Rack options for bikes/kayaks | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Rack options for bikes/kayaks

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Rank V

Pathfinder I

Bozeman, Montana
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I have done a little searching on the forums here and have found a little bit on racks, but not really much on what I am looking for, so I thought I would start a new thread to see what everyone is using for bike and kayak racks.

A little background on my situation: I have a 2013 Silverado set up with a mid travel kit and topper camping system that is my trusty backcountry base camp. Currently, I have a FrontRunner Slimline roof rack, but will be getting a GFC camper this fall and will probably go to the GFC roof bars at that point. So, I am looking for Typically my adventures from base camp just involve hiking and/or skiing. However, I like to mountain bike and my girlfriend has gotten me into kayaking this year.

My current set up for kayaks has been strapping my kayak to the roof rack and carrying my GF’s shorter kayak inside the topper. This works fine for the short day trips we’ve done so far, but I would like to find a better solution for longer term camping/trips with two kayaks. I am contemplating a ”j-style” rack like the Thule Hull-a-Port or Yakima JayLow.

For mountain bikes, I have an old Kuat tray style rack that is hitch mounted that I have used for years. I like the rack, and it works well with my DH bike that doesn’t work in most frame mount set ups. However, as I camp out of the back of my truck, it is super inconvenient for camping. I either have to cook and live working around the rack which is a huge pain in the you know what, or take it off and on every camp, also a huge pain…. I got a swing out carrier (forget the brand off the top of my head) which makes life easier, but the whole system is now heavy and impractical for technical trails. Plus, the design of the hitch mount for the swing out portion is poor, and has gotten almost impossible to get onto the truck. I have never really liked the idea of roof mounted bike racks, but am seriously considering one or two roof mounted racks to carry up to two bikes. I rarely (if ever) will be taking bikes on more technical trails, so I am not too worried about the clearance issues. I am really looking for something that can reliably carry bikes, stay out of the way at camp, and won’t have to be taken on and off the truck all the time depending on the adventure…

So, with all that said, what racks are you all using? What do you like and dislike about them, and what would you recommend for my situation?


Rank I

Enthusiast I

Bay Area CA
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Years and years and years ago, I worked at a shop where we would outfit vehicles to go off into the woods and stuff like that. I've done countless installs and mods, and got lots and lots of time with brands like Thule, Yakima, and Kuat. I was able to able to literally compare brands side by side and a After working there, I have always been a Thule man. I found the Thule systems always had the best features, were built the best, always seemed to weigh less, always came up with a new feature that the rest of the brands would incorporate into their systems themselves the next year, and they always looked good.

When you are putting racks and stuff like that on your vehicle, you are often strapping things up like bikes, kayaks, camping gear onto the outside of your vehicle. What is paramount when doing that is piece of mind. Piece of mind that your gear won't go flying off and hurting someone on the road. Second, your racks are most likely going to spend 24/7 outside and have to withstand the elements day after day. Get a cheaper or lower quality rack system and watch that powdercoating or paint fade and fade, and watch those nuts and bolts rust. I'm still running a Thule 4 bike rack system since 2011, and even the decals still look new. I ran the Thule MOAB roof basket on my old truck for a decade and it still looked good the day I sold the truck.

Not to say that Yakima or Kuat are not quality products, because they are, but I just find that Thule products are the best overall and worth the premium price tags. The one thing I would advise against is staying away from bootleg or generic rack systems found on Amazon. Here's another tidbit if you care about these types of things: Yakima is an American company, and Thule is a Swedish company, but Yakima products are made in Mexico, and Thule products are made in the USA. Thule factories are also a leader in the industry for using solar power and reducing waste during the manufacturing process.


Rank 0

Contributor I

Park City, UT, USA
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Check out Alta racks, they have a vertical bike rack but also attachments like a table, hammock stand and Ali the founder is looking at kayak attachments too. He see’s his rack as a lifestyle system rather than just a bike rack. I know he has and extender that will allow the rack to come out and then you can mount a motorcycle on the system too. I have had one for a couple of years and love it. Check them out at www.Altaracks.com give Ali a call.