Best Kayak Rack for Truck in 2020

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Updated on

Every kayaking enthusiast enjoys taking along their boat out on water trips whenever the weather isn’t bad. Those who don’t live near the sea, lake or river are highly disadvantaged. This is because they have to transport their kayaks, and without the correct transporting method, kayakers will face challenges.

The popular method of transporting a kayak in the past was by a trailer. But with the arrival of racks for the truck in the market, the use of the trailer is fading. This is because using a trailer can be uncomfortable, especially for the first-timers. Also, trailers are expensive to maintain and require much storage space. On the other hand, kayaks need no maintenance, occupy little space, and quite more comfortable to install.

Moreover, they are inexpensive, with no driving hassle. For you to use a rack for your truck the correct way, you should install a roof rack. The roof rack will not only protect the roof but as well make your rack installation quite more comfortable and quicker.

If you are looking forward to buying one for yourself, you will notice that there are numerous design choices available at the market. Some are meant to keep the boat tilted, while others to keep it straight. Most of them are constructed from durable materials, but it is essential to weigh durability with other features, such as safety, stability, and ease of installation. To assist you have informed decisions, we have chosen and reviewed the best six kayak rack available on the market. Read and pick the one that is compatible with your car. 

Factors to Consider for the Best Kayak Rack for Trucks – Buyer’s Guide

Here are the things that you should put in mind when shopping for a kayak rack for trucks:

Rack types

For easy understanding, we will break your choices into three main categories, that is roof-mounted racks, lumber-style rack, and bed extenders.

  • Roof-mounted racks

Roof-mounted racks are frequently the easiest to install and eliminate when you don’t require them. Due to that, they are an excellent option for the casual kayaker that rarely goes out.

Roof-mounted racks need existing factory racks or crossbars. If at all your vehicle lack a factory rack or crossbars to which you can attach this type of frame, then you will have to make the extra investment to come up with products like the leader accessories rack work or kayak wing.

  • Lumber-style Racks

If you need a more permanent kayak rack solution, then this is the one. Lumber-style racks mount to the sides of your truck bed, to offer a raised structure that can support kayak, paddleboards, canoes, and more.

If you desire to take your kayak out often throughout the month, this can be the best rack solution. The lumber-style does not need further adjustments or tightening once it’s in the right position. With it, you will be able to keep your kayaks regularly, provided you strap them down tightly. This style of rack is not only great for transporting kayak but also lumber, long PVC piping, ladders, and much more.

  • Bed Extenders

If you need to minimize injury risk, then bed extenders are the best option for you. With it, you can slide your kayak into the truck’s bed and secure it, hence no need to lift it above your head to ensure it on top of your vehicle.

Unlike other rack styles, this one is quite easier to install, and most are designed to fit a standard, two-inch receiver hitch. So, if you don’t need them, you can easily remove and store them behind the back seat of your truck.

Weight capacity

Weight capacity is a vital consideration since before deciding anything; you have to ensure that the rack you select can support the weight of your kayaks. So, it’s necessary to weigh your kayaks before you choose a kayak rack. In doing so, you will get yourself a product with plenty of space that can hold at least 100 pounds.

Aerodynamics

If you have at no time driven with kayaks on top of your truck before, then you will notice a big difference once you pull out and onto the highway. There is no doubt your fuel efficiency and aerodynamics will be primarily impacted when carrying kayaks.

If you are frequently transporting your kayaks long distances, fuel efficiency and aerodynamic become even more crucial. So, you will have to go for a kayak rack designed to advance airflow and lessen its impact on your truck’s fuel efficiency. 

Safety

There Is no doubt everyone wants a rack that can keep their kayaks safe. As an individual, you will also want to feel confident that your kayaks aren’t going to lose so that you feel safe on the road.

Not entire racks feature additional elements that can let you keep your kayaks super secure. Other features such a tie-down loop and vertical support will permit you to double-down and ensure your kayak secure and safe on your truck.

Vehicle

The kind of car you own will play a key role in determining which roof kayak rack suits you. Even if it’s a complete 4 x 4 car or compact car, you will get a roof rack for yourself.

If you have small cars, then a rack that can carry one or twokayaks is the sure bet for you. But if your vehicle is a bit sizeable, you can opt to purchase the one that can carry three or four kayaks.

Bar height

If you are vertically challenged, then you should go for a rack system that is flush with the roofline rather than the one that stands a foot above your car’s roof. On the other hand, tall people should opt for a taller rack system.

Need for aftermarket crossbars

If your car has a roof-mounted crossbar system, then you should ensure it’s compatible with the roof rock model you want to purchase. But if your vehicle does not have one, you ought to buy an aftermarket crossbar system. Ensure also to check its compatibility with your rack system. How do you check compatibility? By doing a test install.

For a novice, go for a setup that has the potential to carry more than one kayak.

Materials

When buying any product, it’s essential to consider the material used to make that particular item. Failure to that, you will end up with something terrible. In racks, you should get the one that uses plastic and aluminum fasteners. Instead, go for the one that uses carbon fiber fasteners and rust-free coated steels.

Top 6 Kayak Rack for Truck (Best Picks)

In a hurry? Check the bestseller top Kayak Rack for Truck from Amazon. Just check the product link, the details and price.

Kayak Rack for Truck
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DIY Kayak Rack

Top Reviews

1. TMS® 2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier

If you are looking for a simple, low-cost solution to transporting your kayak, then this rack is the best option. The good thing is that it comes in two pairs. This model secures the kayak on its side, hence consume minimal space on the load bar. The kay rack is placed on the ladder rack bar. A maximum of four sets of these models can be mounted on a complete size model.

What is terrific is its steel design with adjustable padding for kayak protection and carrying strength. The model features a wide mouth J bar for effortless loading and unloading. All the surface of this product is rust-resistant coating and hardware for longer product life.

It is compatible with most load bars and crossbars. With its quick on/of hardware, you are assured of fast installation and removal. Unlike other racks, this one includes all mounting hardware and two straps. The TMS offersa limited lifetime warranty to ensure you are well satisfied.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Provide a low-cost solution for carrying your kayak
  • Features steel design with adjustable padding
  • Consumes minimal space
  • Includes all mounting hardware
  • Easy installation and removal

Cons

  • The straps aren’t sturdy enough

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandTMS
Dimensions 9 (inches017.5 x 12 x 6.5 
Weight8.98 pounds

2. ECOTRIC Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Extension Rack

If you desire to slide your kayak into the bed of your track, strap it down and go, the ECOTRIC bed hitch extender will let you evade having to lift your kayak over your head each time you need to transport it.

The model is built to fit a 2 square receiver but can be as well used on 1-1/4 receiver with a hitch adapter. The rack features adjustable height and width to suit your application’s requirement. What is fabulous with this model is that it is constructed of heavy-duty steel tubing. So, it can serve you for a long duration.

It features a length of 53, 1/2 from the center of ½ hitch pin hole to end of the extension. This model has a weight capacity of up to 750 lbs. And it comprised a safety flag to attach to the end of the load.

Pros

  • Can carry up to two kayaks
  • An affordable and safer choice for carrying your kayak
  • Heavy-duty, hence can carry a lumber
  • Minimizes the chance of wind resistance
  • Quite easy to attach
  • Extends to the length of your kayaks

Cons

  • It needs drilling

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandECOTRIC
Dimensions34.6 x 12.9 x 4.8 inches
Weight27.5 pounds

3. MaxxHaul 70231 Hitch Mount Truck Bed Extender

MaxxHaul Hitch truck effectively extends your vehicle for carrying longer payloads. With its adjustable width and length, there is no doubt it will allow for many different applications, including Racks, canoes, kayaks, lumber, long pipes, ladders, and many more. It’s constructed from heavy-duty steel, hence no fear of wear and tear. The fantastic thing with this model is its reflective tape on fronts and sides for increased safety and visibility.

What is more incredible is that its side’s arms can be folded down to enhance support for portable work area. The presence of four quick-release pins allows for faster assembly and disassembly. This model is designed to fit a 2-inch receiver and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. You should know that its hitch pin is sold separately.

Pros

  • Features adjustable length and width
  • Versatile in that it can be used in many different applications.
  • Features four quick-release clevis pins
  • Has reflective tape on sides and front
  • Its side arms can be folded down 

Cons

  • Might need some drilling

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandMaxxHaul
Dimensions37.01 x 19.02 x 2.99 inches
Weight34.5 pounds

4. Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck

Darby Industries truck is designed for secure and safe hauling of long loads. What is more fantastic with this model is that it can be stored flat behind your vehicle when not in use. It features adjustable height for rooftop hauling. Furthermore, the product comes packed with a red flag; for keeping other drivers safe because it acts as an alert sign.

The model comes with 4-foot-wide support and a receiver hitch. So, there is no doubt it’s among the best kayak rack for trucks available in the market.

Pros

  • Comes with a red flag for safety purpose
  • Can be stored flat when not in use, hence safe space
  • Comes with a receiver hitch and features a four-feet extensive support
  • Versatile
  • Can transport a 14-foot kayak

Cons

  • It can only carry only one canoe

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandDarby
Dimensions53 x 15 x 2.5 inches
Weight24 pounds

5. Lund 601021 Hitch Mounted Truck Bed Extender

Lund Hitch Mounted truck is constructed to fit an ordinary, two-inch receiver hitch. With it, you can transport extended length cargo. That’s incredible thing linked to this kayak rack. It comes with an extra seven inches of ground clearance and makes a portable sawhorse off the back of your track.

The flag it comes along with this model is of great importance, as it ensures your kayak is visible to others.

Pros

  • Makes portable sawhorse
  • Comprises red reflective tape and flag
  • Offers additional seven-inch ground clearance
  • Permits you to transport extended length cargo

Cons

  • Assembling of these racks can be challenging to beginners

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandLund
Dimensions39.5 X 21 X 3.5 INCHES
Weight46.2 pounds

6. ROLA 59799 Haul-Your-Might Rack for Nissan Titan

The model is designed mainly for the Nissan Titan, Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Tundra bedrail systems. It features rugged, aluminum construction and is adjustable fore and aft. With its powder-coated black uprights and stainless-steel hardware and buffer strips, there is no doubt your load will be protected from damage.

The model has anti-theft lockable covers and accessory channel. So, with it, you can haul anything you desire.

Pros

  • Stainless steel hardware and rubber buffer strips
  • Accessory channel and anti-theft lockable covers
  • Powder-coated black uprights
  • It has a capacity of 800 pounds
  • Adjustable fore and aft

Cons

  • Compatible with specific types of a car only

Here are the key features:

Quick specs 
BrandROLA
Model59799
Weight29.9 pounds

Benefits of Kayak Racks for Trucks

  • Safest method to carry your kayak
  • Easy to use compared to other transportation methods like a trailer
  • Unlike a trailer, it does not take much of your storage space
  • More comfortable to install and need no maintenance
  • Inexpensivethus affordable to many kayakers
  • Kayak racks make your car versatile
  • It enables you to exploredifferent places

FAQS

Q: Why transporting a kayak on a truck is the best idea?

There is no doubt transporting a kayak on top of a truck is usually the smartest and most comfortable way you can ever come across. It has numerous benefits. Firstly, the comfort it brings is much better than that of a kayak trailer. Second, it is cheap. You don’t have to buy expensive gear whatsoever, which is a huge relief. Lastly, with it, you will normally drive without having to worry about a trailer behind you.

Most people who participate in kayaking do not live near a lake or river, so they have to transport their kayak to those places. If this applies to you too, then you should begin analyzing all the choices that you have, and without a doubt, you will arrive at a similar conclusion. Kayak racks are the ideal tools for this purpose.

Besides all that, it as well provides you with peace of mind when it comes to your car safety. They are easy to install and are setup in such a way that they won’t damage the top of the roof. However, you ought to be very keen when selecting the rack model, as it has to be completely compatible with your car. Otherwise, you will not only face challenges to install it, but also you will damage the service of the roof. Premium ones have the correct width and height so that they don’t get in contact with the paint.

Q: Are kayak racks for trucks safe?

Yes. However, there are a few aspects that you ought to take into consideration when selecting the correct model for your truck. The design and size are very vital. Typically, manufacturers provide a list of compatible vehicles, so it’s up to you to check that one out. Once you have picked the ideal rack for your truck, you ought to be careful when installing it. The good thing all products come with installation instructions. So, you have to follow them simply. Some prefer racks that do not need drilling so that they evade any damages to the roof rack or car.

Q: Are kayak racks stable enough?

Stability is one of the amazing things you can ever find from a kayak rack. They come with sturdy straps that assist you in protecting the boat or other items that you need to transport. If you install it properly, you will get all the stability you require.

If you want to test your rack, then you drive on a few curves and observe how the kayak behaves.

Q: Can your car have a roof rack?

Roof racks can be very beneficial if you want to transport a kayak, a boat, or other accessories and items which measure more length than your vehicle. With roof racks, you can secure these named objects on top of your car and transport them safely. But you should have in mind that not all vehicles have a roof rack installed. So, if you want to confirm your car is compatible with one, you observe if it has rain gutters.  If it has, then check if the change bar is consistent too. However, if it doesn’t have, then you will require a model that has a clamp mount system. There are permanent, as well as removable mount designs.

For you to install the rack correctly, then follow the instruction leaflet or the manufactures website. Once you have installed, you can begin transporting your kayak, small boats, and ladder, among many more.

Q: What is the best way to transport your kayak?

Transporting your kayaks isn’t tricky, but it isn’t an easy job as well. You must be keen enough about how you store it and carry it to avoid scratching or breaking it.  Experts suggest transporting your kayak using a roof rack is the best option and safest. As well, it is best to use foam block racks for short distances. For the long-distance, crossbar racks are highly recommended. In case of rain, you must transport your kayak upside down or use a portage cover to seal it.

Q: Does itincrease fuel consumption to transport kayak?

Yes. This is because you have added the weight to your car, and its engine has to put more effort. When the number of kayaks being transported is more, it will lead to an increase in fuel consumption. Other factors can influence fuel consumption, such as speed, distance, weight, and power of the car.

Final Word

Kayaking is amusing and assists you live in an adventurous way. So, you won’t be bored. As well, it helps you to travel to many places. For you to transport your kayaks to the nearest sea, lake, or river, you need a safe transportation method. The most reliable and the best is none other than kayak racks for trucks. So, you can pick best kayak rack for truck from the ones reviewed here for the stress-free carrying of your kayak.

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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