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Kayak Rack For SUV: Here Are 10 Of The Best Kayak Racks For SUVs

Racks For Kayaks

Racks For Kayaks

Updated on 7/11/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Getting across a lake or down a river is only half the fight for kayaking and other water sports like canoeing and whitewater rafting. Your first task is to get all your gear and supplies to a campground or water source that is kilometers away in a secure manner without denting or damaging your bike or watercraft.

Kayak racks of excellent quality. Once you get it fitted correctly, you will be able to travel long distances without the stress of worrying about your kayak. Fortunately, many reasonably priced roof-mounting options are available; some are even designed to transport more than one boat at a time.

Before your next kayaking adventure, read our top suggestions for kayak racks and guidance on selecting the best SUV type.

The Finest Roof Racks For Kayaks

The Finest Roof Racks For Kayaks

The Finest Roof Racks For Kayaks

  • Rack with Soft Pads
  • Aero Pads
  • J-Bar
  • Collapsible J-Bar
  • Bilateral J-Cradle
  • Inflatable Carrier
  • Steel Jetty
  • SeaWing
  • BigStack
  • Hullavator Pro

Things To Take Into Account

Things To Take Into Account

Things To Take Into Account

When searching for a kayak rack, you should first consider the size, shape, and style of your roof. Many permanently installed accessories require a ratchet-style tow strap and a typical "crossbar" roof rack. In many cases, the softer cloth or foam pads attach directly to the roof but do not provide the same level of hold on the load.

Cargo capacity varies depending on the racks, carriers, and roof rails used. Some frames can hold as many as four boats, while others are only meant to have a single canoe or kayak. You will want to be sure that the carrier you choose can carry the weight of your kayak and that your vehicle can haul the importance of the equipment without affecting its performance.

How We Made Our Choices for Kayak Racks

How We Made Our Choices

How We Made Our Choices

During our study, we reviewed the opinions of industry professionals published in magazines like AutoWeek and Outside Magazine to help us evaluate the kayak racks discussed in this article. Our evaluations were based on our own experiences with the goods. We selected a wide variety of looks and included selections that cover a wide range of pricing, from more affordable to more expensive.

Rack With Soft Pads ORION Motor Technology

Soft Pad Rack ORION MOTOR TECH

Soft Pad Rack ORION MOTOR TECH

Pros

  • With a warranty and at an affordable price
  • Using a roof rack is not necessary.
  • There are straps supplied.

Cons

  • Straps may need to be added for larger kayaks.

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 36.2 x 9.1 x 4.7 inches
  • The weight of the product is 4 pounds.
  • One hundred sixty-five pounds may be carried by this vehicle.

This Orion product is a cushioned, less expensive alternative to a crossbar rack and gives the same level of support. The straps are completely integrated, with a bottom band on each pad looping under the vehicle's roof and a top band embracing the kayak's middle portion. Depending on the size of the boat, you might want to consider purchasing additional straps for the front and rear points of the ship.

Both pads have a width of 33.5 inches and are certified to support a combined weight of 165 pounds. The carrier has nylon exterior layers that prevent scratches on the vehicle paint and polyethylene foam cores that gently cradle and support the load. Along with the purchase, the customer will also receive a guarantee valid for one year from the manufacturer.

Aero Pads YAKIMA

Aero Pads YAKIMA

Aero Pads YAKIMA

Pros

  • Suitable for a wide range of goods
  • Simple to use
  • Warranty for two years.

Cons

  • There is no strap supplied.
  • Not as stable as installing it on a firm surface

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 25 x 7 x 3 inches
  • Weight of the Product: 12 Ounces
  • Weight capacity of up to 70 pounds
Yakima Crossbar Pads
Our Overall Review
4.7
Read full review

These Yakima pads can be Velcroed over the top of existing crossbar racks to give additional grip and cushioning for those individuals who already possess such frames. You must purchase ratchet straps separately because just two pads are included in the package. They do, however, come with a limited guarantee for two years.

The breadth of the sets is either 20 or 30 inches in length. Because they are primarily composed of fabric, their weight capacity should match the crossbar attached to them. One of its many benefits is that this system can readily carry stuff such as surf or paddle boards without requiring modifications. If, on the other hand, you want to transport a kayak over greater distances, you will most likely desire the additional security that comes with a hard-mounted alternative.

J-Bar TMS

TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat

TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat

Pros

  • Include a different rack for a pair of kayaks.
  • Sturdy structure made of steel

Cons

  • A relatively low allowable carrying capacity
  • Not a design with a low profile

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 17.5 x 12.5 x 6.5 inches
  • Product Weight: 8 pounds
  • The maximum weight allowed is 75 pounds.

Because the design provides affordable strength and security, the J-bar is one of the most popular kayak transportation choices. Two of these mounts are included with the TMS package, which bolts onto roof crossbars. With the two provided straps, the kayak is then secured to the carriers at a 45-degree angle.

This storage technique allows for two extra J-bars and a second kayak if the roof is spacious and sturdy enough. One boat weighing up to 75 pounds and measuring up to 36 inches broad may be supported by each pair. The bars are hollow steel, and some foam padding has been added for hull protection. This design protrudes quite a bit from the roof's surface when the kayaks are removed, which may impact the vehicle's aerodynamics and fuel economy.

Folding J-Bar AA-RACKS 

TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat

TMS J-Bar Rack HD Kayak Carrier Canoe Boat

Pros

  • The compact mechanism for folding up
  • Capacity to support a lot of weight

Cons

  • It only has room for one boat.

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 14.4 x 4.7 x 15.5 inches
  • The weight of the product is 10.5 pounds.
  • The maximum load allowed is 150 pounds.

These J-bars are highly comparable to the TMS set and share all of the benefits of the TMS set and a few others. The folding mechanism is the most noticeable feature, which enables the bar to support bigger kayaks and may collapse down to a fully flat position when not used.

When the carriers are folding, drivers can store them comfortably inside the vehicle or leave them on the top without worrying about height clearance difficulties. In addition, every pair of J-bars can support a hefty 150 pounds and have a width of up to 40 inches. Most of the assembly is steel, while the grips are rubber and foam. In addition to that, you will receive two ratchet straps.

Bilateral J-Cradle BOUGERV

Bilateral J-Cradle BOUGERV

Bilateral J-Cradle BOUGERV

Pros

  • Carriers combined into one.
  • Adaptable and collapsible into a small space
  • Warranty for two years.

Cons

  • Pricey

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 31.4 x 19.7 x 4 inches
  • The weight of the product is 16 pounds.
  • The maximum load allowed is 150 pounds.

The easiest and most time-efficient way to transport two kayaks simultaneously is with the assistance of a bilateral carrier, which is just a combination of two J-bars.

Adjustment is possible in any way imaginable, and each carrier has three points of articulation. Moving the side grips closer to the middle of the kayak is possible for a firm grasp, and the upright bar may be angled to accommodate kayaks of varying lengths and widths. In addition, it folds down into a minimal profile when collapsed.

The rubber grips and stainless steel frame of the system can handle a total of 150 pounds and can accommodate kayaks with a width of up to 40 inches. The set comes with four straps; however, if you have more than one boat, you may wish to purchase more straps. In addition, the company includes a guarantee that lasts two years with every purchase.

Inflatable Carrier HANDIRACK

Inflatable Carrier HANDIRACK

Inflatable Carrier HANDIRACK

Pros

  • Simple assembly and disassembly
  • Huge weight limit
  • Included are a total of four straps.

Cons

  • Heat-sensitive

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 14.6 x 7.4 x 5.7 inches
  • It weighs a total of 6.4 pounds.
  • The maximum load allowed is 175 pounds.

The HandiRack may be utilized as a temporary crossbar and cushioned pad all in one convenient product. The nylon outer layers of the set each include an inflatable rubber chamber that may be quickly inflated using the hand pump provided by the group. When not being used, they may either be deflated to lie flat or rolled up into a ball and stored in the trunk. Four ratchet straps secure the kayak at the front, back, and center by lashing it through the inside of the vehicle's roof.

The extraordinary load capacity of the HandiRack is 175 pounds, and it can accommodate items with a width of up to 38 inches. It is important to remember to release some air from the cushion when the temperature increases since there is a possibility that it will get over-inflated if it is exposed to direct sunlight.

Roof Rack Steel Jetty AA-RACKS

Steel Jetty AA-RACKS

Steel Jetty AA-RACKS

Pros

  • Four contact points
  • Large amounts of wiggle room

Cons

  • Only transports a single kayak.

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 8 x 4.8 x 4.75 inches
  • The weight of the product is 10.3 pounds.
  • The load capacity is one hundred pounds.
Our Overall Review
4.4
Read full review

The Jetty set consists of four grips, each providing a crossbar with excellent stability, while it is used to drag one kayak and can be changed to fit any particular width. On the underside of each saddle is a clamp that secures it to the roof rack. It is possible to adjust the angle by adjusting the rubber cushion on top of each saddle. The pack comes with a total of two ratchet straps to use.

The weight capacity is set at 100 pounds, and you may alter the breadth in about as many increments as the fitted roof rack can physically support.

SeaWing MALONE

SeaWing MALONE

SeaWing MALONE

Pros

  • Cargo is held securely but not roughly.
  • Functional straps are incorporated.
  • To a low degree

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A large sphere of influence
  • Low capacity for bearing weight

Important Particulars

  • It measures 27 x 5 x 6 inches (L x H x W).
  • The weight of the product is 10 pounds.
  • Weight capacity of up to 70 pounds
Our Overall Review
4.6
Read full review

The SeaWing has a body constructed out of flexible polycarbonate and rubber, and it has a design that is fashioned like a bow, which gently cradles a kayak. The fact that the assembly already includes two straps eliminates the potential for those straps to become entangled or go missing entirely. The other two bungee cords are included with the set, which allows them to be used in addition to the bow and stern straps. A crossbar is attached to the underside of each wing using four little screws.

However, the maximum weight load is just 70 pounds, and the width of the cargo area is only 35 inches. Because the carrier is vast, one pair may be mounted on smaller vehicles without causing clearance concerns. Because of this breadth, the unloaded page is almost entirely flat, so there is no need to bother with folding mechanisms. The increased width comes at a cost.

BigStack YAKIMA

BigStack  YAKIMA

BigStack YAKIMA

Pros

  • Up to four kayaks can be stored when mounted on larger vehicles.
  • Simple folding design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You may need more straps.

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 6 x 5 x 22 inches
  • The weight of the product is 7.8 pounds.
  • Each can carry a load of up to 80 pounds.
Our Overall Review
4.2
Read full review

This pair of steel posts from Yakima allows roof straps to be attached quickly and effortlessly. The package includes two heavy-duty straps; however, customer evaluations advocate purchasing more belts if you want to tow numerous boats. The BigStack can fit square and round crossbars without an adaptor, demonstrating its versatility. Designed to work with Yakima's keyed locking system, they are foldable and easy to store.

The system has a very high carrying capacity and can load up to four kayaks with a combined total of more than 300 pounds. It is also capable of doing so. However, outcomes in the actual world will differ depending on the vehicle's width, the kayaks' size, and the crossbars' weight restrictions. Most automobiles have enough space to accommodate at least two kayaks of full size.

Hullavator Pro THULE

Hullavator Pro  THULE

Hullavator Pro THULE

Pros

  • loading with assistance
  • Made in the USA
  • Warranty good for life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Reduced capability
  • Not suitable for coupes and sedans of a shorter length.

Important Particulars

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 36 x 16 x 6 inches
  • The individual weighs 39.7 pounds.
  • The maximum weight allowed is 75 pounds.

The Hullavator combines the functions of a rack and a loading mechanism into a single device. It uses swing arms supported by gas struts, which enable the entire system to be lowered to the side of the car. This makes it possible to install kayaks easily and conveniently without raising them over your head.

Because of the struts, the boat's weight is effectively reduced by 40 pounds, which may be helpful for customers who require aid with movement. Each rack has four J-bar attachment points carrying up to 75 pounds of kayaks. On roofs that are broader, it is possible to accommodate many frames.

This one-of-a-kind system does have a few drawbacks, such as the possibility that the swing arms will not function as intended on automobiles with lower ride heights and roofs. When determining the capacity of your crossbars to support the assembly's weight, consider the weight and dimensions of the body.

However, you get unparalleled convenience and safety for your exorbitant price. In addition to being made in the United States, Thule racks have a limited lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects. This is all you want to know about the best kayak rack for SUVs.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to secure a kayak inside an SUV?

It's important to secure your kayak and rear door properly if you decide to transport a smaller kayak inside an SUV with the rear trunk open.

Does an SUV have enough space for a kayak?

SUVs should be able to carry kayaks between 8 and 9.5 feet in length. Kayaks with a large bow and stern will be more difficult to tie down, even with tie-downs. Car rack systems can carry up to 132 pounds or two to three small to medium-sized kayaks on some vehicles.

Can a 10-foot kayak fit in an SUV?

It is possible to fit a ten-foot kayak inside a smaller SUV. Make sure the kayak fits length-wise by folding down the back seats. It may be possible to transport the kayak on top of a larger SUV

Does a 10-foot kayak fit in a RAV4?

Is it possible to fit a kayak inside a RAV4? The Toyota RAV4 has 69.8 cubic feet of cargo space when the seats are folded. Unless you leave the cargo gate open with the kayak sticking out, there isn't enough room for a hardshell plastic kayak.

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