Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck: The Complete Guide

Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck: The Complete Guide

There are many kayak racks for trucks on the market, so how do you choose the best one for your needs? This guide will help you evaluate your needs and select the right kayak rack for truck. We’ll look at features to consider, types of kayak racks available, and what factors to weigh in your decision. By the end, you’ll be able to confidently choosing a kayak rack for truck that fits both your vehicle and gear.

So, you’ve decided to buy a kayak and take up this great sport! Kayaking can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to have the right equipment to make sure your experience is enjoyable from start to finish. One key piece of gear is a kayak rack for truck. There are many options available, so how do you pick the best one for your needs? This guide will help you evaluate your requirements and select the perfect kayak rack for trucking based on those needs. Let’s get started!

How to choose kayak rack for truck?

If you’re a kayaker and you love hitting the open waters, then you know that having a way to transport your kayak is essential. A kayak rack for a truck can be the perfect solution for transporting your kayak, and there are several different options available to choose from. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the best kayak rack for trucks on the market today and we’ll help you decide which one is right for you. So, whether you’re in the market for a new kayak rack or just curious about what’s out there, keep reading!

If you’re in the market for a new kayak rack, then you’ve probably already noticed that there are many different options available. There are so many things to consider when buying one of these racks, including price, durability, ease of use, and how it will fit onto your vehicle. How do you know which is the best kayak rack for your needs? Well for starters you need to ask yourself what kind of kayaking trips do you want to go on? If your primary goal is simple storage while transporting your kayak from home to wherever it is that you go then there are plenty of affordable options out there that work just fine. If you’re looking for a more versatile option, then the type of kayak rack for truck that you choose becomes much more important because not all racks are created equal. There are two main types of kayak racks to choose from – Rooftop Racks and Truck Bed Racks.

Roof Top Kayak Carrier A rooftop rack is arguably one of the most popular options for homeowners who enjoy frequent trips with their kayaks in tow, but they’re also an excellent choice for anyone looking to save some space in their garage or shed whether you intend to store your boat there or not. The way that roof top racks work is simple, these racks attach directly to your factory installed or aftermarket raised rails on your vehicle’s roof which means that you have to be certain that your vehicle is compatible. There are many different styles of roof racks available, including 1up Kayak Racks, Hullavator Kayak Racks by Thule, and Malone Clipper Truck Rack Systems to name a few.

Many of the most popular brands also manufacture racks designed specifically for carrying your kayaks on your roof. Some of the best kayak carriers are made by companies like Yakima, Malone, Allen Sports and others who offer models for both canoes and tandem kayaks. If you’re looking to carry more than one boat at a time, then there are car top carriers which allow you to transport two or three canoes or kayaks all at once! Alternatively, rooftop racks intended for a single kayak are a popular option for many paddlers.

Truck Bed Kayak Rack Now if you’re frequently taking trips with your kayak over significant distances, carrying it on the roof of your vehicle might not be a very economical or practical way to get from Point A to Point B. In this case, you may want to consider a truck bed rack instead. Truck bed racks offer some distinct advantages over rooftop racks and they’re worth considering depending on how often you plan on using your kayak and where exactly it is that you store it when it’s not in use. Unlike roof top racks which attach directly onto the roof of your vehicle, truck bed racks typically fit inside the grooves of your truck’s sprayed-in bedliner. This is very handy if your kayak is stored in the bed of your truck because there’s no metal shell to damage or scratch it when loading and unloading.

Another advantage of using a truck bed rack is that you can increase your storage space by utilizing otherwise wasted space in your pickup’s bed.

There are two different styles of truck bed racks available for transporting your kayak, one style uses clamps which attach around the sides of your vehicle’s bed while the other style attaches underneath the bed with either over-the-hull brackets or wheel mount brackets. We’ll take a moment to quickly go over each one: Clamp Style Truck Bed Racks The clamp style carrier slides into place at exposed points along the bed of your truck between the wheel wells at the front, middle and back of the bed.

We have plenty more information on our site if you’re interested in learning more about these types of racks! Over-the-Hull Truck Bed Racks These kayak carriers attach to exposed points underneath your vehicle’s bed along the wheel well areas without having to slide into place like roof top carriers do. A few over-the-hull style racks are available which are designed specifically for use with canoes, however there are also rack styles intended for transporting one or two tandem kayaks per carrier. If you use wheel mount brackets to attach your carrier then make sure that both wheels can be easily accessed when loading and unloading your kayak.

-Points to Remember When Using Truck Bed Racks Whatever style of truck bed rack you end up getting, there are a couple of important things that you need to keep in mind before buying one. The most significant point is the fact that you won’t be able to use your pickup’s tailgate with any type of kayak carrier attached! This means that if you ever want to take your kayak out on a fishing trip or store it somewhere else then either it or your truck will have to remain stationary for the duration of whatever it is that you’re doing. In some cases, this can be somewhat inconvenient, and it’ll mean having to lift your kayak onto a relatively high ledge every time you want under its bridge, but as just mentioned you won’t have a choice.

Another thing that you want to keep in mind before buying a carrier for your truck is where exactly it’s going to be stored when not in use. This is something that most people tend to overlook when thinking about storage solutions and it’s one of the main reasons why so many kayak owners end up with damaged boats from having them outside for extended periods of time. In fact, even if your kayak rack happens to fall into the “over-the-hull” style then this might still cause damage due to it being exposed directly underneath the sun without any sort of protection at all. There are plenty of shade covers and canopies available on some models which will help keep your kayak shaded during periods of storage but they’re typically more expensive than the standard carrier.

If you need to transport your kayak using a roof top rack for any reason, then it’s important that you buy one specifically designed for canoes or tandem kayaks. Most boat racks are only designed to handle one kayak per pair of mounts, which means that they’re not strong enough to carry two canoes or double kayaks at once. We’d like to point out the fact that this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to use them for transporting two boats, it simply means that manufacturers don’t design their racks with this in mind. To be more specific, most rooftop carriers shouldn’t have any major problems carrying two boats if both together don’t weight more than the carrier is designed for.

When using a roof rack to transport a kayak, you should note that it’s best to secure your boat with straps rather than bungee cords. If you’ve ever had to use one of these before then you probably know how much damage they can do to a boat’s hull when even slightly loose. Bungees work by clamping down on the surface of your kayak material, whereas modern day tie down systems usually consist of an adjustable metal strap which slides underneath your craft and holds it into place from beneath while being tightened securely from above via plastic handles.

One last thing that you’ll have to keep in mind before buying a kayak rack for truck is whether you own a truck with a tailgate. Although we’ve already mentioned that you won’t be able to use your tailgate while your kayak carrier is in place, there’s another issue which comes into play when contemplating the usage of a rack on this specific type of vehicle. The problem is that most carriers require their mounts to be directly against and parallel with the side of your pickup for them to work properly, which means that even if you could open your tailgate, it would be inaccessible when one of these racks is attached.

If you own a full-size pickup, then chances are you also have an enclosed truck bed in addition to an open one (the latter being more common). Some kayak rack for truck can handle both versions but if you’re unlucky then you might not be able to find the perfect one for your needs. The problem with open truck beds is that they usually have sidewalls which are quite high, since this provides extra storage space when needed, which means that larger kayak carriers won’t fit. Therefore, it’s usually a good idea to measure your pickup beforehand and make sure that whatever carrier you buy can handle its height first before buying it.

To wrap things up, we’d like to point out the fact that affordable kayak rack for truck don’t have to be low quality products. There are plenty of options available on the market which offer great value without emptying your wallet at the same time, some of them being even capable of handling more weight than their manufacturer requires them to. We’re talking about sturdy steel designs which come with adjustable straps and are simple enough for anyone to use without having previous experience in tying knots or using other complicated mechanisms.

If you need a roof rack then the only thing that would concern you is how much it costs, while if you want something for your truck bed then all you have to look at are the dimensions of your pickup’s sidewalls. Either way, the best way to find out which rooftop carrier fits your vehicle is by checking reviews online before making any actual purchases since this should lead you towards making the correct one.

All things considered, it’s safe to say that most people can make owning a kayak carrier a lot easier on themselves simply by learning how to tie a few knots and strap down their kayak securely. Although this might take a little while longer than simply opening up your tailgate and driving off, it will save you money in the long run by protecting your craft from any damage which could be caused by loose straps or inadequate carriers.

Lastly, we’d like to thank you for reading this article and encourage you to come back soon for more useful tips and guides about practical recreational activities!

Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck
Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck

How do you haul a kayak on a truck with a tonneau cover?

The best way to haul a kayak on a truck with a tonneau cover is to place the tie-downs that secure your kayak in place opposite of where you load the kayak into the bed.

For example, if you load your kayak in from the left side of your truck bed then put tie down straps in opposite corners at the right side of your truck bed. This way, when securing with cam buckle or ratchet type hold downs you won’t be pulling against where the kayak’s loading point is and everything stays nice and tight. This will also keep from putting excess stress on any hold down straps when hauling vehicles such as ATV’s, motorcycles, etc…as well as cargo boxes and trailers that might be hitched to your truck.

In addition, if you find out that you do have tie down points at the loading point it is still better to use straps from opposite corners of a a truck bed for a couple reasons. First, using opposite straps will increase the grip on your tie downs which is especially crucial when hauling cargo in any kind of inclement weather. Second, with kayaks being relatively light weight and having water inside its construction often it will tend to shift while transporting even when tied down securely. This movement can be dampened by utilizing straps from opposing sides so there isn’t any excessive strain on your ties downs when going over bumps or making turns.

How do you tie down a loaded kayak?

People choose many ways to secure their load depending on what they are comfortable with and/or what they can get locally. The most common way people secure their cargo is by using ratchet type straps that tighten when pulled downward over the bow and stern handles. These straps run through the truck bed in opposite directions for opposite corners so when tightened down they will pull up against each other making for an evenly balanced tension along both sides of the canoe or kayak to properly secure it.

How do you strap a kayak to a roof?

It is important that when strapping down your kayak on the top of your vehicle’s roof rack system, make sure you use wide straps with thick padding. The reason for this is because your kayak will be resting perpendicular to the bars which could place all the weight onto one or two straps, should they fail, it would cause your load to fall off and potentially incur damage in its path. With wide padded straps there is less strain placed on each individual tie downs so you can safely transport both yourself and your gear without having to worry about anything falling off while traveling at various speeds along the highway.

What kind of racks are best for transporting kayaks?

The best type of racks to transport kayaks are specialty racks that are designed specifically for hauling canoes and kayaks. These racks use straps to secure the hull of your boat in between specially designed bars, preventing any lateral movement while transporting.

If you don’t have access to one of these types of racks or just prefer not to use one at all then using tie down straps is the next best way to haul a kayak on top of your vehicle. Although it is more difficult and takes a little extra time and patience, with the proper techniques and knowledge you too will be able to haul your canoe or kayak safely and securely in no time!

>>> See more: How To Load A Kayak On Truck Racks

Frequently Asked Questions

How far can a kayak hang out of a truck?

The limit of how far a kayak can hang out of a truck is determined by your vehicle’s side view mirrors. When loading, make sure your kayak does not extend past the width of the vehicle.

How do you transport 2 ocean kayaks?

The safest way for transporting two ocean kayaks is by strapping them onto an open trailer with tie down points on the inside of each upright bar. Make sure to use wide straps for this type of application.

Do you need a roof rack?

Absolutely not! A good solid off road vehicle is more than enough to get your kayak anywhere you want. I have personally driven my Subaru Outback with 2 full sized sea kayaks on top, over 1000km along the west coast using nothing but my factory installed racks and they are still fully functional today after many many times being overloaded. The only time that it is even necessary for additional racks would be if you were trying to transport 4 or 5 kayaks simultaneously or some other large and heavy object that exceeds the load limit of your car’s existing rack system which in that case would be an additional reason to get yourself a new vehicle!

Do you need to buy kayak roof racks?

No, there is no need for any additional equipment. Your car’s factory installed rack system is more than enough for transporting your kayak. Simply strap the boat onto the existing bars with wide straps and you are good to go!

How do you haul 2 ocean kayaks?

The safest way for transporting two ocean kayaks is by strapping them onto an open trailer with tie down points on the inside of each upright bar. Make sure to use wide straps for this type of application.

How do you secure a loaded kayak?  People choose many ways to secure their load depending on what they are comfortable with and/or what they have access to. In terms of kayak transportation our number one recommendation when it comes down to safety is strapping the boat from the bow and stern, this way if your strap does happen to break (which never happens) the kayak will still be fully supported and attached to its tie down point instead of flying off into outer space.

How do you transport 2 ocean kayaks? 

The safest way for transporting two ocean kayaks is by strapping them onto an open trailer with tie down points on the inside of each upright bar. Make sure to use wide straps for this type of application.

Do kayak roof racks increase gas mileage?

Whether or not having additional kayak roof racks will have a positive or negative effect on your gas mileage is a difficult question to answer. How much extra weight you are adding to the top of your vehicle and how well the kayaks are strapped down will have a very large impact on how much you can improve your petrol efficiency, so it is going to be different for every individual.

Can a car rack damage a car?

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on how well the racks are installed and what materials were used for installation. At the end of the day, if you are using quality products attached to your vehicle with quality hardware then you will not run into any problems. If however you are using substandard gear or trying to install kayak roof racks poorly it can definitely cause damage to your car so please be careful!


When thinking about kayak rack for trucks it is important to think specifically about the vehicles you have access to and what would be best suited for your own personal transportation needs. Keep in mind that a properly outfitted rack system will allow you to transport more than just your kayaks. Let E Motor Swest know your questions in the comment below!

Read more: 

Best Oil For Cars With Over 200000 Miles (Detailed Reviews)