Rav 4 racks

I’d really like to hear from Rav 4 with factory installed side rails owners about experiences with crossbars. Which ones will extend enough to carry two canoes? How to deal with the sloped rear issue or not? Which are noisy or not? Experiences and recommendations please. TIA


I have a Rav4 and use rail grabbers with Yakima round bars. You can get extra wide bars that an easily carry 2 canoes. At the moment, I have a kayak and a canoe on my Rav4. Hully rollers in the back, and saddles up front for the kayak and padded the other side of the bars with pipe insulation and the canoe on top of that. I put a minicell saddle on top of the hulley rollers to make the kayak more level. The canoe just sits on the padded bars.


Thanks Andy
I posted this some months ago and I believe you sent pics then as well. They are a huge help. I couldn’t find a Rav 4 with 4WD until recently hence the delay and thought some more input might have developed since my last request.

Reckon I’ll just get Yakama or Thule. right now I have a 70 inch cross bar on a full sized Dosge van. The bars are about 6 ft. apart and I find it hard to keep 2 canoes from rubbing each other on a long road trip. I know on a Rav the crossbars will be closer and wonder if I’ll have a problem with this given the shorter length of the bars, as well. Also, looks like they ware not that far out of level. I’m glad to hear you can get 2 canoes on your rack.

Thanks for the help.


Rav4 racks
I owned a 2007 Rav4 V-6 until I traded it in last monday (a now diseased deer ran out in front of car, causing extensive damage).

On my Rav4 I removed the factory rack and made adaptors to use the Thule tracker ii feet on fit kit-8 bases. While doing so, I also substantially increased the spread between bars. Took a while to figure out. When conversion was completed I could switch between extra wide bars for two canoes, narrower bars for two kayaks, or remove the racks totally for quiet and gas milage. A total change took about two minutes total: unlock four locks, push 4 buttons and lift off two bars.

While I used Thule parts that I already owned, Yakima would be slightly better as the round bars would allow compensation for the curve of the roof.

Were you sick enough to try such a arrangement, I can send you the adaptors I made, as they won’t work on new car.


Hi Dave
Wow! You’ve opened my eyes some. I have no background with this particular vehicle vis-a-vis racks. Not sure I’m following everything you are saying but one seems to be that the flatter bars are at the wrong angle due to curve of the roof, where round bars would compensate for this. I’ll look at that model Thule and see if I want to tackle taking the fac racks off. If so, I’ll gladly pay the postage on adapters. Thanks for the enlightmant and help.


RAV Racks
At the recommendation of Andy, I too have a V-6 RAV. Gobs of power for hauling boats. Good road trip vehicle as well. Dave had described/sent photos of his conversion to the push button release Thule racks like on my old CR-V. Super nice conversion. I ended up being lazy (But thanks, Dave!), and leave my Thule system with GoodBoy Kayaks V bars (Cliff Roach productions) on year round.

The sloped roofline seems to have no effect on boat angle. Maybe the V bars even things out, but frankly, when I had the Thule saddles on there, it didn’t seem to matter either. I will offer a caveat on the factory Toyota rails though-they are extremely weak where they tie in to the roof mounts-they insert a la one piece of tubing to another (male/female style), and are fixed at front and rear of vehicle with two Torx bolts per mating. If you place the Thule adapter on the rail itself before the tie in, the juncture will likely bend. Mine did, necessitating sliding them down either over the juncture itself, or on the mounting foot solely-stay away from depending on the cheesy rails alone.

Here is a shameless plug for Cliff’s V racks. After having the POC Thule saddles for years, and switching over, I’ll never go back. The Thules use flimsy plastic detents that have a propensity to flop down at speed, regardless of how tight you’re able to crank down on the crappy plastic retaining knobs (Which will also rust/freeze/break. Their hardware is absolute garbage.). I’ve used Thule product for 25 years and my garage looks like an elephant graveyard of broken parts. That said, Thule and Yakima are the two strongest manufacturers of roof racks out there-factory rack systems…uh, no. The biggest disadvantage to the v racks is the liftover height (although Cliff will mate carpeting to the rear rails to slide your boat on from the back), and the fact that their uncoated aluminum looks a bit industrial.

Good luck with your set up. :slight_smile:

Thanks Tri…
Good news about the Rav 4. I did some research and thought it would be a good fit for me. I’ve not yet fooled with the racks and am a bit lost about some of the details discussed, especially the fac racks. I ordered factory rails; Might it be a good idea to back off on that?

I have no kayaks so Cliff’s products do not seem to apply here.

Maybe when I get possession of the vehicle I can get with Dave and discuss the conversion.

I’ve had a set of Thule gutter attached racks for years under heavy useage and never had a problem. The only plastic is the tightening knobs and they are fine after 12 years. Of course they’ve only been removed 3 or 4 times.


Keep the rails
They are very secure. With my Yakima rail grabbers the spread is about 3 1/2 feet and I can carry my 19’ surf ski with no problem as well as my 18’ kayak.

As trilobite said, the 4wd Rav with a v-6 engine is a powerful car. My average mileage overall is around 20 mpg, on highway driving I can get 28 mpg. I’ve had mine for about 3 years and have had zero problems with it.