Transporting a kayak by your car can damage the kayak if you don’t tie down the kayak securely and safely in the car and that’s why you need a kayak roof rack that cradles the kayak comfortably by securing it from being displaced and damaged. Most of the people want weekend fun and if you want to have fun by kayaking or kayak fishing, then you should have a pair of kayak racks as transporting a kayak without kayak racks is not a safe way. All of the kayak roof racks are not same in design as there are many manufacturers that invented different style racks that cradle the kayak differently.
In truth, it doesn’t matter what kind of rack you choose, but you have to ensure it cradles the kayak safely and securely even without giving a scratch. I found many different designs, but I picked here only the 9 best kayak roof racks from different models that can carry your kayak with an optimal safety.
Things You May Consider
Durability: No matter which kayak rack you like most, if it is not durable and hasn’t enough capacity to carry your kayak, then your kayak in risk during transport. That’s why if you choose a J style kayak, make sure the frame is made of high quality steel or aluminum and has enough capacity to carry your kayak. Moreover, with checking the material of the rack’s construction also make sure it is corrosion resistant. Because, a non corroded kayak rack longevities its lifetime.
Paddings: The rubber and foam paddings not only help to strongly tie down the kayak, but also it protects the kayak’s hull from any damage and scratch. Because the paddings give a cushioned support on the edge of kayak after tying it down by the straps. Even if you get to drive your car through the rough roads, there won’t have any effect on your kayak.
How Many Kayaks The Rack Can Hold?: Most of the racks are designed to carry one kayak. But there are also racks that can securely hold two kayaks. If you want to enjoy the kayaking with friends or family and need to have two or more kayaks on the spot, then I obviously recommend to choose the racks that can hold double kayaks. But if you only just need to carry one kayak, of course, choose the rack that can carry only one kayak as it is better for you.
Mounting System: Every rack needs to be adjusted with the crossbars. So the shape of the crossbars is a matter and before picking a rack, check out the types of shape of crossbars that the rack supports. Although almost all of the racks of the list can be mounted with, oval, round, square and factory oval crossbars.
Rust Resistant Coat: The racks can come to the contact of saltwater. As an example, if you enjoy the kayaking excursion on saltwater lake and after the excursion time when you put the kayak in the lap of racks, the sweating water can damage the metal based racks unless the racks have the anti corrosion coat, or the materials can resist it essentially. So for your complete trust and keep the rusts out of the barrier, the steel and aluminum have been doing a great job. And that’s why, the aluminum and steel racks are trustworthy to maintain a distance from the rusts.
Understand Your Destination: The designs of the roof racks aren’t equally same and they cradle or hold the kayak in multiple ways while all of the designs isn’t incredibly protective and not good to bring your kayak 100 miles away. If you just use the foam blocks and straps for the transportation of your kayak, better to keep the ways of your targeted destination is limited. But, when you need to bring the kayak 100 miles away or more from your home, the J racks or other models are better to transport a kayak. These racks or carriers also hold a kayak compactly.
10 Best Kayak Roof Racks That Can Hold The Kayak Safely and Securely
No more wait! See here the 10 best roof racks that will hold the kayak safely and securely.
|Kayak Roof Racks||Construction||Style Or Shape||Can Hold?||Our Ratings||Price|
2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier
|Steel||J-Shape Cradles||Single Kayak on Per Set||4.3|
TMS Kayak Carrier-CP5672
|Rubber, Plastic||Cradle Pads||Single Kayak||4.0|
Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Rack
|Aluminum||Folding J Shape Cradles||Single Kayak||4.5|
Malone Folding J-Style Universal Kayak Carrier
|Steel||Folding J Shape Cradles||Single Kayak||4.5|
Folding J-style Kayak Racks
|Steel||Folding J Shape Cradles||Double Kayaks on Two Sets||4.2|
Malone Stax Pro2 Universal Folding Kayak Carrier
|Aluminum||Straight Poles For Stacking The Kayaks||Double Kayaks||4.2|
The Kayak Wing Sea Kayak Rack
|Felt Pads||V Shape Cradles||Single Kayak||4.2|
Attwood Car-Top Kayak Carrier Kit
|Foam, Straps, Buckles||Tying System||Single Kayak||4.2|
ROLA (59912) J Style Kayak Carrier
|Steel||J-Shape Cradles||Single Kayak||4.3|
THULE 898PRO Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift
|Aluminum||J-Shape Cradles||Single Kayak||4.7|
1)2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier
These J-bar racks are made of steel and coated with rust resistant material. These racks are virtually fitted with all crossbars and load bars that are round, oval or square. Such a design of the racks simplifies the loading and unloading while the paddings on the bars allow you to tie down the kayak safely with extra strength. The racks accommodate two kayaks to safely tie down when every pair of racks can hold the kayak that is 36” wide and 75 lbs weight. Moreover, these J bars can be installed and uninstalled easily on the load or crossbar. The straps also included with the bars that will strongly tie down every kayak.
What We Like:
- It includes strong hardwares what ensure the natural angles of the carrier don’t degrade to lower when you cradle the kayaks and tie down ruggedly to transport them in the bumpy or unpaved roads by your car.
- The frames of the carriers have been covered with paddings on where the edges of the kayaks would contact. These paddings save your kayak from bumps and scratches.
- The carriers attach virtually to any crossbar and load bars, so they won’t conflict to be attached with your vehicles.
- Straps included to ultimately secure the kayak over the roof of your vehicle.
2)TMS Kayak Carrier-CP5672
The TMS Kayak Carrier CP5672 almost fits with the most cross bars. With these roof racks you don’t have to think about the kayak’s width as you can easily fix them with the width of kayak by repositioning them on the crossbars. At the center of every carrier has the rubber pad that cradles the kayak safely and don’t make any scratch on the kayak’s hull. It also offers specially designed straps that help to adjust the kayak safely. Moreover, the attaches and detaches on the crossbars also easy and can be done in less than minutes.
What We Like:
- The carriers are capable to accommodate any wideness of either the fat or slim kayak. Because after adjusting the carriers into the crossbar you can lengthen or shorten the distance between two carriers. So just know the width of your kayak and set an accurate distance between the carriers and place the kayak over the lap.
- Rubber carriers are soft and have supportive pads to strongly accommodate the kayak and absorb the vibrations.
- Specific straps included to tie the vessels ergonomically.
3)Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Rack
The handy and innovative Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Rack cradles the kayaks safely while it can also hold two kayaks if you set the kayaks vertically. These highly regarded racks are durable and composed with rubber paddings to save your kayak from scratches. You can gently fold these racks when they are not in use. If you use Yakima bars with the racks, then you can enjoy an easier tool free installation. But these racks also compatible with other round and square crossbars, so don’t worry about the installation. You can easily tie down the kayak with included heavy duty straps while the integrated ramp allows you to easily load the boat.
What We Like:
- All of the racks don’t fold down and as the reason either they stay awake on the roof after your trip or you need to remove them. But the foldable racks don’t like that. They can be folded down after removing the kayaks from them. So after every trip, you don’t need any removal, you just fold them down and these racks are like that.
- Not one, even the racks can hold two kayaks if you use vertical adjustment.
- Specific paddings on the contact point to decrease the vibrations and tighten the adjustment.
- All required straps included.
4)Malone Folding J-Style Universal Kayak Carrier
These foldable J cradles offer some great features to fairly carry your kayak onto the spot. The non corroded steel racks are durable and will not be corroded if they get wet by the salt water( that can happen likely after accomplish the kayaking time in salt water). The carrier has built in ramping system that lets you to load the kayak easily. On the other hand the oversized paddings protect the kayak from any damage during transport. Moreover, the JAWZ mounting system perfectly adjusts the carriers with round, square and oval rails while it also includes all necessary hardwares for a hassle free mounting.
What We Like:
- After fishing or kayaking in the saltwater, you can place the kayak in the lap of the carriers without worrying that the saltwater would degrade the frames. Because the steel racks repellent the saltwater damage.
- Foldable, so just fold them modestly when they aren’t cradling the kayaks.
- Oversized paddings ensure the maximum coverage for all crucial contact points.
- Fits to almost any round, square and oval crossbars.
5)Folding J-style Kayak Racks
These J-style kayak racks ensure what you ultimately want to securely tie down your kayaks on the roof racks. The racks are foldable, so keep them in gentle mood when they are not in use. On the other hand, the J-style makes the loading and unloading easier while the racks accept any kayak that is 3 inches wider and weighs up to 100 pounds. They provide all hardware what you need to mount the racks on the crossbars and additionally the two different sets of curved and straight mounting plates let you to strongly mount the racks with different shapes of crossbars.
What We Like:
- Two sets of carriers at least can accommodate two vessels. So whenever you plan for a family kayaking tour, these carriers allow you to portage the necessary vessels at the same time.
- The knobs look bigger than other conventional knobs. So no complication on tightening or loosening during adjustment.
- Additional mounting plates to ensure that the carriers modestly mount to the multiple shape of the crossbars.
- Foldable to hide their appearance when they are out of their specific tasks.
6)Malone Stax Pro2 Universal Folding Kayak Carrier
If you want to enjoy the kayaking with your friends or family, then you would require to carry two or more kayaks at a time. These folding kayak carriers are designed to carry two kayaks or boats at the same time. The octagonal aluminum posts are extremely durable while it uses injection molded nylon platforms that offer extraordinary stability. On the other hand, the JAWZ mounting system offers a tool free mounting with round, square and factory oval cross bars. So you don’t have to additionally think about the shape of crossbars. Furthermore, the foam stacker blocks (that can be adjusted with the crossbars) also hold the kayak safely after tying down.
What We Like:
- The sticks are aluminum, so they can survive under incredible pressure while these sticks can maintain two kayaks vertically.
- Injection molded nylon hardwares on the base to conquer high end stability.
- Foam blocks on where the edges of kayaks come to be connected.
- The base is compatible with different crossbars.
7)The Kayak Wing Sea Kayak Rack
The Kayak Wing Sea Kayak Rack is one of the innovative and stylish kayak carrier that I have ever seen. These racks are greatly fitted with any V shape hull and after laying down the kayak on it you can use the straps for safely tying. The manufacturer recommends the kayaks to carry that are 30” wide while you can install these carriers without any tools. These carriers are also designed with soft paddings that prevent hull damage and furthermore, these universal carriers can be mounted with different shaped and styled crossbars like factory installed racks, Thule and Yakima.
What We Like:
- Compact designs like the wings of the birds. In the lap of them you can modestly leave your kayak to be cradled. Although the tying is required.
- Great for under 30” wide kayaks.
- The installation can be done without any experience.
- Special coats in the lap to prevent damage.
8)Attwood Car-Top Kayak Carrier Kit
The kit includes two supporting foam blocks and straps with buckle and clips. Just place your kayak horizontally on the roof of your car and use the foam block to save both roof and kayak from damaging. After placing the kayak use the roof and straps to tie down the kayak with bumpers and the inside of car doors. The sturdy straps are vinyl coated, so they won’t scratch the exterior of the car. On the other hand, the buckles of the straps also help you to properly tight down the kayak as if it doesn’t displace.
What We Like:
- Just place the blocks over the roof on the decent distance and set up your kayak horizontally to tie by the straps.
- Multiple straps to tie the kayak from various angles.
- The straps won’t scratch the vehicles.
- Buckles to fine and tune and tighten up.
9)ROLA (59912) J Style Kayak Carrier
No matter what type of kayak you use these J style kayak carriers from Rola will provide the unchangeable service during years after years. The corrosion resistant material and durable construction with steel ensure a great capacity while it’s no matter whether you are kayaking in saltwater or freshwater, the carrier won’t be damaged or corroded by the effect of water. As well, the foam pads cradle the kayak smoothly and protect it from any damaging. Furthermore, the universal mounting hardware also greatly works with Rola and many other crossbars.
What We Like:
- Strong steel carriers that hold the kayak in its lap securely while the paddings not only stick the kayaks, but also it maintains a distance to compress the power of bumps.
- Ergonomically coated for slickness and preventing the degradation of the rusts.
- Simply accommodates multiple crossbars.
- It includes other kits to tie your vessel perfectly.
10) THULE 898PRO Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift
The THULE 898PRO is one of the expensive kayak racks. The process it uses to accommodate a kayak, that entirely a hassle free and secured method. The distance between the carriers can be lengthened up to 36”, that means it is even able to hold the maximum width of a kayak. It gives waist level loading, that means you can slide down the carrier three or four feet down from the roof and after loading the kayak into the carrier, you can slide up the carrier to the roof. When you want to unload, just slide down the kayak to the side of the vehicle and unload it in less than a minute.
What We Like:
- The complete corrosion resistant structure can keep safe this expensive rack from corrosion.
- Waist level loading and unloading won’t sweat you when you release or engage the kayak into the carrier.
- Maximum wideness accommodation ensures any kayak can cradle into the lap of it.
- Protective paddings keep the hull protected.
If you don’t use a great kayak rack to transport your kayak onto the spot, then there can have the chances to get it damaged. Because if you unsecurely put a kayak into the back of your car or truck, then you can’t give any guarantee that the kayak’s hull won’t be damaged during transport. Moreover, the space on the back of the car wouldn’t be enough to hold a kayak. That’s why you should mount a kayak rack onto the roof of your car, because it has all the things that can safely carry your kayak anywhere you want.