ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKSKAYAK ROOF RACKS REVIEWSYAKIMA JAYHOOK KAYAKTHULE TOP DECK KAYAK SADDLESYAKIMA SHOWBOAT 66 SLIDE-OUT ROLLER SYSTEMTHULE XSPORTER PRO TRUCKTHULE HULLAVATOR PRO KAYAK CARRIERTHULE HULL-A-PORT KAYAK CARRIERTMS J-BAR RACK HD KAYAK CARRIERTOUGHSTEEL 2 PAIR 4 RACKS UNIVERSAL BLACK J SHAPE STEELHOW TO CHOOSE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKSYOUR VEHICLENUMBER OF KAYAKSBAR HEIGHTMATERIALNEED OF AFTERMARKET CROSS BARS Kayaking is one of the finest, most tactile ways to experience the outdoors. From the seat of your kayak’s cockpit, the wilderness seemingly opens up and you have the first-row seat to see it all. First, though, you’ve got to get your kayak there. But, how do you know what’s the best kayak roof rack? Here at The Adventure Junkies, we pride ourselves on giving you the best tips, tricks and guide to experience the great outdoors. Whether it’s kayaking or scuba diving, we’ve got you covered. Want to know more about kayak roof racks? If so, keep on reading to find out which roof kayak is best suited for you. For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Sea Kayaks | Sit on Top | Tandem | Canoes | Inflatable Kayaks Paddles | Seats | PFDs | Dry Bags | Anchors | GPS Wetsuits | Drysuits | Gloves | Shoes Fishing Kayaks | Rods | Reels | Rod Holders | Fish Finders SUPs | Inflatable SUPs | Paddles QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS 1. YAKIMA JAYHOOK VIEW AT REI 2. THULE TOP DECK VIEW AT REI 3. YAKIMA SHOWBOAT 66 SLIDE-OUT VIEW AT REI 4. THULE XSPORTER PR TRUCK VIEW AT REI 5. THULE HULLAVATOR PRO VIEW AT REI 6. THULE HULL-A-PORT VIEW AT REI 7. TMS J-BAR RACK HD VIEW AT AMAZON 8. TOUGHSTEEL UNIVERSAL BLACK STEEL VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS PICTUREKAYAK ROOF RACKBEST USESHAPE OF CRADDLEINSTALATIONPRICERATING PICTUREKAYAK ROOF RACKBEST USESHAPE OF CRADDLEINSTALATIONPRICERATING Yakima JayhookOverallJ-CurvedEasy$$4.6 Thule Top Deck Kayak SaddlesOverallFlatEasy$$3.8 Yakima ShowBoat 66 Slide-Out RollerOverallFlat with Rolling DockModerate$$$4.2 Thule Xsporter Pro TruckProfessional UseFlatDifficult$$$$4.0 Thule Hullavator ProProfessional UseFlat with Expandable BaseDifficult$$$$4.7 Thule Hull-a-PortBudgetJ-CurvedModerate$$$3.9 TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak CarrierBudgetJ-CurvedEasy$4.0 ToughSteel 2 Pair 4 Racks Universal Black J Shape SteelBudgetJ-CurvedEasy$4.5 KAYAK ROOF RACKS REVIEWS YAKIMA JAYHOOK KAYAK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Heavy duty setups and for transporting longer sea kayaks SHAPE OF CRADLE: J-Curve EAST OF INSTALLATION: Easy PROS: Fantastic J-curve setup for longer kayaks that don’t suit themselves well to strapped racks, rust-resistant CONS: A bit bigger than most and the dismounting angles can be tricky for shorter people THULE TOP DECK KAYAK SADDLES Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Already rack-mounted vehicles and transporting single kayaks SHAPE OF CRADLE: Flat EASE OF INSTALLATION: Easy PROS: Quite affordable and one of the more versatile rack systems currently on sale CONS: Only applicable for single-rack setups, requires an already installed car rack to use YAKIMA SHOWBOAT 66 SLIDE-OUT ROLLER SYSTEM Check out the latest price on: REI BEST FOR: Avid kayak enthusiasts who mount and dismount their kayaks often from their car SHAPE OF CRADLE: Flat with rolling deck EASE OF INSTALLATION: Moderate PROS: One of the best rolling racks out there, great for individuals who want the easiest way possible to dismount and mount a kayak CONS: While the setup can be done with only Allen wrenches, you’ll likely need another person to help you with positioning THULE XSPORTER PRO TRUCK Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Professionals who may need to haul more than one kayak or board with them SHAPE OF CRADLE: Flat EASE OF INSTALLATION: Difficult PROS: Incredibly well-built, includes an aluminum design and weather-resistant fastenings CONS: Only suitable for flatbed trucks, professional installation is recommended THULE HULLAVATOR PRO KAYAK CARRIER Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Arguably the sturdiest and best-looking rack system currently on sale today SHAPE OF CRADLE: Flat with expandable base EASE OF INSTALLATION: Difficult PROS: Streamline installation with most vehicles, incredibly compact in design and comes with an expandable base CONS: Quite pricey, can be hard to find in-stock on Amazon or REI THULE HULL-A-PORT KAYAK CARRIER Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Budge-conscious consumer who wants the stability of a J-Curved rack system SHAPE OF CRADLE: J-Curved EASE OF INSTALLATION: Moderate PROS: Solid build quality for the price, easy installation CONS: Foam cushioning may be prone to wear over time and weathering TMS J-BAR RACK HD KAYAK CARRIER Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Single-kayak setups and transporting light canoes, boards, and kayaks SHAPE OF CRADLE: J-Curve EASE OF INSTALLATION: Easy PROS: Affordable option to other more expensive setups to transport boarding equipment CONS: Not weather-proof or recommended for heavier, more robust tandem kayaks or canoes TOUGHSTEEL 2 PAIR 4 RACKS UNIVERSAL BLACK J SHAPE STEEL Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Those who may be carrying more than one kayak SHAPE OF CRADLE: J-Curve EASE OF INSTALLATION: Easy PROS: Can support up to two kayaks with comfortable room between them CONS: Can be difficult to dismount Gear up for kayaking, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on Kayaking GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR KAYAKING HOW TO CHOOSE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS YOUR VEHICLE The type of vehicle you have will play a huge role in determining which roof kayak roof rack is best for you. Whether it’s a small compact car or full-sized 4×4, there’s definitely a roof rack for your car. For smaller cars, simpler set ups that can carry one kayak (maybe two) will be your best bet. But if your car’s quite sizable, you can opt to buy a rack that can carry three or four kayaks. We recommend measuring the available outside roof space of your car first. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting into. Check out this guide to car roof racks from REI to learn more about which vehicles are best suited to have racks installed on them. NUMBER OF KAYAKS It should go without saying that the more kayaks you’ll want to carry, the larger the roof rack you’ll need. Keep that in mind as you shop around. This becomes even more important for safety reasons. Shoving too many kayaks on a rack system that’s not designed for it can be hazardous on the roadway. Also, take into account that you’ll be needing to transport your paddles as well. BAR HEIGHT If you’re vertically challenged, a rack system that stands a foot above your car’s roof might not work. But, ones that are flush with the roofline will work better. If you’re quite tall, you can opt for a taller rack system. These vertical rack systems can be used with little to no problem. MATERIAL When transporting kayaks worth a mortgage payment (or two), you want to be sure they won’t meet their demise as you drive down the highway. By avoiding certain cheaply made fasteners, you steer clear of unexpected detachments. Plastic and aluminum fasteners are a no-go. Opt for models that use rust-free coated steels and even carbon fiber fasteners. NEED OF AFTERMARKET CROSS BARS If your car already has a roof-mounted cross bar system, you’ll want to ensure its compatibility with the roof rack model you’re looking at. If your car doesn’t have one, you’ll want to be sure you purchase an aftermarket cross bar system. Be sure to check its compatibility with your roof rack system, too. Most in-store outlets will be more than happy to help you ensure just that by doing a test install. For beginners and families, opt for a setup that has the potential to carry more than one kayak. Check out this guide from Rack Attack for more fitting details. KAYAKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSKAYAKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. KAYAK SAFETY 2. KAYAK SKILLS 6. DESTINATIONS 3. KAYAKING GEAR 7. KAYAK FISHING 4. KAYAK CLOTHES 8. SUP 1. BASICS 2. KAYAK SKILLS 3. KAYAK GEAR 4. KAYAK CLOTHES 5. KAYAK SAFETY 6. DESTINATIONS 7. KAYAK FISHING 8. SUP Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. 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