Yakima Rack Owners

To all you Yakima rack owners; do any of you use any of the boat loading assist attachments? Like the Showboat? Wondering if its worth it. My freebie canoe is an old coleman that weighs a ton. Considering the best method to load a heavy canoe (80? 90? ponds) on my own without destroying my car.

She’s a truly helpful assist when we load (and unload, of course, but gravity’s a big help there, too) the boats before we



-Frank in Miami

yakima rack
I use the Yakima Mako saddles (front and rear) mounted on a pickup truck cap. I throw an old bath mat on the back of the cap, then lean the kayak on the mat and slide it up and onto the saddles. The bath mat has a rubber backing so it sticks pretty well to the cap and is heavy enough to keep it from blowing around.

I used to use the Hulley rollers on the rear bar but they marked up the hull and didn’t seem to hold the boat in place quite as well as the Mako saddles.


Side- or Rear-Loading

– Last Updated: Feb-24-08 10:07 PM EST –

The easiest thing you might be able to do is to load directly from the rear. If the rear cross bar is close enough to the rear of the car, you can just put one end of the boat up and then slide it forward.

If you can't do that, a method that's just about as easy is to use an extender off the side of one of the cross bars. Lean one end of the boat up on that extended bar, pick up the other end and pivot it sideways onto the other crossbar, then pivot the first end of the boat, (which is still resting on the extended bar) over onto the main part of the crossbar. For an extender, you need not buy anything fancy. Just get a five-foot length of heavy-duty pipe that has a small enough diameter to fit inside the Yakima crossbar. Stick this pipe into the Yakima crossbar about 18 inches or so, and the part that sticks out sideways is where you will lean one end of your boat during the first stage of loading.

Either method is pretty easy. You'll be lifting or holding up significantly less than half the weight of the boat during all the high lifting, since you'll be lifting it from one end and a crossbar will be positioned several feet amidships of the opposite end (that bar will carry more than half the weight while you are lifting).

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I’ll be buying the rack soon to fit on my 2002 VW Jetta. Couldn’t find anyone selling a used setup that wanted a reasonable price. Have not had a rack before so I was curious about the best loading method.

Again, thanks!

Just installed my fourth set of Yakima
racks, this time on an '08 Accord. On this particular car, it would not work to angle a canoe up from the rear and slide it on. The above-mentioned method of adding an extender to one of Yakima’s bars would work better.

I am thinking of installing a tow hitch, and then either modifying one of the available hitch- mounted bike carriers, or making my own structure, so that there is a cross-bar at the rear for boat loading. This bar would be higher by some inches than the top of the trunk.

Fortunately, even at my age, I can still “throw” my canoes up off my thighs and overhead, and then load them. But we used to have a couple of 85-90 pound boats where I could not do this safely unless I practiced, so I reverted to the method of lofting one end over my head, and then backing up until I could get my head into the portage yoke or under the center foam saddle. I imagine this could work with a Coleman if you have a way to pad that center thwart for your shoulders.

Yakima Boatloader
I use this to load/unload a 33-lb Prijon Twister on my topper roof rack. I’m really short and the truck is tall. Still need a step stool to fasten the boat to the bars.

It’s OK. I would not want to use it for a heavy boat, though. The thing flexes an alarming amount. Cost $60 from Rack Attack.