roof rack

Any advice on roof racks? Thule vs Yakima? After living lakefront, I moved to the middle of Illinois, so now I have to deal with transporting my kayak. I have a Blazer with a factory roof rack, but I want to add a roller and saddles. I get kind of nervous with the boat straped to the roof (I hate the noise of the ropes and strapes in the wind). Will using the proper rack for a kayak cut down on the noise? Do I need to wory about how far I’m traveling and at what speed? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

don’t know
much about ether one. But where in Central Illinois are you. I’m in springfield we paddle in the lakes around here. there are several of us (many from St louis) who paddle together.

Most of use usually race our sail boats on Sundays and paddle when there is no wind. Several of us from Springfield often paddle through the week on lake Springfield. If you are near Springfiled and want to paddle with us send me an e-mail and I’ll let you know when we go out next


I own a yakima roof rack system for my 2000 Civic coupe – I chose it over a comparable thule system because I’d rather the round bars. Also, it seems like there are more places that carry yakima + accessories. If I recall correct Thule is european based whereas Yakima is a N.American company.

Search the forums…there are a lot of threads with peoples opinions.

Thule is a swedish company but the racks sold here are US made (at least the most recent parts i got). I have the glide pads for loading from the back on my minvan. Seems to work fine.

I have used Yakama for the past
…twenty years, and would never think of using anything else.

I have all length bars, and have their towers on both of my vehicles.

I have their saddles, gunnel brackets, bike carriers, Yak stacks, and ski racks, which all change out in a matter of minutes.

They and Thule are expensive, but if you can afford them, you will never get anything else.

I use Yakama and/or NRS straps with the camlock buckles, and I never use front or rear tiedowns. They are not needed with my set up.

If you decide to just use foam blocks, or an el cheapo system, make sure you use front and rear tiedowns.



A third option for you to consider.

IMHO better than thule or yakima, but as a friend pointed out the kayak saddles don’t work for hard chine boats.

Malone GullWings/Auto Loader
Both of these racks work exceedingly well on factory racks at a fraction of the cost for Thule or Yakima racks. Check out

As for the noise generated by your tiedowns, put a couple “twists” in them as you secure them. It should take the “flatness” out and eliminate the vibrating noise you’ve been hearing

Stay safe on the water,

NC Cal

As mentioned above, Malone accessories are top notch. I recently converted from Hully Rollers & saddles to Malone Autoloaders, and was pleased during my recent 1200+ mile road trip.

Yakima bars will allow the Malone Autoloaders to pivot to match the contours of your boar while Thule’s will not.


For me it doesn’t matter.
I have a Yakima roof rack and the Thule Hull-a-port.

I went with Thule, mainly because they offered the only option on one of my older vehicles. And now that I have a camper shell, I have installed Thule tracks and my station wagon setup transfers directly to my campershell. For me it was the only option. As far as quality, it has held up very well. It was almost all used stuff bought on ebay.


Thule seems ok
I’ve got the thule racks on my Sable wagon - I picked them after reading a thread here about the yakama round bars stripping. The thule racks attach to connectors that fit in the factory roof rack tracks - I can remove the racks from the car in a matter of seconds. The racks look brand new even though they are almost three years old since I take them off when I am not using them.

The yakama rollers have a smaller contact patch than the sliding pads that thule uses, and might warp a poly boat a little bit more.


I have both Malone racks on my
Hyundai Elantra wagon.Love em!

Just bought Malone
I just went through the whole roof rack dance myself and ended up with the Malone Autoloaders. I was looking for Thule but the only dealers within 100 miles were bike shops who didn’t carry watersports gear. I then looked at Yakima, but they don’t have a solution for my particular factory rack, and I couldn’t justify the $175-$200 for towers and crossbars that didn’t give me any more weight capacity. I finally bought the Malones locally and really like them. It turned out the mounting studs I received with the set were a little too short (still workable, but a little too close for my comfort), so I emailed the company and they promptly offered to UPS the proper studs to me. I have no personal experience with either Yakima or Thule, but I definitely appreciate good customer service. I’ll be buying Malone again.

No comparison
Saris makes the best load bar on the market, especially if you don’t want to leave the accessories or the bars on the vehicle all the time. Saris bars literally go on and off in a couple of minutes with no tools. The accessories slide on and off in seconds with no tools.

The only downside to the Saris system is that their watersport accessories options are rather limited. If they ever address that, Thule and Yakima are in trouble! :wink:

I just adapted some old Thule cradles to my Saris bars. Sweet!

My rack is on it’s 3rd different vehicle (did need new foot kits each time to attach the rack to the vehicle, about $50). Still solid. With my Thule, I can remove it or put it on in about 30-45 seconds. Don’t think it could get easier. Taking the Hull-a-Port off the rack does take a bit of time. Don’t have to do that anymore, though, since I no longer have that WIDE Mad River Revelation to haul. WW

Malone Has a Great Attitude
I just purchased some AutoLoaders myself, and spoke to several people there before I did. No matter who I spoke to, their attitude is that they want you to be completely happy with their product, or they’ll be happy to give you a refund, no rules, no policies. I haven’t got them out on the road yet, however, they were easy to install, and it was easy to load my boat. I’m optimistic that this will be a very good purchase decision.


Roof Rack
I Have a Chevy Blazer too!

Take a look at EZ Vees, by KayakPro (we manufacture these). They are quick and easy. This may be just what you are looking for? We think Thule tend to be slightly stronger.

Roof rack?
After carrying my CD Gulfstream upsided down on my Explorer’s, padded, standard roof rack and coveting a “real” kayak specific roof rack, I finally broke down and bought some Malones. They didn’t work, the kayak didn’t fit comfortably on the rack, was too high and cumbersome to get the straps from behind the rack to secure the kayak to the rack. I went back to my old system.

Then the standard roof rack broke, glue did not work so I broke down and bought the basic rack, without any accessories, thinking that I would purchase them later. Thus far, the basic rack, padded, is working very well, two cross straps and bow and stern lines. Neither high winds and/or high speeds have dislodged it from the rack. I’m thinking all the extra stuff is not necessary.


Padded Bars
It is true that a beautiful glass boat like the Gulfstream can be transported on padded bars. This will protect it from scratches. And your load straps can definately hold the boat in place (always use bow & stern lines) to avoid taking out a bus full of nuns.

Unfortunately, I think your forgetting about the #1 problem with glass boat transport. HULL STRESS CRACKS. I’d get those Malone instructions back out or give them a call and they will talk you through proper (and very easy) loading and unloaded techniques.