Westfalia boat racks

Does anyone know if Quick-n-Easy racks have enough clearance for a 1986 VW camper? Other suggestions? Thanks

check European suppliers
European rack mfg’s make very tall gutter racks designed to fit on vans like Sprinters with a roof that is very high above the gutters. I purchased such a rack for my Mercedes 409d and had it shipped here. You may find them on British Ebay.

Yakima Racks
makes a high rise and mount kit that works well… Or, check with Go Westy; they really know the vehicle and are first rate to deal with. www.gowesty.com

Yak Racks
I had an 85 Westy. You can go two routes if you truly need a rack. One is, as mentioned to get the rack with extended towers, another way is that Yakima makes gutter adaptors that you permanently attach to the camper shell. I had these, but never used anything more than foam blocks on the Westy, since the roof was so long.

for the input folks. When you use foam blocks do you just tie the boat fore and aft or do you also tie around the middle and if so how? Joe

A little off topic … but a great
place for bikes is racks on the rear door especially if a couple boats up on roof.

Use fork mounts on all the way back gutter mounted rack … then mount a second one ( rack) on rear door … only need a bar and a couple toe straps to hold rear tire in place … works perfect ( holds tight on BAJA dirt roads too ) and bikes out of the wind. Rear bar hands for towels, wet gear, etc. too.


– Last Updated: May-21-07 4:52 PM EST –

When I had my '72 Westy,I had a set of Thule's High Rise mounts on it and it worked fine>


Here is a pic of them on my Son's '67 Splitty. You can see the amount of Clearance they offer:


Tie downs…
V-Dub Bus or not, the tie downs that go across the hull are what hold the boat to the rack (and thus the top of the van). Front and rear tie downs, while important, are to prevent lift, not to secure the boat. There will, of course, be the regular wackos that will argue with this; ignore them. Don’t get yourself or your boat or your cherished Westie in a position where you are counting on front and rear tie downs to hold onto your boat for any appreciable time or distance. Bad things will happen. If you are using foam blocks on the roof you’ll have to go through the windows and doors. If you are going to use this on a regular basis, go to a good shop and have them help you install a good Yakima or Thule rack with the high lift mounts and end your worries.

Second the Thule
A couple years ago, I went thru the somewhat confusing and arduous process of choosing a roof rack for my ‘83 Westy, and can report that the Thule 953 works quite splendidly. In fact, as far as I am aware, it is the only commercially available rack which mounts to the factory rain gutters and does not so much as TOUCH the fiberglass poptop. The standard load bars have a posted weight limit of 165 lbs…


Contrary to word on the street, I discovered that the Yakima 1A Highrise Towers in fact DO NOT clear the Westy roof when mounted in the factory gutters, at least not the towers currently sold. The problem is not their height (even without the extra spacers), but rather the steeply canted angle at which they sit, which forces them to hit the sides of the poptop. As far as I know, all Yakima towers must be mounted to fake rain gutters attached to the fiberglass roof.


I nearly bought the fine quality roof rack made by Gary Lee but he informed me that even if you do not drill holes into the roof, but only use the gutter clamps, a portion of the metal clamp will still ride in contact with the fiberglass. He acknowledged that dirt and dust, combined with the vibration of driving, could potentially cause chafing of the fiberglass roof, and urged me either to pad the clamp or simply drill the holes and bolt in place.


To be fair, many, many Westy owners have quite happily bored holes into their roofs—either to mount the Gary Lee racks or to install fake rain gutters suitable for mounting the Yakima rack systems—and the vast majority report no leakage, cracking, etc… But as my uptight Teutonic nature physically restrained me from putting a drill bit to my pristine, white, currently non-leaking Westfalia pop-up roof, I instead opted for the Thule.

It is a reasonably sturdy rack, offers optional locks for the towers, and with the Thule 547 Outrigger Lift Assist accessory, allows me to singlehandedly load and offload my 16’ canoe and 15’ kayak. I mounted the front rack just forward of the edge of the poptop (over the luggage rack), and the rears just forward of the rear wheels. This compels me to remove the canoe and the rear rack in order to pop the top, but the front can remain installed. If I am lazy and camping solo, I can simply leave the boat atop the van and the top un-popped and do all my cooking/cleaning while seated on a camp stool.

Many of the Thule and Yakima rack accessories, such as canoe/kayak cradles, ski mounts, etc., are designed to be cross-compatible with the others’ rack systems, so you can piece together your perfect system.

Good luck!



for all the input. I’ll check out the Thules. Joe

Foam blocks
As far as foam blocks go, there isn’t anywhere to anchor straps across the belly, so I always would put two straps at both ends and anchor to the bumpers. My canoe never budged doing it this way.

Another vote for the Thules
My '78 Westy; the rack doesn’t touch contrary to the way it looks in the pic. Those are the superhigh feet- you can pic them up on ebay sometimes or try the Land Rover Discovery forums (they fit on the Discos).