roof rack options for 07 Rav4

I just purchased a 07 Rav4 and am exploring options for carrying kayaks, using the crossbars on the factory roof rack. I have been sucked into buying some poor systems in the past and dumping them soon after trying them. A waste of time, money and a source of frustration.

One option is the long foam blocks that are slotted on the underside to fit on factory crossbars. Oak Orchard sells some that are even contoured on the top to fit a kayak hull. They are cheap ($29+S&H). Do foam blocks stay in place on the highway when bow and stern tie downs are used, or do they drift about somewhat?

Another option is the gullwing saddles that Oak Orchard also sells. More costly, at $139+S&H, and more likely to stay in place by my guesswork.

The last option is to reproduce the system on my wife’s 04 CRV. She has Thule T-88 landing pads with Tracker 11 feet and a Thule crossbar. Comes off with the push of a button, leaving only 4 low profile tabs on the roof. Thule doesn’t make it for the 06-07 Rav4, probably because most come with a factory rack, leaving little market. This option would require my making an adaptor plate, as the bolt holes are spaced differently between the last generation CRV and the new Rav4.

Anyone with experience with the foam blocks or the gullwings please advise. Likewise, if you have another suggestion, please post it. Cost is not the primary factor, I want something that is quick to put on and remove.



What factory rack do you have?
Does your factory rack consist of only crossbars or are there also elevated rails running the length of the roofline? I believe Toyota offers two roof rack options.

I would go with a Thule or Yakima system. They are well engineered, flexible, and make it easier to load a boat. Foam saddles will cradle the boat and will work just fine. However they don’t always stay put while you are trying to load a kayak and they do wear out in a couple of seasons. Gullwings or any other rack that attaches to the factory rack usually will limit your load to a single boat. Using a hole rack system means you could carry multiple boats, a boat and a bike, a boat and a cargo box, a boat and a loud-mouthed back-seat driver . . .

FYI, most of Thule’s watersports cradles will fit on most factory racks so you could look into their saddle systems as well.

Factory rack
Hi nermal,

The Rav4 factory rack is comprised of two long rails with two crossbars.

The Thule system that attaches to the crossbars has a strap that goes around the crossbar and then is cinched tight with a allen wrench like tool that is stored in the end of the bracket. I don’t like that system.

Yakama is also tedious to attach and remove.

Your point about using Gullwings on factory crossbars possibly limiting me to only one kayak is a important consideration. I’ll measure tomorrow, but a one boat limit will take that option off the table.

Thanks for your reply,


thule feet to attach to rails?
We were thinking of doing this with my wife’s crv, but she has the rails with the crossbar on the factory rack, thule sells feet that fit in the rail that you can mount the bars to and get around factory rack weight restrictions

yakima lowriders
i have an 06 RAV4 (great car, btw) and i use lowriders with yakima round bars, with a malone j cradle and sometimes some ancient yakima cradles. its the same rack i used on a saab wagon- didn’t have to buy anything new. i kept the factory crossbars in place- that was the dealers recommendation. you can get the lowriders on and off the rails in a couple of minutes.


Yakima low riders
Thanks Andrew,

I went to a store in the next town and checked out low riders. Not as quick to remove as the Thule Tracker 11 with landing pads, but tolerable. Now I won’t have to make landing pads to fit Rav4 spacing and won’t have the possibility of creating wind noise with my adapted pads. The Rav4 V6 is so quiet on highway compared to last vehicle that I don’t want to mess it up with possible wind noise.


I have the same vehicle
I use two different arrangements. Most often I use Saris cross bars with Saris saddles, which mount directly to the RAV4 factory rails. I also have Thule square cross bars though the Saris mounts a little faster.

As an aside, I have been fairly happy with the RAV4. It’s worked well for carrying my kayaks and the back door arrangement is convenient when kayak(s)are loaded.

roof weight capacity
I am also interested in the RAV4, but wonder what the weight carrying capacity is for the roof racks with something like Yakima attachments for a canoe or kayak. How much weight haveyou carried up there?