Kayak Rack Advice

I just ordered some GFC Cross Bar rack Mounts, and I’m planning on buying a pair of Yakama Roundbar. From that point on, purchasing decisions get complicated. We have two kayaks: my wife has an old 9’ LiquidLogic, and I just bought a 12’ Wilderness Systems Pungo.

I’m looking at ease of transport and being able to get the kayaks up on top of the camper without it being a hassle. I’m 6’1", 55 years old, and reasonably fit. So many options, some costing $$$. I really don’t want to spend a ton of money only to be frustrated by a system that adds unneeded complications. If it’s just one kayak being transported to the lake a half-hour away, I just toss it in the bed with a bed extension bar (goal-post thingy). The top-of-the-camper set-up will be for multi-day camping trips.

I’ve been looking at Yakima Jayhooks, but I wonder how hard they’ll be to load (my truck does have a bit of a lift to it). Some people appear to strap their yaks directly to the crossbars, but I hear that can cause misshaping on hot days.

Any advice would be appreciated!


My kayak and canoe days are behind be, I use an XP240 float “tube” now.

But, I have put my 15’ canoe up top on the Yakima crossbars. Get one end up on the rear rack and slide it up the rest of the way, all by my onesie.

I never got into any of the fancy systems, I always just strapped them to the bars.

With the bars spread out as far as possible, you shouldn’t need to torque the straps down so much that your kayaks get bent. Hope that helps


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with strapping the kayaks right onto the bars. That’s what I do. You could tie them upside down if you want to protect the haul of the boat some. I do this for longer trips sometimes. These boats are made of strong plastic and even if they do deform a little it normally pops right out. If you really want to protect the kayak the J Hooks would do that but I don’t think it’s necessary unless you have a fiberglass boat.


I have two ten foot kayaks that I usually haul upside down on the round bars. My truck is an F250 with about a 2 inch lift. I have the foam pad on the rear bar and to load the kayaks just lift the front of one kayak on to the pad/bar and then stand on the tailgate and slide it forward letting the pad rotate the around the round bar. Then strap them down. When strapping then down I stand on the tailgate for the rear and open the rear doors and use the cab floor as footing to strap down the front. The process is easier with two people but not difficult by myself either.


I got J hooks because I need to carry 2-3 kayaks and a SUP now…

I used to strap to bars but the J hooks allow me to put more shit up there. :slight_smile: Strapping to the bars worked fine for me. I have pretty inexpensive Costco Kayaks. If I had some kind of fancy expensive Kayak I might be more concerned about mistreating them.

Since the kids and wife never seem to help I had to figure out my system. I now put a towel on the side of the GFC and slide the kayak into the J-hook. It seems to work well for me.


I have the GFC cross bar mounts and Yakima round bars. I carry a single 10 foot long kayak with the Yakima HullyRollers. I have a Tacoma TRD and am older and shorter than you. I don’t have any trouble getting the kayak on top of the GFC.


Hey, thanks for the replies everybody. So I ordered the 66" roundbars as my two kayaks sitting next to each other are 58" wide. For now, I’m just going to put some pipe insulation around the bars and strap the kayaks down hull-side up. I can always get a bit fancier later on if needed.


Love all the info on here. I was just thinking about how to mount SUPs today. Ya’ll answered most of my questions, other than: once the boat, kayak, SUP is up there how do you manage to tie them down with the GFC being so tall? Or is it fairly straight forward because you only need to be able to reach the edges of the roof?

Break out that telescoping ladder, Holmes.

If you’ve pictures of this system I would love to see it. Thanks for considering.

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Also interested. My wife and I will want to both put our Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140’s on top of the GFC. Thinking we’ll have to go with the Yakima round bars for length (unless GFC comes out with a bracket that accepts longer ‘HD’ bars)

I know this is an old thread but I recommend wrapping your bars in some foam and then just strapping them to the bars (catch some grab loops) for boats of that size. For whitewater boats that’s what I do most of the time and when it’s more boats I’ll use a stacker. Sea kayaks that are 15’-18’ is when I’ll start using a J cradle.

I have two kayaks and two bikes that I need to take with me for my next trip, it could be more complicated than I thought. So I think a DIY vertical kayak rack can also fit my 5th-wheel kayak rack plans. I attach a ¾” 200-PSI PVC pipe on both ends of the ¾” EMT steel pipe. Secure both ends with ¾” PVC fittings. One end should be removable and secured by the spring pin when the kayak is already in place.

figuring out how to transport your kayak while traveling in an RV can be trickier than you might think, but knowing the way to build a kayak rack comes in.

Look into Rhino Racks’ kayak holders. They’re basically like a J hook that can pivot and lock into various angles anywhere from flat to straight up, and will fit onto the beef bars if your purchase a few longer bolts. Its easy to step up onto the tailgate, slide the boat on flat and then rotate them upright to lock into position and tighten down the straps. I find that method is easier than the awkward toss up from the side when doing it solo. First picture you can kind of see the setup, and once the first one is in place its easy to use that one as a stacker to get plenty more up there.


Is that the Rhino Rack J carrier?

I’ve had 4 kayaks on the roof quite a few times and for long drives (10 hours) and haven’t had any issues just strapping them to the beef bars.

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You can try tamperproof chains or cable locks for locking a kayak to your roof rack if tie-down straps aren’t available. Most expert kayakers recommend using the Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Chain, featuring superior-reinforced double deadbolt lock and 14-mm-thick 3T manganese steel chain links.

Even though your kayak can be secured with a locking rack, you can increase its security by asking the police whether you can leave your car parked in their area.