One of the most challenging things about owning a stand up paddle board is transporting it. Since they’re so bulky, it can be impossible to load onto a typical surf rack or into the back of a car. Finding the best SUP roof rack for your car and your lifestyle is one way to make sure you keep using your SUP on a regular basis.
Maybe you own a small sedan without roof racks, or maybe you own a kitted-out SUV with racks. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, there’s a sup roof rack that will work for you.
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’re obsessed with finding the best gear for paddlers. In this guide, you’ll learn what to look for when choosing a SUP roof rack and find all of our favorite roof racks of the year.
For more of our top paddleboarding gear recommendations, check the Best SUP Paddles.
Quick Answer - The Best SUP Roof Racks
- Thule SUP Taxi
- SeaSucker Board Rack
- Yakima ShowDown
- Inno Locking Carrier
- Thule SUP Shuttle
- Curve Soft Rack Lockdown
- Dorsal Deluxe Soft Wrap-Rax
Comparison Table - Best SUP Roof Racks
|Picture||Name||Best Use||Multi-Use||Board Capacity||Price||Rating|
|Thule SUP Taxi||Cross Bar||No||2||$$$||4.4|
|SeaSucker Board Rack||Overall||No||1||$$$||4.8|
|Yakima ShowDown||Cross Bar||Yes||2||$$$||4.6|
|Inno Locking Carrier||Overall||Yes||3||$$||4.6|
|Thule SUP Shuttle||Cross Bar||No||2||$$||4.5|
|Curve Soft Rack Lockdown||Rackless||No||2||$||4.8|
|Dorsal Deluxe Soft Wrap-Rax||Rackless||Yes||1||$||4.5|
|Picture||Name||Best Use||Multi-Use||Board Capacity||Price||Rating|
Reviews - Best Roof Racks for SUPs
Thule SUP Taxi
BEST FOR OWNERS OF CROSS BAR VEHICLES WHO NEED A STURDY RACK THAT CAN LOCK
PROS: Robust locking system, tool free mounting, comes as a complete set, easy system
CONS: Only fits boards up to 34” wide, only fits certain rack systems
SeaSucker Board Rack
BEST FOR OWNERS OF CROSS BAR VEHICLES WHO WANT AN EASY-TO-LOAD RACK
PROS: Can also load kayaks, tilt mechanism makes it easy to load products, installs easily
CONS: High price point, not compatible with all vehicles, bulky
Inno Locking Carrier
BEST FOR OWNERS OF CROSS BAR VEHICLES WANTING A STURDY AND EASY TO USE STAND UP PADDLE BOARD ROOF RACK
PROS: Can handle large boards and kayaks, easy to load and release, mounts to most factory racks, lock system
Thule SUP Shuttle
BEST FOR OWNERS OF CROSS BAR VEHICLES WHO NEED A STURDY AND SECURE RACK
PROS: Corrosion-resistant stainless steel, telescope-style board fit, easy load and lock, straps tuck in
CONS: Needs extra parts to be a complete set
Curve Soft Rack Lockdown
BEST FOR OWNERS OF VEHICLES WITHOUT RACKS WHO NEED A RELIABLE WAY OF TRANSPORTING THEIR BOARDS
PROS: Secure lockdown system, soft padding prevents dings, easy to use, portable
CONS: Might not be sturdy enough for high speeds or long distances, could break waterproofing seal of the window, humming noise
Dorsal Deluxe Soft Wrap-Rax
BEST FOR OWNERS OF VEHICLES WITHOUT ANY RACKS WHO WANT A BUDGET WAY OF TRANSPORTING THEIR BOARD
PROS: Low price point, easy to use, padded, made with strong nylon and polyester
CONS: Not great for long distances, set-up might break waterproof window seal, prone to being loud
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SUP ROOF RACKS
VEHICLE TYPE AND RACK COMPATIBILITY
The most important factor when choosing the best SUP roof rack for you is whether or not it will be compatible with your vehicle. These SUP racks fit onto already existing roof racks, not the roof of the car.
Some racks only work with specific systems. For example, Thule SUP racks work with most Thule crossbar racks and only some other factory racks. In this case, you’d need to check with Thule’s “fit my car” compatibility chart.
You will need to check with each brand to see if your current rack system is compatible with your new racks. Thanks to the variations between roof racks, some SUP racks might only fit with oval bars, while others adjust to fit only flat or circular racks.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a roof rack that can only fit one board if you’re looking to paddleboard with your partner. Though most sup roof racks can carry two boards, some sup roof racks can only safely carry one.
Check that the width of your board is compatible with the width limit of the rack. Most racks can carry boards up to 34″ wide. If you pack your board too tightly into the rack or pack over the rack’s weight capacity, you risk puncturing or pressure dinging your boards.
It’s rare to find a sup roof rack capable of carrying more than two boards. If you want to bring more boards along, consider buying inflatable stand up paddle boards or a tow-trailer.
Some sup roof racks have sturdy lock systems where you can leave your boards in a parking lot or somewhere they might be stolen at ease. Some racks have up to four locks, making it nearly impossible to break into.
Though this might be overkill if you simply drive to the beach and back with your stand up paddle boards, it’s an essential feature for those who like to stop places along the way or plan to go on a road trip with their boards.
Soft rack systems tend to be less secure than hard rack systems, even without the lock. Since the soft racks are typically made with sturdy nylon and polyester, it’s very easy to simply slash the racks and take the boards.
If you have any doubts about leaving your boards vulnerable to thieves, consider spending the extra money and investing in a SUP roof rack that can lock.
Stand up paddle boards are notoriously heavy — often weighing up to 30 pounds or more. If you’re a tall, strong person or if you own a small car, this might not be an issue. But petite people might have a challenging time loading their heavy board onto a tall car. Check that your stand up paddle board can fit into this loading system.
Some SUP roof racks have easy loading systems, where you place the board onto a track that rolls up and into the sup roof rack. This is a great system for children or people nursing an injury. With an easy loading system, you’re less likely to damage your board — and your body.
SOFT VS. HARD
Hard roof racks typically only work with vehicles that already have roof racks installed. Since they are more difficult to install, people tend to leave them on their vehicle. This can lead to lower gas mileage, but they tend to be more sturdy and safer than soft top roof racks.
Soft roof racks are great for people who own vehicles without roof racks, but still want to transport their boards to the water safely.
They’re easily installed and taken down, making them a perfect solution for paddlers who want to both efficiency and ease when it comes to transporting their boards. According to The Standup Journal, if you’re using a soft rack system, you’ll need to use nose and tail lines to keep the board extra secure.