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Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier Review

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Review of the Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier

Today we're going to be taking a look at the Yakima JayLow J-Style Kayak Carrier, part number Y04073. The Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier is going to allow us to transport one or two kayaks on the roof of our vehicle safely. It uses a universal clamp, which is going to fit around most factory roof rack systems, including your round, square, arrow, elliptical. We've got it around the Yakima round bars here today, using the included adapters. As you can see, it provides a nice tight fit. It features built-in ramps here on the front to make it easier for loading our kayak and, once we get up in there, we've got a nice padded base with grooves built in so our kayak doesn't slide around. Here at the top of our JayLow mounts, are completely adjustable. We've got it in the upright position for two kayaks.

We've got one on this side and one on this side. Completely adjustable. We can lean it back for just a single kayak. We can also fold it down for storage when not in use. For extra security, the JayLow also features a spot where you can put a locking core in. It's in the same spot on both JayLows.

You can find those on our website at, part number Y07202. From the bottom of our mount almost to the top provides good cushion for our kayak so it won't slide around as well. Now that we've gone over some of the features, I'll go ahead and show you how to install it. First thing we'll do is we'll grab our round bar adapters for our Yakima round bars here. We'll open them up, put it around the bar. We'll want to make sure that the grooved portion is facing up.

Let's go ahead and grab another one and place that one around the bar as well. We'll grab our JayLow. Let's go ahead and unlock it, pulling on this red handle here. We'll raise it up and lock it back in place. The reason why we want to do that is so we can free up our knobs here. We couldn't spin them all the way with it laying down. Let's go ahead and place it over our adapters.

Now let's go ahead and tighten these down. We don't want to tighten them all the way down just yet, just to where it slightly grabs the bar. That way we can still move them as needed. Now that we've got that tightened down a little bit, let's go ahead and pull it all the way forward. I'm going to favor this side of the vehicle. That way we can make good use out of our little ramp here. It's going to make it easier to load up the kayak. With that being done and it all the way up against the foot pack here, let's go ahead and tighten it down all the way. Now that this one's installed, let's go ahead and do the rear one. Let's tighten down our second one here. If you look in closely, as I'm tightening you'll notice how the clamp is going around our adapter, and that's how you want it to be. We'll also want to make sure that our JayLow is all the way up against our foot pack, the same as the other one. That way we know they're both even. Now that we've got them installed, let's go ahead and load up two kayaks. As you can see, I've got it in the upright position, which is going to be straight up. That's going to make it possible to load up two kayaks. We'll grab our kayak and we're going to lean it up against the ramps of the two JayLows. That way we can simply just push it up until it seats nicely in the grooves, just like that. Once we get it in the grooves, we'll want to hop up there and make any small adjustments that we may need. That way it sits nicely up against the mounts on the other side. Before we grab our other kayak, we'll need to make sure and strap this one in first. Yakima has included a few straps, want to make sure and grab the one with the rubberized cinch. We'll undo that. We'll take the end without the cinch, we'll go ahead and drape that over our kayak. Then we'll run over to the other side and I'll show you how that loops in. Here on the back side we'll grab the strap, we're going to go on the inside just like that and then we'll just toss that back over. We can pull that down a little bit just to raise up our cinch, then we'll grab the strap again, we'll go underneath our roof rack between the foot pack there, just like that, and we'll get the slack out of that. Then I'm going to feed this through the cinch and pull it nice and tight, n the meantime checking my strap to make sure it still goes around my foot pack. We'll pull that nice and tight and then we can tie up our excess. Now let's repeat that same step on the front side. With that kayak in place, let's go ahead and grab our other kayak. For loading up our second kayak, it's a good idea to get a second set of hands, being as we'll be stretching over the top of the vehicle a little bit. For tying down our second kayak, we'll need another set of straps. The part number we are using today is Y05006. For running our straps on this side, we're going to do something very similar as we did before. We're going to come up over the kayak with it in this position, go around our mounts on top and bring it back through, and back over the kayak. This is going to make it way easier for when we lift up the kayak and put it into position. Now let's do that same thing with the other strap. With both straps in position, let's go ahead and tilt up our kayak and put it up against our JayLows. Once we get it up in this position we'll want to make sure that the weight is distributed between both sides of the vehicle and then we can go ahead and finish tying down our kayak. Once again we'll grab the strap without the cinch and we'll go underneath the kayak and I'll meet you on the other side so I can show you how I did that. Now on the inside where our two kayaks are, we'll grab our strap. We'll make sure it goes underneath our roof rack. Then we're going to go up around the JayLow on the front side and then back through, just like that. You'll want to make sure to go around the JayLow and in between the JayLow and the lever, because we don't want to pull the lever out. It'll come loose. With that being said, we'll put the strap back over to the side we started on and we'll run that through our cinch and tighten that down. Now let's go ahead and pull on our strap just to kind of even things up and to get our cinch up here. That looks good. Now let's run that through and pull it nice and tight. Then we can tie up our excess strap and repeat that same step on the other side. With both of our kayaks tied in place around the JayLows, we can then go ahead and tie down the bow and the stern. Yakima has included one set. You'll need another set for the second kayak and that's going to be part number Y04031. We'll take the cinched end of the strap first, the one with the loop, we're going to pull that around our handle up here and then take the longer portion of the strap. We'll make sure that the plastic part is at the very end, where we're going to hook it to under our vehicle. We'll need this, we'll go up through here, pull that down. Once we have that secure, we'll bring our strap down to the front of our vehicle. Going to bring my strap down. You want to attach this underneath the vehicle to a fixed anchor point. We'll slide the plastic pad up and you want that to make good contact with the vehicle so we don't make any scratches. With that being done, we'll grab our included hook, pull that over, then, for this particular vehicle, I'm going to go through the bumper and attach it to my anchor point underneath, just like that. Then we can come up and pull on our cinch strap to tighten that down. Now we'll pull on that just a little bit and then I'm going to come back down here and check my plastic pad and kind of put that in position to where I know it's going to make good contact with my vehicle. That looks pretty good. Let's go ahead and tighten that down. Now we can tie up our excess strap and then move on to the rear of the vehicle. Same thing as in the front, we're going to bring our loop over. Then we'll grab our longer portion of the strap, bring that up through, and we'll grab our hook and we'll attach that at the bottom. To make it simple, we can just attach it to our hitch here. Once that's done, we'll go ahead and pull it nice and tight, once again moving the pad where we need it to be. We'll tie up our excess strap and then we'll repeat the same process with our other kayak. Now with our two kayaks all loaded up, we're almost ready to hit the road and we've still got enough room to throw up any other Yakima accessories. Here on our test course, let's go into our slalom first. This is going to show side to side action, such as going around corners or evasive maneuvering. Then onto our alternating speed bumps. This is going to show a twisting action, such as going over potholes or uneven pavement. Then finally on to our solid speed bumps. This is going to show an up and down action, such as coming in and out of a driveway or out of a parking garage. That's going to complete our look at the Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier, part number Y04073. .



The video was super useful, thank you so much!!



I have a 2011 Toyota Rav 4 with a loadwarrior basket. Is it possible to have the Jaylow installed on the loadwarrior and also use the Jaylow to hold 2 kayaks? Or can it only hold 1 kayak when installed on the loadwarrior? I am thinking that the second kayak could be resting on two foam blocks at the end of the loadwarrior while leaned up against the Jaylow. Would love to hear any thoughts. Thanks!

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


I reached out to Yakima just to be sure, and they said as long as you're using bow/stern tie-downs for each kayak, the JayLow # Y04073 can indeed be used in its post-style configuration on the LoadWarrior Basket to secure 2 kayaks.



I have a Subaru ascent and would like to be able to carry 3 yaks in the roof. I like this featured product bc 1. It will carry 2 nicely. And 2. It folds down when not in use. Could I simply add a second one of these carriers on the other side to carry the 3rd yak? Or is there a better option for just the one boat? Again I prefer the idea of an option that folds down when not in use on both sides. Thanks for your help!

Etrailer Expert

Jacob H.


A great option for you to be able to carry 3 Kayaks on the roof of your Subaru Ascent is the Yakima BigStack # Y04041 . It is designed to hold a total of 4 Kayaks on the roof of a vehicle. It will have a post design so you will secure the kayak's to the upright post using the included straps. If you are planning on using it for 3 kayaks it is recommended to use the extended strap kit # Y05006 in order to get all 3 kayaks safely secured. The recommend way to get 3 kayaks in place on the BigStack is to place the rack on one side of your crossbars and stack all 3 kayaks on one side of the rack. This rack is going to fold down in a stored position and it will be easy to remove if you are going to be away from your vehicle for an extended period of time. You can find more information on our product page.

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