get some very quick side-side movement if I did not use tie-downs. J-cradle seems to have less of a problem with this than saddles, but I still use the tie-downs.

Good luck.


Longer bars
I have longer cross bars on my Subaru Forester. I put a bright yellow tennis ball on the end of each bar (just cut a hole in the tennis ball and shove them on the end of the bar.) That way I always have a visual reminder that the bars are there, and in the rare instance when I hit my bald head on the end of the bar it is well cushioned.

Legal issues
Many states define “oversize loads” to be those wider than the outside-to-outside measurement of the side mirrors. Best to not exceed that dimension.


Watch your head

I have 54" bars on a car meant for 48", which actually makes the bard even with the maximum width of the cars. They work fine, except:

  1. Watch your head!
  2. They look a little silly
  3. Temptation to install blades on the end and play “Spy Hunter” is strong

    I don’t currently have a faring, and the impact on gas milage shows. I do not think I could propery install a faring with the bars wider then the roof.

Well after some preliminary measuring,
I’ll still need the J cradles;cars pretty narrow,so might as well stay with the 48" and save my noggin! Is there no bottom to the money pit my boats have become!! but alas it’s worth it. Now I’ve just got to squelch the idea that I think I want a ww playboat too. LOL

Thanks all

Money Pit?
You won’t feel so bad the next time you’re out paddling and you encounter some yahoo ripping around in his 4MPG motorboat. Not to mention the vehicle needed to trailer it, and the winter storage fees, and the insurance.

Once you’ve bought a kayak and rack and other gear, the care and feeding of it is pretty affordable.

And healthier for you, too! Certainly cheaper than a cardiac triple-bypass …



Don’t forget to calculate the lowered gas milage you’ll get with the J-cradle on top of your previously fuel efficient car…

Yes, Odonate
that was another reason I initially opted for the longer bars! But the Matrix has such a low profile that I think it will be cursing the bars every time I get in or out, and I will have to have the boats right to the edge of the rack, and it just doesn’t seem safe to me;-(

that’s an easy fix:
just paddle upstream and coast down hill! :wink:

Most states
have a width limit of 8’6". Found it out when researching trailerable sailboats.

Though if you have 8-foot bars, you’ll probably still be hurting people (or things).

longer bars…
Three things that will reduce (not eliminate) banging into your bars:

  1. a good rule of thumb is to never exceed the width of your mirrors, no matter what the law says about max width.
  2. big bars on little cars (and/or low ones) really do need tennis balls on the ends to both warn and protect the innocent. (yes, this IS louder)
  3. you can always cut down your longer bars to the minimum usable length, once that is determined, rather than leaving the wasted inches on there.

58" on my matrix
I asked this question a couple months ago and got alot of the same answers you did.I can carry a 31" canoe and a 23" kayak flat on mine and its all the way to the edge. the span for the matrix is 32" and I purcased set of J cradles for my plastic kayak,not as much for room,but that short span in the sun is asking for trouble.I purchase the 58" bars thinking if I had to I could cut a couple inches off.I havent hit my head on the bars and they dont stick out but just a couple inches.buy longer you can always cut them.


J-cradles, mileage, etcetera
J-cradles are the way to go. Highly recommend the new Thule flip-down hull-a-port. Retails for $160., but if in NE, wait for EMS 20% off sale and save a bunch. Fuel mileage on my Forester drops from 27 to 25.5 mpg with boat on. No change with j-cradles in down position. Also looks slightly less dorky sans boat!

OBTW…Thule instructs use of short bolts for Subaru racks, but you have to use the longer ones. Check tightness after first few trips, then occasionally.

FYI, I don’t use bow and stern tie downs, but always carry as some states require them.