Thule or Yakima carrier?

Personally, I like the idea of wheels on the back and slanted flat pads on the front, but am seeking input. Have read around a few of the discussions, and it seems that many use pieces of both. What do I drive? I now have a pre-owned 2002 Subaru Forester, and I believe I can mount various carrier pieces to the wider support bars on its ‘factory rack’. Am I right? I hope so; I am dying to get out there – I didn’t kayak at all last year ‘cos it was too hard to put my 14’ Perception Monterey up on my Toyota Corolla (which my neighbor has since totaled; thus the new vehicle). Help! Please! Thanks!

Make Your Own Racks
Get some carpet to match the car color. Wrap the carpet around 2 by 4’s. Use short kayak straps to secure them to your car rack. Use kayak straps to strap your kayak to the 2 by 4’s.

Factory racks are too expensive…

Either Thule or Yakima
One is as good as the other.

I wouldn’t use the factory rack that comes with a vehicle. They are too flimsy.



What a great idea!
Shouldn’t I secure the carpet to the 2x4s somehow, before I tie them to the rack, though?

flimsy Subaru racks?
I know quite a few Subaru owners who just use blocks/straps and their factory rack. I admit, I was hoping to be another one of those, but we’ll see, I guess. Thanks.

I have a Thule Hullaport
I’d never go without it again (although I’m certain Yakima has a comparable offer). The Hullaport takes up very little room. With my rack I can now have my sea kayak, canoe and bike on all at once. I believe Thule is also coming out with a “Hullavator”.

Factory racks are pretty expensive, but then again you don’t need to change the entire rack when you change cars, just the ‘feet’. It should last you forever. If you’re worried about price, look for a used one.

If you buy a factory rack, you’ll probably want to buy the wind fairing as well - it cuts down noise dramatically.


Yakima Low Riders
work very well on the Forester. A couple of comments though : I don’t recomend their Hully Rollers. They do make it a little easier to load but can be hard on the kayak. One person I know severely dammaged a new kevlar boat by pulling the straps to tight.

There is another low cost option: There are foam “V” blocks on the market that are shaped to fit on your factory racks cross bars. If you are only carrying one kayak, they will work just fine. I tie a shoe string around the “V” to keep them from accidentially blowing off when not carrying a boat.


To be a p.netter, you HAVE TO GET…
The most expensive name brand sstuff out there or you are not a kayaker…

I have been on for about 4 years or so & that is one thing that I have learned:

No matter what experience & good fortune you have had with off-brand or no-name products they are still garbage if they don’t cost alot or have a “name brand” sewn, painted or stuck on there.

Paddle easy,


wow you’re helpful
When wildwater mentioned making homemade racks, no one said anything as that’s a good idea if done correctly. The poster asked about Thule vs. Yakima and people were giving there opinions on the two brands. CofeeII you need to get off your “I buy everything from the army/Walmart and I carry a gun” high horse and let go of the angst.

That’s like asking which is better, BMW, or Mercedes. Which ever one you pick is the best for you. They are both high quality “can’t miss” products. Having said that I have had one set of Yakimas for about ten years and four cars, one of which was a Subaru. It truly looked funny under a 17’ kayak and two canoes. Worked, though.

Well… Either Rack Would Be Fine But…
it won’t make a difference if you “didn’t kayak” last year because you had too much of a problem cartopping it on a Corolla. The Forester is even a higher lift for the boat.

Maybe a lighter boat is needed…


If I said, "I agree with Coffee"
then I’m an as_hole AND Coffee would probably bi_ch me out, as well…

People are funny…

yes but you were helpful…
You offered a reasonable option that could save someone money and was on topic. Coffee just instigates because he likes being heard.

2 by 4’s with carpet
This is an exceptionally reasonable way to make a nice rack for any vehicle. Why spend upwards of $500 for some corporate profitmaker’s benefit when you can carry canoes safely without?

The original poster liked the idea I proposed. And, to answer his question, yes, you need to affix the carpet to the 2 by 4’s prior to attaching to Subaru rack. Do this with roofing nails or Liquid Nails (from lumber yard).

BTW: My first set of Yakima saddles took the clearcoat and paint off of two of my composite boats. They originally made the surface of the saddles (Mako) too rough. I was not pleased when my $600 set-up ate paint off of two $2000 kayaks.

Screw these idiots…

Unversal Racks
There are resonably priced well made alternative companies on this website for carrying your boat on your factory Subaru racks. You don’t need to become a carpenter. or, go to the bank for a loan just to haul your boat to the water.

Go to the accessory page and do some homework.

To get Fancy

– Last Updated: Apr-01-05 6:32 AM EST –

You can cut a couple of wedges out of another 2 by 4 and place them pointy end to pointy end on the 2 by 4 you are using as your main rack.

Attach the wedges to form a saddle. To do this, screw them to the 2 by 4 using 1 1/4 inch deck screws prior to wrapping the main 2 by 4 rack in carpet. You may have to improvise by cutting and pasting the carpet on the wedges, but this will keep your plastic kayak from caving in when you strap it to the racks.

Primitive but effective...

I’m not a “his”, wildwater.
Which is why I’m about to post a different message asking about the best lifejackets for women. :slight_smile: But yes, I did like the idea of the carpet-covered 2x4s. And I read the whole Accessory forum (at least, the carrier parts) before posting my question, oldmoonriver. I posted the question because it seemed to be a pretty even split between the two; I do realize there are “alternative” producers. In fact, I bought Malones today, and will keep you all apprised. If they don’t do it for me, will probably add a Rollerloader. The weight of the kayak was not the reason I didn’t kayak w/ the Corolla, either. I had no rack at all, and just didn’t feel safe that way. I could use a lighter kayak, yes, but I could also stand to practice lifting the one I’ve got until I can afford a fiberglass one … sigh. Thanks to everybody for the opinions, as well as for the interesting discussion after I left to go shopping, too. :wink:

Getting the boat on the car.

– Last Updated: Apr-02-05 12:58 PM EST –

Get a cheap foam sleeping pad (backpacking type) and put it so that the near edge is about 7 feet from your bumper. Double thickness of cotton bath mat fron target on edge of the car wher the back meets the roof,going up to the rack bar and or feet.
Put boat on pad on ground. Lift one end up onto car and mat, Keping one hand on boat(don't let it fall) go to low end. Pick it up and shove forward. Yak rack booties may come in handy if you go for thule or yakima. Trouble reading this? e-mail me with your digits or ask for mine. I hate typing and editing is even worse.

good paddling to you

Foam blocks yes!
carpeted 2X4 maybe not. dents in boats? Shattering carbon lay ups? You can get or carve cheap foam pad blocks that are much kinder to your boats.

I like my thule racks
Recently I bought a new car and got Thule racks added to the deal at the dealer. He boaught them from the local canoe shop I directed them to. When the clips came in I went there and they installed the rack by the book which took them almost an hour.

I guess I paid top dollar for my canoe rack but I’ve been very happy with it. For my old clunker I jusr bolted 2 by 4’s to the factory rack and padded them and that works great too. The thule racks look nice on a new car though.