The 10 Best Kayak Roof Racks in 2020

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A kayak is one of the most versatile types of personal watercraft. Some use their kayak for fishing, some use it for extreme sports like whitewater rafting, and some use it to just relax and enjoy the outdoors. With the right gear, a kayak is totally safe and can even be used in calm waters by children with no training required.

All of these factors make kayaks ideal for anyone who is ready to explore the outdoors. However, any boat is useless if you can’t get it to the water. Thankfully, there are lots of great roof racks that can make transporting your kayak a breeze no matter where your adventures take you. To make the job of searching for the right product easier and separate the best kayak roof racks from the rest, we’ve looked at the best kayak roof racks available in 2020.

Contents

The Different Types of Kayak Roof Racks

There are lots of ways to transport a kayak. You should choose the correct type of roof rack based on your vehicle, the number of boats you want to transport at once, and how much you are able to lift. Here are a few of the common types of kayak roof racks.

  • Crossbar Roof Rack. The most basic kind of roof rack, a crossbar style rack can be installed at the factory or added as an aftermarket option. J-Style and stacker roof racks generally must attach to an existing crossbar.
  • J-Style Roof Rack. The most popular style for transporting personal watercraft, a J-style roof rack sits at an angle for easy loading and unloading.
  • Stacker Roof Rack. Stacker roof racks allow multiple kayaks to be transported at the same time. Some models we reviewed can even transport up to four kayaks at once.
  • Inflatable Roof Rack. An inflatable roof rack is a great option for vehicles that normally would not be able to transport your kayak. Unfortunately, these are not ideal for most people in the long term because they must be removed from the vehicle whenever not in use.

Factors to Consider in a Good Kayak Roof Rack

Many new kayak owners are surprised to learn that they have so many options when it comes to hauling their boat to the next adventure. It’s important to take a few minutes now to learn about all the features available. Choosing the right kayak roof rack can make a huge difference in how much you end up enjoying your new investment. Here is what we looked at when determining our favorites.

  • Vehicle Requirements: In order to be safe and avoid damage to your kayak and vehicle, make sure to pick a roof rack that is compatible with your car, truck, or SUV.
  • Maximum Load Capacity: Especially for carrying heavier kayaks like the ones used for fishing or in the ocean, it’s important to make sure you do not exceed the weight limit of your kayak roof rack.
  • Ease of Install: Some of the roof racks we reviewed can be attached to a vehicle more easily than others. We’ll let you know how easy each option is to install. There are also lots of online resources available to help you install a roof rack if your car doesn’t have one and you don’t want to use a lightweight kayak rack that doesn’t require one.
  • Loading and Unloading: Every adventure with your kayak starts with unloading it from your roof rack and ends when you load it back up. We’ll let you know which roof racks make this part of your trip easier.
  • Performance: When we’re evaluating the performance of a kayak roof rack, we look at how securely the rack keeps a kayak in place and how it affects vehicle performance while in use.
  • Alternate Uses: Many of the roof racks that made out list are useful for more than just carrying kayaks. We’ll let you know which options give you the most bang for your buck.

The Best Kayak Roof Rack 2020

1. Best Overall Kayak Roof Rack: Malone SeaWing Saddle Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier

Why we like it: The unique mounting design of this roof rack allows your kayak to sit with the seat facing upwards while on top of your vehicle. This is a particularly good way to carry kayaks that are very long.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 27” (W) x 5” (H) x 6” (D)
Maximum Load Capacity: 70 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: The included mounting hardware fits most factory installed cross-rails.

With a low profile design that you won’t ruin the look of your car when not in use, the Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier features a unique v-shaped design that allows two kayaks to sit directly in on your vehicle’s roof. Securing the kayak is fast and easy thanks to the included tightening straps on each mount.

Ease of Install

Installing the Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier is not difficult, but it can take about 30 minutes to complete.

Loading and Unloading

Unlike other roof racks where the kayaks lay on their sides while in transport. The Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier requires that your kayak is laid on its bottom. This means that it needs to be lifted a little bit higher, but is easier to position. This makes it a good choice for taller users, but depending on the height of your vehicle, it may be too high for some users to load comfortably.

Performance

The sturdy and aerodynamic way that kayaks sit on this roof mount makes it one of the best performing roof racks we reviewed. There is a noticeable decrease in gas mileage when using this roof rack as well. The corrosion-resistant material holds up well after heavy use.

Alternate Uses

Unfortunately, while this mount is excellent for transporting kayaks, the unique design means it is not good for transporting many other types of gear.

Value

The Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier is priced lower than many of the alternatives on the list, but only carries kayaks. This makes it a great value if you are buying a roof rack only to hold kayaks.

Pros
  • Easy to setup
  • Aerodynamic design improves gas mileage
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Good price
Cons
  • Not useful for moving other gear
  • Might be difficult for shorter individuals to use

2. Best Premium Kayak Roof Rack: Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack

Why we like it: The universal mount and included load straps make this kayak roof rack easy to install and load. This roof rack is able to hold two kayaks simultaneously and folds neatly when not in use.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 20” (L) x 10.5” (W) x 5.5” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 75 – 130 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: Fits Thule rack systems and most factory-installed racks and crossbars up to 80mm wide.

Our favorite premium option, the Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack can be configured as a J-style kayak mount to carry a single kayak and quickly converts into a stacker style rack for transporting two kayaks together. We were impressed by the soft and durable padding that is guaranteed to protect your kayak.

Ease of Install

Especially when used in conjunction with a rooftop rack mount made by Thule, this kayak rack installs quickly and can be set up in just a few minutes. It also installs easily on most factory-installed and aftermarket crossbars.

Loading and Unloading

The load straps included with this roof rack are some of the best we tested, making it effortless to secure the kayak in place once you have placed it in the cradle. Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack sits back a little further than most of the other roof racks we reviewed, so it does require the kayak to be lifted higher.

Performance

Once loaded, you can be sure that your kayak will remain securely in place in this roof rack. We were also impressed with the latch that allows the kayak rack to fold up neatly when not carrying the kayak.

Alternate Uses

The Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack can not be used to transport any gear other than a kayak.

Value

The Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack is more expensive than most of the other options we reviewed. We believe the price is justified given the quality of this product and the features included, but we wish that it could be used to transport more kinds of gear.

Pros
  • Folds up neatly when not in use
  • Installs quickly and easily in compatible vehicles
  • Includes convenient load straps
Cons
  • More expensive than most other options
  • Can only be used to transport kayaks

3. Best Budget Kayak Roof Rack: AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Rack

Why we like it: Made from high-quality materials and available at an excellent price, the J-Bar Kayak Rack from AA-Racks features custom-designed bolts for easy installation and superior security.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 21.25” (L) x 8” (W) x 19.5” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 150 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: The vehicle must have a crossbar or a load-bearing bar in order to install this roof rack.

Offering a lot of strength at an impressively low price, the AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Rack has a hefty weight capacity of 150 pounds for carrying your kayak or other outdoor gear. Made from lightweight steel, kayak owners can trust this rack to keep their gear secure and free from tents and scratches.

Ease of Install

The unique bolt design makes it easy to secure this set of J-bar mounts to any vehicle with a crossbar on the roof. Installing this roof rack takes 20-30 minutes. Unfortunately, these bolts are prone to stripping if not tightened securely.

Loading and Unloading

Once installed, loading and unloading your kayak from this roof rack is easier than most other options we reviewed. The mounts are configured in an outward-facing manner that makes it easy to lift the gear into place.

Performance

The wide mouth of this kayak roof rack allows your kayak to remain securely in place while you drive without allowing it to move during transport. The high-quality foam padding protects both your kayak and your vehicle while on the road.

Alternate Uses

While the J shaped mount is ideal for carrying a kayak, it’s also great for transporting snowboards, paddleboards, canoes, and other outdoor gear.

Value

At under $50, the AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Rack is a great choice for drivers with a load-bearing crossbar on their vehicles. Especially since this rack offers such a high maximum weight limit, we consider it a bargain.

Pros
  • Made from high-quality lightweight steel
  • 150-pound weight limit
  • Features custom-designed bolts that make installation easier
Cons
  • Unique bolt design can be stripped if not kept tight

4. Best Kayak Roof Rack For Solo Loading: Thule Hullavator 898 Pro

Why we like it: A total lifesaver for solo adventurers, the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro features gas struts that make it easy to load and unload a kayak without having to lift it above your waist.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 6.4” (L) x 16.6” (W) x 33.8” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 75 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: For use only with the Thule Square Bar (which also requires a fit kit) or the Thule Aeroblade Crossbar roof racks.

Unlike any other kayak roof rack we looked at, the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro helps lift your kayak from the side of your vehicle to the roof and supports 40 pounds of your vessel’s weight while being lifted. Unlike other roof racks that require the kayak to be lifted above the vehicle, this rack unhinges to accept the kayak at waist level. That makes it possible for just about anyone to load a kayak into this rack all by themselves.

Ease of Install

The Thule Hullavator 898 Pro is very easy to install on a compatible Thule crossbar. Unfortunately, however, this roof rack does not work on factory-installed crossbars.

Loading and Unloading

When it comes to loading and unloading, the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro is in a class all of its own. Watch along: thanks to the unique design and lift assist, kayaks can effortlessly be secured or removed from this roof rack in under a minute.

Performance

Once loaded, the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro keeps your kayak securely in place while you drive. The only drawback compared to some alternatives we reviewed is that this rack only has space for a single kayak.

Alternate Uses

Because of the unique design, the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro can only be used to transport kayaks.

Value

Because the capabilities of the Thule Hullavator 898 Pro are far greater than any other alternative we reviewed, it is only logical that the price is much higher. This roof rack costs more than 4 times the amount of some of the other racks we reviewed. After seeing how easy this product makes loading a kayak onto your vehicle, we think it’s worth every penny.

Pros
  • Best roof rack for solo kayakers
  • Only requires the kayak to be lifted to waist level
  • Quick and easy to install
Cons
  • Only works when using certain Thule crossbars
  • High price point

5. Best Low-Profile Kayak Roof Rack: Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack

Why we like it: It folds down when not in use and very easy to setup

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 6.69” (L) x 6” (W) x 20” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: Holds one kayak at 80 lbs maximum capacity, two kayaks at 110 lbs maximum capacity
Vehicle Requirements: Compatible with most vehicle crossbars with a spread of at least 24”.

The Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack is also another popular choice among kayak enthusiasts. It is guaranteed to be sturdy and can transport your kayak without you having to worry about damage to your kayak or your vehicle. One of the best features of the Yakima Jay-Low is that it is easy to install without having to use any tools.

Ease of Install

This is one of the easiest to install kayak roof racks we reviewed. Compatible with almost any vehicle crossbar configuration, all necessary hardware for installation is included with your purchase. We appreciated that no tools are required to install the roof rack.

Loading and Unloading

With two adjustable positions, the Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack can be used to carry one or two kayaks at a time. Because the rack sits near the center of the roof, it can be very difficult to load a kayak into this roof rack by yourself.

Performance

Thanks to the extra padded contact points, you can be sure that your kayak and your vehicle will arrive safe and sound, even when the ride is bumpy. We are also impressed by how flat this rack lies when folded down. You’ll hardly even notice it.

Alternate Uses

Thanks to the hefty weight limit, the Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack is ideal for fishing, ocean, and other heavy-duty kayaks. Unfortunately, however, the roof rack is not suitable for any other kinds of watercraft.

Value

The Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack is one of the more expensive kayak roof racks we reviewed. We still think it’s a great value thanks to the quality construction and solid performance.

Pros
  • Can hold one or two kayaks at a time
  • Keeps a very slim profile when not in use
  • No tools required for installation
Cons
  • Hard for one person to load

6. Best Kayak Roof Rack With Oversized Padding: Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier

Why we like it: Ideal for fragile kayaks or particularly bumpy roads, the extra padding on the Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier will make sure your vessel arrives in perfect condition.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 17” (L) x 6” (W) x 19.5” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 75 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: Compatible with all factory round, square, and oval cross rails.

Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier is a built-in fold-down system that can hold one or two kayaks. This roof rack can carry up to 70 to 80 lbs and is made of solid aluminum and nylon. The boarding ramps make it easy to load your kayak without hurting your back. These are a few of the reasons we believe this kayak roof rack is a great choice for families headed for adventure.

Ease of Install

Larger and heavier than most of the alternatives we reviewed, the Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier can be trickier to install than some other roof racks. Thankfully, all the hardware needed to install comes included with the package.

Loading and Unloading

The boarding ramp on the side of the Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier allows you to easily slide your kayak into place without having to lift it as high as other alternatives. This feature helps more with loading than it does with unloading.

Performance

Thanks to the JAWZ mounting hardware and cam style load straps, this kayak roof rack keeps firmly in place while driving.

Alternate Uses

The wide lip of this J-bar style roof rack is large enough to accommodate surfboards and other gear, but they will not fit as snugly in place as a kayak.

Value

The Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier features high-quality construction and advanced features at a reasonable price.

Pros
  • Less expensive than comparable roof racks
  • High-quality padding keeps your gear and vehicle from being damaged
  • Made from solid aluminum and nylon
  • Compatible with many vehicles
Cons
  • Tricky to install

7. Best Crossbar Kayak Rack: CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set

Why we like it: A versatile and affordable rooftop mount that easily attaches to existing rooftop side rails. The heavy-duty clamping mechanism makes sure your kayak and other gear stays safely in place.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 3” (L) x 52.5” (W) x 5.75” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 150 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: Vehicle must be equipped with raised side rails on the roof.

Even though each bar weighs only about 4 pounds, the CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set is capable of holding up to 150 pounds of gear. The innovative clamps adjust quickly and easily to attach to rails of any size. We also like that this model features a lock and key that keeps your gear and this rack firmly in place while driving or while parked.

Ease of Install

One of the fastest-installing kayak roof racks we reviewed, the CargoLoc Roof Top Cross Bar set quickly adjusts between 46 and 52 inches to fit a wide variety of vehicles. Thanks to the securely locking clamps, it takes less than 5 minutes to install this roof rack.

Loading and Unloading

While creative adventurers have a wide variety of options for loading their kayaks onto this roof rack, the CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set works best when combined with a J-bar style kayak roof rack.

Performance

We were impressed by how well the CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set performs and how well the clamps keep their strength over time.

Alternate Uses

In addition to being a secure way to affix a kayak to your vehicle’s roof, the CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set can accept a wide variety of additional attachments to carry all kinds of gear. This roof rack can also be used to carry bikes, surfboards, skis, and more.

Price

Thanks to the very low price, the CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set is a no-brainer for owners of vehicles that have raised side rails on the roof.

Pros
  • 150-pound weight limit
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Can be used to transport a wide variety of equipment
Cons
  • Requires additional J-bar style mount for best kayak transport
  • Can only be used in vehicles with raised side rails with a gap underneath

8. Best Kayak Rack For Pickup Trucks: Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack for Truck

Why we like it: Transporting a kayak using a pickup truck can be tricky. This impressive rack from Thule makes it easy.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 73” (L) x 16” (W) x 5” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 450 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: This kayak rack can be used with most pickup trucks.

Made to sit in the back of a pickup truck, the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack features an adjustable bar that makes loading and transporting a kayak on a pickup truck easy. Made from solid aluminum, the design is aerodynamic and made to redirect airflow and save gas while not in use.

Ease of Install

The included secure locking mechanism keeps the rack attached to the truck and requires a key to remove. There is only limited assembly required and installation does not require any drilling or cutting.

Loading and Unloading

Our favorite feature of the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack is that the bar lowers when needed in order to load your kayak without having to lift it too high. Loading using this rack requires less strength than most rooftop racks on sport utility vehicles.

Performance

Thanks to the airstrip technology integrated into the bar, the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack does not create additional drag when attached without a kayak. We were impressed by the massive 450-pound weight capacity, more than enough to handle any kayak and most other marine equipment.

Alternate Uses

Thanks to the large weight limit and variable height, the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack is suitable for carrying all kinds of aquatic gear including canoes, surfboards, and more.

Value

Unfortunately, like most truck accessories, the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack is much more expensive than it’s SUV counterparts. Thankfully the added versatility makes the price worthwhile.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Lots of additional uses
  • Easy to load and unload
  • Massive weight limit
Cons
  • High price point

9. Best Stacker Kayak Roof Rack: Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier

Why we like it: Thanks to the space-saving stacker design, the Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier can carry four kayaks at the same time.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 21.2” (L) x 5.8” (W) x 5.5” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 75 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: This roof rack can be installed on most factory installed crossbars. It works particularly well with the Thule AeroBlade and SquareBar rooftop crossbars.

The Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier only carries kayaks, but it sure carries a lot of them! The ultra-thin design allows four kayaks to be loaded simultaneously on the same vehicle rooftop. The tall brackets are able to fold down when not in use.

Ease of Install

The Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier comes with easy-to-use hardware that allows for quick installation as well as removal. This roof rack is easy to install on every kind of rooftop cargo crossbar.

Loading and Unloading

The vertical design of the Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier makes it a little trickier to load than other kayak roof racks we looked at. The set only comes with straps and tie-downs for one kayak, so you will need to buy additional sets of straps for each extra kayak you want to carry.

Performance

While the vertical design is not the most aerodynamic or convenient, it is what makes it possible for the Thule Stacker to carry four kayaks on the same vehicle at the same time.

Alternate Uses

The Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier can only be used to transport kayaks.

Value

Less expensive than many other options we looked at, the Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier is a no-brainer for families who need to bring 4 kayaks along with them.

Pros
  • Transports four kayaks at once
  • Good value
  • Quick installation and removal
Cons
  • Can be frustrating to load and unload

10. Best Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack: Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack

Why we like it: Perfect for leisure kayakers who don’t want a permanent roof rack, the Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack fits just about any car or SUV.

Editor’s Rating:

Size: 14.6” (L) x 7.4” (W) x 5.7” (H)
Maximum Load Capacity: 175 lbs
Vehicle Requirements: This inflatable roof rack can be installed in an SUV or car that has a hardtop and does not have curtain airbags.

Unlike a permanent roof rack, inflatable kayak roof racks must be removed when not in use. This rack has the least stringent vehicle requirements of any kayak roof rack we looked at and is one of the few options that you have for transporting your kayak using a sedan or smaller car. Even with this additional capacity, the 175-pound weight limit is sturdier than most other options.

Ease of Install

While the Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack is easy to install, the real pain is that it needs to be removed and reattached every time you want to use it. If you will be transporting a kayak regularly and you have a suitable vehicle, we highly recommend a more permanent installation.

Loading and Unloading

Because the HandiRack requires your kayak to sit in the middle of the roof of your car, it can be difficult to load and unload when used on a tall vehicle. This is another reason that SUV owners should probably avoid this kind of roof rack.

Performance

For kayakers looking to haul their gear using a smaller vehicle, this inflatable roof rack is a great option that is sure to help you and your gear arrive safely. Unfortunately, there is only room for one kayak at a time.

Alternate Uses

Because of the high weight limit and versatile straps, this roof rack is suitable for carrying all kinds of gear including skis, surfboards, and more.

Price

At under $100, the Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack is an absolute steal for adventurers who own a smaller vehicle.

Pros
  • One of the few options for smaller vehicles
  • Easy to install
  • Large maximum weight limit
Cons
  • Must be removed when not in use
  • Can fit only 1 kayak

Guide to Buying the Best Kayak Roof Rack

How important are kayak roof racks?

It is easy to be worried about kayaks not being strapped securely on the roof of your car. Not only it will damage your car but it can cause huge accidents to those in the road. You may resort to buying ropes and locks, but they don’t always do the trick. Strapping it with ropes can only damage both your car and your kayak.

If you are a kayak owner, the most important equipment you need to transport your kayak is a proper kayak roof rac. These are specially made to secure your kayak on the roof of your car with sturdy and durable materials, so you won’t have to worry about accidents along the way.

Choosing Your Kayak Roof Rack

Did you have difficulty choosing a kayak? Choosing and purchasing your kayak roof rack can be just as tough. There are a lot of factors to consider like the type of car, number of kayaks, the distance you are going to travel, and a lot more.

The type of car roof that you have

There is various type of car roofs so the type of roof racks to use may vary as well. It would help to check in the dimension first and compatibility guide to help you narrow down your choices.

Below are the typical type of roof that your car or SUV might have:

  • Naked Roof: This means that there are no previous bars attached to it. If your car lacks any rack at all, the Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack will be by far the easiest kayak roof rack for you to install.
  • Factory Racks: These are the two bars neatly attached to your car or SUV roof. This is the most common type of rack that kayak racks are compatible with, so many options, including our top overall pick will work here.
  • Factory Crossbars: If your car is equipped with crossbars rather than a rack, you’ll have slightly fewer options. That being said, the excellent CargoLoc 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set and the affordable AA-Racks J-Bar Kayak Rack are both high-quality crossbar-compatible kayak roof racks.
  • Kayak Truck Racks: Most roof racks are designed for cars or SUVs. They have specific functions and features all to keep kayak securely fasten in the roof of the car and to keep the car damage free. But if you have a truck, you’ll need a totally different style of rack—and the Thule Xporter Pro Aluminum Kayak Rack is our runaway pick for the best truck kayak rack.

There are various types of kayak roof racks, each of which is perfect for some but less optimal for others.

  • Temporary Racks: The Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack and other roof racks of this type are best for short trips and those who don’t need to move or transport their kayak frequently. They can be relatively cheap and great for moving single kayak as long as you live near your kayak place.
  • Saddles (w/ Rollers): Saddle roof racks like the Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier extend from the base rack to the bottom of the kayak as a single cradle or two separate pieces that can be adjusted to fit the width of the boat. They securely strap the kayak in place so long-distance travel and other factors like winds or road roughness won’t really affect the kayak’s position.
  • J-Cradles: J-cradles are the preferred roof racks by many because they are very stable and can securely strap a kayak in place regardless of the situation. They are very convenient to use and you can load the kayak to the side, making the process fast and easy. If you’re looking for a J-cradle rack, the Yakima JayLow Folding J-Cradle Rooftop Kayak Rack is worth considering.
  • Stackers: Stackers like the Thule 830 Stacker Kayak Carrier allow you to load your kayak in an upright position which is space-savvy for some. These are generally secured, easy to install, and a totally inexpensive option. It will even allow you to stack more than two kayaks at once.

Distance

If you are going to drive for a longer distance, it is best to consider a roof rack that will keep your kayaks more secure. It is best to check on features as well and know what type won’t bring damage to your car roof in the long run. Something like the Thule Hull-A-Port Xt Kayak Rack is perfect for extended use and long-distance trips.

When driving, however, you should take extra precautions to ensure that all kayaks stay in place and to avoid accidents. It might help to drive slower as usual because of the weight you are carrying.

Material

Your roof rack is going to hold an expensive kayak to an expensive car, so it’s important to choose one that’s durable and safe. If you plan to get a lot of use out of your rack, choose products made of aluminum or steel like the Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier. If you’re more likely to only use your rack a couple of times a year, something lightweight like the Malone HandiRack Inflatable Universal Roof Top Rack might be preferable.

Transporting Multiple Kayaks

Many of the roof racks available in the market are designed to transport 1 to 2 kayaks. When you want to transport more than 2, check out with brand and product information on how many kayaks a certain roof rack can transport and up to what weight limit it can accommodate. Apart from that, you have to check on other equipment such as additional straps, ropes, fasteners, and lock to securely hold multiple kayaks in place. If you regularly plan to transport more than one kayak, you would be well served by the Thule 830 Stacker KayakCarrier.

Conclusion

Whenever you buy a kayak, it is very important to consider how you are going to transport it. More than the brand, the style, and the features, a good roof rack need to be very sturdy. It will be attached to your car or truck and it will hold a heavy piece of equipment. Safety is a top priority, so be sure that you choose a product on this list that is compatible with both your vehicle and your kayaks so that you can get to the water with safety and easy.