Yakima wind fairing alternatives

I don’t paddle dead of winter much other than occasional pool sessions. Without any racks on the bar, the bare Yakima pipes create a noticeable hum. The fairing they sell is too expensive. Anybody have a home solution to the bare bars that hum?

If I go to a pool, I’ll just use the foam carriers that fit the bar.

wrap in pipe insulation NM

This might work:
Wrap rope around the bars in a spiral pattern. Experiment with the pitch of the spiral if for some reason you don’t stop the noise on the first try. The rope probably needs to be 3/8 or 1/2 of an inch thick. Thicker might be okay too.

Mini Wind Deflectors
You just need to breakup the air flow on the front bar. I made a set of wind deflectors for the front Yakima bar that work. Bought a set of the Yakima Universal SNAR Snap Arounds for less than $10 for a set of four. Cut 6 inch strips of plastic from an old mud flap to build two little adjustable wings for behind the front bar. Faced slightly down the noise goes away. Also much easier to clean snow off the roof then with the big Yakima Deflector in place. Leave the bolts slightly loose so you can move them left or right when installing different accessories.


Cobble job
I’ve got a contractor’s ladder rack for my full size pickup, 72" spread, and nobody makes a fairing that wide. I went to a local sign/marquis making shop. They buy lexan in huge sheets and cut to fit. They end up with strips too small to use for other projects, so they just toss 'em. Bum one of these cast-offs, go to your local home improvment store for stainless hardware and conduit mounting straps, drill some holes…Bob’s your uncle and you’ve got a custom wind fairing.


Have same dilema -thanks for the Lexan t
I wanted to do the same thing, but was balked by the cost of lexan sheets at local shops.

Second this as a cheap solution

– Last Updated: Dec-29-13 5:22 PM EST –

I usually carry one narrow kayak above the driver and more than half my bars are empty above the rest of the car. The empty sections of bars create a lot of noise at speed. Lately I've been using a simple round bungee wrapped in a spiral perhaps once or twice between the kayak saddle and the far tower on the other side of the car. Works very well, easy to attach and remove too.

I suppose a length of rope would achieve the same, but the bungee already has hooks so no need to tie knots. I do have the Yakima fairing but do not use it any more.

Yakima Windjammer
Just a little thing, on and off easily, cuts out about 90% of the noise. My sister-in-law had the Yakima fairings, and switched to the Windjammer after she saw mine, and says it is just as effective.

Can’t beat it for $22.


I use the Windjammers also, though
they are way overpriced.

I own Yakima fairings, but I found that the fairing struts that go on the front crossbar are exactly where the gunwales and gunwale clips for my canoes want to sit.

In addition, the slanted fairing throws air up inside a canoe, instead of letting that air sneak between the canoe and the roof.

I believe Yakima has claimed that, with no boat on the car, the fairing will save a little bit of gasoline compared to driving with empty racks. I’m not sure about that. If Yakima were concerned with fuel economy, they should streamline their towers.

Thanks for all the ideas.
I might try one of each.

Windjammer didn’t work for me
…on my 2007 Highlander. They suggest trying a variety of pitch angles… I spent most of an hour driving around adjusting, and couldn’t turn the volume down much. The idea about scrap lexan sounds great; another choice is to look for used parts on ebay and craigslist. I got my first rack system – towers, crossbars, and fairing - for $100 used, plus $50 for the fit kit for my car.

An alternative thought…
Why do you keep the crossbars on at all? I’m not sure what mounting system you have, but the Q towers and Rail grabber things remove and install easily.

I’ve made marks on the inside of my car door frames to line up the Q towers each time I put them on. On the truck, I just use the rail grabber things put as far apart as I can.

We go kayaking year round down here, but I still don’t like the clunky crossbars on the roof when not in use.

That’s my solution!

Happy New Year,


I don’t agree. I’ve done the things you
describe, including position marks. But Yakima racks are heavy, and except for giants like myself, somewhat difficult to take on and off. There is a risk of error when remounting towers if one is in a hurry. And while the racks are off the car, those little rubbery tower pads can get lost. No pad, no remount, no Saturday trip. I now keep a set of spares, but Yakima dealers don’t keep them on hand, not even REI.

I do take the racks off if I’m driving from Atlanta to New Orleans and back, without a boat. But while I’m in Atlanta, the racks stay on the cars for impulsive action.

It’s possible your Highlander racks are
long enough that you need as many as 4 Windjammers on the front bar. Which is stupidly expensive, so that a fairing is worth considering. Or rope wrap, split pool noodle, whatever.

When your Highlander dies, will you have to stand in the storm while the lightning crashes all around?

I can think of one reason to take off
the racks. The roof has a foot of snow. You forget the racks are there.

The garage is low. You drive in. The racks autoremove and lie in the driveway in the snow. And the mounts are bent to he…

I always take mine off
I almost always take my rack off between uses when I anticipate I’d be driving on the highway more than a few miles. Landing pads and a kayak carrier extension make it easy for me on my low roof line car. Still, that’s no solution - the noise is rather annoying when I drive with the kayak on, which on a good week might be 2-3 days. Often I drive anywhere from 10 to 60 miles with the kayak on top (between home, work, and the nearby putin) so I am ready to paddle after work, so something to kill the noise is needed… Or imagine he occasional longer haul of hundred miles or more - without a noise minimizing option to remove the howling it is physically tiring…

#10 wire wrapped
I just wrapped some solid #10 wire around the cross bars, that killed the noise. Its been on the rack for 6 yrs.

Just like twisting your straps to kill noise.

Might be on to something
if I’m thinking of the right reference, it’ll never die since it has no head to cut off. But you may be right about the length of the crossbars. I’ve got 60" bars with the boat loader pull-out extension.

1, MPG
when I leave my racks on have a drop in gas mileage of over mile a gallon. my average gas mileage is 29 to 32 miles a gallon with my normal weeks commute. With the racks on it goes down to 28 to 30 MPG strangely with the canoe on the racks for one day there was no noticeable decrease over the 28-30 with just the rack. I suppose I should leave the boat on for a a full week to get a better sampling .