…any preference? My car has no gutters. And what saddles do you use for your kayak(s)?
Yakima or Thule
I think it is what my dad used say was six of one or a half dozen of the other. I have a Yakima that I bought at REI when we bought our kayaks there three years ago. Friends have Thule they bought at EMS when they bought their kayaks there.
Since you don’t have gutters on your car, my Nissan does not have them either, have the salesperson check in the book they keep to see if their system is compatible with your vehicle. This may make the decision for you. I do not have saddles for my rack, but hace seen them on a few vehicles and they look like a good method to transport the boat.
Also a consideration is how long do you expect to keep your vehicle. When I gave my Toyota, Corolla to my daughter and started using the Nissan to transport our boats, the rack would not match up. I dreaded the possibility of paying $300 or more to get an entirely new rack system. Fortunately the cars are close enough that I only had to spend $55 for set of new clips and adjust the width of the clips about an inch and a half. But this may be another consideration in your purchase. Hope this is helpful.
I use Yakima w/Mako Saddles. Couldn’t be happier.
I used to have Hully Rollers in the back…didn’t like them, sold them in favor of another set of saddles. Since then, no complaints.
Yakima here too.
Bought a used Yakima set for an 1986 Honda Civic a while back. Recently moved to a 1993 Olds Acheiva and only had to buy a few clips which was nice. Used it mainly for car topping canoes (and soon kayaks hopefully). Eventually got the gunwale brackets, front/rear tiedowns, and side straps (all Yakima too) and that made life really quick & easy when loading.
Way back when I first tried out a Solstice kayak, the rental company gave me two inflatable “racks” which worked great and were very well made, but I can’t remember what they are called and nothing stood out on a Google search to me. Anyways, they would have been a great cheaper alternative I think. Heh, you should have seen that Solstice on (most of it hanging off to be accurate) a Honda Civic hatchback.
I use a Yakima rack system with Land Sharks. I’ve had parts of this system on about 4 different vehicles, over the past 15 years. Additionally, I’ve used the canoe brackets for the canoe, and both types of Yak stackers (“U” & "Harpoons) for hauling kayaks on their sides. I even hauled a Rocket Box around for about 5 years. (Still have it in storage.)
I travel full-time in an RV and haul/store my kayaks on atop the truck. So far, in almost 9 years of full-time car-topping (~175,000 miles), we haven’t had a problem.
FWIW, Thule racks are modular in that if you change vehicles you may need only to buy a new fit kit for the new car/truck. But if you need longer load bars then it doesn’t help.
Another consideration that I discovered after buying a Thule. If you are putting the boat directly on the load bars as I do, the spacing between the bars can be an issue. My '97 Toyota Camry only allows about 26 inches of spread before the bars begin to slant up or down because of the slope of the roofline. Thule bars are square which means that if you spread the bars too far on some cars the top surface will not be level. Since the bars are about 1 inch wide and vinyl coated there is pretty good contact between the boat and the bar.
The Yakima rack bars are round so slope is not an issue except I would think you should use rack pads to allow a greater surface area of your boat to lay on the bars. Just something to consider. Of course if you use saddles/rollers then it’s a moot point. Good luck.
ps I’m carrying plastic boats.
hully rollers and makos on composite
boats and no problems. I use thule bars. Disliked idea or round ones. Get the load bars as wide as your car and put tennis balls on them. You and your frequent passenger will soon get used to them!
I have 50 inch bars on a VW passat. Doubt I will ever need longer as I will probably never own anything bigger, unless I go pro and use a old van to pull a trailerload of boats.
Yakama Hully Rollers Suck!!!
You have to have them close together to support the narrow bow. Then they are too close together when the boat is on top. Put them futher apart and the hull gets scratched because the edges gouge it. They also put too much pressure on the rollers and can dimple the bottom of the boat.
Mako sharks cushion the ride better, but the hard plastic scratches the bottom of a composite hull when you push it up. Yakama makes you buy felt pads after the damage is done. CHEAP!!
The round yakama bars let you adjust the angle of the pads, but they also let the rollers and pads twist when the kayak is going up and dowm.
Thule RollerCoaster is superior. Square bars not as strong as tubes, but pads do not roll out of position.
What good are those locks for the bars anyway? The pads and rollers cost a fortune and they are not locked down.
I have pieces of both
I have Thule cross bars and Yakima Land Shark saddles. I liked what I saw from both brands. Honestly, I only got the Thule cross bars because that’s all LL Bean sells and that is where my gift certificates from Christmas were from.
If I used a standard impex or perhaps even a CD boat, I would be closer to you opinion. My explorer laughs at the hully rollers though. I do not drag my boat over the saddles. I use the rollers. Thak is what they are for
I also use a heavy cotton bath mat over the bar and edge of my station wagon, sometimes even the rollers two. Makes single person loading a snap
what I do not like about the roller coaster or the hydro glides is that my hydro glides broke after ten trips, (and I was not a newbie I know how to load a boat) and that they offer no lateral stability at all unless you set the very far apart They wiggle fron left to right like crazy. The thules offer almost equivalent laterar stability without a strap. To each their own.
Maybe makow wiht yak rack pads and wash them. Plus they are
If I used a standard impex or perhaps even a CD boat, I would be closer to you opinion. My explorer laughs at the hully rollers though. I do not drag my boat over the mako saddles. I use the rollers. That is what they are for.
I also use a heavy cotton bath mat over the bar and edge of my station wagon, sometimes even the rollers too. Makes single person loading a snap
what I do not like about the roller coaster or the hydro glides is that my hydro glides broke after ten trips, (and I was not a newbie I know how to load a boat) and that they offer no lateral stability at all unless you set them very far apart My boat wiggled from left to right like crazy. The thules offer almost equivalent lateral stability without a strap. The you tighten the strap. To each their own.
Maybe makos front and rear with yak rack booties and wash them on occasion. Plus they are P.net sponsors! Also Yakima will give you a set of glide pads for the makos on request, or at least they did that for me and some folks who wrote to that effect.
No matter what nobody makes a system I love yet, but I’ve yet to see saris.
If the roof on your car has some curve to it, Yakima might work better. Being round bars the angle of the kayak mount to the bar is adjustable. I have owed both types and other than that, I don’t have a preferance.
I’ve never seen a set of Yakima bent cross bars but I’ve seen many a pair of bent Thule bars.
I initially bought the Yakima system (SST towers) because they were priced right (sale) and I’ve used Yakima bars for many years. After viewing their condition vs. equally well used Thule systems I’m glad for the choice I made.