Kayak Rack/Roof Crossbars - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Kayak Rack/Roof Crossbars

Hello, hope this isn't redundant as I didn't see a thread on this.


I am wondering if anyone here has any experience mounting a kayak carrier to the factory roof rails on a 2014 Highlander. I have looked at some Thule and Malone products online, but they don't like to put dimensional specs on their user guides so it is hard to determine what kind of fit it will have on the factory roof rails.
The roof rails are wide and flat, aerodynamic, and not specifically called out in accessory literature. I just want one that fits well and will be strong and firm fitted.


I recently purchased a 2014 Highlander XLE AWD V6 in nautical blue. Mainly wanted a good family activity vehicle for my kids and me. Camping, kayaking, stuff like that. Only had the thing about a week now.


Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason8957 View Post
Hello, hope this isn't redundant as I didn't see a thread on this.


I am wondering if anyone here has any experience mounting a kayak carrier to the factory roof rails on a 2014 Highlander. I have looked at some Thule and Malone products online, but they don't like to put dimensional specs on their user guides so it is hard to determine what kind of fit it will have on the factory roof rails.
The roof rails are wide and flat, aerodynamic, and not specifically called out in accessory literature. I just want one that fits well and will be strong and firm fitted.


I recently purchased a 2014 Highlander XLE AWD V6 in nautical blue. Mainly wanted a good family activity vehicle for my kids and me. Camping, kayaking, stuff like that. Only had the thing about a week now.


Thanks for any help.
I am struggling with this as well. I want to pull the trigger on a cargo basket but I can't find a manufacturer that will say their product works with the 2014 Highlander.

I think I am going to take a chance with either the Megawarrior by Yakima or the basket that Curt makes. We are camping mid-October so I will probably have tried something by then. I will keep you posted here.

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post #3 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 01:01 PM
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What ever you do, keep in mind that the max roof rail weight is between 125-150max. A plastic kayak wont be that heavy, but if you start putting up other gear with it, it might start to be something to consider. I know you didn't mention anything about other gear...just an fyi.

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post #4 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 01:29 PM
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I recall a member stating that his Thule Taxi SUP holder fit onto the OEM crossbars. You might be able to email Thule about the specifics of any similar mountings for their kayak rack lineup.

As far as the cargo basket, I can't speak to Yakima or Curt, but I have the XLG Rhino Rack Xtray and it fits fine.

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post #5 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 02:27 PM
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I have a Yakima Skybox Pro with the 16 cubic foot storage capacity installed on my 2014 Highlander Limited with factory crossbars. I have had the Skybox for about five years and have used it on a couple of different vehicles.

So far I have used it a couple of times on the Highlander and have experienced no problems at all. It has a very secure fit. I just had to adjust the clamps on the skybox so that it was spaced out proportionally on the top of the Highlander crossbars.

Will post some pictures shortly.


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post #6 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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I may just order the Malone Saddle Up Pro and post back on here how it works out for me.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-06-2014, 10:21 PM
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pictures of Yakima Skybox Pro 16

Here's the link to my Skybox photos on my 2014 HL Limited with factory crossbars:

http://s1371.photobucket.com/user/mo...library/Skybox
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Last edited by moverley; 09-06-2014 at 10:34 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-11-2014, 09:39 AM
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Ive been looking also. How do plan on getting up onto the roof ? Im 65 and kayak by myself. Trying to figure this out. I have a heavy Hobie Mirage drive. Seen some loading systems that use the hitch. But hitch, loader, saddles and crossbars combined are over $1000. Little pricey.

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post #9 of 21 Old 09-11-2014, 06:20 PM
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The factory crossbars can best be described as elliptical. When I was looking for a kayak carrier it seemed that most would fit either round or square/rectangle/aero(elliptical). Some of them required an adapter to work with aero. I am a pretty tall guy (6'3") so I chose the Thule Hull-a-Port. Per Thule it fits square and aero (with an adapter) but the way the bottom piece attaches (sorry no picture) using 4 bolts with two plates going across each side (per crossbar). I didn't buy the adapter because I found that I could get the rack adequately tight without worrying that my kayak was going to go flying.

I chose not to get a rear loading (slider/roller) rack because the crossbars on the Highlander are set pretty far forward and I didn't want to deal with banging a kayak on the "spoiler" on the hatch. There are tons of different racks out there and I'm sure that many would fit but I would be a bit skeptical about the round rack. That said, take your car to your local shop and ask to try installing one before you buy it. I personally had a great experience with REI helping me test a few different ones well before I was ready to make a purchase.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-19-2014, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered the Yakima Mako Aero Universal Saddles and expect them next week. I crawled through lots of reviews and these seemed to be reasonably close to what I want. I will update after I install them.

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post #11 of 21 Old 09-19-2014, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10K2 View Post
Ive been looking also. How do plan on getting up onto the roof ? Im 65 and kayak by myself. Trying to figure this out. I have a heavy Hobie Mirage drive. Seen some loading systems that use the hitch. But hitch, loader, saddles and crossbars combined are over $1000. Little pricey.

Johnny

Have you considered a rear rack to stand and strap in the kayak in vertical? I have never seen it advertised, but did see it on the freeway. I don't kayak often, but thought I could do the same when in need.

Not sure if it can adapt well to the HL :-\
http://rvkayakrack.com/gallery.html

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Last edited by Phil Indeblanc; 09-19-2014 at 03:15 PM.
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post #12 of 21 Old 09-19-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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For a long kayak that would seem awkward. Maybe not so much on the RV in the picture. To answer your question: no, I had not considered that. I considered the rollers for removing the kayaks from the rear of the roof, but I am afraid that would get out of hand.

I am 6'4" and I figure that I ought to be able to put the kayak on the roof or perhaps buy a small step stool thing.


I have this grand Clark Griswaldish plan with kayaks on the roof, bicycles on the back, kids and tons of camping/fishing gear in the vehicle, heading off for the lake for a weekend of fun and misadventure.

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post #13 of 21 Old 09-20-2014, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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I got the Yakima Mako Aero kits in delivered yesterday and experimentally mounted one saddle to the roof rail.





Hope these pics aren't too big.
The kits were about $87 per pair, there are two pair. They sell them in pairs in case you want to buy rollers for the second pair. Anyway, they seem to fit the factory aero crossbars quite well, and seem secure though I haven't not attached a kayak and taken it on the road. I will update when I do.

I wrote more about it on my wordpress blog. Still haven't attached a kayak.
http://jasonfrels.wordpress.com/2014...ro-roof-rails/

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Last edited by Jason8957; 09-20-2014 at 08:40 PM.
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post #14 of 21 Old 09-28-2014, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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I finally got a kayak on the roof with the Mako Aero kit. I have some pictures to attach below.


First, the kit is marketed as for either the sit-on-top kayaks, which have a flatter hull, or the sit-in kayaks. They seem to be optimized for the sit-in kayak, but somewhat adapted themselves to the sit-on-top kayak that I have.


Second, there is no hook under the front lip of the Highlander to the attach the hook to, but I found a steel cross-member with a drain hole in the bottom. I was able to attach the hook to the cross-member this way. Held securely and I didn't have to worry about damaging the plastic underbody cowling.


Third, as someone one here or somewhere suggested, I bought some foam pipe insulator and wrapped it around the straps to avoid damaging the paint and grill of the Highlander.





Yes, it has been rainy and the vehicle needs washing quite badly.

I drove the kayak from my house to Inks Lake State Park (West of Austin) and back, about 60 miles round trip without issue. The Mako Aero kit attached well to the factory aero roof rails and held the kayak securely at highway speed, though is made a lot of wind noise. The Highlander is a tall vehicle and I am 6'4" and was able to load the kayak on the roof without banging the vehicle, but most people would probably have a bit of difficulty with this. Maybe a small step ladder or second person would be good.


Anyway, I kayaked and had fun and didn't have issue with the rack. This is probably a good solution for kayakers who have a Highlander.

I have a bit more info and pictures on my blog about the thing.
http://jasonfrels.wordpress.com/

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Last edited by Jason8957; 09-28-2014 at 02:38 PM.
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post #15 of 21 Old 09-29-2014, 12:05 AM
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Instead of wrapping it around the bumper, why don't you simply use the front tow hook eye bolt. Its what several 2nd gen owners did.

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