7 Best Kayak Roof Rack

Best Kayak Roof Rack Reviews

If you love kayaking but struggle with transportation, a kayak roof rack might be just what you need. A kayak roof rack is a device that attaches to the top of your car and securely holds your kayak in place during transport. With a good quality kayak roof rack, you won’t have to worry about your kayak falling off or getting damaged during transportation.

Finding the best kayak roof rack can be a challenging task. So many options are available in the market, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. Factors such as compatibility with your car, weight capacity, and ease of installation must be considered when selecting a kayak roof rack.

We have reviewed and tested numerous kayak roof racks at our site, so we can help you choose the one that best suits your needs. We consider factors such as durability, ease of use, and value for money to provide the best recommendations.

Top 7 Roof Rack For Kayaks

Best Overall: Thule Compass Kayak and SUP roof Rack

Thule Compass stands out as the best kayak roof rack on the market due to its exceptional build quality and versatility.

Thule Compass Kayak and SUP roof Rack - Carries 2 Kayaks or 2 SUPs - J-Style Carrier - Universal mounting Hardware Included - Fits 36" Wide Kayaks and SUPs - 130lb Weight LimitCrafted with premium materials, it ensures durability and can accommodate a wide range of kayak sizes and styles. Its intuitive design simplifies the loading and unloading, saving time and effort.

Thule Compass is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize quality, ease of use, and compatibility. Whether you’re a solo kayaker or a family with multiple boats, this roof rack provides a secure and reliable solution.


  • Durable construction
  • Versatile, fits various kayak types
  • Easy to load and unload
  • High-quality materials
  • Secure and reliable


  • Relatively higher price
  • May require additional accessories for some vehicles

Best Budget: Malone Foldaway-5 MPG125 Multi-Rack Folding

Malone FoldAway-5 earns its reputation as the best budget kayak roof rack by offering an affordable yet dependable solution.

Malone Foldaway-5™ Multi-Rack Folding 1 or 2 Kayak, SUP, Canoe Carrier, Black (MPG125)This rack’s foldable design allows for convenient storage when not in use, perfect for users with limited space.

It provides a secure and stable platform for your kayak, ensuring safe transportation. It’s an excellent choice for budget-conscious kayakers who seek quality and functionality without breaking the bank.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Foldable design for easy storage
  • Secure and stable kayak transport
  • Suitable for various kayak sizes
  • Simple installation


  • It may not accommodate very wide kayaks
  • Limited additional features

Best Load: Malone MegaWing Reinforced V-Style Carriers

Malone MegaWing is the go-to choice for those who need to carry multiple kayaks. Its spacious design and robust construction allow for the transportation of heavy loads with ease.

Malone MegaWing Reinforced V-Style CarriersThe MegaWing’s J-style cradles offer excellent stability and prevent kayak movement during transit. It’s perfect for families or kayaking groups looking to maximize their carrying capacity and minimize the number of trips.


  • High load capacity
  • Suitable for multiple kayaks
  • Secure J-style cradles
  • Sturdy construction
  • Easy loading and unloading


  • Bulkier design
  • May require assistance for installation

Best Budget Multi-Kayak: Malone Stax Pro2 Universal Car Rack Folding Kayak Carrier

Malone Stax Pro2 is the best choice for budget-conscious kayakers transporting multiple boats.

Malone Stax Pro2 Universal Car Rack Folding Kayak Carrier (2 Boat Carrier)Its stacker-style design efficiently utilizes roof space, making it an economical solution for group outings. Stax Pro’s padded arms protect your kayaks, and the rack is compatible with various crossbar types.

It’s ideal for those who want an affordable and reliable solution for carrying multiple kayaks on a budget.


  • Budget-friendly for multi-kayak transport
  • Stackable design maximizes roof space
  • Padded arms for kayak protection
  • Fits different crossbars
  • Quick and easy installation


  • Loading may require assistance
  • It may not fit extremely wide kayaks

Best Multi-Kayak: Thule 830 The Stacker Kayak Carrier

Thule Stacker is the best multi-kayak roof rack due to its innovative design and capacity to transport multiple kayaks easily.

Thule 830 The Stacker (4) Kayak CarrierFeaturing a stacker-style layout, it maximizes roof space, making it perfect for kayakers with more than one boat. The Thule Stacker’s padded arms provide safety and protection to your kayaks during transit. This feature ensures your boats remain in excellent condition. Its compatibility with various crossbars makes it versatile and suitable for different vehicles.

This rack is reliable for those who enjoy kayaking with a group or own multiple boats.


  • Efficient use of roof space
  • Padded arms for kayak protection
  • Versatile, fits various crossbars
  • Secure and stable multi-kayak transport
  • Quick and simple installation


  • Loading may require assistance
  • It may not fit extremely wide kayaks

Best Saddle System: Yakima, BigCatch Kayak Fishing Boat Saddles for Roof Racks and Trailers

The Yakima Big Catch is the best choice for kayakers who want a dependable saddle system.

Yakima, BigCatch Kayak Fishing Boat Saddles for Roof Racks and TrailersIts unique saddle design cradles your kayak securely, preventing movement during transportation. This provides peace of mind, knowing your boat is safe. The Yakima Big Catch’s versatility accommodates various kayak sizes and styles. It’s ideal for users who prioritize safety and prefer a saddle-style roof rack.


  • Secure saddle system
  • Compatibility with different kayak types
  • Prevents kayak movement
  • Reliable for safety-conscious users
  • Quick and easy installation


  • Slightly higher price
  • Requires proper kayak positioning

Best Simple: Malone Standard Foam Block Universal Car Top Canoe Carrier Kit

The Malone Foam Blocks make it to the top by offering a straightforward and budget-friendly solution for kayak transportation.

Malone Standard Foam Block Universal Car Top Canoe Carrier Kit These foam blocks are easy to use and hold up well, ensuring safe kayak transport. They are particularly suitable for users who prefer simplicity and don’t want the complexities of a full roof rack system. Whether you’re a beginner or need a quick, temporary solution, Malone Foam Blocks are an excellent choice.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Ideal for temporary kayak transport
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Lightweight and compact


  • Limited features
  • It may require additional securing straps

Please note that while I’ve provided information based on common characteristics of these products, you should verify specific details and check for the latest models on the respective manufacturer’s website or trusted retailers.

How To Choose The Best Kayak Roof Rack

If you want to transport your kayak on the roof of your vehicle, you need a kayak roof rack. But how do you choose the best one for your needs? This article will review the key factors to consider when selecting a kayak roof rack.

1. Compatibility

Make sure the kayak roof rack you choose is compatible with your vehicle. Some roof racks are designed to fit specific vehicles or roof types, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing.

2. Capacity

Consider the weight and size of your kayak and the number of kayaks you want to transport. Look for a roof rack with a weight capacity to accommodate your kayak(s) and securely hold it.

3. Ease of Installation

Choose a kayak roof rack that is easy to install and remove. Some racks require professional installation, while others are designed for easy DIY installation.

4. Security

Ensure the roof rack you choose can securely hold your kayak(s) in place during transport to prevent damage or accidents.

5. Material

Consider the material of the roof rack, which can affect durability and resistance to corrosion. Aluminum and stainless steel are popular for their strength and resistance to rust.

6. Aerodynamics

Look for a kayak roof rack with an aerodynamic design to minimize wind resistance and noise while driving.

7. Versatility

Choose a versatile roof rack to accommodate outdoor gear, such as bikes or skis.

8. Price

Consider your budget when choosing a kayak roof rack. Prices can vary widely depending on the features and quality of the rack.

In summary, choosing the best kayak roof rack requires considering compatibility, capacity, ease of installation, security, material, aerodynamics, versatility, and price. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can find a safe, secure, reliable roof rack for transporting your kayak(s) to your next adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kayak Roof Rack

A kayak roof rack is a must-have accessory if you plan to take your kayak on a road trip. This article will answer some of people’s most common questions about kayak roof racks.

1. What is a kayak roof rack?

A kayak roof rack is a set of bars that attach to the roof of your vehicle, providing a secure and stable platform for transporting your kayak.

2. Why do I need a kayak roof rack?

A kayak roof rack is essential if you want to transport your kayak safely and securely on the roof of your vehicle. It prevents damage to both your kayak and your vehicle and ensures that your kayak stays in place during transport.

3. How do I choose the right kayak roof rack for my vehicle?

Choosing the right kayak roof rack depends on several factors, including the type of vehicle you have, the number of kayaks you want to transport, and your budget. Look for a kayak roof rack compatible with your vehicle and can accommodate the number of kayaks you plan to transport.

4. Can I install a kayak roof rack myself?

Yes, most kayak roof racks can be installed by yourself, but you’ll need some basic tools and a bit of mechanical aptitude. If you’re not confident in your ability to install the roof rack, consider having it installed by a professional.

5. How do I load my kayak onto the roof rack?

Loading your kayak onto the roof rack can be tricky, especially if you do it alone. The best way to do it is to lift the kayak onto the roof of your vehicle, positioning it so that it’s centered over the roof rack. Then, secure the kayak to the roof rack using straps or tie-downs.

6. How do I secure my kayak to the roof rack?

To secure your kayak to the roof rack, you’ll need a set of tie-downs or straps. Position the kayak on the roof rack and run the straps over it and through the roof rack, ensuring they’re tight and secure.

7. Can I use a kayak roof rack for other outdoor equipment?

A kayak roof rack can transport outdoor equipment, such as bikes, skis, and snowboards. However, you’ll need to ensure the roof rack is compatible with the equipment you want to transport.

8. How fast can I drive with a kayak on my roof rack?

The maximum speed at which you can safely drive with a kayak on your roof rack depends on several factors, including the weight and length of your kayak and the road conditions. Generally, it’s best to drive at a moderate speed and avoid sudden stops or sharp turns.

In summary, a kayak roof rack is necessary for transporting your kayak safely and securely. When choosing a kayak roof rack, consider your vehicle type, the number of kayaks you want to transport, and your budget. With the right roof rack and proper installation, you can enjoy kayaking adventures wherever the road takes you.

  • Brayden White

    Hey, I'm Brayden White! Currently immersed in outdoor survival, my expertise lies in navigating the wilderness and sharing practical insights for thriving in nature. With years of hands-on experience and a background rooted in various outdoor sports and adventurous pursuits, I've become a seasoned expert in outdoor activities and exploration. From conquering challenging terrains to embracing the thrill of adventure, my journey has sculpted me into a reliable guide for those seeking outdoor escapades. Beyond the trails, you'll catch me bonding with my four-legged companions, capturing the essence of the great outdoors through photography, and indulging in the simple pleasure of savoring a delicious campfire-cooked meal. Let's embark on an exciting journey together!

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