The Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack Review


The Bottom Line

The Yakima Jaylow is an excellent kayak roof rack for any avid kayaker. This highly functional and versatile rack is compatible with all types of crossbars and needs no tools for installation. The Jaylow can carry one kayak weighing up to 80 pounds in the cradle position or two kayaks weighing 110 pounds in the vertically stacked position.

Yakima Jaylow Kayak Roof Rack

At a Glance

11 lbs

2 kayaks (110lbs)

Heavy-duty straps

24in. Spread

Carry Capacity: Can carry 1 boat in J-cradle position or 2 boats in vertical, stacker position.
Assembly:Comes fully assembled out of the box.
Installation:Tool-free installation.
Compatibility:Upright position is adjustable with the integrated cam lever.
Adjustability:Upright position adjustable with the integrated cam lever.
Portability:Folds flat when not in use.
Accessories:Heavy-Duty Straps and Bow and Stern Tie-Downs included (HoodAnchor, sold separately, is required for vehicles with no attachment points for Bow and Stern Tie-Downs).
Locks:SKS Locks sold separately.
Weight Support:SKS Locks are sold separately.
Weight:11.00 lbs.
Dimensions:Length 6.69 in x Width 6.00 in x Height 20.00 in.
Minimum Crossbar Spread:24.00 in


  • Takes up minimal space
  • Easy to use
  • Highly versatile


  • Relatively low weight capacity
  • Causes some drag
  • Straps have mediocre durability


Design and Durability

Yakima has been making quality racks since 1973 and is still one of the most popular brands in the sporting community. The Jaylow carrier is one of many kayak rack options from Yakima, but it is one of the best due to its versatility and high-quality design, though one should note that the straps can become deformed over time.

The Jaylow is designed with specific features to assist you in transporting your kayak from point A to B with convenience. The cradle base is padded to protect your kayak from any bumps or scrapes while driving and transporting the kayak. All contact points with the Jaylow are padded to protect your boat and car from scratches and scuffs.

There is no need for tools when installing the Jaylow due to the built-in clamps below the j-bar, which easily closes and mounts onto your crossbars with a few twists of the turn button on the rack.

Yakima Jaylow Lever

Ease of Everyday Use

The Yakima Jaylow is a pleasure to use, and most of it stems from the design simplicity. Once assembled and installed on your roof, which is straightforward, setting and adjusting the kayak rack for different kayaks is done with a single lock lever.

Tie-downs and heavy-duty straps are used to secure the kayak to the rack. Nothing over-engineered, simple, easy to use, and effective.

Integrated ramps at the end of the j-bars help you lift and slide your kayak into place without struggling or hurting yourself.

Removal and Storage

Once you are done using the rack, you can pull the red cam-lever on the side of the j-cradle and fold the padded arm down for better aerodynamics or easy storage. If you’re a regular kayaker, we suggest leaving the Jaylow carriers folded down into this position on your roof. They are out of the way, will not cause excessive extra fuel consumption, and are easily accessible when you need them again. To remove the Jaylow from your roof carrier, reverse the steps when installing it.

Versatility and Compatibility

The Jaylow is suitable for most crossbars with a minimum spread of 24 inches and is compatible with a wide variety of crossbars ranging from round, square, factory, aerodynamic, and even Yakima StreamLine.

The Jaylow is compatible with all kayaks, from whitewater to recreational kayaks. You can either fit a single kayak, with a maximum weight of 80 lbs, onto the rack or load two kayaks with a combined weight of 110 lbs. The Jaylow is one of the few j-Stylke kayak racks designed to carry two kayaks, making it versatile.

Assembly and Installation

Installing the Jaylow is a straightforward process that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. The Jaylow is delivered to you fully assembled and folded down. To use the rack, you must pull the red cam-lever on the side of the j-bar and lift the padded arm. Once the arm is upright, you can lock the arm in place by pushing the lever back into position.

To install the Jaylow, loosen the clamps on the underside of the rack, place them on your crossbars, and tighten the clamps into place. Once the clamps are placed, turn the knobs horizontally to secure the rack to your crossbars. It is worth mentioning that if you have round crossbars, you would need to use the crossbar adapters provided with the Jaylow.

Yakima also provides long, heavy-duty straps with a cam buckle to help you secure the kayak to the rack, which provides adjustability and security. You can use the second set of straps to anchor the hull and stern of your kayak to your car through anchor points. This will prevent the kayak from shifting or tilting while in transit. If you do not have a place to attach the straps to your car, then it is recommended that you purchase a hood anchor, which is sold separately.


The Jaylow is fully compatible with the same key system (SKS) locks; however, you must purchase them separately if you want extra security.

The Yakima JayLow Compared to the Yakima JayHook

Overall, the JayHook and JayLow kayak roof racks from Yakima are similar; however, there are some key differences. We are comparing the two products because of the overall feedback from reviews and to compare the Jaylow with a more recently released model.

Yakima JayLowFeaturesYakima JayHook
2Boat Capacity1
80lbs – 110lbsWeight Capacity80lbs
Universal minimum 24”CrossbarUniversal minimum 24”
YesTool-Free InstallationYes
Whitewater, Recreational, Ocean, FishingCompatibilityWhitewater, Recreational, Ocean, Fishing

Things We Do Not Like

Driving with the Jaylow folded on your roof will cause the wind to make a whistling sound through the arms. This can be a significant annoyance when on long trips, but one tip to prevent this is to cut a pool noodle, tie it around the arms, and fill the gaps.

Although the Jaylow can carry two boats up to 110 pounds, it cannot carry more than 80 lbs in the front cradle. Therefore, the rack is not suitable for larger or heavier boats.

What’s in the Box?

  • Yakima Jaylow Kayak Roof Rack
  • Heavy-Duty Long Straps
  • Bow and Stern Tie-downs
  • Round crossbar adapters
JayLow Accessories


The Jaylow is invaluable if you are willing to spend more on a high-quality product. It has features that make loading and unloading your kayak quick and easy. This rack is especially suitable for those who enjoy kayaking with partners, as this rack can carry two different kayaks at a time without trouble.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of boats can the Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack carry?

The Jaylow is a versatile rack that can accommodate almost any kayak design, assuming it can physically fit onto the rack and be secured by straps. The Jaylow is designed to carry either single or two kayaks at a time.

How easy is the Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack to install?

One of the great advantages of the Yakima Jaylow is that it comes fully assembled in the box and is very simple to install. No tools are needed to install the carrier. The upright position of the rack can be adjusted with the integrated cam lever. The entire rack folds flat, using the same lever when not in use.

What additional accessories are included with the Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack?

The Jaylow comes with Heavy-Duty Straps and Bow and Stern Tie-Downs to secure the kayak to the roof rack. Note that if your roof rack does not have attachment points to secure the straps, you must purchase HoodAnchors separately.

How much weight can the Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack support?

The Yakima Jaylow is designed to carry a single kayak with a maximum weight of 80 lbs or two kayaks with a combined weight of 110 lbs. Your typical recreational kayak weighs between 35 and 75 lbs meaning you should comfortably be able to load them onto this rack. Make sure to check the weight of any boats or kayaks you plan to transport before facing them to the rack to prevent damage to your kayak, car, or serious accidents.

Can the Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack fit on any vehicle?

The simple attachment assembly of the Jaylow is designed to fit a wide range of cares. It can be fitted onto Yakima StreamLine, round, square, factory, and aerodynamic bars. You should be able to fit it to most universal roof bars as well. Just confirm before purchase. The minimum crossbar spread for a safe installation is 24 inches.

Nathan Chilcott Author

A UK native, passionate writer, and outdoorsman, Nathan enjoys piercing words together to share his knowledge on cycling, kayaking, and camping in intriguing and engaging ways. As a father to twins and a keen runner, he is passionate about helping people make the most of their time and health.

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