how to choose kayak car rack

How to Choose Roof Rack for Kayak

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How to Choose Roof Rack for Kayak. Having the best kayak roof rack allows you to convert all those possible kayaking opportunities without worrying about the distance. While kayak trailers can be too heavy for some cars and are quite expensive, the best kayak roof racks instantly solve the problem as they are affordable, easy to use and suitable for almost all types of vehicles.

how to choose kayak car rack

Having said that, you may end up confused with so many car kayak carriers claiming to be the best. And to order the lot, you need to compare kayak carriers in terms of popularity, price, design, and most importantly in terms of fit.

To help you navigate the market, we’ve gone through various kayak rack reviews and listed the top 10 best kayak racks in 2022. On top of that, we’ve compiled a comprehensive buying guide to help you narrow down your options.

How To Choose A Kayak Roof Rack – Buying Guide

Brand recognition

Brand recognition influences many minds. While all brands claim to produce quality car kayak racks, you should choose a brand that specializes in producing the best kayak racks or specializes in that field. Once the brand is selected, you may want to consider choosing an option that offers a good number of features at a low price.


There’s no point in buying a roof rack system that wasn’t designed to carry a kayak or doesn’t fit your car properly. Also, trying and mounting the wrong kayak rack on your vehicle can damage your vehicle or kayak. Therefore, you need to choose a kayak roof rack that perfectly fits the car and the kayak.


Your car is an important factor to consider when choosing the best kayak rack. There are two main things to consider. The compatibility of your choice with your car and, if so, its compatibility with the type, weight and size of your kayak(s). If each of these compatibility checks out, you’re ready to choose whether it’s an SUV kayak carrier or a truck kayak carrier.

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The towers

Towers are an integral part of any kayak carrier, and much of the power of the kayak carrier cart will come from here. The kayak rack supports the weight of the bars and kayaks. Also, check to see if the towers have non-abrasive material built into the bottom for an extra tight fit with added protection for the car’s surface. Also, look for a locking feature, as well as a lockable tower, so you know your kayak carrier’s roof is secure.

The bars

The bars are what will hold your kayaks on the racks. When choosing the best kayak rack, you should check that the bars adjust easily and secure your kayak in the correct position. If you find that your kayak rack has reviews about movement after installation, better look for other racks.

Racks vs foam rollers

It depends on whether your vehicle has built-in roof racks and bars. If yes, even some foam pads and a strap can work. Otherwise you will need a more complicated setup such as tower racks or equivalent.

Foam Roof Rack vs Roof Rack
While foam roof kayak carriers provide a cost-effective solution for transporting your kayak without a roof rack, you’ll need a more complex system with carriers if you need to transport multiple kayaks.

roof racks

If your car has built-in rails, adding the best kayak rack is a great option. All you have to do is secure your kayak in place and then tie it down accordingly. One more thing to consider is the height of the setup as it can restrict you in garages and other areas.

door mounting systems

Roof Rack and Roof Rail Mounting Systems are designed to attach to your car’s rainshield or window sill. These can be viable options for cars without a built-in roof rail, but it can be annoying to have straps that keep doors and windows closed.

Transportation of multiple kayaks

Kayak car racks are a great way to transport one or two kayaks, but if you need to transport more, you’ll need a trailer, side carrier, or hitch rack that can accommodate 2-5 kayaks.

Frequent Questions

Q: How to tie down a kayak on a roof rack?

A: Rooftop kayak racks usually come with a specific tie-down system that most companies highlight. This system ties your kayak fore and aft with the front and rear of your car. Also, you need to make sure the kayak is secured with extra straps that are always included with the Rook Kayak Carrier.

Q: How to load a kayak on a roof rack?

A: Most companies include some type of lift assist with their systems. These systems allow you to load a kayak onto a roof rack with ease. If your roof rack kayak does not have this feature built in, then you will need to lift it onto the roof rack system.

Q: How to install a kayak roof rack?

A: The best kayak racks make this incredibly easy. Most of the time, installing your new SUV kayak roof rack doesn’t even require tools. You simply have to screw it into the existing crossbars on your car.
Q: Can I mount a kayak on a small car?

So. However, it is difficult to find a specific roof rack for a kayak for smaller cars.

Q: Can I fit more than two kayaks in my car?

A: It depends. Some car roof racks for kayaks can accommodate two or more.

Q: Is it safe to transport a kayak?

A: Completely. It is 100% safe to transport a kayak using a car kayak carrier.

FreeSurfing Overview

Before purchasing your kayak, it is important to consider how you are going to transport your kayak from your home to the water. One of the easiest ways to transport your kayak is to have a carrier system. All of the kayak racks on our list are made by reputable companies and will do a great job of keeping your car safe during transport.

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