It’s one thing to find an awesome kayak at a nearby store. It’s another thing to know how to transport a kayak from point A to point B. Searching for the right kayak rack for trucks can be challenging. There are lots of options and not all trucks are the same.
Kayak roof racks are essential, as they help minimize damage during transportation. To get an excellent kayak rack, you’ll need one that suits the pickup truck you’re driving.
In this article, we’ll go over all the different kinds of kayak racks and how they can be used with different kinds of trucks.
No-Drill Kayak Rack
The HandiRack inflatable roof rack is a universal roof rack system that is quick and easy to install. There is no need for tools or to drill holes, making it a great kayak rack for pickup trucks. The soft roof rack pads are secured by a pass-through strap.
The design is also thoughtful as it includes o-rings to help prevent scratches on your car’s paint job. This is a great kayak roof rack for those who want an easy, no-drill installation.
For Truck Beds
If your truck has a long bed, you can simply put your kayak in the bed and secure it with straps. If your truck has a short bed, you can still transport your kayak by using a bed extender. Bed extenders are essentially platforms that extend the length of your truck bed, giving you enough room to securely transport your kayak.
Darby Industries Extend-A-Truck
This option is suitable if you are looking for the best goal post truck rack. It comes with one bar extending from the hitch, forming a football goal post shape. Its 25-pound capacity allows it to carry different sizes of watercraft.
This item comes along with a receiver hitch and red flag. With that, it becomes easier for you to use a 2-inch receiver and a Class III/IV hitch. It also excludes guesswork when buying your items.
The Darby Industries Extend-A-Truck comes with all the required accessories, providing you with the convenience you need. However, it will be best to buy extra ratchet straps to help secure the kayak during the journey.
This item boasts 4-feet of width support. This space is enough to carry a large watercraft. Its ingenious storage space allows you to fold it up whenever necessary. Once folded, you can store it behind your seats. It can support up to 350 pounds, allowing you to haul canoes, solo kayaks, crown molding, and tandem kayaks.
Its incredible versatility makes it a suitable choice for most people. It comes with five different hols in the steel bar, allowing you to attach the kayak at the bed level or cabtop. This aspect provides you with more flexibility in how you transport your kayak.
You can use this truck rack on any vehicle, not necessarily a truck. For instance, you can use it on an SUV with over 58 inches between the hitch and the rooftop. As long as the vehicle has a roof rack, this item will suit you best.
AMP Research 74813 BedXtender
The AMP 74813 is a U-shaped gate and an excellent truck bed extender. It allows you to lower your tailgate and attach the extender. This aspect is vital whenever you want to utilize the entire bed. It can comfortably fit on any truck bed, and it provides the kayak with an extra two feet of space.
AMP 74813 is an excellent choice for short kayaks and trucks with no hitch. It ensures no long kayak hangs from behind the pickup truck.
Its robust construction highlights durability. It comes with a torque-resistant clam-shell design, featuring composite uprights and rounded rectangles. This shell is made from solid aluminum tubes, while its composite uprights feature glass-reinforced nylon. Besides, this rack is relatively lightweight.
This kayak holder comes with all the hardware necessary for installation. Its installation process is relatively straightforward, saving you enough time. It has drilling instructions, which ensure that you do not permanently damage your truck.
Its ingenious storage space allows you to carry your water sports gear and kayak altogether. It ensures that all your items are kept safe, including small ones. When not in use, all you have to do is flip the extender inside, then close its tailgate. This feature ensures that small items do not fly off when you are driving.
Elevated Bed Racks
An elevated kayak rack for trucks attaches to the bed of your pickup truck, creating a raised platform above the cabin of the truck. This allows you to store your kayak over your truck, freeing up space on the roof and keeping your kayak out of the elements.
Plus, it’s much easier to load a kayak onto an elevated rack than it is to lift it onto the roof of a vehicle. If you’re looking for a convenient and safe way to store your kayak, an elevated bed rack is the right choice.
AA Model APX33
The APX33 features an all-in-one system, making it an excellent choice if you want to maximize load-carrying capabilities. Its packaging includes the kayak roof rack, four j-racks, eight c-clamps, and ratchet straps. Since it is made from rust-proof aluminum, this roof rack highlights stability and durability.
The AA APX33 can fit in any standard truck bed, including the Chevy, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford. Its steel tube adjusts between different multiple truck bed widths. The length of the ladder stops is also adjustable.
Unfortunately, this roof rack might not be compatible with truck beds with a toolbox, side box, or utility track system. Non-standard beds like Honda Ridgeline and Avalanche are not suitable for this roof rack.
This item comes with heavy-duty ratchet straps that help secure your kayak on the roof rack. This feature is ideal when driving down bumpy roads. The extended bolts and c-clamps also help keep the kayak in place. You could also rely on extra j-racks to keep the watercraft much more stable.
This kayak rack can hold up to a 16-foot watercraft. That means it could easily hold a canoe too. Typically, this rack can carry up to 2,200 pounds.
Its no-drill installation process is relatively straightforward. Whether you want to deconstruct or construct it, the process takes a short time. Thanks to its eight c-clamps, you do not need to drill holes on the side of the truck bed.
Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum
Thule Xsporter is an adjustable bar truck rack. Its design makes it easy for you to load, carry, or store your kayak on any truck. Once you load the watercraft, you can use the adjustable bars to secure it. These bars can move to any height, making them ideal for solo travelers. Its SecureLock design makes it easier to lock everything in one place using a single key.
It comes with Wind Diffuser Technology and Air Trip Technology. These technologies help realize an aerodynamic and quiet ride. Besides, they help improve fuel efficiency in the vehicle.
Installing this truck rack requires no drilling. This straightforward installation process helps save time and avoid damaging the truck.
The Xsporter is a universal truck rack, meaning that it can fit almost any vehicle. Its sturdy aluminum construction allows it to withstand up to 450 pounds. This capacity is ideal for large kayaks and canoes.
The Xsporter boasts a robust design, highlighting durability and class. This aluminum design can comfortably withstand various elements. It can also hold significant weight for a long time.
TMS Adjustable Pickup Truck Rack
The TMS Adjustable truck rack is an excellent choice for those on a budget. This item can fit in almost any truck bed. It can be adjusted to either 5-foot or 7-foot beds, depending on what you have. Its ability to hold up to two canoes provides you with value for your money. It can comfortably carry up to 800 pounds.
The TMS truck rack boasts incredible strength, robustness, and sturdiness. It comes with an aluminum construction that allows you to secure the kayak or canoe firmly. Such safety is all you need when driving on a relatively bumpy road.
You can use this truck rack on any truck and for any reason. Besides carrying watercraft, it is suitable for hauling lumber, pipes, and ladders.
The TMS kayak rack requires drilling. Its base is made from steel, and it comes with the necessary screws and bolts for assembly. You could also use up to eight clamps instead of drilling.
Design and Construction
The TMS rack features a relatively simple design. Its sturdy construction makes it ideal for heavy kayaks or canoes. Its bars weigh an approximate weight of 25 pounds each, making it easier for you to install them. This weight is enough to withstand a relatively large watercraft.
The TMS kayak rack is relatively affordable, making it suitable for those on a budget. Its affordability and longevity assure you of value for your money.
Malone Trailer Kayak Transport Package
This product has everything you could ever need from a carrier. It comes with a 2-inch hitch, cross rails, four tie-down straps, base trailer, and cross rails.
Design and Construction
This kayak carrier boasts incredible space that can carry up to four kayaks at a go. Its low profile means that you do not need to lift the watercraft onto the carrier. It can carry up to 350 pounds of weight. Its design cushions it against bumping into the vehicle’s rear. This sturdy construction can also withstand high speeds, whether on highways or rough roads.
Its installation process is relatively straightforward. It comes with a set of installation instructions that are relatively easy to follow. The entire assembly process takes between two and three hours. However, it would be best to set aside four hours for this installation process, especially if you are a beginner.
This kayak carrier can work with SUVs and trucks as well. As long as the truck or SUV has a 2-inch hitch and it can tow over 250 pounds, this rack will be best.
Suppose you have a vehicle with a smaller hitch size. In this case, you can rely on adaptors. For instance, you can convert 1.25-inch adaptors to 2-inch ones.
Buying Guide For a Kayak Rack
While choosing a reliable truck kayak rack can be challenging, the insights provided above can guide you through the process. Some of the factors to consider during this pursuit are as follows.
How Strong You Are
Your strength determines which kayak rack to choose, as you will be the one to lift it to the top of the cab. Suppose you cannot lift heavy racks, it would be best to choose an adjustable product. Most people are barely comfortable with lifting heavy racks. In such cases, the most suitable choices would be the Malone Kayak Transport Package or the Darby Extend-A-Truck goal post rack.
You will choose between a kayak rack that requires drilling and that which does not. It would be wise to check with your vehicle manufacturer or garage before deciding. This installation has a permanent effect on the bed. Notably, no-drill options help preserve the integrity of your vehicle.
Check the Trailer Hitch
If you have a 2-inch hitch, getting a reliable kayak rack will be effortless. Conversely, you will need an adaptor if the hitch is smaller in size.
Suppose you have no hitch. A bed extender would be an excellent choice for you.
With a 2-inch hitch, a kayak trailer will be a great choice. It allows you to haul multiple watercraft and recreational equipment without a struggle.
Labor-intensive options require more time to assemble. If you are looking forward to saving some time, it would be best to consider less labor-intensive carriers. Examples include the Darby Extend-A-Truck and AMP Bed Extender.
The amount of storage space determines how big a kayak rack to consider. Ensure that you choose an easy-to-store product. The AA Model APX33 will be an exceptional choice in such instances.
Undoubtedly, you are often conscious of your budget. Most top-notch brands, including Thule and Malone, assure you of top-quality products. However, their products could be a little pricy. Conversely, the TMS Adjustable could be an excellent option if you are on a smaller budget. If you’ve got the time and materials, consider building your own rack.
In conclusion, kayaks are prized items. Ensuring that they are safe during transportation should be a priority. Notably, the products provided above are suitable for this task. They are all safe, sturdy, and top-quality. However, ensure that you choose a product that suits your needs and preferences.