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Old 09-16-2005   #11
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 480
They are both good as I have used them both. My thoughts are if you have a flat roof line - go with Thule. Since the bars are square you will be better off with a flat roof line. If you have a curved roof line the Yakima round bars are better than a square/flat bar. Think about it.

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Old 09-16-2005   #12
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 168
No competition. Thule is far superior to Yakima. I have seen amazing feats of strength performed by Thule racks. I had a Neon with a Thule system and I'm convinced that the rack was stronger than the car frame. Conversely, I have heard terrifying stories of Yakima racks ripping off of vehicles on the highway. All 4 boats and gear inside were gone by the time they found an exit and turned around. Sucks. Anytime I see a Yakima rack on a car it looks like it has moved around a lot and is ready to fall off.

On the other hand, if you have a factory rack, I agree with the dude who said it would be better just to bolt 2x4's to the side bars. It would be just as strong and would cost a couple of bucks. It just wouldn’t look as slick. You gota have a nice gun rack to show off the assault riffles you know.

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Old 09-16-2005   #13
pbowman's Avatar
Moab, Utah
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
I have also had both, a thule system on a 97 jetta, and yakima on my 04 suby outback, truck topper, 90 vw fox, 87 nissan sentra, and 84 camaro (what a sight!). based on my experience, i will stick with yakima for the following reasons.

1. i do not think the thule bars are as strong. in 6 years on my jetta, the thule bars sagged in the middle the entire time, and this was with a relatively small span width between the towers. from a mechanics of materials standpoint, the round bar is the optimum design for carrying loads.
2. i prefer the round bar because it offers more flexibility in mounting and "bar space management." in the case of the yakima kayak stacker, the round bar allows the attachment to be easily rotated down when not in use (this may be the case for thule too, never had one). same case with ski racks, or other things you might wish to rotate flat. the round bar also offers more flexibility with short tray bike mounts (at least with the old school ones I still have) as the attachments can be rotated on the bar for optimal fit to your bike size.
3. i would criticize yakima's design of the rail rider towers used for attaching the tower to factory roof racks, such as on my suby. they do not grip well, and in less than two years on the suby i have had to loosen the towers and reposition them due to movement twice already. never a problem with the rain gutter or Q series towers though.
4. whatever you choose, stick with it. when i had a thule on one car and yakima on the other, it is true that you can make most attachments interchangeable, but it is a giant pain in the ass to switch out the bar clamps constantly.

just my 2c and ramblings. later.
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Old 09-16-2005   #14
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 380
truck racks

I had a camper shell and it ended up wasting space because I rarely slept in it. I got these racks for my Toyota truck. Small bed. Sweet space savers......
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Old 09-16-2005   #15
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Always had great experience with Yakima.

Go to, click choose my rack and let them provide the options for your vehicle. Its so easy to build a rack with this system. There are so many rack bits and pieces out there its nice to at least get it narrowed down to a few options that'll work.
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Old 09-16-2005   #16
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 11
Just an aside on stackers… In my humble opinion they are a waste of money. Realistically, how do you stack boats? Me, if I have just one boat, it lies flat. If I have two, they lay flat, one next to the other. If I have three or more, stack two and use as “stacker” and put boats up against them. I can carry six boats on my rack and that always makes me smile.

Additionally, a hundred bucks in pocket can offset shuttle cost with $3 a gallon gas.
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Old 09-16-2005   #17
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
So does the tower remove the paint from your roof over time since it is just sitting on the roof?
There's a soft pad that presses against the roof, so I don't think paint scratching is a problem as long as you clean the surface well before installing. I haven't noticed anything, but then again I haven't taken off the rack for a long time. The only thing I've really noticed is most of the car stays dirty, but it's clean under the foot attachments. One factor is no sun exposure on those patches, so if the rest of the car fades or changes color slightly, that may be noticeable.

When I did my research, the bottom lined seemed to be Yakima & Thule are both great quality and sim. price. Just pick: rectangular or circular.

(btw - Thule kayak stacker does fold down if you need to impress company)
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Old 09-16-2005   #18
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
I've heard a lot of people say that boats consistently strapped on flat will oilpan unless laid on cockpit.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 09-16-2005   #19
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I've got a thule on one car and a yakima on the other. In the 10 or so years I have used racks I've never had a problem with yakima.

The thule was mounted to grab the inside of the door frame. which is a crappy mount. However, there was no other option with that car so I don't blame thule for having to mount in my door frame. However, I do blame them for the fact that it leaked like a sieve every time it rained and the rack actually fell off of my roof 2 times in 8 years, even though I was careful about keeping it tight (especially after it dumped the first load of 3 boats and messed up my roof). What a piece of shit. Oh yeah, the thule cross-bar is bowed from years of heavy loads and the yakima cross-bar is as straight as an arrow.
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Old 09-16-2005   #20
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 84
I have a set of (4) Yakima Low riders towers that I need to sell. They were on a 98 Subaru outback I don't own anymore.

I will sell them for $50. They cost $180 new.

Go to and see if they fit your vehicle.

Also. I have a set of snow tires that were on the outback. They are practically brand new. They fit a 16" rim. I will part with these for $125.

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