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Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier Review - 2021 Toyota 4Runner

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Review of the Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier on a 2021 Toyota 4Runner


Hi, everyone. Aidan here with each etrailer.com and today we're gonna be taking a look at the Yakima JayLow J-style kayak carrier here on our 2021 Toyota 4Runner. Now the JayLow is gonna be a more premium option in the world of J-style kayak carriers. I really like it, I think it's gonna hold the boat really well. In general, I like J-style a lot better, just because I feel like it gets a really good hold on the boat. And because you are hauling it more upright like this, it leaves more roof space open for another kayak or potentially even a box or a basket.

Now, what sets this one apart is just the ease of use overall and something I do like about it over some other options is the strap kit it comes with. Now, as far as these main straps over the body of the boat, they are gonna be pretty standard. You've got padding and you just feed it through and pull it tight, nice and easy. But on the front and the back end here, a balanced stern. We actually have straps instead of a rope with an S hook.

While you still do have an S hook, I like that you don't have to tie a knot to get it all secure. You just feed it through this buckle here, pull it tight and it makes it a lot quicker and easier when you are setting up or getting ready to leave, especially if you've just finished boating for a while, you're tired, you wanna get on your way. This will make it easier to do that. Now down here by the hooks, we can see it really well right here, we've got a large protective cover. So if we are making contact with paint anywhere, it's not gonna damage the vehicle.

And you do have an 80 pound weight capacity for the carrier. So just keep that in mind. Now you do have the option to fold those arms completely upright and actually haul another boat on the other side of it, kind of prop it up against the backside of the carrier. If you're doing that, it's gonna have an overall capacity of 110 pounds. Just keep in mind that you'll need to pick up an extra strap kit if you choose to do that.

Undoing this strap on the back here, we just tied up all of the excess, so it's really easy to undo that. And then we can just lift up on that buckle, pull it free and it's just quick and easy. And then here's a better look at that S hook as well, and how long that padding and protective cover is on the strap. Now, one thing we do wanna check on though, is if we have hatch clearance. And the 4Runner does have a pretty sizable tailgate here but you can see, we do have room spare. That is a nice advantage of the J-style carrier because with it on its side, the boat kind of slopes up towards the end here, giving us enough room to clear. Now, if you do have a bigger boat, you wanna keep that in mind, but our roof rack isn't all the way forward. We could move it forward if we needed to. So, I think with this style carrier, you should be pretty okay as far as hatch clearance goes. Now the 4Runner is a tall vehicle, so having anything on the roof is gonna be a challenge to get it all the way up there, especially with a large boat like a kayak. This is definitely doable on your own, but just be cautious of it. We have these small loading ramps on the front of the JayLow that will help pushing it up into place or lowering it down a little bit easier, but because of the way it sits on our roof rack, we can't quite get it all the way to the edge like I might like to. You can see on your own, it is definitely doable. Now, when I say it's doable on your own, that is gonna depend on the weight of your boat, how close you can get the carrier to the edge, that sort of thing. If you are worried about that, the Malone Downloader does get a bit closer to the edge and has the option for a load assist system that will help a lot getting the kayak into place, so just keep that in mind if you think you need it. We're gonna see, we have a ton of really nice high quality padding to keep our boat safe and keep it gripped in the carrier. As far as how high it's gonna stick up off your vehicle, you can measure from the top of the crossbar to the top of the carrier, and it's gonna be up about 18 and three quarters of an inch from the top of the crossbar to the top here in it's maximum height. Just keep that in mind with any garages. If you don't have a boat loaded, you can fold it down. That's gonna help save a ton of space, that arm, it makes it really easy to do, locks it in place right there and cuts our height down all the way to four and a half inches added to the top of the crossbar. So just measure your crossbars at home and you can get that height measurement for yourself. Now the clamp system is completely tool free. We have these hand knobs on the side of our carrier that we can loosen or tighten, letting it wrap around the crossbars and get a really strong hold. We also have the option to add lock core to the front here. They don't come standard with the carrier, but if you're concerned about security, it's nice that you have the option to add them. Not a lot of carriers have that, so for me, it's a really nice piece of mind to see that option available. Now, as far as the JayLow goes, I really like it. I think it's a pretty good fit for the 4Runner here, but with the vehicle being so tall, I like the idea of being able to add a load assist system like with the Malone Downloader. I think for the taller vehicles, it's gonna really help, especially after you've been out on the water paddling, you're gonna be tired. You're not gonna wanna lift that boat up overhead completely by yourself. So having that system available, for me, is really nice. Otherwise though, that'll do it for a look at the Yakima JayLow here on our 2021 Toyota 4Runner. Thanks for watching..


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