We’ve read the reviews across the web for the Yakima BowDown Boat Rack and summarize the results below:
Number of Ratings Reviewed: 84
Pros & Cons
Reasons to buy:
- Works well for kayak loading and unloading quickly.
- The built-in loading ramp makes it easy to put the kayaks onto the cradle for easy functionality.
- Able to keep the boat rack on while not transporting kayaks, since it has a low profile shape.
- The softness and the padding protects the kayaks from getting scratched.
- Can be folded relatively flat when not in use for compatibility and ease of use when driving.
- Features a J-Cradle fit, which lays relatively flat during and after use.
- Reduces the space to load a kayak due to the J-shape construction.
- The flat fold-down lets you get rid of any clearance issues, like with low tunnels or garage doors.
- The J-cradle is designed for ease of loading for efficiency.
- The base of each cradle lets you easily slide the kayak onto the cradles for efficiency.
- Directly mounts to Yakima Racks round bars and Thule Racks load bars for compatibility.
- Provides a great way to decrease the space required to load a kayak.
- Allows two boats to be loaded side by side for added compatibility.
Reasons NOT to buy:
- The tabs to hold your kayak onto the carrier can slip, causing the boat to become unstable and potentially fall.
- Since there is so much padding, it makes a lot of noise on the road.
- Some reports of one of the J locks not being able to properly lock into position, lacking stabilization.
- Some reports of the plastic T that forms the clamp assembly failing during use.
- The kayak can catch too much wind during high speeds and raise away from the uprights unless you decide to purchase or use extra straps, limiting the functionality.
- The clamp system has trouble holding onto the round Yakima bars, limiting the functionality.
- The grip on round bars does not work very efficiently compared to other options.
- J-cradles require you to load the kayaks at a higher point, so you might only be able to use these with smaller cars.
The Yakima BowDown Boat Rack is an easy-to-load, padded, and quick-to-install option that works on a variety of cars. However, there have been many user reports of a lack of a secure connection with round bars, with the kayaks slipping during use when driving at high speeds. Unfortunately, the lack of stability make this a questionable choice for carrying kayaks.