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Yakima BowDown Rooftop Kayak Rack with Tie Down

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
| 7 answered questions

List Price: $209.00
Price: $188.96 & FREE Shipping. Details
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  • Top-of-the-line Hullguard padding keeps your boat protected during transport and SteelCore construction uses a steel tube frame for superior strength
  • Integrated ramp system makes it painless to load your boat and premium heavy-duty straps with coated metal buckles protect boat and vehicle
  • Folds down when not in use for better aerodynamics and easier access to your garage
  • Universal built-in hardware fits Yakima round bar, square, factory or aerodynamic crossbars right out of the box.
  • Love it 'Till You Leave It Limited Lifetime Warranty.
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Yakima BowDown Rooftop Kayak Rack with Tie Down
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  • Yakima End Cap
Total price: $198.96
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Technical Details

Product Description

Product Description

Keep your mind on the water and not on the safety of your boat. Top-of-the-line HullGuard padding keeps your boat comfy, and when not in use, folds down for better aerodynamics and roof clearance. Universal mounts fit most crossbars out of box. Includes everything you need to carry your boat, including straps and tie-downs.


Tired of pain-in-the-neck kayak carriers that take up a ton of space while functioning poorly? Turn to the Yakima BowDown rooftop kayak carrier, which employs a J-cradle design to hold your kayak on its side. Why store a kayak in this manner? Because it takes up little roof space and allows you to quickly and easily load the kayak in just a few short minutes. The BowDown fits with round, square, and most factory crossbars right out of the box, so you don't have to shell out extra cash for fancy adapters. The unit's top-of-the-line HullGuard padding, meanwhile, employs EVA foam to protect your boat and keep it looking brand new. Best of all, the BowDown includes an integrated boat ramp system that makes it a breeze to load your kayak onto the rooftop. Other features include a SteelCore frame that folds flat when not in use, bow and stern tie-down straps for stability, an SKS locking system, and an integrated bottle opener. A must for kayak enthusiasts everywhere, the BowDown carries a one-year warranty.

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 11 x 9 inches ; 17.5 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 17.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0012SA4QY
  • Item model number: 8004042
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service. Click here to make a request to customer service.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Gerenser on May 6, 2013
Verified Purchase
I went through 2 other J-bars for my Kayaks before I finally settled on the BowDowns. They're excellent, but they do have a few strange quirks/limitations. That being said, I've been using mine almost every weekend in the summer/fall and they really do work great.

I purchased 2 sets of these and have them installed on Yakima Whispbars. With this system, the BowDowns work really well. I noticed some other reviewers didn't like how the BowDowns worked with round bars, and I can see why. However, I've always hated round bars (and I didn't think square bars are that much better). A note of advice to anyone who hasn't purchased a crossbar system yet: go with the aero-style bars, like the Whispbars. You won't be disappointed. They're stronger, quieter and work a lot better than the finicky round bars.

I have travelled over over winding roads and highways with 2 kayaks loaded on my car. No issues. The BowDowns do their job, holding my boats securely on my vehicle.

- Soft, padded construction really protects the kayaks
- Build-in loading ramp makes it easy to slide the kayaks up onto the cradle
- The jaws that grip the crossbars are strong. And they're easy to install and remove
- Lockable with the Yakima SKS system

- I don't care for the way these fold down. Unlike the Thule fold-down cradles, the Yakima has this goofy red knob that you have to turn (and turn, and turn) to loosen it. Then and only then can you fold it down. And guess what? Now you gotta tighten that knob again. Its just not a convenient design.
- Because there's so much chunky padding on these, they do make a lot of noise on the road, even when folded down.
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I have Yakima cross bars on my SUV and purchased two sets of Bowdown J-racks a week ago and have used three times so far. I found installation straightforward and once the two kayaks are up there, they are secure on the J-racks with the included cables. However, have the following observations:

1. It's almost impossible to mount the kayaks without the Bowdowns rotating the circular Yakima crossbars, causing J-rack misalignment (on both sides of vehicle) now with the kayaks up on the roof. Repeatedly tightening and retightening the Bowdown clamps doesn't help. This is a major design issue with the Yakima bars because they are round, not square. Very frustrating and enough for me now to either have to buy different cross bars, or return these racks for another solution - I would rather not do the latter as they seem pretty good and it's a cross bar design issue, exacerbated by the weight/bulk of mounting kayaks vs bikes.

2. Agree with other reviewers that the front/rear S hooks are rubbish. I replaced with metal carabiner clips and foam pipe insulation on the strap to protect paintwork as one or two reviewers suggested. This works fine.

3. No locks
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I purchased two sets to carry two kayaks on our 2005 Honda CRV. They mounted easily on the factory roof rack and I secured them from theft with the optional SKS (Same Key System) locks. Loading and securing the kayaks, on their side, on the Bowdown is easy (with the use of a foot stool to reach and pull the straps over the kayak). The kayaks are very secure and we were able to travel at highway speed without concern. The racks fold and lock in the down postion when not in use, thus not having to take them off to park in our garage. I would give them five stars except when driving they whistle. I was able to isolate the whistle to the waffle configuration on the top of the racks. I highly recommend them.
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I've been using various Yakima racks systems for 15+ years and have never had any problems. I purchased 2 sets of these racks to attach to round tubes on one of my cars. I routinely transport 2 large 17 foot sea kayaks with these racks with no problem. The racks works great but you have to use some common sense and think about aerodynamics when you are attaching everything to your vehicle. I have spent many days driving on the freeway with multiple 17 foot sea kayaks attached and have never had anything come loose or experienced any type of problem. When I am not kayaking, and using that particular car for other purposes, I remove the entire round cross bars and just leave the Yakima BowDowns attached to the cross bars. The BowDowns can also be folded down but I can remove the two rack crossbars on my car in about 30 seconds and it would take me longer to loosen all the red knobs on the rack systems and fold them all down.

Pros: Holds kayaks on their sides and the padding on the racks protects your boats. The included tie down straps with padded buckles are very good quality.

Cons: Plastic T attachment for tightening the rack system is a potential point of failure. Keep in mind the racks don't need to be over tightened so much that the T attachment is over stressed. Hand tighten the racks so they stay in place. The main support will come from your additional tying to your rack cross bars.

Recommendations: Buy an additional 40+ feet of nylon tubular webbing to backup the tie down straps that come with this system. If you have only 1 kayak 40ft should be enough, if you have 2 kayaks then you will probably need more. Be sure to tie the boats to the cross bars of your rack system and not just to this BowDown rack.
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