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Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks

Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks

Item # Y04042
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Our Price: $238.95
Watersport Carriers
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Shipping Weight: 18 lbs
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This roof-mounted, one-boat, J-style carrier has a little of everything, including fold-down capability, a built-in ramp system and Heavy Duty Straps. Lockable carrier mounts to most crossbars and even sports an integrated bottle opener. Lowest Prices for the best watersport carriers from Yakima. Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks part number Y04042 can be ordered online at etrailer.com or call 800-298-1624 for expert service.
  • All Info
  • Reviews (8)
  • Q & A (2)
  • Videos (2)
  • Photos
  • Why etrailer?

Yakima Watersport Carriers - Y04042

  • Kayak
  • Roof Mount Carrier
  • J-Style
  • Folding
  • Aero Bars
  • Factory Bars
  • Round Bars
  • Square Bars
  • Elliptical Bars
  • Yakima
  • Clamp On
  • Side Loading
  • No Load Assist
  • Locks Not Included

This roof-mounted, one-boat, J-style carrier has a little of everything, including fold-down capability, a built-in ramp system and Heavy Duty Straps. Lockable carrier mounts to most crossbars and even sports an integrated bottle opener.


  • J-shaped cradle supports 1 kayak on roof-rack crossbars
    • Works with composite and plastic hulls
      • Great for touring, recreational and whitewater kayaks
    • Holds boat on its side
  • Has steel-reinforced construction
  • Ensures hull protection with premium padding
  • Folds down when not in use
    • Promotes better aerodynamics
    • Provides ultimate roof clearance
    • Engages with integrated knob
  • Built-in ramp system on cradle bases
    • Makes loading boats easy
  • Heavy Duty Straps with padded cam buckles
    • Tightening strap gives you complete control over grip
    • Padded buckles protect your boat and vehicle from scratches
  • Bow/Stern Tie-Down Straps
    • Complete kayak stability
    • Engage with easy-to-use, ratcheting pulley
    • Employ sliding plastic tubes to protect your vehicle from friction damage
  • Locks with 2 Same Key System (SKS) Cores (sold separately)
    • Locks carrier to roof rack
    • Optional BoatLocker cable (sold separately) locks boat to roof rack
    • SKS Cores can be changed out to make all your Yakima locks keyed alike
  • Integrated bottle opener


  • Capacity: 1 kayak
  • Weight capacity: 80 lbs per kayak
  • Application: Mounts on round, square, aero, elliptical, and most factory crossbars
    • Minimum crossbar spread of 24"
  • Saddle weight: 12 lbs
  • Dimensions:
    • Overall: 5-1/2" wide front to back; 20"-long base; 21" tall from top of crossbar (about 5" when folded down)
    • Pad: 10" long x 3-1/2" wide
  • Lifetime warranty

8004042 Yakima BowDown Boat Carrier for Roof Racks

Installation Details Y04042 Installation instructions

Video of Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks

Videos are provided as a guide only. Refer to manufacturer installation instructions and specs for complete information.

Video Transcript for Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier Review

Today we'll be taking a look at the Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for roof racks, part number Y04042. The Yakima BowDown carries up to one kayak, and secures it into place with the provided straps and bow and stern tie-downs. It's designed to work with both plastic and composite hulls, and works well with recreational, whitewater, and touring kayaks. The mounts themselves will ensure protection for your kayak, with the special padding that it has on the bottom and on the sides. The straps for your kayak are heavy-duty straps with a padded cam buckle, so again it protects the hull of your kayak. It has these small ramps at the front, which is going to make loading your kayak a lot easier. The bow and stern tie-downs also help with stability of the kayak once it's installed, and are very easy to use with this pulley-like system once you're installing it, where you would pull down onto it to secure it to the front and rear.

The bow and stern tie-downs also have this plastic sheath at the end to protect your vehicle when you install it. Now, when the bow and stern tie-downs are still attached, you will not be able to get to the rear of your vehicle or hatch. Now, before you put the bow and stern tie-downs into place, you can see that there's going to be no interference between our hatch and the kayak itself. Like other Yakima products, at the ends here, we do have bottle openers. Now, when our bowdowns are not in use, they do fold down. To do that, loosen this knob six to eight turns.

You want to make sure not to go over that, because you don't want to remove the knob completely. Then we'll just tighten it back up to hold it in place. Also we have these knock-outs here, which you can replace with a Yakima same key system so you can make both your roof rack or other roof accessories keyed alike with this rack. This carries up to one kayak, with a carrying capacity of 80 pounds per kayak, and has a minimum crossbar spread of 24 inches. Its dimensions overall are 5 1/2 inches wide front to back, 20 inches long for the base, 21 inches tall from the top of the crossbar, and about five inches when folded down.

The pad is about 10 inches long. When comparing this to other kayak carriers, one that comes up is the Thule Hull-a-Port Kayak Carrier with tie-downs, part number TH834. Now, when talking about the differences between these two kayak carriers, the biggest differences are going to be that the Yakima does have the load-assist ramps as well as the potential locks included, while the Thule does not have either of those. Now that we've gone over some of the features of the bowdown, let's go ahead and show you how it installs. We have one of our mounts already installed, and now we're going to focus on this one. These are the other materials that will come with the kit once you get it.

The first thing we'll do is we'll open up our mount by loosening up the red knob here at the end. Open it to where we need it, and then we'll take the red knob and tighten it back down to hold it in place. Now we can focus on our clamp. We'll loosen up our handle here, turn our T-bolt end so the clamp opens up, and notice that right now we have the silver T-bolt installed. Depending on what style of roof rack you have, you can switch it to a shorter black T-bolt. We won't be needing that today though. Then you have these three notches here. Right now we have our clamp set in the middle, which is going to work with our roof rack. This should also work with round bars as well. For square bars you'd want to switch it to the first notch here. However, with other factory style bars, you may have to switch it to the third or second, depending on what kind of vehicle you have. With our bowdown mount situated now, set it on our roof rack, and how you want the setup, you actually want the edge here going slightly past the edge of your crossbar. You also want it to match up with the front one as much as you can. Now we can bring our clamp up underneath, and turn it so it'll catch underneath like so. We want to make sure that it's as vertical as possible before you tighten it down. We'll just tighten this up. All right. That's on there now. Now we're ready to load up our kayak. Now, the first step into loading our kayaks is we're going to loosen up our red knob, lower these down, and take our straps with the rubber ends here, pass them through the top here, and then we'll push it back up. Now, you'll see that it has this catch here so it stays where it needs to. Tighten back up the red knob, and to make sure it stays in position, we'll take the straps and lay them off to the side here. Next we'll lift our kayak into place, using the ramps to help us push it into place. We'll take the straps, just kind of drape them over the kayak like so, and then make sure I'm balanced out here pretty good. Looks to be all right. Now we can start strapping it down. With our one end here we're going to pull this so the protected end of our strap here is towards the top of the kayak. Then we'll take our other end, we're going to wrap it underneath our crossbar to the inside of the bowdown, underneath, and to the inside. You want to make sure that the strap is not going underneath like this. You want to make it go around like so. Then we'll take our other end and connect it to our buckle. I'm tying it down until it's nice and snug, and we'll repeat this for our other buckle. Next I'm going to tie off the excess here. I'll be doing this for both sides as well. Next we'll come to our bow handle here, and take our one end with a loop and a cam buckle, put that through there and pull that tight, and we'll do this for both bow and stern. Then we'll take our longer strap with the loop. We'll take our provided hook, put it through the end, and then we'll find a connection point under the front part of the vehicle to hook this to, and then we'll connect that to this end. We found our point underneath and we placed our hook through that. Then we'll bring up our strap and see how the coating here's actually going to . This plastic sheet there is going to help protect your vehicle once this is installed. Then we'll take our other end and connect it to the cam buckle we have hanging from our kayak. Place our strap through, and then we'll pull it as tight as we can. That's good there. We'll repeat this process for our rear attachment point as well. At the rear we can use our hitch tie-down point there for our hook, and we'll bring that up. There you have it for the Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for roof racks, part number Y04042.

Customer Reviews

Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks - Y04042

Average Customer Rating:  4.8 out of 5 stars   (8 Customer Reviews)

This roof-mounted, one-boat, J-style carrier has a little of everything, including fold-down capability, a built-in ramp system and Heavy Duty Straps. Lockable carrier mounts to most crossbars and even sports an integrated bottle opener.

- Y04042

I am very pleased with the Yakima Bowdown and with the service that etrailer.com provided. I had received my order just a day or so before a large Yakima sale. I contacted etrailer.com and they were outstanding and applied the sale price. I really appreciated their effort and excellent customer service. Judy M. and Anna S. are excellent. I need to order new Yakima crossbars next and I will definitely be giving my business to etrailer.com

Yakima kayak carrier working great. Heavy duty product! I dont ever worry about kayak departing my vehicle.
Tom F - 06/02/2015

- Y04042

Ordering was easy, delivery was fast. Installation was complete in less than twenty min. Haven't tried them yet, next week.

Id like to know if you have a problem with the cradles falling over when you try to load your boat? My paddling buddy has this rack and it always falls over when we try to load her boat. : BTWUsing this rack with Yakima round barsthe same as depicted in these photos.
-- comment by: Val B - 09/02/2013

Ive used them twice now, and never had any problem with the falling over. Just make sure they are tight to start with, give them a little extra turn.
-- comment by: brooky - 09/04/2013

Thanks for following up with us! Glad you have gotten to use them and get out on the water.

-- Etrailer Expert Patrick B - 9/4/2013

I admit these cradles are VERY easy to install but I have been so very frustrated with them. The attachment mechanism itself doesnt seem to ever be tight enough, and really, I cant see how it ever could be since the bars are round and there is nothing to grip to make it stay upright if pushed. Eventually we get them to stay up but having them flop over is a pain because you have to get up under the kayak and lift it to get the kayak properly aligned in the cradles. The boat is heavy and we are two women who are on the short side Im 54 making it quite challenging. And my car is not that high either. Not having the cradle flop over would make car topping our kayaks a LOT easier.
-- comment by: Val B - 09/04/2013

Securing things around a round bar can be tricky, but this clamping does work pretty well. There are a few things that we can check that my be probable causes. Check step 3 of the instructiosn, make sure the bail is in the proper notch, middle, for round crossbars. Also, take a look at step 5 and the waffle blocks. The bail must me tightented down properly to keep the BowDown from moving on these waffle blocks. This would be my guess as to the most likely cause of problems. Check step 4 as well, make sure you are not making the loading process more difficult than it needs to be and the end of the BowDown extends a little bit beyond the cross bars. If you do not have the instructions anymore, we have them linked on this page.

-- Etrailer Expert Patrick B - 9/5/2013

- Y04042

Excellent product than makes carrying a kayak very easy! Easy to put on and simple to use. 2 come in a package!

- Y04042

As always, quality products from E-trailer. Super fast shipping, arrived sooner than expected. Excellent form, fit & function for field use.

- Y04042

Just can't say enough about etrailer! When you need a hard to find part or a great deal this is the place to go 1st!

- Y04042

Bowdown is great with square or factory aero bars. Not so much with round bars.

- Y04042

The product is good overall. I would like for it to grip the crossbars tighter and to weigh less.

- Y04042

Easy to use... Thanks!

Will the Yakima BowDown Folding J-Style Kayak Carrier for Roof Racks Y04042 carrier work on a 2006 Toyota RAV4 OEM roof rack?
-- comment by: Pat - 07/27/2013

It should work on the factory elliptical bars that came on the RAV 4. Check out our video of the rack. That was shot on a GMC Envoy with factory elliptical bars

-- Etrailer Expert Patrick B - 7/30/2013


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