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Reviewed by our gears Geeks:

BEST BUY KAYAK RACKS in 2020

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job: Test 30 different Kayak Rack and write reviews of the best.

The result is 16 of the best Kayak Rack on the market today.

Anastasia Hamurari

Travel and Gear Writer An ambitious writer with a thirst for content creation through storytelling.
torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.

Transporting your kayak can be a bit of a hassle. There are many considerations you need to keep in mind to avoid damage during transport. Fortunately, there are lots of kayak racks to choose from based on your needs and your budget.

Here, we are going to guide you on the best-buy kayak racks in the market. Though they may have different features, all of these have the same function in securing your kayak on the top of your car.

To help you choose the best kayak rack for you, we highlight the characteristics of these 2020 best-buy kayak models. Also, we will further guide you by answering these fascinating questions about kayak racks.

  • What types of kayak racks are there?
  • What should I take into consideration before purchasing a kayak rack?
  • How many kayaks fit on a roof rack?
  • How do I load and secure my kayak to the roof rack?
  • Can I safely transport multiple kayaks?

The Best Kayak Rack In 2020

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

Still unsure as to what kayak rack to choose? We have answered the most popular questions about kayak rack in the last section of the guide.

Low cost doesn’t always mean low quality – this is what the TMS J-Bar kayak rack was able to prove. Designed to act as a carrier for kayaks, canoes, bikes, and surfboards, it is built to be compatible with almost every type of crossbars. 
TMS J-Bar Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the TMS J-Bar Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Steel
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 36 inches, 75 pounds 
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not included  
What we like:
  • The racks are compatible with most crossbars
  • The wide mouth means quick and easy loading and unloading of the gear
What we don’t like:
  • Simple but it works

Its steel construction combined with the adjustable padding allows you to securely mount your gear without putting too much effort into loading and unloading.

Your kayak can be attached to its side, which gives plenty of room for transporting more than just one piece of equipment. Make use of the straps that come with the rack to safely store your gear on the roof. The majority of kayaks will fit onto this rack as it can accommodate equipment up to 36-inches wide and 75-pounds heavy.  

The manufacturer made sure to include 2 sets of racks for your disposal and granted a lifetime warranty that makes the deal as appealing as it can be.

The V-saddle rack is not your typical type of tool, but Malone made it stand out from the crowd by incorporating hi-tech elements into its design. 

The SeaWing saddle not only saves space, but also provides you with the opportunity to fit two kayaks on the roof instead of one. This comes in handy for families or friends where no one is willing to be left out of the water activity. 

Malone SeaWing Saddle Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Malone SeaWing Saddle Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Nylon   
  • Type: Saddle
  • Capacity: 70 pounds  
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not included 
What we like:
  • The saddle construction makes it easy to attach your water gear 
  • There is no need to purchase any other separate elements for loading and unloading your kayak
What we don’t like:
  • Although the wings are flexible, they are not suitable for large kayaks

The Jawz mounting hardware is compatible with oval, round, and square cross rails. The buckle protectors along with load straps allow you to transport your equipment in a safe and sound manner. To ensure the ultimate security, you can utilize the stern tie-downs and a safety bow.   

This kayak rack is able to withstand gear seven times its weight, which is impressive for a tool of these dimensions. It acts as a roof extender for your vehicle that will last you a long time due to the abrasion-resistant Nylon. Attach it to your roof and you will instantly have sufficient space for all your extra baggage.

This lift system by Thule can be of great help to you if you are planning on solo kayaking. The Hullavator might seem pricey at first, but when you evaluate the benefits of having a tool that allows you to load and unload your gear without any assistance, it becomes a worthy investment.
Thule 898 Pro Hullavator Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Thule 898 Pro Hullavator Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Double-coal steel
  • Type: Saddle
  • Capacity: 36 inches, 75 pounds
  • Straps: Included, 2 x 9.5 feet 
  • Crossbars: Not included  
What we like:
  • The waist-level loading allows you to load and unload the gear without an outside help
  •  The eight padded contact points ensure no damage is done to your watercraft
What we don’t like:
  • It works only with Thule crossbars
  • Can accommodate only 1 kayak at a time

You can secure your kayak to the roof as well as to the side of your vehicle – that’s how versatile this rack is. The gas-assisted struts can hold up to 40 pounds of weight, which helps you to safely lift your kayak and load it onto the car where you can then tightly secure it. 

The cradles can expand to up to 36 inches wide in order to fit the wider hulls. They also feature eight padded points of contact that provide your equipment with the required protection. 

The hardware is constructed from the double-coal steel and is coated with a corrosion-resistant layer of aluminum that adds up to the longevity of the tool.

This lift system by Thule can be of great help to you if you are planning on solo kayaking. The Hullavator might seem pricey at first, but when you evaluate the benefits of having a tool that allows you to load and unload your gear without any assistance, it becomes a worthy investment.
ECOTRIC J-Bar Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the ECOTRIC J-Bar Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Material: Steel, Rubber
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 36 inches, 165 pounds
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not included 
What we like:
  • The packaging includes 2 pairs of racks suitable for 4 kayaks
  • Fastening straps and other pieces of hardware are already included
What we don’t like:
  • The assembly is not very straightforward

The rugged steel construction of the rack is equipped with the adjustable padding that helps you place the gear in your preferred position. 

You don’t need a specific brand of  crossbars in order to fit this rack on them. Most flat, oval, square, and round crossbars will work. The mounting hardware along with the straps is included, so there is no need to purchase anything separately. 

Feel free to load your rack with equipment weighing up to 165 pounds (!) and embark on your kayaking adventure with the peace of mind that nothing will fall off the rack along the way.

Perhaps the award of the most low-maintenance kayak rack goes to the one released by YAKIMA. It allows you to transport your gear on its side, which frees up room for another kayak (amounting to 110 pounds weight capacity for both). Or, if you prefer transporting your equipment in the J-cradle position, one kayak. of up to 80 pounds can easily be stacked onto the rack.
YAKIMA Rooftop Mounted Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the YAKIMA Rooftop Mounted Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 80/110 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20.2 x 10.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not included
What we like:
  • The versatile positions you can carry your kayaks in makes it an appealing investment
  • The padded contact points help in keeping kayaks in place during travel
What we don’t like:
  • Users report that the rack can be noisy when stowed 

The padded contact points provide you with the much-needed grip and security required for backcountry roads that tend to be bumpy. All the necessary hardware including the straps is there, which eliminates the need for additional purchases. 

It won’t take you more than 10 minutes to install the roof rack either – the assembling is as easy as ABC.  

When you are not using your kayak rack, you can fold the cradles flat and leave them on the roof. This saves your time on removing the rack from the vehicle every time it’s not being used and storing it in the garage.

There isn’t anything else on the market that is this low-maintenance – the HandiRack inflatable kayak rack is the clear winner in the category. It is compatible with all types of vehicles ranging from sedans and crossovers to SUVs and 5-door vehicles.
HandiRack Inflatable Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the HandiRack Inflatable Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: Temporary Pads
  • Capacity: 175 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.6 x 7.4 x 5.7 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • HandiPump: Included
What we like:
  • It works well with bare roofs, raised and solid roof rails and on every type of vehicle
  • It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to install the rack 
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t stay inflated for long

The inflatable mechanism behind the tool means that, when not required, , you can deflate it and pack it in a small bag. The cam buckles integrated into the rack are super strong – the risk of losing the attached equipment is extremely low. The D-Rings further ensure the secure attachment with the straps that come with the rack.  

You don’t need any external tools to install the rack – the User Manual included in the packaging is easy to comprehend. No side rails or gutters are required for the roof bars, which eliminates the extra costs involved in transporting your water equipment. 

Whether it be canoes, winter sports gear, or furniture, you can wholeheartedly rely on this rack to do the job of safely transporting it.

With aluminum construction and universal mounting hardware, Malone Downloader J-style kayak rack presents the hi-tech tool you didn’t know you needed. 

The space-saving rack is just as efficient as other cradle-type racks if not more – the fold-down mechanism used for preserving the quality of the toll is in place. 

Malone Downloader J-Style Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Malone Downloader J-Style Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Straps: Included, cam-style with buckle protectors
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:​
  • The fold-down mechanism increases the overhead clearance
  • The padding integrated into the rack helps to protect the gear during transportation
What we don’t like:
  • The weight capacity is low

You can easily carry a load weighing up to 75 pounds and not worry about it slipping off the roof or damaging the vehicle. The ‘loading ramp’ integrated into the rack’s construction helps to push the heavy craft, which is handy for when there is no assistance available. 

The rack comes with 2 sets of hex bolts that can accommodate crossbars of all kinds. Regardless of the shape of your crossbars, you will be able to securely transport your stuff without risking to damage it.         

If you are a water sports enthusiast who tends to carry different pieces of equipment every day, the Thule Dockglide kayak saddle rack is your solution.

This system features pivoting saddles that are independent of each other and can be leveraged to the desired angle. It allows you to adjust them in accordance with the gear’s size and shape without having to compromise safety.

Thule Dockglide Kayak Saddle Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Thule Dockglide Kayak Saddle Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: Saddle
  • Capacity: 36 inches, 85 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.8 x 8.5 x 8 inches
  • Straps: Included, with rubber buckle protectors    
  • Crossbars: Not Included  
What we like:
  • Comes with the T-rack attachments that fit onto the majority of Thule crossbars 
  • The angle-setting mechanism helps in accommodating every kind of water equipment including stand-up paddleboards
What we don’t like:
  • Compatible only with Thule rack systems

Additionally, the large and flexible cushioned pads help in preserving the integrity of the gear and of the vehicle. To carry your gear that is 36 inches wide and 85 pounds heavy, place it in the horizontal position and you are good to go. 

The center load straps are equipped with rubber buckle straps that tightly secure your craft. There will be no damage done to the paintwork of the water gear, which is usually the first to show signs of wear and tear.

Auto Body Now (ABN) released a water gear tool that allows you to carry your craft from A to B at an attractive price. This competitive advantage makes it a stand-out participant in the market of water tools.
ABN Kayak Roof Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the ABN Kayak Roof Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 36 inches, 75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21.25 x 19.5 x 8 inches
  • Straps: Included, made from Nylon
  • Crossbars: Not Included 
What we like:
  • The steel material makes this rack sturdy, which, in turn, contributes to its long-lastingness
  • The price is affordable 
What we don’t like:
  • The quality of the straps that come with the rack is not good 

Built from the qualitative steel coated with a rust-resistant layer, helps to prevent scratches and potential damages to your vehicle. The wide frame mouth has padding to ensure easy loading and unloading, while also protecting your craft from potential dents. 

You can transport your water gear on its side, which frees up the room for up to 4 racks stacked on the roof of your car. The round bars and cargo rails work perfectly well with this rack.             

The process of mounting the rack to the crossbars will require a bit of work from your side (you’ll need a wrench to tighten the screws), but not too much of your time. Even those with zero experience operating with tools will be able to securely attach the rack. 

Rhino Nautic 570 is the typical saddle type rack that comprises four rubber cradles equipped with three grip-infused joints for watercraft securing. The system is reminiscent of the 2 claws holding from under the gear.
Rhino Rack Nautic 570 Carrier
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Rhino Rack Nautic 570 Carrier:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: Saddle
  • Capacity: 75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 6 inches
  • Straps: Included, with unique buckle protector 
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • The 180-degree rotation allows loading from any side
  • The UV-protection combined with the waterproof construction makes it an appealing choice for many kayakers
What we don’t like:
  • Not compatible with round crossbars

You can load your kayak from the side – the pads have the power to swivel 180-degrees, thus enabling you to pull one claw towards the side of the vehicle, load your gear onto it, and then roll the kayak back into the transporting position. With this mechanism in use, you don’t need a ladder or an extra set of hands, you can load your equipment onto the vehicle’s roof all by yourself. 

The pads located on the cradles can accommodate almost any hull shape, although it will take some time to find the best mounting position for your boat to stay secure throughout the entire trip.      

With 5 years of warranty in place, there is just no way you won’t reap all the benefits of owning a versatile saddle rack like this

Rack up your water adventures’ is the motto the manufacturer of the RaxGo adopted in order to draw the attention of outdoor enthusiasts. And it worked! The Premium-quality folding kayak has now become the ‘go-to’ of many kayakers and surfers who need to transport their gear weighing up to 165 pounds on a continuous basis.
RaxGo Folding Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the RaxGo Folding Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 165 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19 x 12.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Straps: Included, built from Polyester
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • The safety straps are constructed from the sturdy Polyester that ensures the best quality
  • The 165 pounds of weight capacity are great for transporting heavy watercraft
What we don’t like:
  • Compatible with crossbars with the width of no more than 2-2.5 inches

The racks (the set contains 2 of them) are made from the rugged steel that prevents rust from developing and prolong the life of the racks. They work with T-slider bars as well as with the crossbars – almost any type of the vehicle’s roof arrangement can be accommodated. 

You don’t need to have any prior experience to install the racks as all the necessary prerequisites in the form of the diagrams included in the instructions come in the set. The straps don’t need to be purchased separately – the 4-point security design takes care of it all. Your only job is to attach the rack or two to your car’s roof and be ready for the water-instilled adventure that awaits you.

Built from the epoxy powder-coated steel, AA-Racks J-Bar kayak roof rack can become your best buddy for long travels. 

You can stack it on your vehicle’s roof in a matter of minutes and stuff your water gear for trouble-free transportation. Even if your equipment weighs over 100 pounds, you can still load it onto the roof, and rest assured it will stay put throughout the entire drive.

AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Roof Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Roof Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 150 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16 x 5 x 10 x 8 ½ inches
  • Straps: Included, built from the flexible rubber hose
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • The foam protector and the rubber pedal are made from high-quality materials that can’t get ruined from the sun or water exposure  
  • The price is affordable
What we don’t like:
  • You will have to find the crossbars that will fit the rack before you purchase this tool

The rubberized base along with the foam cushion ensures no dents result from the long drive, while the reinforced cargo strap patches guarantee the secure state of your load. Simply attach the carrier to the roof rack rails, strap your equipment down, and you are ready to conquer the ocean, lake, or any other water of your choice. 

Once you are back from your trip, fold your rack down and store your car in the garage without having to remove it. It’s that easy

If you are looking for a roof rack that can transport one kayak at a time, the Rola J-Style rack is the one. Crafted from the powder-coated steel that is abrasion- and rust-resistant, this tool won’t get damaged as a result of the wet gear attached to it. 
Rola J-Style Kayak Roof Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Rola J-Style Kayak Roof Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 150 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 16 x 14 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • You get a qualitative piece of equipment that will last you a long time
  • The universal hardware is compatible with ROLA and the majority of others crossbars
What we don’t like:
  • The price tag is high 

The integrated straps secures the kayak in place and won’t allow it to slip off in the middle of the drive. The loading process is straightforward – you don’t need outside assistance to stack your water equipment onto the rack. 

Your job entails lifting the kayak, securing it into the rack’s hooks, and fasten it with straps. The foam pads along with the high-quality stern tie-downs ensure your craft is protected no matter what course the weather takes on the day you decide to go kayaking. 

Surely, you will pay a little more for the brand’s reputation and the quality of the tool, but it is an investment that will pay off sooner than later. 

You have probably noticed the frequency of J-Cradle style roof racks appearing in this guide – and rightfully so. 

They are proving to be reliable, versatile, and, most importantly, suits every budget.. Vault Cargo’s kayak roof rack is exactly that – it has all the essential and non-essential features you would expect from a high-quality tool.

Vault Cargo Kayak Roof Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Vault Cargo Kayak Roof Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 165 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 8.9 x 6.7 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • The mounting hardware is included in the packaging
  • The 180-degree folding motion rack allows you to fold your rack down when you don’t need it
What we don’t like:
  • Load straps are of poor quality

It is made from the heavy-duty aluminum that is further equipped with soft, foam-lined bars for additional protection. The risk of corrosion is minimized thanks to the manufacturer’s decision to coat it with a first-rate material. 

The racks can be folded down when not in use, which means you can keep them on your vehicle’s roof all year long. The two adjustable lashing straps are included in the packaging, thus eliminating the need for you to make separate purchases.      

Pro tip: In case your car doesn’t have crossbars, check out Vault Cargo’s Universal Roof Rack crossbars model – you can save 10% on the combo.

Beefy’ is the perfect adjective to use in relation to this Hull-A-Port rooftop rack designed by Thule. You wouldn’t know whether it’s a kayak transporting accessory, or a gym machine – that’s how hefty it looks. Not surprisingly, this tough exterior reflects the quality of the rack.
Thule Hull-A-Port Rooftop Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Thule Hull-A-Port Rooftop Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: J-Cradle
  • Capacity: 34 inches, 75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20 x 10.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • You don’t need another person to help you load and unload the watercraft
  • The rust-resistant coating prolongs the life of the tool
What we don’t like:
  • The bolts that come with the rack are too short for the secure installation

Its steel construction has adjustable padding that provides the carrying strength and protection about which not many other roof racks can boast. This model features a tool-free installation: the two cradles can be rapidly mounted via a set of bolts and knobs on basically every roof rack and round crossbars. 

The two straps that come with the rack can be used to secure the ends of the kayak to the roof rack and further fastened with hooks and ratcheting attachments. You have pockets for stuffing with loose straps ends and a PFD (pull, fold, down) lever for quick folding. 

Although there’s no locking system in place, you can purchase one from Thule Cargo or wrap a wire around the equipment. Once you are all set, you can head out for your cross-country kayaking trip.

Not everyone needs a full-on gym-resembling device to transport their water gear – sometimes a smaller roof rack like the Sea-Wing one by Great Lakes is more than enough. 

For those who are planning on carrying their sea kayaks that are less than 30 inches in width, this model of a roof rack is perfect.

Great Lakes Wing-Sea Kayak Rack
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Great Lakes Wing-Sea Kayak Rack:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs
  • Type: V-Wing
  • Capacity: 30 inches, 100 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21 x 8 x 4.5 inches
  • Straps: Included
  • Crossbars: Not Included
What we like:
  • The rack comes pre-assembled, meaning that it will take you less time than any other roof rack would to install it onto your crossbars 
  • The manufacturer offers a 5-year warranty 
What we don’t like:
  • Not suitable for kayaks with a width of over 30 inches

The best part is that you don’t even need any tools for installing the rack – every accessory is already included. This means that you can set up the entire thing in a matter of minutes, thus not wasting a lot of time on the assembly and saving it for the actual kayaking. 

The rack is designed to prevent any potential scratches and dents that are often occurring with roof racks. This type of roof rack is best suited for watercraft that has a defined keel or has a V-shape hull. 

Regardless of what crossbars your vehicle has, chances are this Wing-Sea kayak rack will be compatible with it.

Questions & Answers:

1. What types of kayak racks are there?

There are generally 4 types of kayak racks to choose from – J-Cradles, Saddles, Stackers, and Temporary Pads. Familiarize yourself with each one of them in accordance with the type of kayak you have and the type of vehicle on which you will be transporting it. 

The J-Cradles is perhaps the most sought-after kayak roof rack on the market due to its versatile shape. This rack has a side-loading mechanism that clears up space for you to place other items on the roof. If you have the right support system, you can quickly load and unload your kayak and reap all the benefits of this secure and stable option. For a narrow roof, however, this type of roof rack is not optimal.

The saddle roof rack is the perfect choice for those planning on transporting one kayak at a time. It involves either a single cradle or two interconnected cradles that can be adjusted according to the width of your vehicle’s roof. As this type of a roof rack offers a large surface area for your water gear, it works great even in the stormiest weather conditions when safety is at stake.

For transporting multiple kayaks at the same time, consider looking into the Stacker roof rack. Unlike other supporting tools that hold your kayaks horizontally, this one holds your kayaks vertically and on their sides. As a result, you have more space for fitting several kayaks instead of just one. With the correct installation, you won’t have to worry about your equipment slipping off during the transportation process.

The easiest kayak racks to install and remove are hands down the temporary pads. They consist of straps that can be placed around the inside and the outside of your car’s roof that are designed to securely hold your gear. These straightforward racks have foam or inflatable padding attached to them, which makes them the most favorable variant for short trips. 

2. What should I take into consideration before purchasing a kayak rack?

Frankly, there are a couple of points you have to pay attention to before you commit to purchasing a kayak roof rack. They comprise the number of transportable kayaks, the type of vehicle, the rack’s material, and the cross bar system. 

Although it goes without saying that the bigger the number of kayaks you are planning on transporting, the bigger the dimensions of the kayak rack should be, outdoor enthusiasts still make the mistake of shoving too many kayaks in relatively small racks. You should always keep in mind that it is better not to take your chances and risk loading your car’s roof with a multitude of kayaks in hopes that you will be able to safely transport them. Road hazards happen more often than you would think, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

Small cars will fit one to two kayaks, while the bigger vehicles will certainly be able to accommodate a couple more kayaks. It is recommended for you to take the necessary measurement of your vehicle’s roof before you research the roof rack that will handle multiple kayaks with no issues.

Ensuring the quality of the kayak rack’s material is high is just as important as purchasing the tool in the right size. Aluminum and plastic fasteners should not be exploited by kayakers in any circumstances in order to avoid unexpected detachments. It is better to invest in a more expensive model made of steel and coated with a rust-free layer that will eliminate the risk of accidents on the road.

Not every vehicle has a cross bar system installed onto its roof that is required for the rack attachment. If yours doesn’t, you will have to purchase the cross bar system that will be compatible with the roof rack you are planning on using. For vertical transportation of the water gear, make sure your rack’s height is in line with the roof’s height to avoid any loading or unloading challenges.         

3. How many kayaks fit on a roof rack?

Standards roof racks can comfortably fit 2 kayaks that are further fastened for security purposes. This capacity is the most common on the market and is the one preferred by the majority. That being said, there are roof racks that can fit up to 4 kayaks, particularly those stored sideways and in the vertical position. 

Some argue that you can squeeze an extra kayak or two in the regular 2-kayak roof racks, but we don’t recommend taking this risk. Surely, there are additional fasteners you can purchase to tie down more kayaks, but while it may go well the first time, there is no guarantee you won’t damage your water gear along the way.  

4. How do I tie down my kayak to the roof rack?

Nine out of ten times the manufacturer includes the tie-down instructions for you to follow when securing your kayak to the roof rack. They specify where anchor points are located so that you securely attach your equipment via a simple loop that goes around the kayak’s body. Your kayak should be tight enough to not slip off while you are driving, yet not too tight so that it can do severe damage to the boat.

To strap the kayak by its front and back, tie the bow to the hooks of the tow and repeat the same steps for the stern line. Installing a hitch might help in securing the stern line and achieving the right balance of your boat when on the roof. Note that any loose ends have to be tied up in a couple of knots in order for them to not get caught during the transportation process and cause your boat to flee.  

5. How do I load my kayak onto the roof rack?

You might think that it’s impossible to load your kayak onto the roof rack without assistance, but with guidelines from the product creators, it is completely doable. The most often met sliding bar comes in handy as it takes the weight of the kayak off your body during loading. This bar can then be put back in place once the gear is loaded and the kayak securely fastened to the roof.

If you don’t find the lift assist system installed into the rack, you will have to take on the task of lifting the equipment yourself. Check for the kayak to be free from water and other gear before you load it up onto the roof. You can place a sheet on the car’s roof to avoid scratches during the loading process. Once your kayak is on top of the vehicle, follow the tie-down instructions from the manufacturer and you will be good to go. 

6. How do I safely transport multiple kayaks?

The more kayaks you transport, the more careful you have to be with securely loading them into the roof rack. You must have a good number of fasteners and ropes to tie your gear down as well as you can. When driving, it makes sense to go slower than usual if you know that you have got multiple pieces of equipment attached to your vehicle. We recommend you avoid highways at all costs and not undertake any overtaking maneuvers in order to steer clear from any potential accidents.

If you already have a kayak rack or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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