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The Kayak Truck-Top: A Kayak Rack for Trucks 2024

Kayak Rack Rivian Truck

Kayak Rack Rivian Truck

"Argh, matey! Finding the perfect kayak rack for your truck can feel like navigating a sea of confusing choices. But fear not, seasoned kayaker here to guide you!

Think of trying to wrestle your kayak onto your truck without a rack. It's like herding a slippery fish – awkward and potentially disastrous. A good kayak rack is your lifeline, saving you and your truck from scratches and dents.

We've spent more hours than we care to admit scouring kayak rack reviews (so you don't have to!). We'll decode the jargon, show you the best options, and help you get your kayak from driveway to shoreline without the drama.

Related Hitch mount kayak rack jeep, Kayak Rack For Cars

Two-Kayak System All-in-One (AA Model APX25)  

I find the APX25 to be the best all-in-one system. APX25 includes everything you need to comfortably fit both your truck's and your paddle partner's kayaks on your truck. The kayak roof rack has four j-racks for two kayaks, eight c-clamps, and ratchet straps.

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • It’s a universal design that fits most pickup trucks.
  • It’s ideal for occasional or seasonal kayak anglers.

Things we don't like:

  • It works using clamps which isn’t super secure plus it doesn’t fit trucks with trim on the lips of the tailgate or bed.
  • It is quite a bit noisy and rattly when traveling at the highway speed limit.
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Read full review

Is The APX25 Compatible with a Suitable Kayak Mount For Trucks?

As well as standard truck beds like the Chevy and Ford, the AA Model APX25 can fit the unique bed of the Toyota Tacoma. For both mounts, the steel tube can be adjusted to fit a variety of truck bed widths to be a suitable kayak mount for trucks.

Avalanche, Honda Ridgeline trucks, or any non-standard truck bed kayak rack are incompatible with the AA Model APX25.

The c-clamps, ratchet straps, and extended bolts will keep your kayaks in place as you drive down bumpy roads to your kayaking destination.

An adventure traveler took their APX25 With an extra set of J-racks across the country and stated: "In Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, I traveled 2500 miles in three kayaks; There can be severe side winds and speed limits of 80 mph. There are two c-clamps per side per bar (for four c-clamps per bar), and the rack is solid. Stability wasn't a problem, and when used, no bowlines or stern lines."

Some kayak racks can only hold kayaks up to 12 feet in length. Even canoes fall into that category!

Depending on which kayak you choose, this rack can handle up to 2200 pounds, and the company has thoroughly tested them.

APX25 Racks Requires No Drilling.

If you are looking for an easy-to-install and easy-to-deconstruct truck rack, Look no further than the AA Model APX25. AA Model APX25 does not need to drill any holes in the side of your bed! Eight included C-Clamps make this easy for you and preserve the resale value of your vehicle. 

BedXTender 74813 (Best Truck Bed Extender)

74813 BedXTender is a U-shaped gate. With this bed, you can utilize the entire bed by lowering the tailgate and attaching the extender. A universal truck bed extender gives you two more feet of space.

Those with shorter kayaks or trucks without a hitch may find BedXTender 748113 a helpful product.

I need to tell you that It is not idealistic to leave a kayak hanging from your truck for long periods, and driving with long cargo isn't as easy as it seems!

You can secure the kayak by placing one end on the extender and the other diagonally tucked away toward the cab. To prevent the kayak from moving around and hitting the sides of your truck bed, lash it down in that position. 

Flip your truck bed extender inside and close your tailgate when you are not using it for carrying water sports gear. Keeps any items that are easy to lose from flying out so you can cruise down the interstate carefree.

The AMP Bed Xtender comes with instructions for drilling it into your truck. Still, bracket install kits are available that prevent permanent modifications to your truck bed.

If you go with over cab kayak rack for a truck – a utility rack, for example – it should generally accommodate most kayaks.

Darby Industries Extend-A-Truck

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • Good weld quality
  • Works well for canoe support
  • Price isn't terrible
  • Can be stored behind the seat in a pickup
  • Has loops to use with a ratchet strap to secure load

Things we don't like:

  • Square tubing is thin but should work fine for intended load rating
  • Significant slop in the slip joint for height adjustment
  • Paint is very thin, easily scratched and scuffed
  • Item was inside an intact box but was filthy with what appeared to be dust from abrasive blasting (don't open it in your house)
  • Needs more reflective tape on the black tubing to make it stand out
  • Flag included in the box isn't durable
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Extend-A-Truck by Darby Industries is an amazing truck rack. A single bar extends upward from the hitch of this 25-pound kayak, transforming it into a football goalpost. 

Extend-A-Truck is convenient to include the red flag and receiver hitch in this Darby product. Also, you can use the Extend-A-Truck product if you have a class III or IV hitch with a 2-inch receiver, making buying accessories a brainer.

Only the ratchet straps for securing your kayak for the trip to your water-filled destination will need to be purchased. 

You can fold your Extend-A-Truck and store it behind a seat or in your truck bed when you aren't using it. Extend-A-Truck is extremely useful when finding a spot at a crowded boat ramp.

Related Kayak racks for car

It is Quite Versatile

How does Extend-A-Truck differ from a traditional kayak roof rack and a kayak roof rack for a pickup truck?

  • Five holes are drilled in the painted black steel bar to attach your kayak to the roof rack and the truck bed, giving you the most flexibility when transporting your kayak.
  • If you drive a Jeep, Honda Element, or another SUV, you have 58 inches between the kayak hitch rack and the top of the car. Extend-A-Truck can be used if you have a roof rack to replace the truck bed. 
Users can't say enough good things about the Extend-A-Truck, describing it as 'versatile,' ‘no brainer, ‘easy to use, and even 'genius.'
    Darby can support up to 350 pounds of equipment and a width of 4 feet, no matter what you decide to carry. Tandem kayaks, canoes, solo kayaks, timber, crown molding, or anything else that meets these requirements can be hauled!

(The Best Adjustable Bar Truck Racks) Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum: Aluminum kayak Rack

The Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum is another worthwhile product. Still, we thought it was worth exploring what makes it a popular truck rack accessory. 

Thule products are known for their reliability and easy integration.

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review

Things we like:

  • The rack is durable and heavy-duty to withstand tough use.
  • The rack is easy to install and uninstall for added efficiency.
  • The crossbars are easy to move and the notches provide easy adjustments.
  • The rack is able to adjust as low as possible to easily load heavy gear.
  • The adjustment knobs are easy to handle, allowing quick tightening and loosening.
  • Works effectively for carrying a variety of sporting gear.
  • The rack doesn’t whistle or make noise during use, making for a comfortable ride.
  • The installation is straight forward and easy to follow with the clear directions.

Things we don't like:

  • The exposed brackets on the rack can corrode after substantial exposure.
  • The paint can bubble and peel off after prolonged use.
  • At the high end of the price spectrum when compared to other similar choices.
  • The plastic end caps on either side of the supports can break off after use.
  • The plastic clips have no mechanical fastener to keep them in place while using, leading to a potential lack of durability.
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Another benefit of the Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum top kayak rack is its ability to perform consistently during long trips, rocky 4x4 roads, and high speeds. Isn't it amazing how great your truck will look in black or silver?

Related two kayak rack

Whisper-Quiet Kayaks Transportation

Transporting a kayak on your truck could be a hassle because of the loud noise. The Thule kayak rack uses Airstrip Technology to make the trip to the lake fun, not painful.

Make sure to attach your Thule Xsporter properly to avoid losing it, as it is costly.

Thule's kayak racks are the best for protecting kayaks. Using four patented Secure Locks, you can lock your kayak rack securely on your truck bed. 

Because there is no need to cut or drill into your vehicle for the aluminum kayak rack for a truck,
 anyone can follow the instructions and easily install this popular rack. It can hold up to 450 pounds, making the Xsporter Pro Aluminum versatile.

kayak rack

kayak rack

Here are some examples of how one customer uses the adjustable Thule for different kinds of work and play:

"Dirt bike on weekends and do construction on weekdays. Need to haul ladders and lumber, and this does the trick. The adjustable height and easy, flexible installation make it versatile on any of our fleet vehicles. Something that fitted welded racks just can't do."

No matter you're intended use, the Thule Xsporter is the gold standard for your truck's safe, reliable, and quiet kayak racks.

The Best Affordable Kayak Truck Rack (TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Racks)

You can fit any truck with the TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Rack. You don't have to buy a new rack if you buy a new truck because it can adjust to 5-foot- and 7-foot wide.

Also, being the most affordable item on our best-of list, this powerful TMS can carry up to 800 pounds of kayaks.

Are you looking for a roof rack that can hold two kayaks? Canoes? How about two canoes? What are the best truck racks for canoes? It's now possible while still staying within your budget.

There is plenty of space above your truck bed to elevate your items up to 30 inches. Some people even said that this was too tall for their truck.

One Toyota Tacoma owner said "cut four inches off the height" to fit his vehicle, and one Ranger owner also said, “cut three inches off the horizontal bars.”

TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Racks make it easier to secure a heavier kayak if you have one. The combined weight of both bars is only 50 pounds. 

Due to its strength and stability, you can firmly secure a longer kayak using this steel rack.

Take note if you work in construction or like DIY, for example (a DIY truck kayak rack). You can attach lumber, pipes, and ladders to this pickup truck rack to be kayaks on the ladder rack.

It is essential to remember that this TMS kayak rack for trucks requires drilling.

Kayak Rack Truck

Kayak Rack Truck

Bases are made of tough-as-nails steel and bolted and screwed together. Some users replaced the bolts and screws with clamps, But we recommend using eight clamps.

A Quick Look At Tacoma Kayak Rack

Let's Watch the video below to find out 

New Kayak Rack on the Tacoma

How Many Kayaks Can Fit In A Truck?

The size of your truck and your kayaks determine the size of your trailer. If you stack as many kayaks as you can on top of one another in the back of your pickup truck, you should be able to fit two or three kayaks in the back. A small truck might only be able to do one or two kayaks.

Kayak Racks For RVs

There aren't many options for kayak racks for RVs unless you custom-make something, which can be expensive. Another option worth considering instead of a quality and affordable standard vertical kayak rack for your RV is a kayak trailer.

There are many different types of transport trailers on the market today. It doesn't matter how reliable they are; not all can transport valuables. Not to mention worrying about the crazy drivers on the highway behind you as you rush into your paddling excursion!

Best Kayak Rack For 2 Kayaks: The Malone MicroSport Trailer Kayak Transport Package

Our Overall Review
Read full review

An RV kayak rack user can find everything they want with the Malone Trailer Kayak Transport Package. Which includes two 2-inch hitches, a base trailer, cross rails, four tie-down straps, two tires (plus one spare! ), and four Malone kayak j racks.

There is no better system for transporting up to four kayaks at a time without lifting them on your vehicle's roof!

It takes 2-3 hours to assemble, according to the manufacturer. When you haven't put anything together for a while, we recommend setting aside 4 hours. According to previous buyers, the instructions are very straightforward.

Malone Kayak Trailers Can Also Be Used For Other Vehicles: Kayak Roof Rack For Pickup Trucks and Kayak Hitch Rack.

The Transport Package is not limited to RVs. You can use this trailer if your truck, van, SUV, or other vehicle has a 2-inch hitch and can tow 250 pounds plus the kayak weight. By the way, it can haul 350 pounds, and it is considered one of the best kayak roof racks for SUV(s)

Adapters can be found even if you have an automobile with a minor hitch. A kayak enthusiast attached their Malone trailer to their Chevy Cobalt using an adaptor that "easily converts your 114" to 2".

thule black

thule black

Some people may be nervous about their gear bumping around in the back of a trailer if they have never used one. Despite this, Malone manufactured a highly durable product that could handle highway speeds even when it wasn't carrying much.

Pickup Truck Kayak Rack Considerations

Choosing the right kayak rack for your truck doesn't have to be a workout! Let's break down what matters:

  • Muscle vs. ease: Can you hoist that kayak onto the roof solo? If not, racks like the Malone Kayak Transport Package or the Darby Extend-A-Truck make loading a breeze.
  • Drill dilemma: Don't want to void your truck's warranty with holes? Most of our top picks install without any permanent changes.
  • Got a hitch? Check its size – a trailer might be your ultimate solution, especially if you're hauling multiple kayaks and gear. No hitch? A bed extender like the AMP does the trick.
best kayak roof

best kayak roof

    Time is precious: If quick setup and takedown is key, the AMP Bed Xtender or Darby Extend-A-Truck will save you hassle.Storage savvy: No garage? Roof racks like the AA Model APX25 tuck away easier than a kayak trailer.Bang for your buck: Thule and Malone are the big names for a reason, but if you're budget-conscious after that kayak purchase, the TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Kayak Rack delivers.

Bottom line: The best kayak rack is the one that fits YOUR life. We've narrowed down the field, now it's up to you!

Kayak Rack For Truck With Hard Tonneau Cover(Best Truck Kayak Rack)

Best truck rack for kayak: If your truck does not already have roof racks installed, transporting a kayak on it will be challenging. On the other hand, if you have already installed a tonneau cover on your vehicle, transporting a kayak on the truck's bed may be highly challenging without risking damaging the tonneau cover.

Kayak Rack For Truck With Hard Tonneau Cover

Kayak Rack For Truck With Hard Tonneau Cover

However, it is unnecessary to be as complicated as that. If you are familiar with the process, transporting a kayak on the bed of a truck with a tonneau cover is not difficult. When confronted with a scenario like this, today's more straightforward folks typically carry their kayaks using a trailer. You might be able to avoid damaging the Tonneau Cover with it, but the kayak trailer will make it more difficult for you to move quickly. When you are driving, you will need to avoid hitting any of the bumps. Therefore, this is not a foolproof solution, so most people prefer to use specialized kayak racks. These racks have been designed and developed in such a way that they enable people to transport their standard-sized kayaks safely on trucks that have a Tonneau cover.

Installing these kayak racks for pickup trucks with a tonneau cover is effortless, and they require almost no maintenance once they are set up.

How To Secure Kayak Rack For Pickup Trucks?

The following video will instruct you on correctly securing your kayak to the rack designed for pickup trucks.

How To Properly Secure a Kayak to a Roof Rack

Is there a way to transport four kayaks in a truck bed? It is the simplest way to transport your kayaks when you have an open truck bed. Put the kayaks into the tailgate of the vehicle and open the tailgate. Smaller trucks may carry one to two kayaks, while more giant trucks may take as many as four.

Related Truck bed kayak rack with tonneau cover


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to mount a kayak rack on a truck?

If you want to mount a kayak rack using a goalpost-style hitch, either a front hitch or a rear hitch will do. With this kayak rack, you can extend your hitch to hold kayaks. Kayaks are usually stored above the truck cab or bed with truck hitch kayak racks.

What is the best way to transport a kayak without roof rails?

If you don't have a roof rack for your kayak, pool noodles are a cheap and easy alternative. You need to run some quality straps through the hole in the center of the pool noodle, strap it to the roof of your car, and mount the kayak. It takes only five minutes to complete this task!

Can I place my kayak on my roof rack directly?

Place the kayak upside down on the roof rack if you tie it directly to the crossbars. Kayaks can be placed hull-side down, but this will cause indentations affecting their tracking.

Is a kayak rack necessary?

Can you transport a kayak without a roof rack? Kayaks are usually transported on roof racks due to their stability. Don't worry if your vehicle doesn't have a roof rack or can't accommodate a removable one. It is possible to carry a kayak on almost any vehicle.

Updated on 3/1/2024
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