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Kayaking is one of those outdoor activities that I love doing together with my family and friends. Whenever there is a planned trip that involves kayaking, I will see to it that there is enough kayaking equipment for the convenience and safety of everyone.
These gears may include the best protective gears, helmets, lifevest, and even the best kayak roof rack. They are a must-have for me, especially the kayak roof rack because of the convenience it brings. Below are some of the kayak roof racks I would recommend to you.
My Top Picks for a Kayak Carrier
The Thule Hull-a-Port is one of the most popular kayak carriers currently available in the market. It is designed to give every user an easy-to-use carrier for any kayaking activity. Furthermore, it has a simple and foldable J-profile design to give you the convenience you need.
It contains four adjustable touchpoint padding to hold kayaks of varying sizes and shapes. You can choose to have it in a vertical or horizontal orientation. The vertical orientation is aerodynamically stable so the carrier can manage air resistance well enough, thereby saving your car some extra gas mileage.
Due to its efficient and effective design, it is capable of loading four carriers with four kayaks. You just have to mount the carrier and tighten its belts and you are good to go.
The Malone Auto Racks DownLoader will see to it that your kayak is secured unlike any other. It offers flexibility and reliability during your travel. The carrier has straps with buckle protectors similar to that of a passenger with seat belts tightly worn. It also has a universal mount that is easy to remove.
Similar to the Thule-a-Port, it has a J-profile which allows easier loading or unloading of your kayak. Another unique characteristic of the Malone Auto Racks is its oversized padding with an already built ramp which adds stability. It adopts a fold-down technology to give an overhead clearance which is appropriate when traveling in places with so many trees.
The Malone Auto Racks is perfect for those people who want to go big. It is capable of supporting kayaks with almost eight times its weight, making it suited for carrying heavy kayaks.
The Malone SeaWing is a V-cradle type carrier. It features a saddle wing design to further reduce setup time. Furthermore, it is packed with a universal fit Jawz, mounting bolts, and load straps with buckle protectors to ensure the safety and stability of your kayak. If you are not satisfied, the carrier also has safety bow and stern tie-downs.
Similar to the Thule Hull-a-Port Carrier, it is aerodynamically stable to improve your car’s gas mileage. It can support loads of up to seven times its weight and serve as a roof extender for your car. It can even resist corrosion thanks to its nylon-based build.
This carrier is suited for anyone who always brings extra baggage with them. Upon making the purchase, you are guaranteed to have a set of tools and equipment with an almost one-size-fits-all mounting hardware. It is easy to set up and consumes minimal space.
The Yakima Jaylow carrier offers the flexibility any travelers will need. It can carry kayaks that come in different sizes and shapes. In addition, it has multiple settings which allow it to carry one boat when it is in a cradle position and two boats in a vertical position. It has an additional padding to provide extra protection and grip to your kayak.
The carrier is complete with straps and bow and stern tie-downs. It’s aerodynamically stable and support loads weighing up to 110 lbs. It effectively washes away sand and other forms of dirt due to its over-molded base with groove cushion.
The Jaylow is ideal for those who want to go kayaking alone or with a partner. You can adjust the carrier’s setting thanks to the integrated cam-lever for its crossbars which is made compatible with any type of roof rack.
The Kayak Wing offers a complete package for minimalists. A minimum clearance of one and a half inches must be ensured between the roof of the car and the carrier’s crossbar. Furthermore, its wing design is more effective for kayaks with V-shaped hulls and fits any roof rack systems. The Kayak Wing also prevents possible hull damage that may occur in your kayak.
Installing it no longer requires tools as accessories are already included in the package. A five-year warranty is also present upon purchase. The carrier guarantees an easy installation that allows you to mount your kayak within minutes after setting up.
Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for just about any type of kayak. It’s only limited to kayaks with a maximum width of thirty inches. In other words, it can only hold kayaks under thirty inches wide at best. It is sturdy, reliable, and lightweight.
The Yakima Showboat 66 is on a more dynamic side of things. The rear has a load assist roller that can slide out for an easy access. It can adjust from side to side in order to accommodate multiple kayaks. It also includes two sixty-six inches Yakima crossbars to ensure the vehicle’s protection when loading or unloading the kayaks.
Moreover, it is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and has paddings to add an extra layer of protection to your vehicle during transport. It is capable of carrying any type of kayak and comes with complete carrier tools and equipment.
The Yakima Showboat 66 is suited to those who want to have a more innovative carrier. It is also ideal for those who have big kayaks. While some carriers will stick to a more traditional design, Showboat 66 does not.
The Malone HandiRack is certainly one of a kind. It is an inflatable rooftop rack which promises to deliver similar performance to its metal counterparts. Installing this kayak carrier will only take a few minutes. Furthermore, it is capable of carrying loads of up to 180 lbs.
It is made of a strong 420-denier nylon with 650-ring anchor points. It also includes double-action Handi Pump to inflate the roof racks in minutes. Upon purchase, additional accessories will include a travel bag and load straps.
This inflatable roof rack is ideal for those who are tired of installing traditional roof racks. If you are one of those people, then this is perfect for you. It is lightweight yet compact and fits almost any type of vehicle.
The SportRack Adjustable carrier follows a simple rack concept but offers a robust quality. It has adjustable foam blocks instead of the traditional touchpoints that can be found in any kayak carrier. These foam blocks can be modified to fit any type of kayaks. It also comes with a complete set of gears.
The two non-skid underside is responsible for protecting the car roof. It also includes two straps to provide stability not only to the kayak but also to your car.
This carrier is ideal for those who do not fancy sophisticated kayak carriers. It has a straightforward design but serves the same purpose as with the other kayak carriers. This is ideal for those who want to spend less on roof racks.
The TMS J-Bar Rack is designed to be an all-in-one kayak carrier. It can be attached to any type of crossbars or load bars currently available in the market. Furthermore, it can carry kayaks of varying sizes while consuming a small space. It is also capable of carrying loads of over ten times its weight and twice its width.
This carrier has a steel design with paddings that can be adjusted easily. Moreover, the wide and solid J-style design allows easy loading or unloading of your kayaks.
The TMS J-bar rack is ideal to those who prefer simple racks. It comes with a durable construction and works just fine with any size of kayaks. It is designed in such a way as to avoid any contact with your car’s roof which may cause damage over time.
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Kayak Roof Rack
In every item that we purchase, there is no universal rule to follow. We buy materials or equipment based on our needs or wants. The same goes when choosing the best roof rack on the market.
Below are some of the things to consider when choosing the right kayak roof rack for you.
Consider your car’s roof
The first thing you may want to consider before buying any kayak roof rack is your car’s roof size. You have to remember that a different rack fits a different kind of roofing system. Try to take some measurements and compare them to the products being sold in the market.
If your car has built-in crossbars, you can directly choose from saddles, j-cradles, or stackers. However, you will have to settle for inflatable racks if your car does not have pre-installed crossbars. If you badly want to have sophisticated racks, you can buy crossbars and have it installed on your car.
How much will it cost?
Another aspect you need to ponder upon is the cost of a roof rack. This is probably one of the most important aspects that every buyer will take into consideration. Every user wants to get the most out of any rack as long as it comes at a good price. Some manufacturers do indeed sell top-quality products.
However, others don’t. This discrepancy is evident in the build quality of the product. Most of the good racks are made of steel. On the other hand, racks that are low-quality are often made of plastic.
Is it user-friendly?
This aspect looks into the process of installing the racks. If the product has a bunch of pieces and other hard-to-understand instructions and materials, do not buy it. You need not spend so much time tinkering on your rack. Avoid those racks that include small pieces. Instead, buy racks that have large pieces and easy-to-use bolts and nuts. Also, consider the process of dismantling the rack. You have to keep in mind that the rack must be easy to install and remove at the same time.
How many kayaks can it accommodate?
This is another facet you have to look into if you want to travel and go kayaking in groups. Take into account the maximum capacity of your chosen rack. If you plan to bring two kayaks, most of the racks available will suit your need. You can manage to stick those kayaks the usual way and still achieve stability.
However, such case does not apply for more than two kayaks. If you plan to bring more than two, then stackers are the best kind rack for you. Stackers are able to carry two to three additional kayaks. However, contrary to their name, they don’t put one thing on top of the other. Instead, they allocate enough space for multiple kayaks placed side-by-side.
Does it come in a complete set?
This aspect goes alongside the cost of the rack. If the product only offers the actual rack and sells other necessary equipment separately, then it is a bad deal. Look for products that come with a complete set. Also, make sure that the set is of top quality. Do not be fooled by the price as it sometimes compromises the quality of the product. Always be critical in this aspect.
Lightweight or heavyweight?
We sometimes think of a strong rack as heavy. However, there are aluminum racks already available. This way, you no longer have to make a compromise. Aluminum is the go-to alternative since they are 30% lighter than steel but strong enough to carry heavy loads.
Is it durable?
The aspect most users will look into next to the cost is the product’s durability. Some racks will last for a couple of trips. Think also of the maximum load the rack is able to carry. Consider manufacturers who have built products that are already proven under various conditions. Nowadays, roof racks can handle loads of up to ten times their base weight.
Does it compromise my car’s performance?
Sometimes, the extra load you carry on top of your car is a little worrisome. You may worry that your car’s performance will be compromised with the additional load. However, there are racks available in the market that can address this issue. Some racks are now aerodynamically stable. What this means is that they handle air resistance pretty well and are designed to improve a car’s gas mileage.
Is the company limited to only a specific kind of product?
When buying kayak roof racks, see to it that the manufacturer has a wide range of products available. Do not choose companies that limit themselves to a specific rack model. Remember that different racks fit different roofing system. In this way also, you will no longer have a hard time looking for spare parts. You just have to contact the manufacturer and ask for an available replacement.
Check for additional accessories
Consider this aspect as a bonus. While it is good to have a kayak roof rack of your choice, it still is not bad to ask for accessories to join in with your rack. It is always a great deal to have that extra equipment. Look for those accessories which allow you to mount your other important stuff like a bike, surfboard, and many more.
Choosing the best kayak roof rack is a matter of personal choice. A mentioned before, different roof racks serve different car roofing system. I tried listing down some of the noteworthy kayak roof racks on the market.
Hopefully, this guide can help you look for the right product. As always, thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share it with your friends!