You have just bought the coolest kayak you could find, and now you have to get it home? But how? Did you think about a system? You can’t just put it on the top of the car. You could buy 100 yards of rope, but that will only cause you damage, to both kayak and rooftop of the car. It doesn’t sound very good, doesn’t it?
Your best option is to purchase a specially designed kayak roof rack. It will help you to transport your kayak home or to a kayaking destination. You don’t have to worry that you will break the kayak, or that you will scratch the car. Also, if you are new to this, one of your biggest fears may be that your new acquisition will fly over when you speed up a little. That is highly unlikely, even with an improvised attaching system. However, the best thing you could do is buy racks that were made precisely for this reason, to secure your kayak on the rooftop of your car.
What kayak roof racks do you need?
Now, the question remains what type of racks do you need? Not all cars are the same, as you can imagine, which means that frames may differ and what fits a car may not fit another. You have to pay attention, and you will do just fine.
You shouldknow that there are two types of racks, roof racks, and temporary pads. You can use them depending on the car you have.
They are the most dependable frames, it’s easy to load and unload the kayak. They are also known as kayak carriers. However, you can only use this kind if your car already comes with factory side rails. That is because the kayak racks must be attached to something. A naked rooftop is useless in this case.
Fortunately, there are a lot of cars that have that option, or you can install one of those aftermarket base rack systems,Eitherway, pre-existing rails make the entire setup a lot safer than the alternative (the naked rooftop).
You should also know that roof racks come in multiple models. There are saddles and rollers, which are ideal for windy areas and interstate driving because they offer a larger area of contact between the roof rack and the kayak itself.
Then there are J-Cradles. They are the most popular because they offer the possibility of positioning your kayak at a 45 degrees angle, which means you have room for more than one kayak.
Last but not least, if you go kayaking with your family of four, you should go for a stacker. This type of roof rack allows you to stack up to 4 kayaks on the rooftop of your car. Each of them will be sitting in an upright position, on their side, so there is plenty of room.
Roof racks are to be preferred over the temporary type. They are more resilient, safer, and more durable. But as I said, if you don’t already have rails on the rooftop of your car, you cannot use these.
Temporary racks are ideal for people who don’t have a base rack system to place the type of frames I presented previously. So if you have a naked car rooftop, but you still enjoy kayaking now and then, temporary racks are perfect for you. They are very easy to install and use. You just have to secure the straps that go around the inside of your car along with the roof and over the top.
The disadvantage of this kind is that you cannot travel for long distances and you can only transport one kayak at a time. Also, if you have a sunroof, this may not work for you. That part is sensitive, and you may damage it. But overall, if you are looking for a kayak roof rack for cars without rails, this is the best way to go.
What to consider when looking for the best kayak roof racks?
If you decided that you want to purchase a roof rack for your kayak, don’t just go and buy the first thing you find. There are a few things you have to establish first. Not all racks will fit your car.
- Vehicle base roof setup – does your vehicle already have side rails or it is naked? Can you attach the factory cross bars or some aftermarket cross bars? These are questions that must be answered before making a purchase. Otherwise, you may buy something that you will not be able to use.
- Do you plan to carry more than one kayak? This is a huge factor to consider because it will decide the sort of roof rack you need. If you want to take just one kayak, then a J-Cradle is enough, but if you plan on taking more than 2, then you definitely need a stacker. See? It all comes together.
- How far do you plan to travel? Depending on the distance you will have to travel you will make a choice between temporary pads and secure roof racks. As I said above, temporary frames are not recommended for long distances or interstate travel, so a more secure system is to be preferred.
- Do you kayak often? If this is the case, then you need a roof rack that will make loading and unloading simple. You don’t want to spend too much time on this step, now do you? So search for an easy to use a roofrack, and you should be okay.
Take all these things into consideration, and you should be able to make a well-informed decision. The purpose here is to not spend money on something that does not suit you.
Best kayak roof racks reviews
Considering that there are quite a few models available, the number of kayak roof racks you can find is enormous. Some are of poor quality, and some of the are high-quality, but that is why online reviews are available. So you can know which one is worth the money and which one is not.
EGO J-Bar 2 pairs Universal Kayak Canoe Top Mount Carrier
This set is perfect if you plan on transporting 2 kayaks. Although the manufacturer states that they will fit most factory and aftermarket square and flat crossbars, you must be careful to measure the bars. If they are wider than 2.5 inches and thicker than 1 inch, this set will not fit properly so you will not be able to mount the kayaks safely.
The design of the mounting system is adjustable, and the pads will make sure that you do not damage your kayak. Nobody wants to scratch it every time they transport it. But the adjustable pads will also ensure carrying strength. It’s good to know that you can travel with 2 long kayaks on the roof of your car without something bad happening. I am sure you imagined once or twice what would happen if the kayak weren’t safely secured to the rooftop, didn’t you? I am sure that the scene resembles with a moment pulled from Final Destination.
When you receive the package, you will get 4 racks for 2 kayaks, 4 straps and a set of mounting hardware. The installation is relatively easy, you don’t have to struggle one bit. The removal is as easy. It will not take you long either. It’s all very fast going.
The loading capacity per one set goes up to 165 pounds. Honestly, I don’t know a kayak that weighs more than that, so you’re safe here. The supported width is 36 inches, but it is more than enough. However, the length of the straps will not suffice if you want to place them under the crossbars. Some people do that to feel safer, but it really is unnecessary.
One thing that may be considered a drawback to this product is that the hardware may not be as high-quality as one may expect. My advice is to purchase more resilient nuts and bolts. I suppose you don’t want to lose the racks together with the kayak along the way. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
SportRack Jetty Saddle Kayak Rack
If you are interested in this model, you should really check product details. Not all racks fit all cars. I know I said that before, but I have to emphasize the importance of this aspect. Otherwise, you will receive a product that clearly does not meet your requirements.
The installation and the removal of the saddles are very simple, and it does not take long. You will receive a manual that will tell you how to do it step by step. You couldn’t possibly do it wrong.
The integrated rubber padding will provide kayak protection during transportation. I assume you don’t want to arrive at the destination with a dented kayak. The road is not always smooth, and you may wake up to a damaged kayak. If you don’t like this particular model, it’s fine; but make sure to always opt for a padded rack.
The shape of the hull does not really matter since this roof rack can support all shapes and sizes. The package includes four kayak saddles, bow and stern tie downs, and two side straps. It’s everything you need to safely secure your kayak(s) on the rooftop of your car.
The SportRack Jetty is a high-quality product given its price range. But even so, it can easily be compared with roof racks that are more expensive and have already achieved brand status. It is reliable, durable, and you will be able to travel with your kayak without any issues. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Malone HandiRack Inflatable Rooftop Rack
Since I talked about both roof racks and temporary pads, I thought that I should review at least one such product. This rack is not designed just for carrying kayaks, but you can use it for this purpose without problems. You can carry furniture and sporting gear, so I believe you are covered.
The HandiRack is made out of sturdy 42-denier nylon with 5 D-ring anchors. It will take quite some effort to rip it. The nylon also ensures that it is easy to clean. It may not seem such an important aspect now, but once it gets dirty, it will look kind of ugly on a clean car.
You will receive a Handi pump, which will make inflating very easy. The whole thing will be fully inflated in a matter of minutes. You can mount it on almost all cars that have a naked rooftop. As you may have realized by now, you cannot install this inflatable rack on a vehicle that already has rails.
The rack has a capacity of 180 pounds, which is pretty goodconsidering the fact that is inflatable. Actually, if you think about it, it has a bigger capacity than some metal roof racks. The manufacturer also offers a travel bag in which to store the pad when you are not using it, as well as load straps.
The Malone HandiRack is a great alternative to traditional kayak roof racks. If you don’t have the possibility of mounting a metal roof rack, then the inflatable one is your best option. It is ideal for people who don’t have to travel long distances to go kayaking, and for individuals who have a vehicle with a naked rooftop. Either way, this rack will prove to be most useful. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
In my honest opinion, I believe that the SportRack is one of the best kayak roof racks. It is sturdy, the metal is high-quality, you can carry 2 kayaks at once, and the installation and use are easy. Not to mention that you will not be spending too much time loading and unloading the kayak. I think that these are the most important aspects to consider when you want to purchase such a product.
A kayak roof rack proves to be an extremely useful accessory. How else would you transport your kayak? If you think about it, it can save quite a few bucks. Instead of renting a kayak every time you feel like kayaking, you can bring your own, in a simple, fashionable way. Click here to buy on Amazon
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