Have plans to transport a kayak in a truck? There are numerous ways to accomplish it. To assist you in selecting the best kayak racks for trucks, we have put together a thorough guide. Additionally, we looked at a few interesting models.
Kayak Roof Rack Types
The various types of kayak racks and how they serve different purposes will be covered in this section. This will enable you to choose the one that is best for your truck and kayak.
A bed rail
The bed rail rack is one of the most widely used kayak racks. It is quite adaptable. Additionally, more cargo may be transported on the truck bed because it rests high above the ground. Additionally, its extensive rails are useful for securing kayaks to keep them securely in place.
If you need to transport longer kayaks but only have a truck bed that is about normal size, bed extenders are best by lowering the tailgate, this kind of rack functions as a detachable wall to extend the length of your truck bed. Additionally, remember that cam straps are the best belts for bed extenders, not ratchet straps.
Roof racks are the simplest to set up and take down all kinds of kayak racks. Therefore, kayakers who don’t paddle frequently are advised to use this rack.
There are numerous styles of roof racks you can choose. These include pads, rollers, stackers, J-style saddles, and crossbars. You need to use straps and belts for each to secure your boats.
Regular paddlers might wish to think about racks made of wood. They are sturdy and have a terrific grip because they are mounted to your truck. Once connected to your truck, they also don’t need to be adjusted very often.
If you have large kayaks, a lumber-style rack is an excellent solution. There are numerous rails for tying the straps because of the structure.
Purchasing Kayak Racks: Things to Think About
Your Car’s Base Roof Configuration
The first step in choosing the type of kayak rack you’re going to purchase must be understanding the basic roof configuration of your car. Car base roofs come in four primary varieties: side rails, factory crossbars, aftermarket crossbars, and bare or naked roofs.
We don’t want to get the incorrect base roof because some base roof types do not fit all kayak models. The ideal kayak rack is found on base roofs, just like their bolts and nuts.
Material durability is one of the most required characteristics for a kayak rack to handle big kayaks. These are primarily built of steel and aluminum due to their sturdy construction.
The greatest materials for convenience and lightness are those made of aluminum. Despite being very light, it has the same level of durability as other metal goods. Due to this characteristic, aluminum costs more than steel.
Steel racks will be the greatest option if you have a limited budget yet want to produce a high-quality item. Its exceptional strength allows it to transport bigger boats while still having some cargo loaded.
The maximum weight capacity of the kayak racks is an additional essential consideration. Make sure the item you purchase can support all your equipment. You must consider the weight of all the kayaks you need to load and their quantity. The maximum weight limit ought to exceed the combined weight of your boats.
How many kayaks do you intend to bring?
Consider how many kayaks you intend to load before purchasing a kayak rack. You can choose between bed rails or rails made of lumber if you only have one boat of normal size. However, consider roof racks, particularly stackers, if you want to transport two or more kayaks.
Range of travel
It would be best if you picked a kayak rack that is stronger and more secure if you were on vacation and intended to visit several lakes. Saddles or J-style racks are the greatest options in this situation because they provide your kayak additional stability.
The best kayak racks for trucks
Our specialists have chosen the top kayak racks from among the hundreds available. The main characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks of each product are listed. A thorough buying guide is also included at the end of the article. Be on the lookout for that!
AA-Racks Model X35 Truck Rack
Easy setup is a selling point for this AA-Racks X35. Unlike others, this kayak rack doesn’t require drilling holes into your truck. Two kayaks can be supported by it, and eight C-clamps are included for the best possible grip. Also, remember that vehicles with utility track systems cannot use this configuration.
Four packs of 16-foot-long ratchet lashing straps and four packs of adjustable stern tie-down straps are included with it. Your kayaks and canoes are held firmly in place by these belts, preventing them from falling during transit. All the uprights have rope hooks where you can tie these straps.
Your kayak’s safety is assured with the AA-Racks X35. High-quality rubber and foam are used to cover its base, which aids in shock absorption when traveling over uneven terrain. In addition, the rack is strong and heat- and water-resistant. The rubber cushioning protects your kayak from unnecessary dings and offers an anti-slip quality to guarantee stability.
Additionally, there is never a problem with the rack’s size compatibility with your truck. The AA-Racks X35 has an adjustable top bar, allowing it to fit your truck bed properly despite not being collapsible. For simpler installation, several bolts are also included.
Lund 601021 Hitch Mounted Truck Bed Extender, Black
The Lund Hitch Mounted Bed Extender is a great option for kayak racks. It is strongly advised if you have 14 feet or longer kayaks. Because this rack is made to suit a standard two-inch receiver hitch, you can increase the length even further.
It includes two vertical arms that may be adjusted from 27 to 49 inches for more security (69 to 124 cm). They will aid in preventing the sideways movement of your kayaks and the eventual collapse of your truck. It also has a flag, reflective tape to keep your kayak visible, and a 7-inch ground clearance.
Despite having a lightweight construction, the Lund Hitch Mounted Bed Extender is incredibly sturdy and long-lasting once it is put up. It is built of high-density steel and has a 750 lb. weight capacity. This rack can easily fit into any storage area due to its folding design. On your SUVs, vans, and pickups, you may even adjust it vertically to hold kayaks installed on the roof.
TMS Adjustable Utility Rack
Given that it is one of the greatest heavy-duty racks available, the TMS Adjustable Utility Rack can hold bigger, heavier kayaks. It is constructed from sturdy steel supporting 800 lbs. of stuff.
Most pickup trucks can be expanded from a minimum of five feet to a maximum of seven feet. Because of this, wide boats can fit comfortably even without straps or belts.
Additionally, its wide size ensures the security of your load. However, with time, larger things may leave dents in the rack, and because it lacks a powder coating, it is vulnerable to scratches.
You may put them on the truck with C-clamps without drilling any holes. But for the best base support, drill two holes in each base and fasten them with the included bolts and screws.
APEX LEGENDS Elevate Outdoor Aluminum Universal Truck Rack
The Apex Legends Aluminum Universal Truck Rack is also a fantastic option if you prefer a simple and quick installation on your truck bed. You don’t need to drill holes to attach it because of the C-clamp support system. Its high-strength aluminum clamp ensures a secure, tight grasp on your truck and is convenient while protecting it from damage.
This rack is easy to adjust. Its top bar can be made up to 65 inches wide to precisely fit a truck bed that is the typical size. Each one also has ladder stops that, after being moved, can be firmly locked using a knob. To lessen sway, they are expandable up to 52 inches wide.
Each kayak rack pair features built-in eyelets for tie-down straps to keep your kayaks in place, preventing scratches from tightly coiled ropes. Due to their durability and anodized aluminum construction, they can hold a kayak’s weight.
The Apex Aluminum Universal Truck Rack’s 34-inch elevation from the truck bed’s surface is another benefit. This height allows adequate space for additional luggage to fit underneath the rack.
YAKIMA, BigCatch Kayak Fishing Boat Saddles for Roof Racks and Trailers
Yakima’s BigCatch Kayak Rack is your best option if you have fishing and sit-on-top kayaks, which are heavier than typical kayaks. It contains rubber padding that is gentle yet strong, protecting your kayaks from harm. Its large cradles are also made to fit a range of hull types.
Even though it can only sustain one kayak at a time, the heaviest ones weigh 150 lbs. With practically all SUVs, the Yakima BigCatch Kayak Rack works nicely. It also features a simple installation process, except for cars with T-slot crossbars.
This rack has bow and stern tie-downs, heavy-duty straps, and other safety features for your boats. Additionally, felt pads are provided to aid loading and lessen denting.
AMP Research 74802-01A Black BedXTender HD Sport
The 74802-01A from AMP Research BedXTender is a V-shaped gate composed of aircraft-grade aluminum tubing with a torque-resistant, clam-shell construction. Its 6063 T6 aluminum alloy tube material is perfect for creating items that need to be both lightweight and strong.
If your vehicles don’t have a hitch and your kayaks are short, the BedXTender is one of your finest solutions. It gives you an additional two feet of room to store your boat and all your stuff.
The sole drawback of this rack is that you can’t stop your items from shifting around.
Because of this, you may wish to secure your kayak using other techniques, such as straps and knots. The only purpose of its construction is to serve as a guardrail surrounding the truck bed, preventing your kayak from tumbling off. Additionally, it features a silver or black powder-coated surface that guards against scratches on the rails.
AA-Racks Model X39 Truck Bed Ladder Rack Side Bar with Long Cab Ext (X39-LC-Black)
All AA-Racks X39 Short Truck Ladder Rack components can be manually adjusted to precisely meet your load. With a clearance of 30.5 inches, it also has a considerable load capacity, providing plenty of room to load your other stuff. This is a wonderful option if you routinely transport many goods with your kayak.
You’ll need to drill into your vehicle to install the X39 from AA-Racks. However, for your convenience, the base already includes a few holes to prevent cuts on the inner metal sheet. Brackets are joined with four or six bolts designed specifically for X35 bars for maximum strength.
An additional over-cab extension can be extended from 45 to 53.5 inches in addition to the railings already installed on your truck bed—this aids in supporting the rack’s overall framework. The sidebar extensions, however, can be changed from 53.5 inches to 90 inches.
The X39 has a built-in front rope hook design where you can tie the ropes once you haul your boat on top of the rails to ensure the kayaks are in their suitable placements. Additionally, it includes a special bracket bar with a secure grip that is strengthened with bolts and screws.
MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack – 400 lb Capacity
Aluminum is used to create the MaxxHaul Aluminum, guaranteeing strength and a lightweight design. You will get a rust-free guarantee with your kayak racks if they have a powder-coated finish. This is vital because water is practically unavoidable to remain on these racks while you ride.
Despite their lightweight construction, these racks can safely transport your kayaks. The bases are constructed from powder-finished heavy-duty steel. You can simultaneously load two kayaks onto it thanks to its 400 pounds loading capacity.
On both ends of the crossbars are movable stopper bumpers. This avoids sideways movement and object collisions, particularly when making sharp turns at high speeds.
The crossbars of the Maxx Haul Aluminum may be extended up to 70 inches to fit most full-size truck beds properly. Additionally, it may reach a maximum height of 26 inches. With this, you can still fill the bed of your truck with more things, including your camping gear and other items.