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Kayak Rack for Truck: Best Kayak Racks For Any Budget



Updated on 6/20/2024
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!
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It's hard to find a kayak rack for a truck. Also, it's hard to shift through all the reviews of similar products online. Depending on your needs, we will recommend the best truck rack for kayaks to meet your expectations.

Kayakers called the Kayak Rack for Truck: (Kayak holder for truck) and (kayak holder for truck) sometimes.

Roof racks for kayaks are too essential to buy without knowing the ins and outs of each model.

This guide will look at the best kayak racks for trucks on the market today, help you understand the differences between kayak racks, and get your kayak to its destination safely.

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

Our review of the APX25 named it 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. There are four j-racks for two kayaks, eight c-clamps, and ratchet straps on the kayak roof rack.

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 Any Truck Beds

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 truck.

Avalanche or 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 both of 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."

AA Model APX25

AA Model APX25

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, you could weigh up to 2200 pounds, and the company has thoroughly tested them.

APX25 Racks Requires No Drilling.

Are you looking for an easy-to-install and easy-to-deconstruct truck rack? 

Look no further than the AA Model APX25. AA Model APX25 is no 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) From AMP Research

AMP Research 74813 BedXTender is a U-shaped gate. You can utilize the entire bed by lowering the tailgate and attaching the extender. It's a universal truck bed extender that gives you an extra two feet of space.

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

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.

More Racks Articles

(Best Goal Post Truck Racks) 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 a goal post truck rack. A single bar extends upward from the hitch of this 25-pound kayak transport into the shape of a football goal post. 

Extend-A-Truck is convenient to have the red flag and receiver hitch included with this Darby product. If you have a class III or IV hitch with a 2-inch receiver, you can use the Extend-A-Truck product. So, buying accessories isn't a guessing game.

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.

One user said,

" can put it on in about one minute and strap it down in another 30 seconds".

Quite Versatile

We'll give you a quick rundown of how it differs from a traditional kayak roof rack. 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.

Quite Versatile

Quite Versatile

You have 58 inches between the hitch and the top of the car if you drive a Jeep, Honda Element, or another SUV. Extend-A-Truck can be used as long as you have a roof rack to take the place of 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.' 

Your 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

The Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum is another worthwhile product. Still, we thought it was worth exploring what makes it such 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?

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. You can lock your kayak rack securely on your truck bed using four different patented Secure Locks. 

Because there is no need to cut or drill into your vehicle, 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 Pick Up Truck Racks)

You can fit any truck with the TMS Adjustable Pick Up Truck Rack. You don't have to buy a new rack if you buy a new truck because it can adjust to both 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? It's now possible while still staying within your budget.

There is plenty of space above your truck bed for you 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 Pick-Up Truck Racks make it easier to secure a heavier kayak if you have one. The combined weight of both bars is only 50 pounds. 

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

Take note if you work in construction or like to do DIY. You can attach lumber, pipes, and ladders to this pickup truck rack to be kayaks on ladder rack.

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

Truck Rack

Truck Rack

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.

Kayak Racks For RVs (limited)

There aren't many options for kayak racks for RVs unless you custom makes something, which can be expensive. Another option worth considering instead of 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 of them can transport your valuables. Not to mention worrying about the crazy drivers on the highway behind you as you rush into your paddling excursion!

The Malone MicroSport Trailer Kayak Transport Package: (Best Kayak Rack for RVs).

Our Overall Review
Read full review

An RV kayak rack user can find everything they could 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 having to lift 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

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 paounds plus the kayak weight. By the way, it can haul 350 pounds.

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 before. Despite this, Malone manufactured a highly durable product and could handle highway speeds even when it wasn't carrying much.

Here Are Some Pickup Truck Kayak Rack Takeaways

This article covered a few factors you should consider when choosing the best kayak truck rack. 

  • What is your strength? Is there a way to lift your kayak onto the roof, or do you need an adjustable rack? If heavy lifting isn't possible, the Malone Kayak Transport Package or Darby Extend-A-Truck goal post rack might be your best option.
  • Drill or not to drill: If you're thinking of doing anything permanent to your bed, check with your vehicle manufacturer or garage first. Double-check if you still have the warranty on your truck. Most of the options in this article don't require drilling to preserve the integrity of your vehicle.
  • Is there a trailer hitch on your vehicle? Is it 2 inches, or do you need an adapter? Maybe an AMP bed extender will do instead if you don't have a hitch. If you do, a kayak trailer might make your life a lot easier, especially if you have a lot of kayaks and other recreational gear to transport.
best kayak roof

best kayak roof

    How much time do you want to spend assembling, installing, and removing your kayak rack? AMP Bed Xtender and Darby Extend-A-Truck are both less labor-intensive options.Storage space available: Kayak trailers are more difficult to store when not in use than kayak roof racks like the AA Model APX25.Price: You can't go wrong with any Thule product if you're willing to pay for peace of mind and brand trust. The Malone name is equally synonymous with quality. If you're on a budget after purchasing a kayak, the TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Kayak Rack is a great option for frugal fun-seekers.

As long as you pay attention to kayak rack for truck needs, you can't go wrong with any of the products we've listed as top contenders.