yak rack

After much research, hours of tracking down salesmen, and loads of hemming and hawing, my husband and I have decided to purchase two WS Pungo 140’s. We’re both beginner kayakers. Now we need to buy kayak racks to get the kayaks home. I’m a little burned out on all the above, so I thought I would ask for advice from you seasoned paddlers - narrow down the options a little.

The racks will be for the top of a Chevy Tahoe Suburban. My main concerns are security (they don’t fly off in traffic) and ease of loading. Thank you in advance!

Malone SeaWings or GullWings

Suburban = Tall Vehicle
You might want to consider Thule Hullivators. They are pricey but may be well worth the price tag considering that you can lower the yaks closer to your reach (elavator method). Or you can look into either Thule’s Rollercoaster or Yakima’s HullyRollers that would allow you to load the yaks from the rear and push on the rollers for more ease.

I have a Tahoe
and use the Yakima Lowriders, which attack to the factory rack, along with 58" crossbars. This summer I put over 3000 miles on with sea kayaks on my roof and it’s been bombproof.

For rotomolded boats, I would bypass the expense of saddles or rollers. They can dent in the hull of a plastic boat all too easily. Put foam pipe insulation over the crossbars and transport the yaks deck down, secured to the crossbars with cam-lock straps.

I’m 6’1" and healthy, and thus have no problems lifting boats onto the roof. 2 people lifting makes it safer and easier.

Thule’s glide and sets.
Thule’s “Glide and Set” saddles will fit directly on your Suburban cross rails.


I like saddles better than just foam on the cross rails or the rollers. The saddles do a good job of craddling the kayaks, and prevent them from moving side to side. You should be able to get both kayaks on your rack.

Check out my photo album.


A big Loon 160T on top of my Suburban, held very securely as we went bouncing around the mountain fire roads. Scroll through and you’ll see my pictures of the saddles, garage kayak rack, transfering kayak from the garage to the Sub, and finally loading on to the garage rack from the ground.

My procedure for loading the kayak on to the Sub, is the same as loading garage rack from the ground in the photos. Place stern of kayak behind Sub. I mostly put it in a homemade craddle, but that is not required as long as the stern is anchored. Lift Bow up onto the top rear deck of Sub, protected by small thick carpet. Lift stern and shove up onto rails and saddles. The benifit of this procedure is it involves two quik lifts by one person. It is most benificial for longer heavier boats. But you may find with you lighter Pungo’s that it is easier for the two of you to lift a kayak directly onto the rack together.

Happy Paddling, Don.