Best Kayak Truck Racks

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Published on March 12, 2018

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Automotive
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If you love kayaking enough to think about transporting your boat to the nearest lake or river, you probably are one of those people who would do anything for their passion. However, if you live far from water, you must always be prepared to pack and go, so that you can enjoy the good weather. Up until recently, people used to transport kayaks with trailers, as it was the only know method. Ever since kayak racks for trucks became available on the market, these products have gained a lot of popularity. Installing kayak racks is easy and represents a long-term solution for transportation. Using a trailer that you attach to your car is still a good option, but if it were to choose between the two, we would recommend you to go for the truck racks. Driving with a trailer in the back of the car is especially uncomfortable, while carrying the kayak on top of your truck doesn’t affect your driving at all. The great thing about kayak racks for trucks is that need no maintenance and implies no costs on a long term, by comparison to trailers.

If installing a kayak rack on your truck right away seems like a good idea, then you should start by installing a roof rack. The roof rack is meant to protect the roof and makes the installation of the rack easier and faster. Are looking for a kayak rack for your truck? If so, you will notice that there are plenty of models available on the market. Some models are designed in such a way that they keep the boat straight, while some have a folding design and are designed to keep it tilted while transported. Kayak truck racks are made of heavy-duty materials and are very durable, but it is important to look at other features and qualities such as stability, ease of installation and durability.

In our attempt to determine what the best kayak racks on the market are, we have selected 5 of the best-selling products and analyzed their pros and cons, so that you can make a decision based on objective observations. Check out the products below:

1.AA Products Model APX25 Aluminum Truck Rack

A Products Model APX25 Aluminum Truck Rack

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No matter how safe and useful they say kayak racks can be when transporting them by car or truck, you have to choose one that is compatible with your vehicle, or otherwise it could even make things worse. Good truck racks can ensure the safety of your boats during the whole trip. This rack is an all-in-one model that includes every piece of mounting hardware that you might require. It can be installed without any drilling and it includes a set of mounting hardware steel design with adjustable padding. This only makes it stronger and more capable of carrying more weight. Also, the padding protects the kayak while driving, regardless of the road condition. This model has a 16-feet long ratcheting strap. The X35 model has C-clamps included, making it is very easy to setup and remove from the truck.

The heavy-duty extended bolts offer extra-security, giving you peace of mind. Another important feature of this product is that it comes with a Jetty Saddle system that has 4-point saddles. This makes it easily adaptable to kayak hull design. By using this rack, the kayak will occupy less space and will make traveling to your destination a lot easier and safer. This product has a total size of 31 x 16 x 15 inches and weighs 62 pounds. It comes at a reasonable price and it is a product that offers value for money.

What’s to like?

  • It is easy to mount

  • It is made of strong materials

  • It includes C-clamps

  • It is easy to take off the truck

  • It comes with heavy duty extended bolts

  • It has a ratcheting strap

  • It has a Jetty Saddle System

  • It adapts to kayak hull design

  • It occupies minimum space

  • It can load from either side of the truck

  • It includes installation hardware

  • It is adjustable

  • It is fairly priced

What’s not to like?

  • It is not compatible with trucks that have utility track systems

2. The Kayak Wing - Sea Kayak Rack with Covered Straps for Boats

The Kayak Wing - Sea Kayak Rack with Covered Straps for Boats

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If you are seeking out a more affordable truck rack for your kayak or canoe, this is a great alternative for you, being very inexpensive and practical at the same time. A product cheaper than most of the other options, arises the traditional question: does it bring the quality and utility that you need? In this case, the answer is positive. It is a kayak rack designed to serve the needs of those who want to transport their small boat on top of a truck, van or other type of vehicle. It is extremely easy to mount and remove when not in use. It is sold as a set to hold a kayak and it doesn’t require buying other accessories.

Are you wondering whether this product is large enough for your kayak? Then you should know that it is compatible with kayaks and boats that are up to 30 inches wide. It is made of high-quality materials and strong enough to allow you to transport your boat hustle free. It is a lightweight product, weighing only 6.6 pounds. It measures 21 x 4.5 x 8 inches and must to be installed on cross bars with a maximum width of 3.25 inches. Another requirement is a minimum clearance of 1 ½ inches between the car’s roof and the cross. The fact that you don’t need installation tools in the process makes everything easier. Also, all of the accessories that you might need are included. If you want to prevent dents and scratches in the paint of the car, this product is exactly what you need.

What’s to like?

  • It is easy to mount

  • It is made of strong materials

  • It includes C-clamps

  • It is easy to take off the truck

  • It comes with heavy duty extended bolts

  • It has a ratcheting strap

  • It has a Jetty Saddle System

  • It adapts to kayak hull design

  • It occupies minimum space

  • It can load from either side of the truck

  • It includes installation hardware

  • It is adjustable

  • It is fairly priced

What’s not to like?

  • It is not compatible with trucks that have utility track systems

3. AA Products Model X35 Truck Rack with 8 Non-Drilling C-Clamps

AA Products Model X35 Truck Rack with 8 Non-Drilling C-Clamps

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AA Products Inc. brings you a kayak rack with a standard bed. The product comes at a fair price giving its quality and sturdiness. If this isn’t the first time when you are installing kayak racks on your truck and you really want a model that is made of heavy-duty materials, you should take into consideration buying this product. It is a non-drilling model that comes with C-clamps. It is compatible with a variety of vehicles, except for trucks that have utility track systems. Setting it up and taking it down is easier than you think thanks to its practical system. If you want to ensure that it is extra safe, you will be glad to know that this rack includes extended bolts.

Unlike similar products on the market, this one is an all-in-one bundle that can transport and secure 2 kayaks or other types of small boats. It has 8 C-clamps, as well as a mounting hardware set that has great padding. Also, it comes with 2 pairs of Kayak J-Racks, 2 high- graded ratcheting straps. The straps are 16-feet long and can support 1 ton each. Both racks are made of steel, which makes them a bit heavier than those made of aluminum. The standard bed is compatible with most vehicles, but it is a god idea to check the compatibility before ordering it.

What’s to like?

  • It is ideal for 2 kayaks

  • It has a no drill system

  • It includes 8 C-clamps

  • It is easy to install and uninstall

  • It has heavy-duty extended bolts

  • It has 2 ratcheting straps – 16 feet each

  • It has 2 pairs of J-racks

  • It is durable

  • It measures 30.9 x 16.5 x 15.8 inches

  • It is made of steel

What’s not to like?

  • It isn’t compatible with utility track systems

4. TMS 800 LB Adjustable Fit 2 Bars Utility Ladder Truck

TMS 800 LB Adjustable Fit 2 Bars Utility Ladder Truck

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This kayak rack for trucks from TMS is medium-priced and represents the perfect alternative for customers who only need one rack for a kayak or a boat that cannot be transported on a regular rack. TMS advertise it as a rack that can be used not only to transport boats, but also other items such as mattresses, ladders or pool equipment, which is completely true. This product has a set of 2 heavy-duty steel pieces. They are both adjustable so that you can set them according to your needs. Its width can be adjusted to up to 7 feet, while its height has a maximum height of 30 inches. The frame of this product has a weight capacity of 800 pounds.

This model is rather easy to install, but it requires drilling. If you want a rack that doesn’t require drilling holes and using bolts in order to attach it to the track bed, then this isn’t what you are looking for. Remember that using bolts and nuts might add extra security to the rack. 2 bolts and nuts are included in the box, so that you can do the installation on your own. A total of 8 bolts and screws are included. The base of the rack is made of heavy-duty steel, which makes it heavier, but more durable than aluminum models.

What’s to like?

  • It offers good value for money

  • It has a strong frame

  • It has a steel base

  • It has a frame capacity of 800 pounds

  • It is adjustable

  • It is a set of 2 racks

  • It is suitable for all kinds of long objects

  • as well as for kayaks

  • It is ideal for constructional use

  • It includes 8 bolts and screws

What’s not to like?

  • It requires drilling

5. Leader Accessories Kayak Rack 4 PCS/Set J Bar

Leader Accessories Kayak Rack 4 PCS/Set J Bar

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Leader Accessories is responsible for the sturdiness and great price of this kayak rack for trucks. It has a low price, it is made of high-quality materials and it is easy to install even from the first time. This set includes 4 pieces. It is made of heavy-duty steel and has a powder coated surface. It is less prone to rusting over time thanks to its powder coating. This rack makes it easier to transport kayaks, boats or objects that are up to 8 feet long and that weigh up to 250 pounds. It comes with extra foam padding that is designed to reduce the scratches and rubbing of the kayak or canoe. If you want a rack model that offers maximum lock, then this is an ideal option.

This kayak rack is compatible with most cross bars. Even so, it is recommended to check the manufacturer’s compatibility list. Thanks to the shape of this product, the kayak doesn’t budge when swerving back and forth on the road. Assembling it is easy, as the box includes all the screws and accessories that you need. The instruction card is not very detailed, but luckily, the design of the rack is pretty intuitive.

What’s to like?

  • It is inexpensive

  • It is a double rack pack

  • It has a practical design

  • It is suitable for 8-feet long kayaks

  • It is made of steel

  • Its surface is coated

  • It has extra padded design

  • It is easy to install

  • It includes all installation hardware

  • It is versatile

  • It has a 250-pound capacity

  • It is covered by a 1-year warranty

What’s not to like?

  • The straps aren’t very sturdy

CONCLUSION

Is transporting a kayak on the top of the truck the best method?

Having several options always leads to a certain level of confusion, but at the same time, it lets you make the best choice for your needs, as well as for the safety of your car. Choosing to use kayak truck racks is a good idea, from a comfort and safety perspective. The kayak no longer interferes with your rear view, you don’t have to change the way you drive, as you would in the case of a trailer and you can pack and go without having to think twice. Whenever you see that the weather is ideal for kayaking, you can secure the kayak on the racks, start the car and leave, as these racks don’t have to be taken off the roof of the car. Kayak racks are easy to install, which is why they are preferred by so many kayak enthusiasts. The good news is that you don’t have to own a truck or a van in order to install roof racks. There are compatible rack models for all vehicles on the market. You simply have to look for the model that will fit your car. Thanks to the design of kayak racks available today, the kayak does not come in contact with the roof of the car in any way.

Is it safe to use truck racks for kayaks?

Truck racks that allow you to transport kayaks and other small boats are as safe as it gets. The only thing that matters is the model that you choose. Make sure that you check out the manufacturer’s guide and sizing instructions, so that you don’t get to buy a model that is incompatible with your car model. Most products include a compatibility list, so it is easy to do a quick check even before ordering it. If the model is right for your car, truck racks will certainly be safe to use. They help avoid all contact between the roof and the boat, so the vehicle’s paint will not be affected. At the same time, the safety accessories are meant to keep the kayak as stable as possible, so that it doesn’t move or slide during transportation.

How stable are these racks?

Stability is one of the greatest advantages of kayak racks and unlike trailers, they ease the driving and make you feel safe, knowing that the boat will not slide or move during the trip. The fact that kayak racks come with padded tubes, that include all installation hardware and that have included straps makes it a lot easier for you to secure it as best you can. Most products come with clear instructions about securing the kayak right after elevating it. If you follow those steps, you will not be dealing with difficulties due to instability.

There are many known ways to explore the lakes and rivers. You can choose to sail by yacht or ship, you can rent a smaller boat or you can use a kayak or a canoe. Kayaking offers particular satisfaction, as you are closer to the water and can access hard-to-reach areas, where regular boats don’t fit. Whether you practice it for leisure or you are eager to train and reach a higher performance, this is a healthy choice that helps you work out and relax at the same time. If you ask most kayakers if they live near a lake or river, they will tell you that they actually live far from water. Just like everyone else, if you have to transport your kayak for several miles in order to be able to enjoy this sport, you will have to choose the safest transportation option. This is where you will need the best kayak truck racks that are compatible with your vehicle, offer stability and can be used for years to come thanks to a durable design.

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