Best Kayak Racks for Your Boats

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 2, 2018
If you are a boat owner, you probably know that kayak transportation and storage can be rather challenging. And a good kayak rack can tackle these problems. We took a look at the best kayak roof racks out there to help you find the one that suits your needs. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Best For
Type
Mounting
Max Load
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

Foam pads of this model are adjustable, which allows you to customize them according to the design and the height of your kayak.

CONS

Maximum load is less than impressive.

OUR VERDICT

These Thule racks are lightweight and sturdy enough for you to take your favorite kayaks on any trip. Thanks to the collapsible design, they can be easily folded to decrease the wind resistance of your vehicle.

detailed parameters
Best For

Kayak transportation

Type

2 J-style cradles (mounting hardware included)

Mounting

Car crossbars

Max Load

65 lbs

Extras

Foldable design, Foam pads (weather-proof), Safety straps

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

Mounting hardware is made in such a way so you could easily mount the rack on cross rails of your car including round, square, and factory oval models.

CONS

Cam buckle straps tend to lose flexibility over time.

OUR VERDICT

These budget-friendly fixators are a good solution for safe transportation of your kayak. The versatile design makes them a perfect choice for both sit-inside and sit-on-top models.

detailed parameters
Best For

Kayak transportation

Type

2 J-style cradles (mounting hardware included)

Mounting

Car crossbars

Max Load

75 lbs

Extras

Foam pads (weather-proof), Safety straps

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

Thanks to their design, the racks can be mounted on both walls and free-standing frames (not included).

CONS

The hardware bolts might seem somewhat short.

OUR VERDICT

The wall rack is a perfect solution in case your house is not very big and you want to save some space. Since the width of the rack is only 21", it will take minimum space.

detailed parameters
Best For

Kayak storage

Type

2 racks (mounting hardware included)

Mounting

Walls, Free-standing frames

Max Load

125 lbs

Extras

Foam pads (weather-proof), Safety straps

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

The small key-lock on the base of the bar, which is made of high-grade materials, ensures that thieves won't be able to crack it.

CONS

The crossbars can make some noise at a speed higher than 45 mph.

OUR VERDICT

The Vault Cargo Management kit is an essential piece of equipment for kayak owners.  It's a good entry-level model for beginners. 

detailed parameters
Best For

Kayak transportation

Type

2 crossbars (mounting hardware included)

Mounting

Car roof

Max Load

150 lbs

Extras

Soft rubber touch points, Adjustable clamp width, Safety key-lock

Warranty

Limited lifetime

PROS

The width of the rack can be adjusted from 28.25" to 48.75". Additionally, the quick-release pins guarantee firm fixation of your gear.

CONS

For extra safety, it is recommended to replace regular pins with the real washer bolts.

OUR VERDICT

The Hitch extender is good for pickup trucks. Thanks to the enormous load capacity of 750 lbs, you can transport almost anything on it besides regular boats and kayaks.

detailed parameters
Best For

Kayak transportation

Type

Hitch extender (mounting hardware included)

Mounting

2" square hitch receiver

Max Load

750 lbs

Extras

Adjustable width (28.25" - 48.75"), Adjustable height (4" - 10"), Holes for safety straps (not included), Safety flag (included)

Warranty

Limited lifetime

Thule 835PRO

Foldable Design

The Thule kayak rack is an excellent choice for both professional and entry-level paddlers. What really attracted our attention is that it is a vertical-oriented rack which means it's possible to install it on almost any vehicle roof. The foam pads of the rack are adjustable, so you can customize them as you see fit. Furthermore, the rack comes including all necessary hardware such as a buckle bumper, straps, ropes, hooks and mounting knobs sparing you the need to buy them additionally. The only drawback of this model is its maximum load of 65 lbs, which is less than impressive. So, you will be able to load this rack with lightweight kayaks only.

The installation process of this kayak roof rack is fairly easy and tool-free provided that you have crossbars on your car. The two J-style cradles can easily be mounted and secured firmly to any regular crossbar. The weather-proof pads and safety straps combined with a limited lifetime warranty make this model a reliable option for kayak transportation.

All in all, these Thule racks are sturdy enough for taking your lightweight kayaks on any trip. Thanks to the collapsible design, they can easily be folded when you don't need them. This will decrease the wind resistance of your vehicle significantly.
Review of Thule 835PRO Hull-a-Port Pro Kayak Carrier

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Malone MPG117MD

Extremely Durable

The MPG117MD kayak carrier from Malone will definitely grab your attention if you want a reliable roof rack that is not too overpriced. Being one of the pioneers in the field of boat transportation solutions, the Malone company was first to introduce the J-mount as a car roof boat rack. The rack itself is fairly durable and is made of corrosion-resistant steel that will surely stand the test of time. In addition, this model comes with the unique JAWZ mounting hardware that will help you install it on almost any car crossbar including square, round, and factory cross rails. Moreover, the oversized pads ensure that the kayak will stay put while you are driving a bumpy road.

The Malone kayak rack comes with both 60mm and 70mm coated factory-grade mounting bolts and two 12-foot straps. Considering the fact that straps tend to lose their grip and flexibility over time, we recommend purchasing an additional pair to keep in your car if you plan very long trips.

In conclusion, we would like to say that these budget-friendly fixators from Malone are a good solution for a safe and secure transportation of your kayak. The versatile design makes them a perfect choice for both sit-inside and sit-on-top boat models.

Review of Malone MPG117MD J-Pro2 Kayak Carrier w/Bow & Stern Lines

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Suspenz 12-9903

If You Want to Save Some Space

There are plenty of sophisticated solutions that enable you to transport your boat when you are on a paddling travel trip. However, when it comes to storing the kayaks inside or outside your house, there are not so many good options on the market. The Suspenz EZ Kayak Rack is one of the top well-thought-out solutions that are suitable both for indoor and outdoor storage.

Since this model comes fully assembled, you can easily mount the rack to the wall or on a free-standing rack. You won’t need any additional hardware - the package includes 4 strong screws, so all you’ll have to do is drill a pair of holes. On top of that, the heavy duty 600D Nylon padding ensures that your boat will stay in a top-notch condition for a long time. The powder-coated steel frame ensures the ultimate durability of the rack. Moreover, the steel rack is capable of holding boats of up to 125 lbs in weight. As for fixation, the EZ safety straps will secure your boat firmly in place while protecting its body from scratches and bends.

Overall, the EZ compact kayak rack from Suspenz is a reasonably-priced and flexible solution if you need a kayak rack for a trailer, small house, or garage.

Review of Suspenz 12-9903 EZ Kayak Rack

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Vault Cargo Management VCM-CSBR-53-2

Universal Locking Roof Rack Crossbars

Many paddlers know how hard finding a perfect base for a kayak mount or a boat rack can be. The crossbars need to be strong, reliable and have everything for securing all necessary hardware on top of them. The multipurpose locking roof rack crossbars from Vault are able to hold up to 150 lbs of load, which makes this model one of the most versatile on the market. You can easily grab your camping gear, fishing poles, snowboards, and even boats on top. What is more, the construction of the crossbar rails allows fitting them up to 47 inches apart from each other, which leaves a lot of free space in between for additional gear.

As for extra conveniences, the crossbar features reinforced rubber pads that enable users to mount this model on a roof of almost any vehicle including SUVs, jeeps, and pickup trucks. Furthermore, the padded clamps can protect your car from possible scratches. Speaking of the safety of this model, we would like to point out that the crossbar boasts another useful feature - a small key lock on the base of the bar. The lock is made of high-grade materials and its design ensures that potential thieves will definitely have a hard time cracking it. All in all, the Vault Cargo Management kit is an ultimately safe and secure piece of equipment for any kayak enthusiast.

Review of Vault Cargo Management VCM-CSBR-53-2 Universal Locking Roof Rack

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ECOTRIC Truck Bed Extender

One of the Best Kayak Racks for Pickup Trucks

The boat transportation is quite easy if you are using a regular roof rack on SUVs and jeeps. However, what should you do if you own a pickup truck that does not have any means for mounting the rack on its roof? Most pickup trucks just do not have much space on their roofs. That’s where a bed extender comes in handy. The Bed Extender from ECOTRIC is a universal solution for all your needs - from delivering lumber to transporting long boats such as canoes and medium to large-sized kayaks.

The design of this bed extender allows mounting it on 2" hitch receivers as well as 1-¼" receivers if used with a hitch adaptor. What is amazing about this model is that it weighs only 32 lbs but can hold an incredible weight of 750 lbs, which makes it a win-win choice for those who need to carry rather heavy stuff. For greater convenience, the length of the extender can be adjusted from 28.25" to 48.75", the height can also be modified from 4" to 10". You can easily install the extender on the back of your car using the quick-release pins that come in the package. Summing up this review, we would like to conclude that the hitch extender from ECOTRIC is a perfect kayak rack for trucks, allowing you to transport quite large and heavy boats.

Review of ECOTRIC Truck Bed Extender Canoe Boat Kayak Lumber w/flag

 

What Is a Kayak Rack?

As the name suggests, a kayak rack is designed to store, transport, and showcase kayaks as well as boats such as canoes and other small inflatable vessels. Even if you have some experience with kayaks, you know how hard it can be to transport these small yet tender boats. Even the slightest damage can seriously affect the floating capabilities and stability of your boat. So, it is definitely worth extra effort, dollars, and time to strap your boat to the rack. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of money on fixing your damaged boat or even your car.

The kayak racks can differ in design and shape. The only thing that makes them similar is their purpose to keep your kayaks in a top-notch condition. And even storing a kayak in your garage might be tricky since the boat can get brittle and even damaged if not stored properly, at the right temperature and on the right surface. You should remember that kayaks are made of thin materials and if you transport or store them in the wrong way, this can seriously affect their performance on the water. So, a good rack is essential for those who really care about their boats.

Sources:

1. 4 Ways to Store a Kayak, wikiHow.

2. George Sayour 5 Things Not to Do When Storing Your Plastic Kayak, ThoughtCo, May 3, 2017.

3. How to Tie Down a Kayak, wikiHow.

4. Kayak Fishing, Wikipedia.

5. How to Paddle a Kayak: Basic Strokes, REI Co-op.

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Publish Date: 2018-05-02 12:21:30