How to Choose the Best Roof Rack for Your Kayak

Did you know that over 13,000 kids between the ages of 6 to 17 participated in recreational kayaking in 2020? If you are an avid kayaker yourself and are looking to take your kayak out this summer, we are here to help you figure out how to choose the best roof rack for your vehicle. 

Keep reading to learn more about choosing the right rack for your car. 

What Is the Base Roof Setup?

One of the first things you have to do is inspect your vehicle to see what is on the roof. It might be bare or naked, it might have side rails, or factory crossbars, or aftermarket crossbars. 

For those with a naked or bare roof then you will have to install crossbars in order to have something to attach the gear mount to. You can take a look at for some more ideas.

How Many Kayaks Will You Carry?

The next question is how many kayaks do you plan on carrying around? If you plan on carrying no more than two kayaks then most solutions will work unless you have a narrow roof. If you have a narrow roof then you will want to pick a pair of j-cradle sets to haul those kayaks around. 

If you have more than two kayaks then you should look into stackers because this will allow you to arrange the kayaks in an upright position on their sides. Most of the time you can carry around 4 kayaks on top of your car with a couple of stacker sets. 

How Often Will You Kayak?

For those that will be kayaking every single day then you want to spend as little time loading and unloading your kayak. You can look for a pair of saddles to add to the front and a pair of rollers for the back to make taking your kayak on and off your roof easier. 

There are also side-loading j-cradles that will make it easier to load and unload from the side of your vehicle. Just remember that if your kayak is heavy it might be difficult to handle it sideways. J-cradles are usually not the best option for shorter or older paddlers.

How Far Will You Be Driving?

If you plan on adventuring out of state with your kayak then you will want a solid and secure solution to ensure that your kayak or kayaks are safe while you are driving around. A saddle or j-cradle is usually the best option when you are driving long distances. 

We highly recommend avoiding temporary pads or foams because when you are driving on bumpy roads the pads can slip out and you can damage your roof or kayak. Also, if you drive through rain or a storm the pads will get drenched and this can also damage your kayak or roof. 

Ready to Choose the Best Roof Rack for Your Kayak?

We hope that now that you have our tips on how to shop for a roof rack, you are feeling knowledgeable enough to make an informed decision. 

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