Our History

1973 - Yakima, Washington USA

Yakima Industries is founded by Otto & Jeanne Lagervall in Yakima, Washington. An inventor and paddlesports enthusiast, Otto makes handmade foot braces for canoes and kayaks. (His first claim to fame: invention of the foldable metal music stand.) Their small machine shop also creates roof racks for hauling ladders and pruning equipment.

Yakima Industries introduces its first national product, the Gold Rush Bar.

1979 – Steve & Don

When Steve Cole and Don Banducci purchased Yakima Industries, it was just a small machine shop in Yakima, Washington. As kayakers and cyclists, these two pioneers saw a better—and bigger—future for hauling recreational sporting equipment. They moved Yakima Industries to the wilderness of Arcata, California and undertook the mission to put gear on cars and friends in cars.

1984 – The Los Angeles Olympics

Yakima’s brand promise—Regardless of your destination or adventure, Yakima helps get you, your friends and all your gear there , allowing you to focus on what really matters—creating memories to last a lifetime.—held true when they built aerodynamic fairings for all race vehicles at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Only five years old, Yakima was also the official rack supplier for the 7-Eleven Cycling team who won nine gold medals.

1995 - Bike

The SteelHead, Yakima’s first locking fork bike mount is introduced.

1995 – Q Tower

With the growing popularity of the world wide web, acronyms like LOL and OMG began appearing in the American lexicon. Yakima’s contribution to this new language was QTR, representing what’s now known as Q Towers. The Q Towers were so well engineered they’re still produced today, BTW.

2005 – Portland, Oregon USA

Yakima moves its headquarters from California to Oregon. With this transition comes two vows: keep friends in cars and keep Portland weird.

2008 – Flugtag

This is the year the HoldUp and SwingDaddy, the new hitch racks, were released to public and critical acclaim. It’s also the year Yakima engineers soared 62 feet to win Red Bull Flugtag in Portland, going down in history, as well as the Willamette River.

2010 – Whispbar, Prorack & Kemflo

The Kemflo group of companies officially purchases Yakima as well as New Zealand's Whispbar and Prorack. All three brands officially begin selling in North America, Australia and New Zealand

2018 – Today

Yakima USA and Yakima Australia exist as sister companies. Yakima USA continues to produce most cargo management systems products while Yakima Australia engineers Yakima off-road products. The Yakima, Whispbar and Prorack brands sell within North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Middle East.