Auto Rack Rundown
Over the past year, the Kayak Fish team has tested out a variety of auto racks and accessories on numerous vehicles for getting kayaks and SUP’s out on the water to chase the bite. The following is a rundown of auto racks and rack accessories that we’ve been a fan of. There are plenty more solutions out there, and we’ll be testing more them and reporting in once that’s complete.
For now, have a look and see if any of these solutions work for you.
The Thule XSporter Pro is an option for the truck owner who enjoys an open truck bed, yet needs an auto rack. Especially when the need is to transport their kayak to the local honey-hole to get a line wet.
This rack system was the most time expansive DIY installation, taking 2 hours and 11 minutes. This is from the time the tape was cut on the box to when the installation was finalized.
The Thule XSporter Pro has a slick adjustable load-bearing crossbar. With this functionality, you can lower the bars under the cab height for better gas mileage while not transporting and adjust back up once it’s time to head on a fishing trip with kayaks on the bars. The load capacity allows up to 450lbs, a perfect solution to easily tie down and transport two fishing kayaks or SUPs.
This is a great solution for any truck owner needing to haul gear without purchasing a topper and mounting cross bars. The Thule XSporter pro includes tool-free load stops to strap gear down into place.
Available at Thule.com or your local retailer for $799.95
The Thule Hull-a-Port is a great kayak hauling accessory for the XSporter Pro. This product will allow you to vertically stack your kayak on the Thule crossbar. If mounting to the square Thule bars, there is no mounting adapter needed. If mounting to the Thule Aero bars or XSporter Pro, you will need the XAdapt11 kit.
Be sure to check the weight of your kayak, as the load-bearing capacity of the Hull-a-Port tops out at 75lbs. This product would be a great addition for most of the recreation and fishing hybrid kayaks that fall under the weight category.
Available at Thule.com and your local retailer for $149.95
The Yakima LongArm is a new hitch-mounted system that allows you to extend carrying capacities out of your truck and adjust to the carrying positions of the bed, bed rail height, or with the extension accessory to the height of your cab.
For those looking to get your favorite kayak in your truck and on the move, this is the easiest solution we’ve utilized so far. Lift the nose of your kayak up and onto the load-bearing bar, then walk to the back to lift and slide the boat into your truck bed. Finish it up with a 12′ or 15′ strap through the included slots on the bar and tighten the kayak down.
Don’t waste your time straining on lifting a kayak over your head if you’re solo. The Yakima LongArm empowers the solo angler to get the job done, with ease. A recommended accessory with the LongArm is the LongArm Pad for an additional $19.
Available at Yakima.com or your local retailer for $219.00
The Yakima JayHooks is an update to a classic design. These side-loading kayak hooks are a tool-less option that connects to most any crossbar on the market today. Simple, and easy to use.
The JayHook comes packaged with a bow and stern strap that mount to the bumper further securing the craft. You’ll also receive heavy duty straps to cinch the kayak down. This product is a great option for owners of a vehicle with crossbars already mounted and looking to maximize space.
Once the racks are set in place, it is recommended to utilize Loctite or often check the tightening bolts.
Available on Yakima.com or your local retailer for $149.00
The Yakima ShowDown is a lift assisted product designed to help owners get their kayaks or SUP onto the roof of the vehicle. The Showdown lowers the mounting level two feet and supports up to 80lbs.
The set up for the ShowDown onto a set of Yakima crossbars was incredibly easy. The installation process took approximately 10-15 minutes, one of the easiest to set up for the assistance gained by the rack.
The ShowDown was given to our most vertically challenged tester to mount onto his Land Rover Discovery. The rack worked the best for mounting SUP’s into place and getting to high elevation lakes for post-work strike missions.
Whether a welcomed solution is a lowered mounting height or ease of assisted lifting, the Yakima ShowDown exceeds expectations for both. Do take care to keep the guides clean and clear to avoid sticking when in the mounting process. A simple spray off at the car wash will suffice in keeping things clean and fully functional.
Available at Yakima.com or your local retailer for $449.00
See more on Yakima here
See more on securing kayaks to racks here