Best Kayak Rack for Trucks | Buyer’s Guide & Reviews | 2022

Best Kayak Rack for Trucks

Selecting the best kayak rack for trucks is important if you have to travel a considerable distance from home to the water. The best carriers should provide you with a safe and secure place to attach your kayaks, with a robust design that will not move around in transit. Padding is also important as it will provide your kayaks with essential cushioning. Additional straps are also advised as this will allow you firmly attach a wide variety of kayak hulls to a single carrier, without you having to invest in additional accessories (like your sunglasses & GPS) and attachments. Weight capacity is another crucial thing to consider. There are several key types of kayak racks to consider when selecting a suitable option, so you need to become familiar with the advantages and drawbacks of each one to ensure you have the best possible design for your preferred watercraft.

Kayak Rack Types

There are a few main categories of kayak racks to consider. If you only kayak occasionally, you should think about temporary pads. These are easy to add to and remove from your vehicle and will require little in the way of installation. Kayak pads are usually made from a from a foam material, although inflatable pads can also be purchased. These are a good option if you are looking for a user-friendly carrier solution that requires little effort when it comes to installation. As soon as these are added to the roof of your vehicle, they are ready to be used. Temporary padding is an ideal option for those who only need to travel short distances with their kayak. However, they are not particularly durable and you will need to invest something more substantial if you begin to use your kayak on a more regular basis.

Another popular choice of rooftop carrier is a J-style rack. These are far more durable than pads and will allow you to load your kayak from the side. Although they will require a little more effort when it comes to installing them to the roof of your vehicle, you are rewarded with enhanced stability and security. If you need to travel a long distance with your kayak, they are definitely something to consider. Another benefit of J-style carriers is that they provide you with additional storage capacity for more gear, even if you have a larger watercraft already loaded into the carrier.

Kayak saddles are another popular option. Saddles are fairly sturdy and the best models are built to last for a long time. This type of roof rack include pads that will quickly attach to roof racks or crossbars, providing a secure attachment for the base of your watercraft. Saddles provide the full width of your kayak with a secure base, distributing weight evenly. You can use multiple saddles to provide a more secure base for attaching watercraft to your vehicle. They are also something to consider if your kayak is a particularly larger model. Another option are rollers. These can be used independently or alongside saddles to provide you with a secure mounting option for your kayaks. Rollers are an ideal choice if you are looking to load and remove your kayak quickly and with little effort.

Finally, you have stacker-style carriers to think about. These are a must if you need to transport multiple kayaks when driving. With stackers, your kayaks will be stood on their side. This not only allows you carry more than one kayak at the same time, it also frees up more roof space so you can attach additional gear you will need to take with you when kayaking. Stacker carriers are designed to attach to existing crossbars and are among the most durable option on the market. Although they offer storage for multiple watercraft, they are designed to be used with smaller models.


When selecting a kayak rack, you need to ensure it is constructed from durable materials. Not only will a better build provide you with a more robust carrier that can cope with more substantial loads, it will also ensure it can be used for as long as possible. Anodized aluminium is a popular choice of material as it offers a good balance of durability and lightweight design. Aircraft aluminium is good for those who want to put as little extra weight on their vehicle as possible. This will improve fuel efficiency when driving with a fully loaded carrier. Stainless steel is another option, although this heavy-duty material is far bulkier than aluminium. Carriers of any material need to be treated to withstand the elements. You need to ensure a carrier can cope with exposure to rain is resistant to rust and corrosion. UV-resistance is also important. Any tie-down straps and attachments should also be made from hard-wearing materials to ensure they can be used for as long as possible.

Other Key Factors

If you want to keep your carrier permanently attached to your vehicle, a folding design is very important. Carries with folding mechanism means you do not have to worry about vehicle height when parking in tight spaces. With a folding carrier, you can remove kayaks and other gear, flatten down the profile of your rooftop rack and then park up in a small garage or car bay with ease.

You also need to think about carrier compatibility. Some carriers are suitable for use with pickup trucks, while others are best suited to vans and other large vehicles. However, many carriers can be used with a wide range of vehicles and offer universal fitting. Consider the size of your vehicle and its roof type before investing in any kayak rack carrier.

Remember to check out our post on how to put a kayak on your roof rack by yourself. 

Best Kayak Rack for Trucks | Reviews

Looking to make your kayak adventures easier with a truck rack? Below are some the best kayak racks for trucks currently available.

Lifetime Warranty TMS® 2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat Surf Ski Roof Top Mount Car SUV Crossbar

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to mount your kayak to the top of your car or truck, this part of J-bar racks are a good option. These sturdy mounts provide you with a convenient and reliable way of attaching your kayak to your vehicle roof with little effort. They can also be used to store a variety of other items, including surfboards, canoes, skis and more. These kayak carrier feature mounts that will connect with just about any crossbar or load bar configuration. Once attached to your vehicle, these J-bar racks will keep your kayak on its side in a safe and secure position. By storing a kayak on its side, it frees up more space on the top of your vehicle, allowing you to add further bars to store multiple kayaks.

The steel construction of these bars make them very durable, providing you with a high-quality storage solution that will last for a long time. The steel frames also feature essential padding, preventing the exterior hulls of your kayaks from succumbing to damage. The exposed surface of these rack are resistant to corrosion, ensuring they last for as long as possible. In fact, you have a lifetime warranty provide with this kayak storage solution. The bars also feature a relatively wide mouth, allowing for easy loading and unloading of your kayaks. They can also be quickly installed to your vehicle of choice, with no need for complex tools and adjustments. All the relevant mounting hardware and attachment straps are included, allowing you to add these racks to most crossbars and load bars easily.

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IKURAM Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack of Bilateral Premier J-Style Folding 4-in-1 for Canoe, SUP, Kayaks, Surfboard and Ski Board Rooftop Mount on SUV, Car and Truck

If you are looking for a reliable kayak storage solution that ensures your watercraft remains stable and protected, this IKURAM roof carrier rack is a go-to option. This J-style folding rack provides superior protection for your kayaks, as well as other watercraft like paddle boards. The oversized saddles provide versatile storage for most sizes of kayak, while the rubber saddles ensure the exterior of your kayaks are not damaged when in transit. This kayak rack is also very easy to install. The universal mounting system included here makes your life as simple as possible. This rack will accommodate any kayak measuring up to 42 inches in width. It will also cope with maximum weights of 158 pounds. No matter the hull design of your kayak, be it round, oval or square, this rack will provide a safe and secure storage solution while you are on the move.

This kayak rack system will also last for a long time. High-grade aluminium has been used to create a lightweight and durable mounting system. The aluminium has also been treated to stave off rust and corrosion. If you are looking for waterproof performance and a rack you can leave attached to your vehicle roof without worrying about the elements, this is an I deal option. The folding action of this rack will also appeal. When not in use, it is easy to raise or fold the rack. This allows you to store other items on top of your vehicle when not travelling with your kayak. This multi-purpose rack can also be used to store a variety of watersport craft. This heavy-duty rack can be used to store paddleboards and can be quickly reconfigured to increase the amount of roof space or truck bed space available to you.

Available On Amazon

Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum Truck Rack with Load Stops

Paddlers looking for a heavy-duty choice of utility rack will love the capabilities of the Thule Xsporter Pro. This great value package inclues two Thule Xsporter Pro racks that can be easily added the back of a truck to provide you with a safe and secure solution for transporting kayaks. This robust kayak rack will provide you with superior levels of stability when travelling with your kayak in your pickup truck or other utility vehicle. Four one-key locking cylinders are included, along with crossbars for extra stability. With a maximum load capacity of 450 pounds, this rack is one of the most heavy-duty options on the market. The premium design also means that weight will be evenly distributed across the entire kayak rack frame. This not only makes it more stable, but ensures minimal stress is placed on the individual components, extending the service life your purchase.

AirTrip Technology is also included here. This integrated bar technology redirects airflow efficiently. This makes the Thule Xsporter Pro one of the best options if you are looking for advanced aerodynamics. WindDiffuser technology is also included here. This tackles excessive airflow to reduce the amount of noise that is created when you are travelling on the road. It also significantly reduces drag to maximise fuel efficiency. Unlike more basic J-racks, the Thule Xsporter Pro provides you with plenty of scope for adjustment. The bar height can easily be adjusted to provide with you maximum compatibility for a wide range of kayak models. It also allows for easier loading and unloading of your watercraft. This also makes this kayak rack suitable for long-term storage.

Available On Amazon

IKURAM Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack of J-Style Folding Universal Field & Stream 3-in-1 Multifunction for Canoe, SUP, Kayaks, Surfboard and Ski Board Rooftop Mount on SUV, Car and Truck

If you are searching for an affordable roof rack for storing your kayak, this inexpensive option from IKURAM is worth thinking about. This roof rack provides you with superior levels of kayak protection. The heavy-duty frame includes oversized padding that allows you to store your kayak or paddleboards upright, without the worry of hull exteriors becoming damaged. This padding also prevents your kayak from moving around while you are on the move. This roof rack also features a universal J-cradle design. This increases compatibility and allows you to use with a broad range of kayaks. It will accommodate kayaks with a maximum width of 72 inches and can handle heavy loads, with a maximum weight capacity of 158 pounds. It will also accommodate a wide range of kayak shapes, including round, oval and square hull designs. Cross rails and tie-down straps allow you to firmly attach your kayak to the rack every time, with the straps boasting incredible break strength to provide you with peace of mind.

You will also be impressed by the heavy-duty materials used in the construction of this kayak racking. This racking system is made from anodized aluminium, with the aircraft-grade material boasting superior corrosion resistance. You can leave this rack permanently mounted to the top of your car or bed of your truck when you are not kayaking. This rack also boasts incredible versatility. You can use it to store multiple kayaks with ease, or several paddleboards. You also have a choice of positions to choose from, providing with the customised storage for your individual watercraft.

Available On Amazon

HandiRack Universal Inflatable Roof Rack Bars (Pair); Easy Mount Design; Tie-Downs & HandiPump Included; Fits Most Cars, Trucks and SUVs

This HandiRack kayaking mounting system is a great alternative to conventional roof bars. Firstly, the universal design ensures maximum compatibility and versatility. If you want a system that can be used with several vehicles, this is a good option. The universal size means it can be used with all types of vehicle roofs, including solid roof rails and raised roofs. The compact dimensions of this roof rack also mean it can be removed and placed in the trunk of your vehicle when you do not wish to mount it. This provides you with a convenient storage solution if you do not have a garage. This is also a very user-friendly solution for kayakers. You can quickly and easily attach it to your vehicle roof, while removal is also straightforward. The lightweight design will also put minimal pressure on your vehicle and has nominal impact on fuel efficiency.

The bars come with padded elements to provide cushioned protection for your watercraft and kayaking equipment. Tie-down straps and integrated anchor points are also included (see how to attach an anchor to a kayak) to ensure your items are always firmly secured. The inclusion of bow and stern lines make this particularly suitable for use with kayaks, but you also use it for attaching solid roof boxes and roof bags. It can also be used to secure bicycles to the roof your vehicle with little effort. Pass-through fitting straps are also included so you will have no trouble attaching a wide variety of recreational items.

Available On Amazon

2 Pairs Heavy Duty Kayak Rack-Includes 4 Pcs Ratchet Tie-Mount on Car Roof Top Crossbar-Easy to Carry Kayak Canoe Boat Surf Ski (J-Bar Rack)

Make a saving with this pair of heavy-duty steel kayak racks. The durable bars of this racks are made from 1.5mm steel tubing, making them a much stronger option that conventional roof racks. The rigid tubing materials ensures they can handle significant loads, with a max weight capacity of 150 pounds. This makes them suitable for use with a wide variety of kayak models and other watercraft. The bars are finished with weather-resistant coating that makes them resilient to exposure to the outdoors. Regular exposure to the elements and rain will not damage the integrity and appearance of these racks.

The construction of these racks also make them a very secure and stable choice. The connecting elements of the bars and rack are indented to ensure secure attachment every time, while also ensuring the rack does not become loose when fully loaded. There is no need to worry about your kayak rack becoming loose when you are on the road. Foam padding and a rubber base is also included here. This provides essential cushioning to protect your kayaking equipment when you are on the move. The padding material is also resilient to the elements, with superior protection against UV rays and water.

Available On Amazon

Malone J-Pro 2 J-Style Universal Car Rack Kayak Carrier with Bow and Stern Lines

The Malone J-Pro 2 kayak mounting system is a great option for securing your watercraft to your vehicle. With a heavy-duty steel construction, these J-style car racks will provide you with a long-lasting solution for attaching your kayak to your vehicle. The steel has also been treated to further protect against abrasion and corrosion, ensuring the racks can be used for years. Universal JAWZ mounting elements are also included to provide a convenient racking solution for a wide variety of watercraft. The universal mounting hardware means you can use the Malone J-Pro racks with a broad selection of kayak types, including oval, round and square vessel shapes.

This kayak rack set includes bow and stern tie-down straps for safe and secure attachment of your watercraft. A pair of buckle straps with mounting bolts are also included for an even more secure fit. Compared to other options, the Malone J-Pro provides maximum flexibility when it comes to attaching your kayaks to your vehicle. The injection molded composite design provides you with essential flex that will accommodate the broadest range of kayaks. You can also expect maximum protection at all times, ensuring your watercraft does not suffer from any damage or abrasion when travelling.

Available On Amazon

Alfa Gear Universal Folding Lightweight Anti-Vibration Roof Rack pad for Kayak/Surfboard/Paddle Board/SUP/Snow Board/Ski Board and Water Sports with Hood Loop and Truck Straps Products Size 34″ Long

This Alfa Gear universal roof rack is a versatile option for securing your kayak to your vehicle. The low-profile design of this rack system is a welcome option for those who do not want to spend too much time on installation. The discreet design also makes it a good option for anyone who wants to leave their racking hardware permanently attached to their vehicle. This roof rack can be used with a wide variety of vehicle types, including everyday cars, trucks, minivans and more. The folding design also makes it incredibly versatile when it comes to accommodating kayaks of varying shapes and hull types.

When installed, this roof rack offers some impressive anti-vibration properties. This is thanks to multiple layers of foam padding that ensure the hull of your kayak does not move around too much in transit. This not only protects your kayak from abrasion and potential damage, it also ensures it stays firmly in place at all times. Heavy-duty lashing straps are also included here. These robust straps have been tested at a maximum load capacity of 1200 pounds, providing you with complete peace of mind. Both the racking frame and strap materials are made from the best materials, all manufactured to cope with constant exposure to the elements.

Available On Amazon

Thule Hull-a-Port XT Rooftop Kayak Carrier Black, One Size

The Thule Hull-a-Port XT is definitely an expensive option, but if you are looking for maximum reliability and long-lasting performance, it is the perfect choice of rooftop carrier. This lockable kayak rack can be used to carry up to two individual kayaks with ease. The dual position design makes it easy to transform the carrier from a conventional J-cradle configuration to a stacking configuration. When not in use, the carrier folds flat so it is barley noticeable on the top of your vehicle. A universal mounting system is also included, which will fit a broad range of load bars. Another big benefit of this kayak carrier is that it comes already assembled. Therefore, you can use it immediately and count on a more robust design to cope with substantial loads.

Load straps are also included along with the main carrier rack. These straps also include buckle bumpers and tie-down straps for secure attachment when you are looking to transport a single kayak on the roof of your vehicle. This kayak carrier also boasts some very impressive locking capabilities. You can easily lock it to load bars thanks to the one-key system lock cylinders. However, to enjoy this premium locking functionality, you will need to purchase the cylinders separately.

Available On Amazon

Premium Folding Kayak Rack J-Bar Car Roof Rack for Canoe Carrier SUP Paddle Surfboard Mount on Car SUV and Truck Crossbar

If you are looking for a kayak carrier that is relatively inexpensive, this folding J-bar rack from Danenmaoyi is a good option. This carrier package includes two foldable J-bar racks, with each one folding down so you can easily manoeuvre your vehicle into tight parking spaces and garages without having to remove the rack beforehand. All the straps you need to firmly attach your kayak, canoe or other watercraft to the carrier are included here. All straps have been weight tested to ensure stability and performance. This kayak carrier also includes extra-large knobs for easy adjustment. With these knobs, you can quickly make angle positions, with good feedback so you can be confident on firmness levels.

Unlike more basic carriers, this design will provide your kayaks and watercraft with plenty of protection while you travel. Foam padding and a rubber base is on hand to ensure that you can enjoy superior anti-slip performance. All materials have been treated to provide you with exceptional resistance against water and UV rays, ensuring the overall design lasts for a long time. The intended tubing design also makes this a very stable option. It is easy to connect all pieces thanks to the inclusion of pre-punched holes. This also allows you to be confident you have achieved perfect alignment, every time.

Available On Amazon

Our Pick of the Best Kayak Roof Racks

You should easily be able to find a suitable kayak rack from the list of options we have just explored. However, a couple of this first-rate products do stand out.

The HandiRack is definitely the way to go if you are looking for a low profile carrier that can be used with a wide variety of vehicle types. This inflatable kayak rack is not only easy to fit to almost any type of truck or car, it also offers compatibility with most kayak sizes and watercraft designs. It also has a decent weight capacity and is suitable for use when driving at speeds.

The Malone J-Pro 2 is a good option for those looking for a more secure solution. These J-style racks are built to cope with heavier loads and offer universal fitting for a wide selection of vehicle types. The universal mounting hardware makes it easy to attach these to most vehicle roof types, while a variety of tie-down straps and secondary attachments means even the most cumbersome of kayaks can be firmly secured. The steel construction of these straps also means they will last for a long time, with a lifetime warranty provided so you can be confident in your purchase.


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