Yakima vs Thule

I have narrowed my rack decision for my 97 Nissan pickup down to the Yakima Outdoorsman 300 Compact or the Thule Xsporter Compact. I am having a hard time deciding between the two. Anyone with experience with these two products please provide some input to help me decide. Thanks.

not too sure about those two models…
but if it is between Thule square bars and Yakima round bars, I’d take Thule every time. Whatever you secure to the Yakima bars tend to rotate over time.

I think…
The Xsporter is a better unit as a whole but it also costs more. The yakima Outdoorsamn is a little bit less substantal than the xsporter but having worked with both i’d send the extra money.

my 2 cents

I prefer the Yakima racks
Personally, I prefer the Yakima racks.

One Yakima advantage not already mentioned is that on some vehicles, with window-clamp style brackets, because of the change from front to back in the angle of the windows/roof line, the rectangular Thule crossbars do not alway contact the cargo on their flat tops. With canoes, this can mean potential damage to the gunwales from the corner or the crossbar.

Both are superb quality, and will outlast the vehicle.

I Endorse Thule Because I Own Yakimas

Just don’t try to mix and match !
I have been a yakama owner for years, (saddles, gunwhale brackets, bike holders, and ski racks)

I just bought two sets of Thule Hull-a-ports. Paid a arm and a leg for them, and then had to modify them to stay up right on the round Yakama bars, when their instructions specifically stated that they would work on them.

I got all kinds of useless hardware, which I guess is some newly graduated mechanical engineer’s claim to fame.

They include rubber washers instead of lock washers, and then when you try and tighten the the phillips head bolts down, the washers have so much play that they work they way over the head of the bolt.

Then after you have them as tight as you can get them, and put the kayak on, you can’t tighten them any more since the phillips head which is now under the kayak turns when you tighten the knurled knob which is on the bottom.

They also included some half inch long plastic bushing spacers, which the instructions specifically said were for use with the Yakama bars. The only problem with them is that they completely prevent the brackets from being tightend down.

I ended up drlling a hole in the bars for each, and used a self tapping screw to prevent them from rolling.

Kind of makes me wonder about Thule?



For almost anything esle besides Yaks
there is little real difference. With J cradles the round bars let the cradles rotate so both cradles can conform to the shape of the hull. A Big plus in my view.

Not in mine, since…
They are on the top of a pick up truck, and I want to slide the yaks on from the back.

I don’t want them to rotate.



Custom racks
I would srtongly advise you to have a rack custom welded for your truck. Trucks are neat in that you can have an aluminum rack tig welded for about what you’d pay for these toy racks. You can custom design it to do whatever you require, it will last for years without parts rusting, will have a far better capacity, and be more functional. Take a look at the racks that kayak manufacturers have custom built! You don’t see these guys using toy store bought junk.

If you have a car…well, buy whichever toy rack fits your car the best. Rack shops that carry both brands will know which works best on your car. For trucks, have the rack encase the canopy and bear on the bed rails. Way stronger. Good luck

Thule Hull-a-ports
Bought one of these at NJ Paddlesport back in the spring. Chose it because it fits the factory rack on my Subaru Forester, and seemed like a good deal at $80.

Have had no problems, except for having to lift my yak up to place into the J.

I agree with the rubber washers… the bolt head goes right down through them if you get them too tight.

So my same “toy” rack has been
on four different vehicles over the past fifteen years, while your “custom built” one is good for one vehicle.

Mine can hold all my toy holders, such as my ski racks, my bike racks and my yak saddles.

I’ll take my toy one and go home now!

I would strongly advise anyone who can afford it to get either a Thule, Yakama or other good brand rack over a custom built one.



Did not mean to offend
Just offering an option for a truck owner. You can design the rack to accomodate accessories from factory systems. I too have owned several Yakima and Thule systems. Been hauling stuff for many years. What I experienced was rusty non-stainless fasteners, weak cross bars etc. My custom alloy rack has been abused for 300k miles, and is like new. Never any strength issues, vibration etc. And it cost about $400. So, if you own a truck you can pay big $ for corporate overhead and marketing, or pay a fabricator directly and get a superior product. If raw alloy looks ugly to you, have it powder coated for $100!

I don’t recall putting cars down, or making any references to trucks being manly. Cars simply present more of a challenge than do trucks for a custom rack. I say toy because I have not been too impressed with the durability of these products long term. Perhaps they are better these days?