The Yakima JayLow Kayak Roof Rack Review

The Bottom Line

The Yakima Jaylow is a great 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 with a total weight of 110 pounds in the vertically stacked position.

Yakima Jaylow Kayak Roof Rack

At a Glance

11 lbs

1 kayak (80lbs),
2 kayaks (110lbs)

Heavy-duty straps

Universal with min of 24in. spread

Yakima has been making quality racks since 1973, and it 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 the overall abilities of the rack. For example, The Jaylow can carry two kayaks, while the JayHook can only carry one kayak.


The Jaylow is designed with specific features to assist you in transporting your kayak from point A to B with convenience. Integrated ramps at the end of the j-bars help you lift and slide your kayak into place without struggling or hurting yourself. Once you are done using the rack, you can simply pull the red cam-lever on the side of the j-cradle and fold the padded arm down for better aerodynamics or easy storage.

The cradle base is padded to protect your kayak from any bumps or scrapes while on the road. In fact, all points that come in contact 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


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.

From whitewater kayaks to recreational kayaks, the Jaylow is compatible with all types of kayaks. The Jaylow is fully compatible with SKS locks; however, you must purchase them separately if you want extra security.


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 simply need to pull the red cam-lever on the side of the j-bar and lift the padded arm. Once the arm is upright, you can simply lock the arm in place by pushing the lever back into position.

To install the Jaylow, simply loosen the clamps on the underside of the rack and place them on your crossbars and tighten the clamps into place. Once the clamps are placed in position, simply turn the knobs into a horizontal position 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 Yakima JayLow Compared to the Yakima JayHook

Overall the JayHook and JayLow kayak roof racks from Yakima are pretty 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 passing through the arms to make a whistling sound. This can be a significant annoyance when on long trips, but one tip that works to prevent this is to cut a pool noodle and 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


Overall the Jaylow is an invaluable purchase if you are willing to go a little over budget. It is packed with features that make the entire process of 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.

The main disadvantage of the Jaylow is the whistling noise when the rack is folded. However, you can overcome this in many ways. Lastly, the Jaylow comes with a limited lifetime warranty to ensure you take it easy.

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