Yakima Stacker Advice

Hi all,

I searched the archives and maybe missed it…but I am looking for suggestions on the best configuration for loading 3 kayaks on my Element using Yakima stackers. The boats are a 16.5 ft sea kayak along with rec kayaks of 14 and 11 ft. More specifically… would you line up all the fronts so the front tie down lines up? or would you center each boat on the crossbars or what?? Would you put all 3 boats on one side of the verticals with the longest (or would it be the widest or narrowest?)against the verticals and then the medium, then small? (the instructions seem to say you would do it that way). Any thoughts are welcome! Thanks


Center all three
Two shorter boats on one side, longer boat on the other side. Depending on the width of your bars and the boats, you can put the stackers to one side, giving you just enough bar to tie the long boat on its end. Tie another boat on end to the other side of the stacker. You may have enough room to strap the third boat down flat on the crossbars. You’re going to want bow/stern tie downs for each individual boat.

The most important thing is to spend a fair amount of time trying out various configurations in advance, tie everything down, and then try to wiggle the bows and sterns to test how secure they are. Expect to spend a long time messing with it the first time, but once you find a system that works, it will go quickly. If your friends offer to help you load, let them help you lift the boats onto the bars, but make sure you do all the strapping. There your boats, your vehicle, and your responsibility. You know the system that works. Don’t rely on well-meaning friends to do the tie-down.

I agree - center cockpits
I agree - center the cockpits.

Don’t expect to fit all 3 on 1 bow line. Better to use 2 or 3 separate bow lines. Because so many boats will put a lot of stress on the roof rack (and the 3 boats together may be above the rated weight limit), I would definitely use bow lines. This is your safety should something happen to the roof rack.

Same for stern (use more than 1), if you use them.

I tie mine on crossways.

proper stacking
I agree separate the lengths and use 2-3 bow & stern lines. Place the longest boat by itself and the two rec boats together with the widest boat on the inside so the straps make contact on all the boats. Also place hulls against the stacker with cockpits outward.

In general, however, put boats against
stackers cockpit inward. Otherwise it’s hard to avoid pooching in the hulls of plastic boats.

check the weight limits
If you are on the factory rack, check the weight limits.


Why should we trust factory figures?
They’re almost always unrealistically low, and written by lawyers rather than engineers.

weight limits
If you’re using the factory racks you’ll trust their weight limits or if something happens it’ll void the warranty.

Bill H.