Thule vs Yakima Roof Racks For Kayaks: Which Should You Get?

thule vs yakima

Bringing your kayak or canoe on your preferred fishing route is an achievable feat, especially if you have a roof rack in your vehicle. Of course, transporting these amenities are not that simple because of their size, unless you own a portable unit.

Thule vs Yakima. When it comes to roof racks, these two names are already households. They are reputable brands that cannot be tarnished because of the impressive roof racks they have produced over the years. So far, among all the roof rack manufacturers out there, these two have the rivalry that is similar to Samsung and Apple. In short, they are the ones that are reigning over the market.


If you are a first-timer, choosing between these two brands is quite a difficult task. Just like I have said, these two names are great on their own right. If you are not quite familiar with the nuances of their respective products, you might not get the ideal roof rack for your vehicle. Of course, that will affect your ability to haul your boat.

To get past to this unlikely dilemma, I have made some simple comparisons between these manufacturers. You should check them out if you want to get a more fluent choice for your next roof rack.

Thule vs Yakima: A Comparison

Thule vs Yakima: A Comparison

There are certain things that you have to know between the roof racks of Thule and Yakima. Although they are interestingly great, they still do differ in design and specification.


The first one that I am going to highlight is the fit of these roof racks. One should know that most of the vehicles out there feature compatibility to both the roof racks of Thule and Yakima. However, each of these manufacturers has produced units that have specific fit.

Of course, the fit affects the performance of any roof rack. Their usability will be compromised. Sometimes, they can even affect the aesthetics of your vehicle. Some racks may look too big or too small for your ride. Efficiency can become an issue if the rack you chose is not tailored for the setup of your vehicle.

You can always assess every roof rack that you encounter. Both Yakima and Thule provide their clients with comprehensive fit guides. You need to see them and match them to the exact fit of your rig. It is also necessary to pay attention to the accessories that are compatible with the rack that you want to have.

Fortunately, Thule and Yakima hold the same specifications when it comes to the fit of their roof racks. However, you should always make sure that what you choose really fits the specification of your vehicle. In this way, you will not encounter any trouble when it comes to installation.

Here are the things that you need to look for whenever you are looking for the right fit for your roof racks

  • Compatibility - Make sure that the roof rack you choose is capable of handling whatever you want to load. If you are aiming to transport your canoe or kayak to distant destinations, the rack that you must get have the essential accessories to support those amenities.
  • Bar Spread - The bar spread is an important component in every roof rack. It is the one that optimizes the performance of the rack so that it can handle loads that are either huge or lengthy. In the industry, there's an unwritten rule that if the bar spread is large, it can give better support.
  • Weight Limit - Whether you are going for Thule or Yakima, it is necessary that the roof rack you get is capable of supporting the weight of the item that you intend to carry. You should never miss this part. Otherwise, your vehicle can get compromised. Both the brands have different specifications when it comes to the weight capacity of their roof racks. Sometimes, this factor alone can decide if one brand is more suitable for your needs than the other.


Some people are always keen on the prices of the items that they purchase. Even for roof racks, the cost is still a determining factor. It is inevitable that some of us are undeniably frugal while others are keeping their tabs for those best-priced units.

Although they have similar stature, Thule and Yakima have different pricing when it comes to their roof racks. It is quite surprising since many people laud their quality to be almost equal. Specifically, the starting price of Thule roof racks for kayaks is approximately $40.

Meanwhile, its counterpart, Yakima, is quite cheaper. Their entry-level roof racks are priced $26 at a minimum.

What does thing tell you? For some, the price of the product is a determinant of its quality. You wouldn't expect a cheap item to feature high-end designs and premium materials used on its construction. Of course, there are always exceptions to this case. However, we cannot rely on such "exceptions" all the time, especially when it comes to roof racks.

I do admire the construction of the roof racks of Yakima. They feature great ergonomics and durability, which are both essential in handling large boats. But upon inspecting the materials that have been used on their racks, I can say that they are lesser to what Thule has offered. That's just an objective observation. You can freely object if you want.


Another notable thing that divides Thule from Yakima products is their versatility. Currently, Thule offers up to twenty-eight (28) types of roof racks. Meanwhile, Yakima has only nine. The availability of numerous options will enable you to find the appropriate roof rack for your vehicle.

Furthermore, Thule provides its users with different roof rack styles. They have racks for kayaks, surfboards, cargo baskets, boxes, snowboard, canoes, paddleboards, skis. On the flipside, Yakima only has racks for skis, kayaks, snowboards, and surfboards. They also have cargo baskets as well.

Final Verdict

Thule vs Yakima. Obviously, these two manufacturers of roof racks are downright impressive on their own right. You will love the performance and durability of their racks in handling various outdoor amenities. They are the ones that can provide you with the best carriers for your kayak or canoe.

However, take into account that Thule has the upper hand over Yakima. Their units have exceptional built and ergonomics. They possess impressive features that can survive on long-distance travels and rugged terrains. They are compatible with various vehicle sizes as well. Yakima is great. There's no doubt about that. But if placed side-by-side with Thule, Yakima slightly lags behind.

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

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