undoubtedbest Best Kayak Roof Rack (kayak carrier) for car Reviews
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Best Kayak Roof Rack (kayak carrier) for car Reviews

Published In Automotive , Outdoors , Sports & Fitness

Having a kayak roof rack or a kayak carrier will enable you to transport your kayak to your chosen water destination safely and conveniently.

In this, we review and some of the best buyer’s guide will help you pick from the many options available in the market.

Recommendations

 

Keys consideration

When buying a kayak roof rack you want something that makes transporting your kayak easy.

But, how do you make your choice when deciding on what to buy? Here are a few important factors to always consider when choosing the best kayak roof rack.

Racks or foam rollers?

If your car has built-in roof racks and bars, you just need to add some foam pads and you go ahead and strap the kayak on top.

If your vehicle does not have this feature, you will need to install roof racks to your car to safely transport your kayak.

Foam roof rack or carriers?

For a cost-effective way of transporting your kayak if you do not have a roof rack, foam roof is the way.

The foam roof is a secure and safe way of hooking your kayak up and easy to use. Also ideal if you intend to transport one kayak at a time. 

If you have multiple kayaks, go for roof racks.

Roof Racks

Does your car have built-in rails? If so just add a rack. They are very secure and you can transport multiple kayaks at a go.

What you need to do is secure your kayak in place and then strap down as required. Some roof racks have built-in locking systems making thins even easier.

One thing to watch out for is the extra height added to your vehicle which can restrict movement in some areas.

Can You Add Rails to Your Car?

Yes, you can but you will need the necessary skills and tools to do it safely otherwise you can go to your mechanic so that they may install it properly.

If you want to drill the rails, please note that there are aftermarket rails that can be installed without drilling/modifying your car.

For rails that have been mounted, you can always get rid of them when not needed.

Door Mount Systems

The rack mounting systems and the roof rail are made in such a way that they clip onto the rain guard of your car or the window lip. 

They are removable and modular but with one disadvantage. Once the rack is mounted you might not be able to open the doors.

The systems are a practical option if your car is without a built-in roof rail.

Using Roof Racks and Rails

Foam pad roof is the easiest to install. All you need to do is put your foam pads on the roof with the flat side down.

Secondly, place the kayak on top of the foam pads, attach your straps to your kayak and then to your car.

Be careful so that you don’t scratch your car.  If you decide to use the roof rail system, you first need to find racks that will fit your rails.

Strap your kayak in place using the straps or better still using the built-in locking systems.

Transporting Multiple Kayaks

If you need to transport one or two kayaks at a time, roof carriers are ideal. And just in case you need to transport multiple ones, you need to add a trailer, a hitch mount or side mount.

With that, you can transport up to five kayaks in one vehicle. Better still, boat trailers have enough space for up to eight kayaks on a single trailer.

Brand Recognition

Go for brands that are specialized, trusted and guarantee quality.

Design

The best kayak rack should transport your kayak on your car safely. Go for a roof rack which has been designed specifically to carry a kayak.

Other roof racks may cause damage to your car. Also, go for a carrier meant for your vehicle without struggling to make it fit.

Also, consider the additional features of the kayak carrier you want to buy. If you want it permanently attached to your roof then it should be good looking.

Look out for folding bars features to enable you to fold the kayak rack down without sticking up from the roof and help you navigate low roof.

If you do not want it permanent, then make sure you go for one that is easy/quick to remove.

Also buy a rack that can handle the size of your kayak, its type and how many kayaks you need to transport.

Price

Best thins will cost you more money and for buying the best kayak will not only require you to spend but mostly on the kayak accessories.

Make a lifetime investment and go for the best. A cheap rack can turn out to be very expensive especially if it causes damages to your vehicles like scratches or dents. Cheap racks are also not long lasting.

Your Car

Your car is a big aspect when deciding the best kayak rack. This is because there are some kayak racks that are compatible with certain vehicles.

Look out for roof racks, in which they can fit your car then make sure that your kayak/kayaks fit. Another point to consider is the number of kayaks you need to transport so that you get the right rack.

Then what size is your kayak/s? Go with a rack which can accommodate the size of the kayak you have. The best option is picking one that is adjustable. Then consider your safety.

You want to feel comfortable while transporting your kayak without worrying about them falling off or damaging your car.

The Towers

Of fundamental to the roof rack are the towers. They bear the weight of the bars, the kayaks and they need to be attached to the strongest part of the roof.

That is why it is important to buy a rack that is compatible with your car. If the towers are placed wrongly, you will be compromising the entire rack.

When looking for towers, go for the ones made from high-quality materials and fasteners.

The Bars

The bars war what holds the kayak/s. More often than not you have four towers and two bars.

The towers usually fit onto the roof of the car, close to each corner of the roof. The bars then sit across the car horizontally.

Look out for bars made of high-quality materials and strong enough to be able to hold the kayak also long enough to stretch from one tower to the other.

The separate bars will make it easy for you to adjust your system.

Most vehicles don’t come with space/room for a kayak and so it is fundamental especially if you are a paddler to have the best kayak roof rack to help you transport your kayak safer and easier.

Some people may reason that you can use a kayak trailer but for some cars, this can be too heavy and expensive.

Having the best kayak roof rack will be less expensive, most ideal for most vehicles and is easier to use.

This will ensure that you will not miss any opportunity that you need to use your kayak any time of the season. Thus making you have fun and enjoy being an owner of a kayak.

There are plenty of kayak roof racks out there, and you should not have any problem finding one, but of importance is finding something reliable, efficient and convenient. It is vital to know the advantage and disadvantages of each carrier before buying one.

The carriers can be basically found in four main categories; temporary Pads, stackers, j-cradles, and saddles (w/rollers).

However, our kayak roof rack reviews and the guide below will make it easier for you to pick one as we explore to give you best options depending on your needs.

01

TMS J-Bar rack HD kayak carrier by TMS

Our Pick

Pros

  • Made with durable steel
  • Universal fit
  • Designed for round bars
  • Easy to assemble and install
  • Very affordable
  • Has adjustable padding for your karak protection
  • Loading and unloading made easy by the wide mouth J bar
  • Extra roof space
  • The quick on and off hardware ensure fast installation/removal
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No clear instructions to follow during assembly.
  • Straps not so good.
Check Price

This is one of the most popular kayak roof carriers. Fairly priced and made to be compatible with almost every car roof style provided it has a crossbar or load bar.

The carrier has a steel design that comes with adjustable four point padding, and can easily/comfortably handle a kayak which is up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs.

Should you need a second rack, there is enough space thanks to the optimized sized J style. The rack is also ideal if you’re a new paddler or don’t paddle often.

Best value racks. Takes a short time to install them and once in place, they hold a 12ft kayak with no problem.

For more about TMS J-Bar rack HD kayak carrier, check out customer reviews on Amazon. If this is what you're looking, Check current price and Buy Now on Amazon

02

Malone auto racks downLoader kayak carrier by Malone Auto Racks

Pros

  • Comes with all the hardware intact
  • Has a built-in fold down system
  • Fold-down technology for extra overhead space
  • Easy to fix
  • Extra padding
  • Lightweight
  • Collapsible carrier
  • Low profile
  • Budget friendly
  • Has load straps with buckle protectors

Cons

With round cross bars it works best thus doesn’t fit on all cars.
Check Price

This is a J style carrier that comes with a built-in boarding ramp to enable you to load and download easily.

Comes also with all the necessary hardware. The built-in system is easy to use. All you have to do is fold it down and you ready to mount your kayak.

No problem trying to fit or park your car underground because the rack can fold downwards and fit properly in the car.

The carrier has extra pudding which is cushioned t protect your kayak. Can handle a 75lbs load capacity.

Has a universal fit mounting hardware making it easy to move/transfer the rack easily without spoiling your car’s paint job.

If you’re interested in reading customer reviews of Malone auto racks downLoader kayak carrier, you should check from Amazon Now. If this is what you're looking, Check current price and Buy Now on Amazon

03

ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 pairs universal kayak canoe by ECOTRIC

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Has extra spaces
  • Easier to load and unload
  • Fast/easy to install and remove
  • Adjustable padding
  • Long lasting hardware
  • All hardware and fastening straps included
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Rack not heavy-duty.
  • Not easy to assemble.
  • Doesn’t work with all crossbars.
Check Price

This is a universal crossbar carrier. Comes with simple to follow instructions making it easy to put together.

Straps are long enough to accommodate a kayak up to 36 inches wide. Includes two pairs; four racks for two kayaks plus 4x straps and a set of mounting hardware which has adjustable padding. Fits two kayaks perfectly.

Quality and affordable racks. Easy to attach to the car-top rack and holds kayaks securely. Excellent for transporting two Kayaks.

For more about ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 pairs universal kayak canoe, check out customer reviews on Amazon. If this is what you're looking, Check current price and Buy Now on Amazon

04

Protek 2 Pair J Shape bar kayak rack by Protek Sports

Pros

  • Made from heavy duty steel
  • Low cost
  • Coated surfaces to resist all weather conditions
  • Durable and stable
  • Has rubber pedal and foam protector
  • Has an indented tubing design
  • For the perfect alignment it has pre-punched holes are
  • quick on/off hardware for fast installation and removal
  • Universal fit on any style of crossbars
  • Rated lashing straps for maximum lock

Cons

Quality not consistent.
Check Price

This carrier is made from thick steel making it very durable. Has a universal fit bar which can fit round to oval shape styles.

Can hold up to 250lbs (two kayaks). The base is made of foam and rubber making is a good pad for your car and the deck of your kayak.

Has some additional benefits like the anti-slip making it is also weather resistant and rust resistant made possible by a glossy paint which is used to coat the bars.

The carrier consumes very little space on the load bar as Kayak is secured on its side. You can mount up to a maximum of four sets of kayak racks on a full-size truck.

This carrier is amazing as it can be mounted to practically all load bars and crossbars.

If you’re interested in reading customer reviews of Protek 2 Pair J Shape bar kayak rack, you should check from Amazon Now. If this is what you're looking, Check current price and Buy Now on Amazon

05

SportRack Adjustable Kayak Rack by SportRack

Pros

  • Good quality
  • Easy to install
  • Fully adjustable foam blocks
  • perfectly priced
  • Very easy to upload and download
  • Two non-skid undersides to protect the vehicle finish
  • Includes two straps to secure the foam and bars
  • Includes stern and bow tie downs to secure kayak

Cons

Straps not too reliable.
Check Price

The rack is very simple and cheap to buy. The foam blocks on this rack is adjustable to hold any width of kayak or stand up paddleboard.

The foam blocks are also lightweight, dense and will accommodate any weight, size, or shape of your kayak you put on them.

This rack is ideal if your car does not have a built-in rack. If you are an occasional kayaker this rack is ideal especially if you need to carry paddleboard or a surfboard.

Best this about this rack is the fully adjustable foam blocks which you can position to accommodate a full range of kayak widths.

For more about SportRack Adjustable Kayak Rack, check out customer reviews on Amazon. If this is what you're looking, Check current price and Buy Now on Amazon

Conclusion

A best kayak roof rack is key to have to ensure the safety and transport of your kayak. This is because you will sure that your kayak is being held firmly until your destination and you will not have to worry about the loading and unloading since the rack will make it easy for you.

With the different styles to choose from our reviews of some of the best in the market should make it easy for you to decide what to go for.

If you are ready to spend and looking for the very best, we recommend TMS J-Bar rack HD kayak carrier. Very easy to install and very strong.

But if you are shopping on a tight budget but still want a reliable carrier, Malone auto racks downLoader kayak carrier is just fine. Covers all the basics handily and can be mounted to nearly all types of cross rails.

It is padded, folds down easily, and has a basic ramp feature to help you load and unload. With this, you do not need to buy a whole system.

Buy Now

01 TMS J-Bar rack HD kayak carrier image large TMS J-Bar rack HD kayak carrier
by TMS
Best value racks. Takes a short time to install them and once in place, they hold a 12ft kayak with no problem. Buy now on Amazon
02 Malone auto racks downLoader kayak carrier image large Malone auto racks downLoader kayak carrier
by Malone Auto Racks
Has a universal fit mounting hardware making it easy to move/transfer the rack easily without spoiling your car’s paint job. Buy now on Amazon
03 ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 pairs universal kayak canoe image large ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 pairs universal kayak canoe
by ECOTRIC
Quality and affordable racks. Easy to attach to the car-top rack and holds kayaks securely. Excellent for transporting two Kayaks. Buy now on Amazon
04 Protek 2 Pair J Shape bar kayak rack image large Protek 2 Pair J Shape bar kayak rack
by Protek Sports
This carrier is amazing as it can be mounted to practically all load bars and crossbars. Buy now on Amazon
05 SportRack Adjustable Kayak Rack image large SportRack Adjustable Kayak Rack
by SportRack
Best this about this rack is the fully adjustable foam blocks which you can position to accommodate a full range of kayak widths. Buy now on Amazon
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