The 10 Best Kayak Roof Rack in 2023 – Our Top Selections

Last Updated on March 1, 2023

Best Kayak Roof Rack

Let’s face it, not every vehicle has space for keeping a large-sized kayak! Owing a kayak feels meaningless if you can’t take it anywhere! For paddlers the pain is immense. Fortunately, there is a solution! Yes, I am talking about kayak roof rack.

For paddlers, the kayak roof rack is the pied piper of Hamelin, comes to solve the issue within a moment! If you have the best kayak roof rack installed, you don’t have to worry about carrying anymore.

It is a fundamental necessity for paddlers. Most vehicles are small to accommodate kayak inside. The only real way to carry it properly is by using a kayak roof rack.

In this article, I will discuss some of the most excellent quality kayak roof racks of the present time so that everyone can get one according to their need. Let’s start:

Quick Answer – Top 10 Best Kayak Roof Rack

1. Yakima Jaylow Kayak Carrier

2. Thule 898 Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift System

3. Malone SeaWing Saddle Style Kayak Carrier

4. Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier

5. TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier

6. Thule Deckglide Kayak Saddle

7. Yakima Showboat 66in Kit

8. HandiRack Universal Inflatable roof rack

9. Leader Accessories Kayak Rack

10. 2 Pair Universal Canoe Car-Top Roof Rack

Reviews of the Best Kayak Roof Rack

Finding the best Kayak Roof Rack is not an easy task, as it assumes. The market is full of options where most of them are cheaply made. You will regret if you pick one without proper judgment.

So, we decided to make the journey easier for you by narrowing down your choice with 10 of the most practical options. In here you will find proper details of each of the products along with true drawbacks.

You can easily decide which one is worth shopping and which one is not. I hope you will enjoy reading the following reviews. Let’s start without wasting any more of your time:

1. Yakima Jaylow Kayak Carrier

Best Kayak Roof RackThere is a reason for keeping the Yakima Jaylow Kayak Carrier on top of our list. The most interesting feature that makes the kayak carrier different from other carrier is that it can contain two kayaks together with the double extending arms.

Let me tell you the construction quality of the kayak at first. It is made of high-quality aluminum with double coated steel design. Meaning, it is corrosion resistant.

Besides, the kayak is easy to set up like a piece of cake. You don’t have to learn anything to set it up. The Yakima Jaylow Kayak Carrier can take up to 40 pounds of weight.

The double extending arms are helpful as well as you can lower the kayak by 40 inches and strap it at waist height. That means loading and unloading will never be a problem.

The maximum load it can take is around 75 pounds. Even it is designed in a way that any kayak can be fitted on the carrier with ease. Overall, the performance and everything else is good as heaven.


  • Strong construction quality with high-quality aluminum
  • Adjustable so that you can take most of the kayak types
  • Easy to use without any help
  • Corrosion resistant and durable
  • Keeps both kayak and car safe with padded support
  • Can take a heavy load of over 75 pounds


  • A bit pricey but worth it
  • Some customers found the installation difficult


2. Thule 898 Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift System

Best Kayak Roof RackThule is a trusted name in the outdoor gear industry. They have been providing the highest quality products since the beginning of the company.

The Thule 898 Hullavator Pro Kayak Lift System is the epitome of their class and quality. The design of the rack is pretty thick with premium quality materials.

The body is corrosion resistant. Besides, it can hold huge weight and bigger width hulls up to 36 inches. With the gas struts, it is super simple to load and unload the kayak single-handedly.

You can adjust it and install the kayak in your waist height as well. The kayak can accommodate 40lbs of weight. However, it offers eight attachment points along with padded support.

That means both your car and kayak will be well protected. Also, you will have complete security with One-Key Lock cylinders though you have to purchase it separately.

In a whole, this is a complete package for those who love kayaking frequently. You don’t have to put much pressure on installation as well. The price is reasonable for such quality. Give it a try.


  • Has wider cradles that can accommodate hulls up to 36 inches wide
  • Waist-level loading, unloading and strapping
  • Accommodates kayaks up to 36 Inches wide and 75 lbs
  • Easy to load and unload the kayak
  • Heavily constructed with quality materials
  • Corrosion resistant
  • The carrier takes 40 lbs of the kayak’s weight


  • Assembly takes more than an hour


3. Malone SeaWing Saddle Style Kayak Carrier

MaloneThe SeaWing Saddle Style Universal Kayak Carrier from Malone is another excellent option for those who want to reduce their overall weight. It is a low profile carrier, takes only a small space over the roof of your vehicle.

The strap system is easiest to use than any other options on the market. You just have to loop the strap around two points and up and over the kayak. That simple! The cradles will slightly flex for a tight bond with rack and kayak.

So, it will reduce wind resistance and gas mileage. The construction quality is pretty awesome with premium quality materials. It is built to last several years without any issue.

However, the installation requires no tools at all. It is simpler than most of its competitors. You can toss it on the roof of your car within a minute as it comes with all the necessary things. The loading and unloading system is also super simple and practical.

The rack is corrosion resistant with polycarbonate material, and a synthetic rubber padding is also included to keep the kayak and car protected. Overall, it is one of the best options of the present time. Pick it before the stock turns out.


  • Low profile design
  • Made of premium quality materials
  • Easy to install within a minute
  • Flexes gently to cradle boat and improve gas mileage
  • Jawz mounting hardware fits round, square, and most factory oval cross rails
  • Keeps kayak and vehicle well protected with rubber padding
  • Easy to load and unload


  • Produce annoying whistle on the wind while attached with the car


4. Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier

ThuleThule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier is best for budget-conscious consumer who wants the stability of a J-curved rack system. Since 1942, Tula is doing business with outdoor gears.

Since then, they are making and selling outstanding quality products for the price. This Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Rooftop Kayak Carrier is another example of their fantastic quality.

The roof rack is made from steel rust resistant tubing for extra strength. It has two perfectly placed tick pads included that will keep your kayak on the right place so that your car and kayak both stay protected from those irritating scratch marks.

Everything of the carrier is fantastic. Besides, the price is not pretty much. The product is from a fantastic brand Thule who offers a limited lifetime warranty as well. If it breaks, they will replace this in a year. Overall, it is a great kayak carrier to look. Don’t wait much; the stock is limited!


  • Solid built quality with highest quality materials
  • Can hold a kayak up to 34 inches wide and up to 75 lbs heavy
  • Made from steel rust resistant tubing
  • Easy to install within a short period of time
  • Two perfectly placed tick pads included keeping the kayak on the right place


  • Over time the foam cushioning may become prone to wear


5. TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier

Best Kayak Roof RackIf you are looking for a solution of single-kayak setups and transporting light canoes, boards, and kayaks, you just come to the right place. For the above two purposes, TMS-J Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier is the perfect fit.

It is one of the most affordable options compare to other setups. The TMS-J Bar is constructed with premium quality materials, and it is well padded.

That means most of the kayak type will fit in the carrier besides; it will last several years without any issue. The kayak comes with huge carrying strength as well.

The wide mount J bar makes loading and unloading easier than ever. Besides, the J-shape design takes little space on the roof. It will leave some space as well.

The carrier accommodates kayaks up to 36 inch wide and 75lbs of weight. With quick on and off hardware, the installation process is simple as well. Overall, the kayak carrier is a dreamlike option for everyone.


  • Steel design with adjustable padding
  • Wide mouth J bar offers easier loading and unloading facility
  • Quick on/off hardware ensures fast installation and removal
  • The practical J-shape design leaves roof space
  • Accommodates kayaks up to 36inch wide and 75lbs of weight


  • Not weather-proof
  • Not recommended for heavier, more robust tandem kayaks or canoes


6. Thule Deckglide Kayak Saddle

Best Kayak Roof RackThule DeckglideKayak Saddle is a bit more elegant than the more basic models we have reviewed already. It does come with a few advantages and some minor disadvantages.

The carrier comes with four pivoting hull pads that are adjustable. Meaning, you can adjust any size or shape hull easily. The carrier is designed to fit one kayak at a time from back to the front of any vehicle.

It is super simple to load and unload. Simply, get the front side of the kayak up on it and slide the rest on. With the help of felt-lined rear saddle, the kayak will slide smoothly without any effort.

The loading system will help to protect the hull from scratches and abrasion. The construction quality of the kayak carrier is fantastic with some high-quality material. The kayak stays in the right place while on the move.

Besides, it protects the hull with large and flexible cushioned pads. The carrier can accommodate 75lbs of maximum weight and 36 inches of width. The price is also reasonable.


  • Easy to load and unload the kayak
  • Pivoting felt-lined rear saddles helps Glide and center a kayak onto the vehicle
  • Comes with two independent pivoting saddles with angle-setting lever
  • Comes with the center load straps and car-protective buckle bumpers that helps to secure the kayak quickly
  • Protects the hull with cushioned pads
  • Holds kayaks up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs.
  • Fits a variety of Thule rack systems, round bars, and factory racks


  • A bit pricey than other carrier models


7. Yakima Showboat 66in Kit

YakimaThe Yakima Snowboat 66in Kit is another fantastic option for avid kayak enthusiasts who love to mount and dismount often. This is considered as one of the best rolling racks in the market today as it offers the easiest way possible to dismount and mount a kayak.

The Yakima Snowboat is similar to the Dockglide we reviewed above. It is also another back to front loading carrier. You will get the room for only one boat. But there is something special about the carrier.

It can carry a kayak or a canoe! With two 66 inch Yakima crossbar you can accommodate anything you want! The construction quality of the carrier is amazing with high quality corrosion-resistant stainless steel and brass hardware.

Humidity will never be a problem for this one. It can accommodate heavier boats with the help of rear assisted roller. For the price, it is one of the best possible kayak roof racks of the present time. Don’t waste your time on thinking. The stock is limited, be aware of that!


  • Has rear assisted roller that helps get heavier boats in and out without grinding them against the paint
  • Includes Two 66″ Yakima Crossbars
  • Padded to protect your kayak or canoe during loading and transport
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel and brass hardware
  • Carries any type of kayak or canoe while taking minimal space on your roof rack
  • Easy to set up and use


  • Need another person in setup to keep positioning right


8. HandiRack – Universal Inflatable roof rack

HandiRackThe HandiRack Universal Inflatable Roof Rack Bars are different from those standard roller roof racks. Those roof rack will fit vehicles that don’t have roof racks installed already.

They are designed to be an easy fix for a standard passenger car. The HandiRack is made from tough nylon with 5 D-ring anchor points that ensure secure transportation. Those are lightweight but heavy duty with a carrying capacity of 180lbs.

The fascinating feature of the carrier is its versatility. Not only kayak but also luggage, ladders, camping gear, furniture, sports equipment, sailboards, canoes, kayaks, boats, surfboards, paddleboards, and so many other things can be carried in the fantastic carrier.

With proper cushioning, it will protect your gears perfectly. The carrier fits in a city car, hatchback, saloon, Estate, MPV, SUV, Crossover and what not? Loading and unloading task is simple as well. The price is reasonable too. Give this unique model a try, this one worth it!


  • 5 D-ring anchor points ensure extra secure transportation
  • Lightweight & heavy-duty;
  • Load capacity: 80kg (180lbs);
  • Certified for use up to Highway Speeds
  • Made from a tough nylon material


  • Air chambers can’t take much heat, nor pressure/load


9. Leader Accessories Kayak Rack

Best Kayak Roof RackI am pretty sure you are familiar with the name Leader Accessories! Who doesn’t know them? They are one of the most trusted companies in car accessories industry. They are making and selling amazing products for years.

This Leader Accessories Kayak Rack is the example of their fantastic quality. It is a 4pcs set kayak rack that will help you save your cargo space and keep your kayak secure in ling drive while you are on the way to the destination.

The kayak is heavy duty with steel and powder coated construction. You can easily use the rack even a lifetime! The kayak carrier can hold a maximum of 250 lbs of weight.

Besides, it easy safe for transport. It also has padded foam that is designed to reduce scratch and prevent kayak from rubbing. The kayak carrier is easy to set up and is one of the most versatile options of the present time.

I am sure you will love the product. The price is not very high. Lots of people are purchasing this one. So, hurry up before the stock expires, ensure your deal.


  • Extra foam padded design reduces scratch and prevents from rubbing
  • Can carry Kayak, Canoe, Surfboard, Ski board, Snow Board, SUP, etc.
  • Easy and safe for your transport
  • Easy to Install
  • Steel construction with powder coated makes the rack stronger


  • The Straps are not high in quality


10. 2 Pair Universal Canoe Car-Top Mount Carrier Roof Rack

Best Kayak Roof RackLast but not the least we have the 2 Pair Universal Canoe Car-Top Mount Carrier formed by JDM Auto Lights company. It is another outstanding model of the present time.

If you are looking for the best option within a tight budget, this is your top bet. The construction quality of the carrier is solid with heavy duty steel material. The carrier will last, and it can accommodate a decent amount of weight.

The wide mouth J Bar offers easier loading and unloading facility. Besides, it is super simple to install. The installation requires minimum time and tools. You can install it within a few minutes.

Also, the surface is rust-resistant as well. The price of the carrier is not prohibitive as well. Give it a try before the stock expires. You will not regret, that’s a promise.


  • Solid Heavy Duty Steel Construction
  • Large Load Capacity
  • Wide Mouth J Bar Offers Easier Loading And Unloading
  • Surface Rust-Resistant Coating
  • Super simple to set up


  • The quality of straps is not pretty good


Kayak Roof Rack Buying Guide

Choosing a quality kayak roof rack can be somewhat tedious and challenging, especially if it is the first time you are going to buy roof bars to transport a boat. We will see here the essential points to take into account when purchasing these transport accessories for our vehicle.

The Car or Transport Vehicle

Not all options on the market in roof bars are universal, so you must consider the vehicle type to ensure that they are valid. They must always be correctly anchored to the car, not only the bars but also the kayak since at high speeds on the road; it is a danger for you and other drivers or people.

Consult the vehicle manual to know the roof’s dimensions or take the measurements by hand, then consult the roof bars manufacturer if they have a compatibility catalog that shows the different brands and models of vehicles for which this roof rack can be used. 


There are several types of designs in the current market, some are specific for kayak, but many others are used for luggage, sporting goods, etc. If you are going to choose universal and not specific to kayaks, you have to make sure that your kayak is safe and above all that it is worth yet. Do not try to force the kayak or the bars at any time; you may end up damaging the boat or your vehicle. Also, take into account the dimensions of the kayak.

Besides, there are other points to take into account, for example, if you have to park in a low garage, take into account the height of the bars; on the market, there are folding bars which do not protrude too much from the vehicle making them valid for this. This is a problem, especially if you want to leave the bars fixed to the ceiling. Otherwise, you will always have to remove the bars after each use, making this a bit cumbersome.

Number of Kayaks

This question is undoubtedly already taken into account because the number of boats you carry will help to determine what type of bars and fasteners you will need for your vehicle. There are many options in the market, some only for one kayak, but two and up to four kayak simultaneously. Keep in mind not to exceed the maximum kg that the bars or kayak roof rack can support, as this will help you avoid many accidents.

Roof Rack Heigh

Apart from the fact that your car will be taller, you will also have to think about your height. If you buy a higher roof rack, it will be more challenging to raise than lower the kayak; on the other hand, if you buy one that fits the roof, it will be much easier for you.

Fabrication Material

This is one of the most important aspects since buying one with the best construction materials will increase the canoe carrier’s life and how much it will protect your canoe or kayak while it is on top of the roof bars.

It would be best if you always bought those made of steel or aluminum, with foams, rubber, or any filling that protects the boat. There is an alternative of plastic, fabric, or inflatable nylon; find out first what the brand is like and trustworthy and then not be disappointed.

Additional Equipment

Take into account any other type of accessory you need to firmly hold the kayak to the bars; the vast majority of kayak roof racks come with all the anchors, straps, or fastening straps will always have to check that they are in good condition. Condition and are of good quality.

Some brands need additional equipment to transport luggage or boats and read the specifications of each product on the purchase pages, so you will avoid scares or contact them after spending your money.


There are different manufacturers of roof rack kayak bars in the current market, do a little research on the internet, and take the time necessary to decide which is the best option for you according to your needs and your vehicle. Several factors come in here: the brand, the boat, the type of vehicle, and the budget you have.

Check how many years the brand has been in the market, the reputation, and other users’ comments. That you have a lot of detailed information in the product catalog or that you have good customer service. Also, if you are looking for a brand that is only dedicated to roof racks and for a long time, this will mean that they are of high quality.


This is always one of the most problematic factors when choosing and deciding which to buy. You may have bought a kayak that is worth a lot of money, so in the roof rack, you need something of high quality or at least enough to support the kayak and damage it as little as possible.

The price can be between 60 and 300 euros, although you can find more expensive still, this can be a factor that determines the quality of the product. However, it is not always the case; if the price is very low, likely, the materials are not good quality. Try to keep a high price in mind as these products are not usually cheap, although everything is on the market.

Types of Kayak Roof Bars

To get to the indicated kayak roof rack, you first have to know all the different types available in the market; each has advantages and disadvantages. There are four main categories; we detail them in the following lines.

Temporary Roof Rack

Some vehicles, especially modern SUVs, tend to incorporate roof bars; most vehicles on the market do not have any roof bar. This type of temporary roof bar is made for vehicles that do not have these bars as standard.

They are relatively easy to put on and take off. These bars fit in the rails that the vehicle has or holes covered with plastic caps on the same roof. These are usually better for shorter trips or for people who, apart from occasionally transporting the kayak, also want to transport other cargo types such as ladders. Besides, it is usually a relatively inexpensive option.

Cradle Type

The next shape is the cradle type; it is as its name indicates, it has a semi-rounded body in which it will support the kayak entirely or almost; some manufacturers make it in one piece or two, one at the base and another at the top, hugging the boat very firmly.

The great advantage of this type is the safety and stability of the boat in the car. So, even if there are high winds, it will always be well-secured without danger of coming loose in the middle of the journey. It is much more aerodynamic on top of the vehicle; it will reduce wind resistance, noise, and even fuel consumption. The downside is that you can only carry one kayak, but it is the safest and best if you regularly travel with your kayak.

J-shaped Cradles

It is the best-selling type of all, the J-shaped ones. For loading the kayak, it is done on the vehicle’s side, staying up and having more space for other kayaks, luggage, or other things, on the roof if we need it. The most positive of this type is the excellent stability and security they offer and the easy loading and unloading when doing it from the side. Try to practice a bit before trying to charge it for the first time, as it may seem awkward or difficult at first, but it takes some getting used to.


This is for people who need to carry multiple kayaks and carry up to four kayaks in one vehicle. Before you can carry so many kayaks, we recommend that you measure the roof of your car to see if it is possible to carry so many. It is an affordable and safe option, easy to install, and works with the vast majority of kayaks.

How to Install a Kayak Stand

The installation of the kayak supports will depend on certain factors, starting because each car and each brand are different and vary depending on the chosen model. You can always follow some general tips, such as making sure everything fits correctly, screwing whatever is necessary, following the assembly instructions that come with the kayak roof racks.

Final Words

That’s all for the best kayak roof rack article. We already reviewed some of the best options above with their pros and cons. I hope you enjoyed our article.

All of the above products are practically designed and constructed with premium quality materials. You can enjoy the performance of any of the above product if you wish to. Just before making the deal know your purpose carefully.

If you need anything to carry other than the kayak, you should know whether the model is versatile or not. Otherwise, you will regret later on. I am leaving you to know if you have anything else to share, feel free to comment. Many more will come soon.

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