There is no question, the kayak has quickly gained in popularity over the years as a means of water recreation. They are small, storage friendly, and can be moved with ease from your home to the water front when compared to just about any other watercraft. But not all of us live on the beach or on a river bank, and we need a means to transport our kayak to the places where we can enjoy them the most. This summer, we rigged up the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier to the crossbars on our Jeep, and we hit the road.
- Folds Down When Not In Use
- For Better Aerodynamics & Easier Access To The Garage Top-Of-The-Line Hullguard™ Padding
- Keeps The Boat Protected During Transport Universal Mounting Hardware
- Fits Rack Systems w/ Round, Square, Factory & Aerodynamic Crossbars SteelCore™ Construction
- Uses a Steel Tube Frame For Superior Strength AnchorHead™ Tie Down
- Makes It Easy To Manage Straps w/ Multiple Kayaks Premium Heavy-Duty Straps w/ Coated Metal Buckles
- Protects Boat & Vehicle Lockable w/ SKS Lock Cores
- Carries Multiple Whitewater Boats
- Weight: 7.20 lbs.
- Dimensions: L 6.00″ X W 5.00″ X H 22.00″
- Kayak Capacity: 4
- Weight Capacity: 165 lbs. (75 kg)
As far as crossbar Installations are concerned, securing the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier is one of the easiest experiences we’ve ever had. The BigStack comes more or less ready for installation right out of the box, having only a few basic components that take minutes to assemble. Once the BigStack is ready, installation takes just a few turns of the wrist on an adjustment knob, and you’re ready to roll. Not only is this great for the impatient adventurer who wants to get a move on, but because the BigStack is designed to stay attached to the vehicle for long periods of time, anyone who makes use of multiple racks in the summer months can remove this carrier quickly and easily.
One of the biggest selling points for this carrier is its versatility in construction. While the J-bar constructed kayak roof rack is probably the most common, that particular type has to be removed before the vehicle will have the clearance to re-enter a garage. With the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier, once the kayak is removed, it can be folded down with the push of a button. And when you’re ready to go again, just pop it back up. No re-assembly required.
Depending on the kayak (or kayaks) you intend to carry, the experience of loading up may be a bit different. With a load capacity of 165 lbs, the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier can hold up to 4 smaller kayaks. The kayaks are held in place using heavy-duty straps, and secured with friction buckles. We would prefer a ratchet system, because during those longer trips the friction buckles tend to loosen just a little bit.
In our case, we were securing the Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak, a 73 lb beast of a boat! One of the advantages of a J-bar rack is that the kayak can settle into place while the straps are secured. However, because the BigStack has an upright construction, we definitely needed two people to secure the kayak to the carrier. With lighter kayaks loading and unloading can easily be done by one person… depending on your vehicle height and your own reach of course.
The first time we took a trip with a full hall, we had some concerns whether the steel hinge would hold, and we couldn’t help taking those sharp turns much less aggressively. After all, this carrier is holding the weight of a rather large piece of equipment, and if the hinge did buckle under the pressure, we would be looking at quite a mess. Over time though we realized that as long as we had our kayak well strapped in, the weight was well-distributed throughout, and the extra stress on the hinges was minimal.
We do highly recommend strapping in as tightly as possible on the longer, faster journeys. There was an occasion where there was some looseness in our rig, and with changing cross winds on the highway there were noticeable sifts of the kayak back and forth, potentially loosening the friction straps even more.
The steel tube frame is encased in a hard foam compound, so the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier is resistant to the elements, and your kayak will be safe from scuffs and scratches during setup. Through proper use, the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier should last for a lot of years. Just be aware of the location where you store the strap system between seasons, because if you can’t find them this system is no use the next year.
As with most kayak carriers, the Yakima BigStack uses a heavy-duty strap system, and full long-term security of a kayak left unattended is pretty much impossible since removing the kayak is as simple as the loosening of some straps. We do realize however, the common weekend warrior normally remains with the vehicle as long as the kayak is secured, and this should be a non-issue. But if you’re taking a week long trip, parking at a hotel or leaving kayaks attached to your vehicle when you’re away, Yakima does a sell a handy “BoatLocker” cable, which works much like a bike lock to keep your boat safe and sound while you’re resting your head. We didn’t have a chance to test this system, but it appears to be simple to use and runs $60.00.
When properly strapped in, kayaks will stay secured for many miles of travel. Because the BigStack is designed to remain on the vehicle for an entire season if necessary, lock and key assemblies are available from Yakima that will keep the carrier safely secured to the crossbars, but they are sold separately.
Retailing at $159, the Yakima BigStack Kayak Carrier is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum in comparison to the competition. When one considers the versatility the BigStack provides with its fold down function, its durability, and the potential load capacity of 4 kayaks, we see this price point as more than acceptable. Although the value of this particular carrier is highly dependent on its intended use, it is nice having the piece of mind that you are prepared for just about anything with this rig.
- Easy Installation
- Folding Function Allows Full Season Installation
- Holds Multiple Kayaks - Up To Four
- Difficult to Load Large Kayaks
- Uses Friction Buckles That May Loosen
- Lock and Key Assembly Sold Separately