Best Kayak Roof Rack of 2021

It’s summer and it is the best time for a thrilling and fun kayaking adventure. Kayaks are heavy to carry around, plus they won’t fit in a small car. So, you need the best kayak roof rack that can safely transport it to the water location.

There are different types of kayak roof racks with varied designs that can protect and securely hold the kayaks without much hassle. Here we are with the list of the finest kayak roof racks that you should check out for a frequent kayaking experience.

10 Best Kayak Roof Racks Reviews

TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier

The sturdy constructed J-bar rack kayak carrier by TMS vertically holds the kayak and provides ultimate protection. The steel construction with adjustable pads offers extra protection and strength for carrying the kayak. It mounts to all load bars and crossbars easily without taking much space.

The wide mouth of the carrier makes it easy to load and unload the kayak without any issue. Whether you use a fishing kayak or beginner kayak, this carrier will hold it firmly and will protect it from damages while transporting it to your desired lake.

It can hold up to 36-inch wide and 75 lbs single kayak. All the necessary items required to assemble the carrier are included.

Some users faced difficulty while assembling it as the instructions provided are not detailed enough. Other than that, this affordable roof rack has been appreciated for its efficiency and ease of use.

Things we liked:

  • Sturdy steel construction.
  • Provides extra protection.
  • Takes minimal space.
  • Mounts onto all types of crossbars and load bars.

Things we didn’t like:

  • Hard to assemble.

YAKIMA – JayLow Rooftop Mounted Kayak Rack

The Yakima rooftop rack for kayakcomes with multiple settings that are useful and convenient. This rack is compatible with Yakima streamline and also fits onto square, round, aerodynamic, factory crossbars that have a minimum 24-inch spread.

It can carry a boat in the J-cradle arrangement up to 80 lbs or two kayaks of any type in the vertical position up to 110 lbs combined. You can install it without any tools in about 10 minutes on the crossbars quite easily.

The padded contact points equipped in the racks offer super grip and protection while traveling. You can purchase the SKS lock cores that are sold separately for additional security and to prevent theft.

The significant part of this best 2 kayak roof rack is it comes fully assembled, and when not in use, you can fold it easily for reduced drag and better clearance.

Things we liked:

  • Easy to install without tools.
  • Carries up to 2 kayaks.
  • Compact design.
  • Can be folded.

Things we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t come with security locks.

CargoLoc 2-Piece 52″ Aluminum Roof Top Cross Bar Set

These high-quality cross bars are constructed with rigid aluminum that offer added security, consistency, and strength. It has up to 150 lbs load capacity that can carry a kayak, skis, or even a motorbike quite easily.

It comes with the best way to put kayak on roof rack and a heavy-duty clamping mechanism that makes sure the crossbars remain fastened to the side rails firmly, plus the keyed locking mechanism ensures they stay protected.

The crossbars measure about 52-inch outside to outside, you can adjust them up to 46-inch span across the existing rooftop side rails.

The installation is pretty straight forward and takes a few minutes. It fits on any vehicle that has existing side rails. The good quality and well-constructed crossbars come with a limited lifetime warranty that ensures a long time use.

Things we liked:

  • Solid aluminum construction.
  • Load capacity up to 150 lbs.
  • Lockable and safe.
  • Can be adjusted.

Things we didn’t like:

  • The locking mechanism is made of low-quality plastic.

HandiRack Universal Inflatable Roof Rack Bars

Heavy-duty yet lightweight, this best kayak roof rack bar is suitable for carrying all types of kayaks and fits on any vehicle. It comes with two HandiRack twin tubes that will protect and cushion the kayak during transportation.

The twin tubes are secured safely to the roof of the car by a fitting strap that helps them to stay in place. There are also two 9.8-ft webbing tie-down included for carrying the kayak securely and safely. It has a weight capacity of 175 lbs.

For inflating the twin tubes, a double-action HandiPump is included that inflates them in seconds. You don’t require any tools to install them, plus no roof rails or crossbars are needed.

It is recommended not to leave the twin bars on the vehicle when you don’t use them. Highly portable, you can store them in the included nylon drawstring travel bag when not in use.

Things you liked:

  • Suitable for almost all types of vehicles.
  • Easy and quick to install.
  • Protective bars hold the kayak securely.
  • HandiRack and HandiPump included.

Things we didn’t like:

  • Too much heat can deflate the bars.

Malone Downloader Folding J-Style Universal Car Rack

With this amazingkayak carrier, you can easily transport your kayaks to the location and start paddling. Made with aluminum, this car rack holds your kayak vertically and saves a lot of space in the roof. The load capacity of the car rack is 75 lbs.

The equipped loading ramps with the carrier helps in loading and unloading the kayak with ease, and the oversized padding protects it while transporting. It is a folding kayak roof rack that folds down easily when not in use and makes way for more overhead clearance.

The mounting hardware by JAWZ  fits square, factory oval cross, and round rails. The car rack comes with 60 mm and 70 mm pre-coated mounted bolts for installation and buckle protectors with cam-style load straps for transporting the kayak safely.

What we liked:

  • Easy to load and unload the kayak.
  • Folding mechanism.
  • Excellent quality.
  • All the accessories are included.

What we didn’t like:

  • Doesn’t fit for some crossbars.

ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 Pairs Universal Kayak Roof Rack

If you are looking for extremely durable kayak racks, then go for the ECOTRIC’s J-bar universal racks. Constructed with heavy-duty steel and rubber, the J-bars offer much-needed protection to the kayak. The J-style bars are optimally sized and create more space.

The equipped hardware is rust-resistant and can be installed and removed quickly. The load capacity of the package is 165 lbs, so it can accommodate two lightweight kayaks quite easily, but they should be at least 36-inch wide.

It contains four 255 cm fastening straps that help in securing the kayak tightly. The included adjustable paddings keep the kayak protected and prevents scratch or dents. The wide mouth of the J-bars makes loading and unloading the kayak a breeze.

It fits on most aftermath square and flat, or factory crossbars. This top roof rack package is backed up with a one-year warranty too.

What we liked:

  • Highly durable construction.
  • Loads and unloads the kayak easily.
  • Installation is easy.
  • 1-year warranty.

What we didn’t like:

  • Not suitable for every crossbar.

ROLA (59912) J Style Kayak Carrier Roof Rack

This roof rack is an attractive and solid solution to transport your kayak, crafted with powder-coated steel and anti-rust hardware that provides the much-needed security to the kayak year after year.

The equipped foam pads in the carrier protect and cradle the kayak during transportation. You can secure the kayak with the included premium heavy-duty straps and bow and stern tie-downs, which is the best way to secure kayak to roof rack.

The universal fit hardware that comes with this rack can fit a variety of crossbars. It is budget-friendly and is the best choice to use for longer runs. Whether you use a tandem kayak or sit on top kayak, this roof rack will hold it tightly for you.

What we like:

  • Solid construction.
  • Universal fit hardware.
  • Protective foam pads.
  • Budget-friendly.

What we didn’t like:

  • It cannot be folded when not in use.

The Kayak Wing – Sea Kayak Rack

The universal kayak roof rack system – this kayak wing is a reliable, sturdy, and lightweight system that holds the kayak firmly. It is made in the USA, this rack set comes with all the necessary accessories to safely transport the kayak to the destination.

It is recommended to use the rack for kayaks that are under 30-inch wide. The wing fits on 3.25-inch wide crossbars, plus it also fits on roof rack systems from Yakima, Thule, and others. The installation doesn’t require any tool, and the process is moderately easy.

It helps in preventing hull damages such as scratches and dents and protects both the kayak and the car roof. Kayaks that have defined keel or V-shaped hull are recommended to be used with this wing.

What we liked:

  • Lightweight and sturdy.
  • No tool installation.
  • Fits on various roof racks.
  • 5-year warranty.

What we didn’t like:

  • Some users may find difficulty in installing it.

SportRack SR5527 Adjustable Foam Kayak Carrier

When it comes to finding an affordable kayak carrier, then nothing can be best other than the SportRack adjustable kayak carrier. It comes with four adjustable foam blocks that can hold a full range of kayak widths containing 16-inch to 24-inch space.

The carrier features 2 non-skid undersides that keep the blocks in place and helps in protecting the finish of your vehicle. The installation setup is simple and hassle-free. It can also fit on round or square racks and SportRack roof rack systems.

You can fasten the foams and bars to the vehicle’s roof with the two straps included with the carrier, and can firmly secure the kayak with the bow and stern tie-downs to make it safe to transport. This kayak carrier can be used on cars that don’t contain any roof bars.

What we like:

  • Can be used without roof bars.
  • Secures the kayak tightly.
  • Affordable.
  • Hassle-free installation process.

What we didn’t like:

  • The straps may wear out quickly.

Thule Compass 890000 Kayak Carrier

This innovative and stylish kayak carriercan carry your kayak or standup paddleboards safely to the lake for an enjoyable adventure. The carrier comes with multiple systems to carry the kayak.

It can hold a single kayak in the saddle or J-style configuration or can hold up to two kayaks in the stacker mode. There are featured durable padded upright and thick rubber saddles that provide the kayak maximum protection.

It features an integrated strap-catch that helps in managing the load straps easily while loading the kayak. The carrier comes with a bow and stern tie-downs and two sets of load straps.

You can install the carrier quickly to the vehicle without the need for any tools. When not in use, you can fold it for overhead clearance.

What we liked:

  • Comes with multiple carrier options.
  • Rubber paddings for ultimate protection.
  • Tool-free and easy installation.
  • Can be folded.

What we didn’t like:

  • Not efficient for carrying two (2) kayaks.

What to Look for Before Buying a Kayak Roof Rack

There are some significant factors that you should consider before purchasing a kayak roof rack.

Type of roof rack: There are different types of roof racks available in the market, such as J-style, foam pads, crossbars, saddle, and stacker carriers. Choose the one that will work well on your vehicle and has a sturdy construction.

The number of kayaks: Most of the roof racks can hold only a single kayak, but if you want a carrier that can hold two kayaks, then you need to go for a carrier that has a high load capacity.

Easy installation:  A roof rack that can be installed easily is quite beneficial, plus saves a lot of time. So, before purchasing one, check the installation process.

Universal fit: If your vehicle contains crossbars, then look for a roof rack that is compatible with them. Many roof racks come with universal fit mounting hardware that fits on all types of crossbars, so purchasing them will be better.

Final Verdict

You can confidently transport your kayak to the destination when you have the best kayak roof rack. They will secure and protect the kayak from the starting point to the destination.

From the above list, I recommend the TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier for its heavy-duty construction and protective features. No matter what you choose, make sure to research before purchasing them.