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Rhino-Rack Universal Side Loader Review

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Review of the Rhino Rack Universal Side Loader

Today we're going to be taking a look at the Rhino Rack universal side loader part number RR-RUSL. This universal side loader from rhino rack has a nice soft foam pad here, so that when you load up your kayak or your canoe or rather small boat it's not going to rub or scratch or damage to the surface of the kayak. Also the pole here which connects to the end of the bar does telescope to accommodate different heights of vehicles, and it's also going to help support that load that is put down onto the lateral bar when you're loading up your boat. Now the brackets that secure the bar to the crossbars can be installed to accommodate the rhino rack Aero bars, Euro bars and the heavy duty crossbars making sure that it will fit to pretty much any configuration. Also fits with Thule and Yakima Bars. Before installing the side loader you'll first need to determine what kind of brackets you'll need to install onto the bar which will attach to your crossbar. Now, if you have Aero bars or the Euro bars or the Rhino Rack heavy duty bars in the included instructions the brackets are numbered and labeled to determine which brackets you'll need to install onto the bar and it does come with an Allen wrench so that you can remove this Allen bolts and reinstall the brackets according to your roof rack setup. Here we have our brackets already on the bar ready for our Aero crossbars which we have assembled onto our vehicle. Now, we'll just go ahead and show you how to install the bar onto one of your roof rack crossbars.

The bracket with the soft foam pad is going to rest on the top side of your roof. This pad is designed to protect the roof from scratches and abrasions in case this bracket would come off and hit the top of your roof. Basically what we are going do is we are going to set the bar at an angle and twist it to get that bracket underneath the bar, then we'll simply just clamp it on making sure that this bar is parallel to the cross bar. You can see this clip is engaged around the top of the bar and then the one with the pad is engaged on the underside of the bar and again if it would fall off, that pad is there to protect the roof of your vehicle. Now, with this bar assembled onto our crossbar, next we are going ahead and take the padded bar which is going to be inserted into the open end of that bar. We need to go ahead and push in this pin and the pin needs to be facing the bottom. We'll slide that in, push up that silver pin then you'll hear a little click when that pin engages and then we are ready to install the next piece. Next we are now going to go ahead and install the telescoping pole.

Now, the pole telescopes to be able to accommodate different heights of vehicles. What you'll do is you'll just twist the bar and allow it to come out then you'll twist it the opposite way to tighten it and then again for this side as well. We'll go ahead and come over to the side of the vehicle where this bar is over hanging and there is a hole at the end of this bar. With the pole telescoped out, we'll go ahead and slide this silver pin up into this hole, then telescope the pole out, lift it up just a bit and then tighten it in place. This is going to help when you put the kayak on, it's going to support that downward load so that this bar doesn't bend and potentially tear up your roof rack. Now, we'll go ahead and show you how to load up a kayak.

What you'll do is you'll simply place just the top part of the kayak onto the pad. Also when you are loading up your kayak, you'll notice this angled piece of steel right here, it is angled outward. When you are hooking up your kayak or when you are putting your kayak onto the side loader here, it's going to help prevent it from slipping off and falling. And with the front of the kayak in place, we'll just lift it from the back and then what we'll need to do is pivot it and rest it on the back bar and then we'll come up to the front and then pivot just the front of it and rest it on the front bar. Then with it on the bars, then we can easily adjust it just to get it even, disperse the weight evenly and then we will just use some straps and tie it down. The carrier allows for an easy removal.

We'll just simply remove the pole, set that aside, then we'll pop off the padded arm and now with this easy design, it simply just twists off and now with our carrier all loaded up and in three small pieces here, we'll just throw it in the back of the car. Then when we are finished with our kayak all loaded up, it thus come with this nice convenient carrying case, we'll just unbuckle it and then be able to throw the three components into the bag and throw it in to our vehicle. And now with our kayak all loaded up, that will complete today's review of the Rhino Rack universal side loader part number RR-RUSL. .

Questions and Comments about this Video


Been meaning to provide my feedback for a while. Have had this side loader for about 2 years. This system works really well. My vehicle does not have Thule or Yakima racks that fit my car! Verty strange. So I have to get an Inno rack system. I have used this side loader for a Wilderness Systems tandem 146 (14'6") and weight 77 pounds and it was incredibly easy for me with back problems to put on my car roof. When using this side loader Just make sure the telescope is locked tightly and keep it straight. If you do that, it will be great. Easy to put on bar onto the the Inno bar. I load the kayak onto the side loader bar. Put the stern of the kayak on the saddles, then go to the front and lift onto the front saddle. Even if I could lift the kayak up without this system, I wouldn't do it. Accidentally dropping a kayak is not something you want to have happen.

Cheryl D.

Hi. Will this fit Toyota 4Runner 2021? Please let me know. Thank you

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

The Side Load Assist isn't a custom-fit accessory by vehicle make and model. The Side Load Assist is designed to fit Rhino Rack roof racks and will also fit on Thule aero and square bars and will extend up to 87-1/8 inches. As long as you have an aftermarket roof rack this assist should work well with your 4Runner.

Liz G.

We just ordered one for our Subaru Crosstrek. We have Malone downloaded J mounts. Will this work for us?

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

This is a universal application so you should be good to go!

Rick L.

I am very interested in the product, but am a little confused. I have a four door sedan, a Saturn Aura, 2009 year. Can I mount the cross bars that the kayak will ultimately sit on, onto this vehicle? That is my only concern. I believe I read something that did not incude GM cars for this product.Thanks, Rick

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Patrick B.

There are quite a number of roof rack options available for the 2009 Saturn Aura. These roofracks will provide the base cross bars that you will need to carry the kayak. Once you select a roof rack system, then we can figure out what options you have to secure the kayak. I've included a link to all of the roof rack systems for a 2009 Aura.

Info for this part was:

Employee Zack K
Video Edited:
Zack K
Employee Matthew K
Installed by:
Matthew K
Employee Alan C
Video by:
Alan C

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