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Unracked: Kayaking with Tex Alexander

Tex Alexander – Fit and Technical Training Lead

Tex makes sure your rack is gonna fit. “My job is to go out to auto dealers, or customers who are willing to let us use their brand new cars, and assess the auto/rack interface. We have a network of car dealers in Portland, so we have access to new vehicles once they come to the market. We look them over, take measurements, check structural integrity, gather all the data. Say a new Ford Fusion comes out, we’ll go out and test it in the field, relate that to our internal testing, measure everything, then post the info up for consumers.”

Tex loves racks. But his true love is paddling. He’s so dialed into the scene up here that he actually doesn’t own a boat right now. “I Moved to Colorado a while back and sold my boat. But I used to guide and teach roll and rescue for a kayaking outfit here, and now that I’m back they still give me access to stuff for free.”

Kayaking at Trillium Lake in Mt Hood National Forest

The Right Gear

Borrowing expensive boats means Tex better have a good way to carry them. “I’m a huge fan of the DeckHand saddles – they offer the best boat protection on the market. They’re super easy to use, adjust to almost any hull, and help protect your $4000 Kevlar kayak,” he says.

“It’s just one of the best boat products we’ve ever made.”

Because Tex is a truck owner, the new LongArm truck bed extender has been exciting for him to work on and test fit.  “It’s one of those products we’ve needed for awhile, and I’m happy it’s finally here, both for the company and for me to use on paddling trips.”

Like most of Yakima, Tex is a four-season multi-sporter. In the winter, he loves to snowboard – and this means switching up his Yakima system. When the temperature drops and the DeckHands come off his JetStream bars, the cargo box goes on. “The SkyBox is essential for snowboarding. Hands down the best box ever made, super strong, holds what I need, and looks great on my Tacoma.”

And what’s his don’t-leave-home-without-it essential that’s not 100% Yakima?

“Bottle opener. Luckily we put those on just about all of our products.”

Tex’s Wheels

JayLow on JetStream CrossBars |LongArm

Tex’s Paddling Tips

  1. Always dress for the water temp, not the air temp
  2. If your bow and stern lines “hum” in the wind, give them a few twists to eliminate the harmonic vibration
  3. When tying down a sit-on-top to your crossbars, rout the straps through the scupper holes for a more secure carry
  4. Drip rings are worthless, remove them from your paddle
  5. Get out there, learn to roll, have fun


On the Road

When Tex grabs an afternoon paddle, he heads west. “I do like to get out to the coast – I don’t want to disclose where, cuz, you know…it’s my spot. We’re in a wonderful place, one hour and you’re in the mountains or at the ocean. And just to the north are the San Juans – Anderson Island in three hours, Anacortes in about five. Actual time may vary – depends on how many people I have to motivate.”




Memorable Paddles

The day Tex first learned to roll his boat was a big one for him. “It was at Trillium Lake near Mount Hood. It gave me the confidence to right my boat in any situation, and this opened more options – surf, whitewater – and it allows you to play while touring. Also, on a hot day, it is nice to roll and cool off.”

He also shared a snowboarding memory. “It was the first time I hiked to the Bald Spot in Beaver Creek,” he says. “Just the area itself is beautiful – tons of riding, great way to finish the day. We brought a grill along for hot dogs, then would ski and board to the car. It was great to find a place so remote, so close to home.”

More UnRacked

Tex isn’t our only awesome employee. Checkout our entire UnRacked series to see who else here at Yakima is getting outdoors, how they have their car racked out, tips and tricks, and their favorite Pacific Northwest adventure spots.


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