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Best Rated Kayak Roof Racks For 2021 with Reviews

Best Kayak Roof Racks

Kayaking is arguably the best sport in the world. It is an efficient way of burning calories. Kayaking is a fun and healthy workout for those who like the outdoors and water. If you love kayaking, then you probably need to haul your boat on top of your car when traveling to your favorite paddling spot.

Before you buy a roof rack for your kayak, there is a number of factors you have to keep in mind. The type of your car, how many kayaks you want to carry e.t.c.

Types of Kayaks

They design kayak racks to be strong. They are particularly engineered to secure your kayak on top of your car over long distances and varying terrains. The unique kayaks give you the opportunity to choose the roof racks that match your exact requirements.

J-Cradles

J-cradles are J styled roof racks easy to load and unload when side loaded. J-Cradles perform really well in extreme conditions. The rack is crumped steadily and securely on to the crossbars on your roof. This is especially useful when traveling cross-country on bumpy roads and stormy weather.

Because they take so little space, J-Cradles fit on even the narrowest roofs. If your roof is wide enough, their small size allows you to load other accessories on your roof. If you have over one kayak, you can load up to three boats - if your roof is wide enough. Just make sure your boats are not too heavy for your car.

You will need some strength to side load the kayak on top of your car. J-cradles are not so friendly to short people and old people. If you are tired from a long day of kayaking, it becomes challenging to mount the boats sideways if your kayaks are too heavy.

Saddles

If you have a big boat, then you want to mount it on a set of saddles. Their robust design enables them to lift the weight of heavy boats. Saddles are easy to install and are adaptable to many hull shapes and sizes. Most saddles are compatible with all types of roofs. The rubber pads ensure that your boat suffers no scratches.

I love saddles because they position your boats so they are streamlined against the wind. This reduces noise and drag. Saddles are very easy to set up and can fit on many types of base racks. If you have extra luggage, saddles leave a lot of space that you can pack your extra accessories.

When shopping for saddles, look for the ones that pivot. Pivoting saddles offer a lot of flexibility and can carry most boats.

How to buy Kayak roof racks

Choosing a roof rack for your kayak can be overwhelming. There are many factors to consider and so many roof racks you can choose from. Before you pick up roof racks for your boats, you need to make sure you understand a few basic guidelines.

Weight

The weight of your boat is of huge importance when choosing the right roof rack. Most roof racks support an average boat weight of 75lbs. You must take special consideration if your boat is on the heavier side. There are roof-rack models like Thule’s Xsporter Pro that can carry up to 450lbs of weight. Please remember to check the weight capacity of your car. While some roof racks may allow you to carry heavy boats, your car may only support smaller boats.

Portability

A portable roof rack will work with different boats and accessories. Do not buy a roof rack that only works with accessories from the same supplier. Buy a roof rack that allows you to load unique types of items and can fit on a variety of roofs.

Cost

Cost is an important decision when making a smart purchase of anything. While you should not have to break the bank when buying a roof rack, be careful not to buy a cheap rack just because it is cheap. Many cheaper racks sacrifice quality to attract sales. Be willing to spend a few dollars more for a durable high-quality roof rack. An excellent way to save money is to choose a rack that allows you to do more with less. Choose a rack that can multitask. Your roof rack should be able to carry your boat, your bike, your sleeping bag, and more.

Roof Setup

Unfamiliar cars come with different roof setups. Some cars, like sedans, don’t even have side rails. In that case, you can get strap-attached crossbars. Make sure the roof racks you buy are compatible with the roof set up in your car.

Customer Support

Only purchase your racks from reputable companies that have been operational for a long time. In this entrepreneurial era, there are many makeshift companies that will leave you cut and dry when you face problems with their racks. A reputable company will almost always have a website and multiple ways of contacting their support team.

Strength and Durability

A simple rule you can apply here is, “more plastic = less durable”. When your roof rack setup has more plastic than necessary, this only increases the chances that something will break. A weak roof rack will fail miserably off-road.

Having a good understanding of the different types of roof racks and roof types will set you up for success on your next rack purchase. And it is not that complicated, just remember to factor in the cost, weight, and portability. Your next kayaking trip will be a blast.

 

Other Questions

How do you strap a kayak to a roof without a rack?

You'll just need a few bits of these 3 things to strap a kayak without a roof rack: pool noodles, ratchet straps and tie-down straps. Inferior quality straps won't can hold the kayak safely once you're touring. After the pool noodles are settled, lift the kayak on your vehicle.

With the kayak sitting properly on the pool noodles, put one ratchet strap above the front part of the kayak’s hull with the ends hanging beside your vehicle's front doors. All doors of your vehicle should be open at this point.

Keep in mind, you must run the straps above the roof and not through the vehicle's windows; else, you won't have the option to open the doors. Now, take both ends of the strap and fasten them together to protect the kayak into place. The ratchet part of the strap must be inside the vehicle to keep it from scratching your vehicle's paint.

Now, tighten the straps so it pulls and lets the kayak settle tightly above the pool noodles. Keep away from the desire to over-tighten the strap since this may harm the structure of the kayak and the roof of your vehicle.

Can you transport a kayak upside down?

It’s more stable when you place the kayak upside down on the top of the noodles.

How to Carry a Kayak?

Carrying a kayak with 2 people is easy. Each individual snatches an end of the boat by the grab handle at the bow or stern. Lift the boat. As opposed to having one individual backpedal, the two individuals can confront the direction you're going.

You can carry 2 boats this way, taking a grab handle from each boat in each hand. In case you're alone, you might still carry your kayak, except if it is extremely huge and weighty. Here's the manner by which to carry a kayak without the help of anyone:

Stand on the left side of your kayak and face the boat. Squat down and grasp the rim of the cockpit that’s nearest to you with two hands and drag the edge of the boat up on your thighs. Reach across the boat with your right arm and grip the inside of the boat by the bottom of the cockpit.

As you stand up, lift the kayak up on your right shoulder. Let the rim of the cockpit lay on your shoulder. Come across a balanced situation so that the boat neither tips forward nor back. If you’d like to carry the kayak with your left arm, start on the right side of your boat and utilize the opposite arm in the steps above.

Bestseller No. 1
Lifetime Warranty TMS® 2 Pairs J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat...
  • KAYAK CAR TOP CARRIER A simple, low-cost solution to carrying your kayak ITEM#: KAYAK-RK-J(2SET) CONDITION: BRAND NEW QUANTITY: 2 PAIRS
  • This Kayak Carrier designed mounts to virtually all crossbars and load bars on the market. The carrier secures the kayak on its side, consuming minimal space on the load bar. As shown in the pictures we put the Kayak Rack on the Ladder Rack Bar.(sold separatly). A maximum of 4 sets of kayak racks can be mounted on a full size truck. Save your space.
  • Features: Steel design with adjustable padding for carrying strength and kayak protection Wide mouth J bar offers easier loading and unloading Quick on/off hardware ensures fast installation and removal Optimally sized J style carrier leaves roof space All surface rust-resistant coating and hardware for longer product life Includes all mounting hardware and 2 straps Accommodates kayaks up to 36" wide and 75lbs. Compatible with most crossbars and load bars
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY- Your satisfaction is the most important to us and we offer limited lifetime warranty for our kayak rack carrier. If you have any concerns with this product, please contact us.
  • PLEASE CHECK MEASUREMENTS BEFORE PURCHASE.
Bestseller No. 2
IKURAM Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier Rack of Bilateral Premier J-Style...
  • 🛶【Maximum Kayak Protection】: Maximum protection for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards thanks to the oversized, thick and all-weather rubber saddles and padded upright, which can stop the kayak from rubbing and getting damaged effectively, that is the Best-in-Class TopGuard padding.
  • 🛶【Universal and Easy Mounting Design】: This J-Cradle accommodates kayaks up to 42" wide and 72 kg/158 lbs, fits to round, square and the most oval shaped factory installed cross rails quickly and easily, and this kit includes everything you need to transport two kayak vertically on the roof of your car, bow-stern safety tie-downs and two 25×2800 mm heavy-duty straps with a break strength of 750 lbs are also included.
  • 🛶【Not For a Single Use】: Made from high quality anodized Aviation Grade Aluminum Alloys, lightweight, durable and rust-resistant, that can be really water-proof and anti-corrosion for longer time, which means you can reuse it every year, save your money and save the world.
  • 🛶【Quick Raise and Fold Design】: Come with quick fold down design, which can be quickly raise or fold when not in use using the convenient front release handle to increase the overhead clearance, and the J-bars can also be easily locked at different angles with this handle to suit different shapes of kayaks.
  • 🛶【Multiple Carrying Functions Design】: Carry up to two kayaks or standup paddle boards due to the multiple position design and the oversized padding and acrylic fabric sleeves that transforms from a J-cradle to different configurations to maximize your roof space. The Native Paddle Holders comes standard of, which can help you perfectly position your paddles while transporting kayaks.
Bestseller No. 3
WOOWAVE Kayak Roof Rack Pads Universal Car Roof Rack Soft Premium Surf...
  • ☞【SAFE AND HIGHLY DURABLE】The WOOWAVE roof rack are made of grade EPE foam padded interior, UV resistant ballistic nylon cover exterior, bungee cord end straps. The high quality material for long term durability. And it can be used in any season, even in winter. The length of the roof rack is 33 inches.
  • ☞【UNIVERSAL AND OPTIMAL FEATURES】The car roof racks are made with a universal design to fit nearly every vehicle. Securely transport your kayaks, surfboards, longboards, stand up paddleboards, snowboards, canoes and other outdoor cargo on your car roof with the strong straps.
  • ☞【PROTECTION AND SECURITY】The soft rack pads are aerodynamically designed to protect your cargo when secured to roof racks. They are the perfect choice for the outdoor activities. Easy and safe to convey the cargo when you drive your vehicle to the beach or ocean. The kit is lightweight and compact for easy storage.
  • ☞【EASY TO USE】You can fully tighten the convenient and flexible strap and then buckle it, fit tightly around the cross bars on the car. The two waterproof polyester straps with padded metal buckle deliver optimal performance for outdoor applications in terms of break strength, UV resistance, water resistance and abrasion resistance.
  • ☞【1-YEAR QUALITY WARRANTY】Your purchase includes a hassle-free Money Back Guarantee and a free replacement exchange one year. If the roof rack gets damaged, just feel free to contact our customer service team with a photo, we are willing to replace it FOR FREE.
Bestseller No. 4
HEYTRIP Universal Soft Roof Rack Pads for Kayak /Surfboard /SUP /Canoe...
  • ✅Universal Fitment: No longer do you need an expensive fixed roof rack system! HEYTRIP soft roof racks are ideally suited for carrying your kayak/surfboard/SUP/canoe to your favorite paddling spot and have a maximum weight load of 80kg. It works on almost any type of vehicle, no matter whether your car with/without side rails or gutters.
  • ✅The Tighter The Safer: 2 * 15ft tie-down adjustable straps with padded cam locks provide secure gripping for your load. 2 * 15ft bow & stern tie-down rope ensure that your long-loads are safely secured to the front and back of your vehicle. With such 4 ultra-long straps, it holds up to 1-3 shortboards/ 1-2 longboards or kayaks depending on size.
  • ✅Reduce Noise and Vibration: Built-in non-slip mat protects your car roof surface from getting scratches and fix tightly to reduce wind noise. Top grade EVA foam padded provides a soft landing for your loads and effectively reduces vibration during transportation. Tips: Putting a twist in the straps will help to reduce wind noise.
  • ✅Easy to Install and Clean: No tools required, the soft rack set comes with all the attachments and straps necessary to attach the pads to your car’s roof and hold the load in place. Annotated fitting instruction and loading advice are also included. Foldable design, when they are not in use just un-strap them and clean, then keep them in the bag provided.
  • ✅Satisfaction Assured: The premium soft roof racks are built with tough, durable materials to safely secure your boards and last for years to come. We guarantee nothing less than 100% buyer satisfaction. If you are unhappy with any aspect of our soft roof rack or if any parts are missing or damaged, contact us and we'll make it right.
Bestseller No. 5
Leader Accessories Folding Kayak Rack 4 PCS/Set J Bar Car Roof Rack...
  • [ HEAVY DUTY CONSTRUCTION ] – The racks are made of 22mm diameter and 1.5mm thick steel tube,stronger than else. Black Powder-Coated Steel for Durability & Rust Prevention Plus Long-Lasting, can resist all weather condition and use for a long life.100 Lbs Tested, easy and safe for your transport.
  • [ FOLDING AND ERGONOMIC DESIGN] – Ergonomic quick release design, more easily to fold and raise the racks than others. Racks can be folded flat when not in use, get better clearance to drive your car into garage and not have to remove.
  • [ REDUCE SCRATCH DESIGN] – Foam Padding and Rubber Pedal design to reduce scratch of your kayak and prevent the canoe or kayak from rubbing.
  • [ UNIVERSAL MOUNTING DESIGN ] – Compatible with most crossbars,such as square, factory and aerodynamic crossbars,Except the round bar.
  • [ MULTI PURPOSE USE ] – Easy to Install, use this car roof rack to carry Kayak, Canoe, Surf board, Ski board, Snow Board and SUP. Extra 4 pcs tie down straps including.
Bestseller No. 6
ECOTRIC J-Bar 2 Pairs Universal Kayak Canoe Top Mount Carrier Roof...
  • Cross Bars are thicker than 1" or wider than 2.5" will not be mounted properly,round or oval crossbar is not fit.please notice it
  • Straps: 8' length Accommodates kayaks up to 36" wide Net.
  • includes: 2 PAIRS (4 racks for 2 kayaks) + 4x Straps + Set of Mounting Hardware.
  • Mounting Hardward Steel design with adjustable padding for carrying strength and kayak protection.
  • Will fit most factory or aftermarket square and flat crossbars (OEM crossbars are within 2.5" wide and 1" thick).
Bestseller No. 7
Alfa Gear Universal Folding Lightweight Anti-Vibration Roof Rack pad...
  • 2021 Upgrade: Reinforced tie down loops on both side. which help to fasten extra tie down straps. Breaking strength is 200lbs. Lightweight Folding Soft Roof top rack pad for Kayak/ Canoe/Surfboard/Paddle Board/SUP/Snow board /Snow board/Ski Board/Ladders/Furniture/Water Sports Accessories.No Water Leakage using our Unique Tie down straps, No more long straps cross inside of your car.Easy Durable and Safe drive on the road.
  • Universal fit for most of car, like Sedan Suv, Trucks, or minivan which do not have roof top bars. Product size Folding size:17"X9"X7" - Unfolded size:34" Lx4.5"Wx3.1"H for single unit, we have 38" long for your choice.
  • Easy installation and Anti Vibration, Multi layer Foam padded help to reduce the Vibration on the road, with capacity of 200 lbs on board. Compact storage bag help to save your space, compare with others 34" long bag, ours is only 20" long storage bag
  • Heavy Duty fabric with 1.5" wide Strong Nylon lashing straps with capacity of 1200 lbs for breaking test. Longer straps is for securing the top of your cars, Securing the Kayak or Surfboard by using the Short straps on top.
  • Warning,Do not try to tie down Kayak through the Soft roof rack pad Loops,this loop is designed for lightweight gear like SKI board/Snow Board/Skate Board¡£ Here is the correct way to secure tie down heavy stuff like Kayak/Canoe/SUP through the car window, put them inside of cars Tips: Drive under the Speed Limit on the Highway.Great choice for who enjoy their outdoor life
Bestseller No. 8
J-bar Kayak roof Rack,Universal Rack Carrier for Kayaks Boat Surf Ski...
  • ❤【Universal Roof Rack】- It can accommodates one kayaks up to 36" wide and 150lbs .fits to round, square, oval and flat crossbars from most factory or aftermarket installed cross rails quickly and easily installation.
  • ❤【New Upgrade Design】-The kayak racks are made of thickened steel tube with adjustable padding , it’s lightweight,durable and rust-resistant. It can resist all weather conditions and achieve the effect of repeated use every year.Ultra-high density foam can reduce the friction between the kayak for carrying strength and the hull finish protection during transport.
  • ❤【Easy to Install And Safety】- Wide mouth j hooks for kayaks Quick on/off hardware makes it easy to install and remove. It includes Complete kyaks accessories, 2 pieces 11.48 ft kayak S-hookStraps and 11.48Ft Ratchet Straps,2pcs Tie Down Anchor Straps Hang on the S hook rope.double securing ratchet straps tight on your kayak, canoe, easy and safe for your transport.
  • ❤【Wide Range of Uses】-This kayak j rack for transporting water sports equipment.can easily supports different cargo,equipment such as small kayak, canoes, Skis,surfboards, windsurfing boards and various small sailing boats Paddle Boards and other outdoor gear.
  • ❤【Excellent Service】-We support 100% Refund/Exchange of all goods purchased in our store. We provide instant online customer service before and after sales, You can always
Bestseller No. 9
TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat Surf Ski Roof Top Mounted...
  • Steel design with adjustable padding for carrying strength and kayak protection
  • Wide mouth J bar offers easier loading and unloading
  • Quick on/off hardware ensures fast installation and removal
  • Optimally sized J style carrier leaves roof space. Dimensions: 17.5" (L) × 12.5" (W) × 6.5" (H)
  • Accommodates kayaks up to 36inch wide and 75lbs. Authentic TMS products contain vacuum sealed installation hardware. Authentic TMS products are shipped in labeled boxes with item description (as shown in picture).
Bestseller No. 10
2 Pairs Heavy Duty Kayak Rack-Includes 4 Pcs Ratchet Tie-Mount on Car...
  • KAYAK CAR TOP CARRIER A simple, low-cost solution to carrying your kayak ITEM#: KAYAK-RK-J(1SET) CONDITION: BRAND NEW QUANTITY: 2 PAIRS.
  • SECURITY FEATURES:in order to ensure that customers have a good trip and safe, this product USES the loose to prevent the installation of the screw, each 2 sets of Mounting hardware.Before and after the configuration has 10 feet long ratchet rope.1 inch wide, 10-foot long, blue and high quality belt buckles can be maintained for a long time without breakage and safety and reliability,The strongest factory tested tie down straps: 600 lb break strength
  • FEATURES: Steel design with adjustable padding for carrying strength and kayak protection Wide mouth J bar offers easier loading and unloading Quick on/off hardware ensures fast installation and removal Optimally sized J style carrier leaves roof space All surface rust-resistant coating and hardware for longer product life Includes all mounting hardware and 2 straps Accommodates kayaks up to 36" wide and 100lbs Will fit most factory or aftermarket round,square,oval and flat crossbars.
  • EASY INSTALLATION:Mounting hardware design USES 2 PCS, equipped with EVA sticker in order to protect your car bar, will not scratch you.Will fit most factory or aftermarket square and flat crossbars (OEM crossbars be within 2.5" wide and 1" thick)
  • The Amazon default warranty is 30 days, but we can offer 60 days

References

If you require more information, please check these references

Exploring Fern Ridge Lake by Canoe or Kayak , article, "canoe.freeshell.org", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayak loading device employing guiding rollers and roof rack attachment mechanism , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

Kayak carrier for vehicle roof rack , article, "books.google.co.uk", retrieved on, Wed 08-July-2020

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