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.

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide to Kayaking

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACK

PICTURE
KAYAK ROOF RACK
BEST USE
SHAPE OF CRADDLE
INSTALATION
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAK ROOF RACK
BEST USE
SHAPE OF CRADDLE
INSTALATION
PRICE
RATING
Yakima JayHook Kayak Rack
Overall
J-Curved
Easy
$$
4.6
Thule SlipStream XT Kayak
Overall
Flat
Moderate
$$$
4.1
Thule Top Deck Kayak Saddles
Overall
Flat
Easy
$$
3.8
Yakima ShowBoat 66 Slide-Out Roller
Overall
Flat with Rolling Dock
Moderate
$$$
4.2
Thule Xsporter Pro Truck Rack
Professional Use
Flat
Difficult
$$$$
4.0
Thule Hullavator Pro Kayak Carrier
Professional Use
Flat with Expandable Base
Difficult
$$$$
4.7
Thule Hull-a-Port Kayak Carrier
Budget
J-Curved
Moderate
$$$
3.9
TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier
Budget
J-Curved
Easy
$
4.0
ToughSteel 2 Pair 4 Racks Universal Black J Shape Steel
Budget
J-Curved
Easy
$
4.5

 

 

KAYAK ROOF RACKS 101

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST KAYAK ROOF RACK

 

1. 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.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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.

 

perfect must-have for a kayak roof rack

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/oksanaphoto

 

KAYAK ROOF RACK REVIEWS

 

1. BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS FOR OVERALL USE

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 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 SLIPSTREAM XT KAYAK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Shallower kayaks and ones that need to be transported over a long period of time

SHAPE OF CRADLE: Flat

EASE OF INSTALLATION: Moderate

PROS: Stable and low-lying design while being incredibly easy to dismount a kayak from

CONS: Setup can be tricky and may require an alteration on an already racked car

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

2. BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS FOR PROFESSIONAL USE

THULE XSPORTER PR 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

 

 

 

 

3. BEST KAYAK ROOF RACKS FOR BUDGET

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

Best Kayak Roof Rack - Kayaking Tips for Beginners – Best Kayaking Gear and Accessories - Kayaking Ideas – Articles and Posts About Kayaking
0 Shares
Pin
Share
Tweet
Flip