Toyota 4Runner Paddle Board Mount or Kayak Rack - Things to Consider Before You Buy
Kayak, Paddleboard and Kayak Rack for Fifth Generation 4Runner and Dakine Aero Rack Pads Review
Regular visitors to Trail4Runner.com may recognize my name from this article, but you may not know that kayaking is one of my other passions. I grew up loving fishing and kayaking took me to amazing landscapes and places.
Just like my 4Runner can take me to crazy places on land, my kayak can take me to some really cool places on the water, and I love sharing information about the 5th generation 4Runner on Trail4Runner.com, I Also love sharing about kayak fishing on my personal website,www.texaskayakfisher.com.
Kayak fishing can be fun, but the tricky part can be getting your kayak or paddle ashore. However, it is not as difficult as some people think. There are many ways to transport kayaks, paddles, and kayaks, but for the purposes of this article, I'll focus on one that is cost-effective, yet safe and reliable.
Depending on your 4Runner's equipment, additional equipment such as roof rack bars may be required. I have a 2017 TRD Off-Road 4Runner with factory struts attached.
If you don't have a luggage bar on your 4Runner, you can just buy a spare. There are many different options for transporting kayaks, paddles, and kayaks, including Dakine, Yakima, and Thule. Many options are also available for aftermarket roof racks.
Kayaks, Paddle Boards & Kayak Systems
- Dakine (requires 4 washers):Check today's prices
- Yakima J Cradle:check prices
- Thule J Cradle:check prices
- Don't forget about stripes (I use):check prices
How to choose the right system?
When transporting a kayak or paddle, I always try to consider a few key aspects:
- Safety - I don't want large objects falling off the roof of my 4Runner onto the highway.
- Simple - I like configurations that can be used in a very simple way.
- Speed - No one wants to spend a lot of time loading and unloading when you can be on the water.
- Noise - On long journeys, noise can be intimidating.
So how to achieve all of the above - very simple.
Dakine Aero Boot Mat
You'll see some people just attach items directly to the roof rack. While it can be done, it's noisier, less safe, and likely to damage anything you're wearing in there. A little trim on the roof rack can go a long way in reducing the amount of noise transmitted into the cabin.
The insert also fits the kayak or paddle board better because the insert actually conforms to the shape it was pressed into. Finally, the insert provides a much more frictional point of contact than a bare support beam. You don't want your kayak or paddleboard to slide on the roof, so the friction is pretty good in that case.
I started using the pads in the knee flexion equipment. These pads work great because I got them for free and can withstand the abuse of a kayak or paddle board.
The problem with them is that they can be hard to find unless you come across a gym that offers them. Also, they don't fit the 4Runner's aerodynamic roof bars. This is an important aspect to focus on.
There are generally two types of roof rack bars - round and aerobic.
The circle is shaped like a circle, but aerodynamically more flattened and oval. The factory load bars on the 4Runner are flat. That said, round hole washers don't work very well. You need something designed for your Aero roof rack.
After researching many different options, I decided to goDakine Aero Boot Mat.You may also needa beltget the job done.
There are two pieces in each package, each measuring 18 inches long. The two pads on each load bar are perfect for the 4Runner. It's important to get planes instead of normal planes, as planes are designed for the type of cargo stick in 4Runner.
To carry most kayaks you will need four of these pads, so two packs as there are two in one pack. If you are only carrying one paddle board, you can put one pad on each harness, but I recommend two on each harness.
How Dakine Aero Racks Work
The operation is very simple, yet safe and effective. These mats have Velcro on the underside to secure the mats to the top of the roof rack. They work great.
My only suggestion here is to attach the velcro to the rear of the vehicle so there is no chance of wind resistance opening the velcro, instead the wind is constantly forcing the velcro to stay in place. You can easily place two pads on each suspender and they fit like a glove. While these pads look neat on a 4Runner roof rack, I wouldn't recommend leaving them on top.
If someone realizes how easy they are to remove, you might go to your car one day and find the bricks gone.
That said, it's best to remove the pads when you're not in the car.
How to Store a Kayak or Paddle Board
Now that you have the Dakine Aero Rack Pads on your 4Runner, you need to mount your kayak or paddle board. I'm trying to position my kayak or paddle board to be the same length, extending beyond the rear fender of the 4Runner, and extending forward from where the windshield meets the front of the roof.
If you have the option to move the kayak or paddleboard forward so the bow is slightly down I would try to do that as this will allow the wind to push the kayak or paddleboard down into your 4Runner instead of Push the air up. Make sure the kayak or paddle board is centered on the roof rack and perfectly aligned with the front of the 4Runner.
When you have paddle boards or kayaks that slope on the roof, you have more wind noise, and you also have more surface area, which puts more pressure on the roof rack and can cause skin A rowboat or kayak falls off your roof. The key thing to remember is to keep your balance front to back and side to side. Be aware of the antenna mounted on the back of the 4Runner's roof when mounting your kayak or paddle board.
How to Secure a Kayak or Paddle to a Roof Rack
There's no point in having a good roof rack pad and perfectly leveled kayak if you don't secure the kayak. There are cam straps and ratchet straps. While cam straps will probably never be an issue and are easy to use, I recommend using small ratchet straps for slightly safer adjustments.
It is better to place the strips at a greater distance from each other. When attaching the straps to the kayak or paddle, make sure the straps are not folded. This puts more stress on the straps, and more pressure on the kayak or paddleboard where the straps meet. As for how tight it should be, it is difficult to quantify.
There's really no way to give a specific psi to tighten or anything like that, you just have to do it by feel. I like to tighten the straps enough that I can barely move the open strap part...and I mean very little.
It's better to be tight than loose here, but at the same time you can sleep easy because you don't have to tie the straps as tight as you might think. However, it's better to be safe than sorry, so fasten the straps tight enough to avoid damaging your kayak or paddle.
After unloading the kayak or paddle board
When you get to shore, all you have to do is attach the Dakine Aero Rack's ratchet straps and pads to the 4Runner until you return to load your kayak or paddle, it's that easy. You can place the Dakine Aero Rack Pads outside if you feel you are in a safe area, however, do so at your own risk as someone may try to keep them for themselves.
Dakine Aero Watersports Brackets and Boots
This method of attaching a kayak, paddle board or canoe to a roof rack is simple, effective and safe. The only real downside is that you have to be strong enough to lift the kayak or paddleboard to the roof (or have someone nearby to help you), and you can't open the back door with the kayak or paddleboard from above.
The Dakine Aero Rack Pads work really well and stay in place nicely. Combine these protectors with high-quality shoulder straps and your choice of kayak or paddle and you're ready to go. Finally, remember to always double check your settings. You could seriously damage the vehicle behind you, so be sure to secure your kayak or paddle board to the roof rack.
Staying safe, you can use this method to take your kayak or paddleboard wherever the 4Runner takes you.