Yakiam Dry Dock or Thule Goalpost Users

-- Last Updated: Oct-17-07 5:40 AM EST --


I am thinking about options for the hitch rack on my vehicle. The Yakima Dry Dock appeasr more substantial than the Thule Goalposts, but, frnakly, both seem a tad flimsy. Are they? Do they shift/wiggle slightly in the hitch and mar the kayak (carbon kevlar Valley here)? Do you strap to the cross bar itself, or do you strap down to solid object in truck (e.g. bumper, bed hooks) to add rigidity to the entire setup? I will never use the thing in folded down bed-extender mode, so wondering if that "joint" is just amother point of wiggle and failure? Do you use the supplied straps that hold the thing to the bumper?

Can you put two, say, 25 inch beamed kayaks on here, including the kayak saddles for each (I know you can buy bar of any length from Yakiam, but agin, questioning stability of entire setup with loads that are further off center).

Pics, too, if you have them. Thoughts from current owners. I have the option of having a welder make the entire thing if that would be "more substantial" for the long haul and frequent use, but if you say these are enough, then that is good enough for me.

made my own…
welded a piece of 1" pipe to a reciever ( I first welded a rod going up through the hole where the ball goes and slid pipe over it) and up to a “T” with 2 horizontal pieces. Added 2 eye hooks on the outside end of the horizontals to tie down to prevent wobble. Hope this makes sense to you.

Dry Dock

– Last Updated: Oct-17-07 9:33 AM EST –

I have a Yakima Dry Dock, used in conjunction with A Q tower rack on the cab of my Dodge Dakota. Works well for me. I have the 78" bars, so that I can carry two large tandem canoes if needed for shuttling - to carry sea kayaks, I'd need to add a foam saddle or something, but otherwise, there would be no problem. The fit into the reciever is not sloppy at all - they provide a bolt that screws into a nut inside of the tubing of the rack - it gives you a very solid lockup when snugged up with a wrench. I do use the two straps provided to add stability - they just hook under the bumper and are tightened with camlock type buckles - when tightenting the second strap, I pull down on the end of the bar at the same time, to get it a bit tighter. Result is rock solid - no swaying or bouncing or anything. I tie the boats to the rack, but I also use a rope on bow and stern of the boats to keep them from sliding forward or backward - I never trust any rack of and by itself - I saw a perfect example of why not to do that a couple of weeks ago - I was passed by a pickup with a bike rack mounted on the topper, with two mtn bikes on it - looked strange, and then I realized that the front left attachment wasn't attached to the truck anymore - they were lucky to not lose the whole load. So I always use the ropes bow and stern, not only to keep the boats from sliding forward or back, but to act as a backup to hold down the rack on the truck, and reduce the strain on the clips holding the Q towers to the truck. I guess if I had the time and materials, I could probably have made something similar, but inferior to the dry dock - it is well made. It is heavy gauge steel construction, and is qite heavy. I added a locking system by running a cable through one of the adjustment holes, and swaging the ends to form loops - I can lock the rack to the truck using the cable and my bike lock (or a padlock), and can also lock the boats to that cable if I want to.

In short, it's expensive, but worth the price.

Just thought I'd add a couple of things. I have a Tonneau cover on the truck, and I lose no functinality for it - It won't open 100 %, but letting it go up against the bottom of the canoes gives plenty of room to load or unload the truck bed. I would not be able to lower the tailgate with the Drydock in place, though. If you are going to put a topper on your truck, the Drydock would not be a good system for you, as you would not be able to open the door (liftgate? back window?)of the topper far enough to load or unload gear into the truck. The dry dock sticks out about a foot beyond the end of my truck bed - it is about a 11 1/2 foot span between the two cross bars, so I would have a problem carrying a boat less than 12'- I have put my 12' 8" WW canoe on the rack without any problem.

Thanks for the excellent replies.

– Last Updated: Oct-18-07 1:16 PM EST –

I wish I was handy enough to weld my own. Alas, I am not.

It is great to see that these work so well. I am getting a Chevy Avalanche and needed back ladder rack for the 17 footer boats, and sounds like the goalpost/dry docks are the way to go. More stable than I thought, esp when strapped down.

So, I'm going with it. I will most probably get a Yakima Dry Dock as I like the Y shape as opposed to the T shape of the Thule.

Mattt, E_N, poleplant, autiger, devilssoninlaw and all the rest, thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

Dry Dock
We use the Dry Dock on our Honda Element & it works very well. We have 2 bars on the room, the front set is saddles, the back bar is rollers, and we put a set of rollers on the Dry Dock bar too. Strap the Dry Dock down & without a load it feels a little wobbly, but once you get a load on it it’s fine. We’ve hauled a Necky Nootka Plus (22’+) and a Current Designs Crosswind (about 18’), both tandems (not at the same time) and have gone up to a 4 hour drive, and not had any problems with the Dry Dock. The kayak is strapped to each bar with front & rear tie downs too.