Best Kayak Roof Rack

10 Best Kayak Roof Racks in 2019: Keep Your Kayak Safe & Secure

Last Updated: 28 Dec 2018

Looking for the best kayak roof racks? You’ve come to the right place! If you are a kayak enthusiast, it’s likely that you own a beach house so you can easily get to paddling as soon as the cravings kick in. However, if you are yet to build one for yourself and are instead living miles away from the beach, you can still enjoy kayaking every now and then, provided you install the best kayak roof rack on your car. But why do you need a kayak roof rack? How would you pick out the best out of the many models available in the market?

Well, owning the best kayak roof rack is necessary, especially if you have to drive long distances just to enjoy a kayaking experience. Without the best kayak roof rack on your car, chances are you will be visiting the kayak repair shop often to fix the hull cracks or punctures that characterize bumpy transportation. You will save a ton of money on kayak repairs if you purchase the best kayak roof rack for your car to ensure that your kayak is safe and secure during transportation. If you are looking to install one on your car this 2019 season, then allow us to introduce you to the best kayak roof racks you can buy.

FAQ

We’ve been bombarded with relevant questions about kayak roof racks for truck and car from enthusiasts, who want to know why it’s important to install it on your car and which models to buy, especially now that many options are available in the market. We’ve listed some of the common queries from buyers.

What Is A Kayak Roof Rack?

It is a device you install on your car to keep your kayak safe and secure when driving to and fro the beach for a kayaking experience. You wouldn’t want to drive all the way to the beach only to find that you’ve damaged your kayak during the long drive, would you? Such kit lets you transport your kayak safely on your car.

Why You Need A Kayak Rack For Car

If you live a long distance from the beach, the kayaking enthusiast you are would rather drive to the beach with your kayak than miss out on the experience. However, for you to safely transport your kayak without causing damage to it, you will need a supporting device to hold the kayak in place during the long drive. A safe and secure transport for your kayak will save you money that would otherwise be spent on repairing a damaged kayak. It also prevents you from damaging your car, which would be the case if you opt to tightly rope up the bow and stern of the kayak on your car without a proper supporting kit. So it is an important tool you should have, especially if you must drive long distances for a kayaking experience. The following are some of the benefits of installing the best kayak roof rack on your car:

  • It helps you transport your kayak securely and safely
  • It helps you avoid damages to your kayak
  • It protects your car from getting damaged by the bumpy drive
  • Helps you save money you’d have used in repairing your kayak

How Far Apart Should Roof Racks Be For Kayak?

The average crossbar spread for kayak carriers is at least 24 inches. Most kayak roof rack designs work with the strongest roof points, and they recommend a 24-inch crossbar space distance. However, you can use a longer crossbar spread, but don’t exceed 28 inches; otherwise, you will run the risk of damaging either the rack or the roof of your car when you unintentionally overload the rack. A longer crossbar space distance distorts the weight capacity of the rack, and you may unintentionally overload the rack and damage the roof of your car. Therefore, when installing the kit, make sure that the crossbar space distance is within 24 to 28 inches for the best functionality.

How Many Kayaks Can Be On A Roof Rack?

The number of kayaks that you can transport on the best kayak roof rack is an important factor to consider. Most roof rack solutions provide a place for a maximum of 2 kayaks. Basically, the total number of boats you can carry is limited by your car’s maximum weight capacity.

How Do You Secure A Kayak Without A Roof Rack?

This problem can be quite challenging if you don’t have even the slightest idea on how to secure a kayak without a roof rack. However, this problem can be overcome quite easily using a few highly accessible supplies, although it won’t be as effective as when you use a roof rack. The best way to secure a kayak to a car without a rack would be to use soft polyurethane tubes and ratchet straps to tie the boat firmly on your car. The straps should pass over the front of the kayak as well as over the back of it, but also make sure not to tighten it too much as this will damage the hull of your boat. Even though it is possible to secure a kayak without a roof rack, it is still advisable to acquire a roof rack kit to guarantee the safety during transportation.

Can You Carry A Kayak On A Car?

Of course, you can carry it on a car, and this is precisely the purpose of a roof rack. With the best kayak roof rack installed on your car, nothing can prevent you from carrying the kayak on your car.

TOP 10 Best Kayak Roof Racks Compared & Reviewed

6 Car Rack & Carriers J- shape Rack Car Rack & Carriers J- shape Rack
9. 5
Our rating : 9.5 / 10 View product

1. Best Low Maintenance Roof Rack: Yakima Jaylow

1. Best Low Maintenance Roof Rack: Yakima Jaylow

Therefore, if you are looking for a double kayak roof rack that is of low maintenance, your best option is the Yakima Jaylow. This boat carrier is the absolutely best kayak car rack we have seen. It allows you to move more than one boat on your car. It’s also economical with space because it folds down when not in use.

Pros
  • Maximum boat capacity of 2
  • 110 lbs.
  • Folds down when not in use, hence helps save on space
  • Universal crossbar compatibility
Cons
  • Expensive

2. Best Lift & Load Roof Rack System: Thule Hullavator

2. Best Lift & Load Roof Rack System: Thule Hullavator

If you’ve been having problems with loading and unloading your kayak from your vehicle, then you need a carrier that will actually help ease that process. The best one is the Thule 898 Hullavator product. Height and strength challenges are dealt with accordingly with this kit, considering that it comes with a lift system that lowers down and reduces 40lb of the kayak’s weight. With this tool, you will be loading and unloading your boat from the car faster than you can imagine and with much less effort.

Pros
  • Lift & load assist feature
  • 75 lbs.
  • Includes straps and tie downs
  • Compatible with AeroBlade and SquareBar
Cons
  • Expensive

3. Best Roll Assist Roof Rack: Thule Slipstream Kayak Carrier

3. Best Roll Assist Roof Rack: Thule Slipstream Kayak Carrier

When it comes to loading and unloading kayaks from your car, you want a kit that provides you with easy time. As stated in lots of Thule Slipstream reviews, it has an effective sliding roller that extends beyond the back of the car, supporting up to 75 lbs of the kayak’s weight, making it a smooth process for you to load and unload the boat. Additionally, it comes with pivoting saddles that automatically conform to nearly all kayak shapes and sizes, thus providing secure transportation for your ship.

Pros
  • Roll assist for easy loading and unloading
  • Load capacity of 75 lbs.
  • 4 touch points padded support for Hull protection
  • Pivoting saddles for perfect fit
Cons
  • Expensive

4. Best Steel Design Roof Rack: TMS J-Bar Rack

4. Best Steel Design Roof Rack: TMS J-Bar Rack

You may be looking for the toughest kayak rack for car to install on your SUV, and the best option on the market is the TMS J-Bar Rack that has a steel design with adjustable padding for additional carrying strength and boat protection. The boat carrier is compatible with virtually all crossbars and load bars on the market, and it offers easier loading and unloading. Additionally, it is economical with space on the load bar since it secures the kayak on its side. With a maximum load capacity of 75 lbs, this boat carrier is the best to go for if you want durability and protection.

Pros
  • Steel design
  • Load capacity of 75 lbs.
  • Wide mouth J bar for easier loading and unloading
  • Mounts to virtually all crossbars and load bars on the market
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Does not come with load bars

5. Best Oversized Padding Roof Rack: Malone DownLoader Kayak Racks

5. Best Oversized Padding Roof Rack: Malone DownLoader Kayak Racks

When going to the beach for kayaking experience, you may want the best roof rack kit that will provide ultimate protection to your boat. If that is the case, then the best kit to purchase is the Malone DownLoader that has oversized padding for the ultimate protection. In addition to the built-in boarding ramp for easy loading and unloading, the kayak ramp boasts of a fold-down technology that increases overhead clearance. With a load capacity of 75 lbs, this ramp is your best option if you are looking for the ultimate boat protection.

Pros
  • Built-in boarding ramp
  • Fold down technology
  • Oversized padding
  • Load capacity of 75 lbs
Cons
  • Expensive

6. Best Thick Steel Tubing Roof Rack: Car Rack & Carriers J- shape Rack

6. Best Thick Steel Tubing Roof Rack: Car Rack & Carriers J- shape Rack

Nothing will give you the surety of protection like a carrier that is fashioned out of 1.5mm thick steel tubing. The design of the kit enables it to hold more weight, a load capacity of up to 150 lbs. This best kayak carrier is not only affordable but guarantees you of total protection owing to its tough steel design plus the rubber pedal and foam protector. This feature provides your boat with an anti-slip, water/sun resistant security that is totally worth the value for your money. If you are looking for that kit that will not disappoint you in terms of kayak protection, then Car Rack & Carriers J- shape Rack is your ultimate choice.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Thick steel tubing for maximum strength and protection
  • Rubber pedal and foam protection
  • Load capacity of 150 lbs.
Cons
  • No lift assist

7. Best PFD Lever Roof Rack: Thule Hull-a-Port Pro

7. Best PFD Lever Roof Rack: Thule Hull-a-Port Pro

It can be frustrating coming off from kayaking and having to struggle with unloading it from the car to store it in the garage, and therefore, it won’t be surprising if you are looking for a kit that will enable you to fold your boat quickly without using a lot of energy. Well, the Thule kayak rack kit Hull-a-Port Pro comes with the PFD Lever that allows you to pull your boat from the car, fold it easily, and be done with it. And you won’t have to struggle with economizing space on the load bar, because this kit is economical with space. It also lets you load and unload the boat without much hustle, and it comes with two ratcheting bow and stern tie downs and two straps with buckle protectors for added safety. You can be sure that with this roof rack kit, your kayak will be totally secure during the drive to and from the kayaking experience.

Pros
  • PFD lever
  • Compatible with Thule rack systems
  • Allows for easy loading and unloading
  • Economical with space
Cons
  • Expensive

8. Best Steel Construction Roof Rack: OxGord Universal

8. Best Steel Construction Roof Rack: OxGord Universal

Even though your priority is to protect your boat, it is also important to have your car in mind, because during transportation, there is a high chance that the roof of your car will be damaged from the load. However, you don’t have to worry anymore about that because the OxGord Universal is designed to protect not just your kayak but your car as well. It is made of steel to preserve your car during transit. Therefore, if you want the best roof rack that will ensure your car is in perfect condition once you come off the kayaking experience, then the OxGord Universal is your best option.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Steel construction for car protection
  • Trusted name brand
Cons
  • Not foldable

9. Best Easy Installation Roof Rack: Mrhardware A01 for SUV

9. Best Easy Installation Roof Rack: Mrhardware A01 for SUV

The major problem that people face with best kayak car rack is installation since the process can be extremely difficult. When you want to avoid the trouble of complex roof rack installation processes, the best kit you should consider buying is the Mrhardware A01 for SUV.

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • Affordable
  • 600 lb. break strength
  • Steel design
Cons
  • No load assist

10. Most Durable Roof Rack: ROLA J Style

10. Most Durable Roof Rack: ROLA J Style

You want the most durable roof rack that is sure to outlive several kayaks you intend to buy in the future, and the best kit for you is the ROLA J Style roof rack. It is crafted using high strength, powder coated steel and rust-resistant hardware, making sure that it lasts through the ages as it serves you in all your kayaking escapades.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Universal hardware
  • Steel design
Cons
  • No load assist


Types of Kayak Carriers

For you to choose the best kayak roof rack that suits your needs, you have to understand the different types of boat carriers. They are of four categories, as follows:

  • Stackers
  • Saddles
  • Temporary pads
  • J-Cradles

Best Kayak Roof Racks Buying Guide: What to Look At?

The following are some of the things you need to consider when selecting the best kayak roof racks to purchase:

The Structure of Your Car’s Roof

Finding the best kayak car rack to buy requires that you know the roof category of your car. There are a naked roof, factory-installed raised side rails, factory-installed flat tracks, and factory-installed roof rack with crossbars. Knowing the type of your car roof will help you buy the best kayak roof rack for your car.

Installation Process

Another factor to consider when buying a rack kit is the installation process. The important questions you need to ask here include, how easy is it to install it on your car, and can you do it by yourself? The best kayak roof racks to buy are those that won’t give you a hard time during installation.

Affordability

You don’t want to spend a fortune buying the best kayak roof rack, do you? So, before you add any roof rack kit on your shopping basket, consider the price first. There are some racks that are affordable, and there are those that target the high-end market. Any of these can be the best kayak roof rack for your car. Choose whichever fits your budget.

The Best Kayak Roof Rack: Final Advice

We’ve provided relevant information on virtually everything you need to know when it comes to identifying the best kayak roof rack to buy. No further research is required from you. You only need to identify the roof structure of your car and based on the factors we’ve mentioned herein, choose the kit that will serve your needs best. The best kayak roof rack we recommend you buy is the Yakima Jaylow that will offer you value for your money. With this kit, you’ll be able to carry 2 boats having a combined weight load of 110 lbs. In addition, the boat carrier has universal crossbar compatibility, so you won’t have any problems with installation. Even though it will cost you around $189 to acquire the kit, the roof rack is low maintenance, meaning you won’t spend a fortune on repairs and other miscellaneous costs.

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