Best Kayak Rack For Car

For those of us that don’t have the luxury of being beach-front dwellers, we have to tackle the hard work of finding the best kayak rack for our car.

This can be quite a daunting task. What style fits your needs and style of car? What about costs? Where should I purchase it? These are all good questions to ask yourself before purchasing one. We’ll include some of the best, most universal options below.

The Best Kayak Rack For Car

There are numerous universal options that will most likely fit most car models. The Gatumn Universal Kayak Roof Rack J Bar, for instance, will fit most factory or aftermarket square, oval and flat crossbars, while also accommodating up to 36-inch wide kayaks. The Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier is a J-style kayak carrier with built-in boarding ramp for easy loading. And the THULE 830 The Stacker Kayak Rack offers four boat maximum capacity and folds down flat when not in use.

Best Overall Kayak Rack

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THULE 830 The Stacker Kayak Rack

The THULE 830 The Stacker Kayak Rack is one of the best universal kayak racks on the market. It can easily transfer to other vehicles as well with universal hardware options. Specifically, it fits Thule standard, Rapid Aero, Xsporter bars, Yakima and most factory installed racks.

Overall, it offers a four-boat maximum capacity and also folds down flat when it’s not in use for lower overhead.

Included with the racks is one pair of ratcheting tie downs, two straps and buckle protectors.

In general, it’s one of the most affordable options for multiple kayaks and is very easy to use. It also has quality material and craftsmanship to withhold years of use.

Pros
  • Two racks included
  • Holds 4 kayaks
  • Goes down when not in use
  • Easy to use
  • Quality Materials
Cons
  • Some problems with straps being tight enough on some kayaks
  • Built for multiple kayaks but only provide straps/tie downs for one
  • Instructions could be better in explaining how to utilize system for more 2-3 kayaks instead of just 1 or 4

Best Budget Kayak Rack For Car

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Gatumn Universal Kayak Roof Rack J Bar

The J bar style of the Gatumn Universal Kayak Roof Rack is what really helps these stand out. They don’t come with all the bells and whistles of other kayak racks, but it does the job well. It also comes with 4 tie-down straps for multiple kayaks.

Also touted as being a universal option, these bars also have quick on/off hardware for fast installation and removal. You’ll also find steel design with adjustable padding for carrying strength and kayak protection.

Accommodates kayaks up to 36 inches wide and total load 75 lbs.

These are also easy and quick to assemble as well.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Held up over long hauls
  • Great price
  • J bar style
Cons
  • Suggest to use ratchet straps for long distance trips
  • Hard to return
  • Won’t fit all crossbars

How to Find the Best Kayak Rack For Car

Kayak racks are a must for easily and conveniently transporting your kayaks. However, finding the best fit for your car can be difficult. Finding a faulty rack means potentially damaging your kayak, car or even yourself or others on the road if your kayak happens to fall off.

Kayak racks come in a variety of categories, including the horizontal kayak rack, J-style kayak rack, vertical kayak style rack, and hitch style rack.

Horizontal kayak racks lay your boat flat on the top of your vehicle. These are the most easily adjusted to fit a wide range of kayak sizes. They are also good for easy load, unload and transport. If you’re worried about fuel consumption for long trips, these feature minimal wind resistance and utilize the aerodynamics of your kayak to reduce fuel use.

J-style racks are the most popular kayak racks and have the convenience of folding down when not in use. They also allow you to load the kayak from the side of the vehicle or from the back.

Vertical kayak racks allow maximum boat capacity by stacking your boats vertically on their sides. Their on/off hardware allows rapid installation and removal as well.

Hitch mount kayak racks are for vehicles that do not have a long enough roof to support another style of kayak rack. They use a rear mounted load bar on vehicles equipped with a two-inch hitch receiver.

There are also a number of accessories you can also consider to help you leverage your kayak. It can sometimes be difficult to lift up a 50+ pound, 12-foot-plus kayak unto a tall car, so it’s something to keep in mind to accompany your kayak rack for your car.

The Best Kayak Rack For Your Car is Budget friendly

The best kayak rack in this case is the Gatumn Universal Kayak Roof Rack J Bar. It has the universal favorite J bar style and it does it’s job extremely well. It is pretty universal in terms of fitting on a variety of crossbars as well.

The way these are equipped with on/off hardware for fast installation and removal is also important. It will be able to accommodate most kayak sizes as well as multiple kayaks. You’ll also be able to find these in a very affordable price range.