Top 5 Best Car Top Kayak Racks for Your Kayak Adventures

Top 5 Best Car Top Kayak Racks for Your Kayak Adventures

Paddling across a lake or river is just half the struggle in kayaking and other water sports.

Your first hurdle is transporting gear kilometers to a water source or campground without damaging your car or kayak.

Top 5 Best Car Top Kayak Racks for Your Kayak Adventures

Top Best Car Top Kayak

Sr. No.Products NamePurchase Links
1.Thule Compass Kayak and SUP roof Rack Review.Buy Now
2.Thule Hullavator Pro Kayak Rack Review.Buy Now
3.Attwood Universal Rack Free Car Top Kayak Carrier Review.Buy Now
4.Rhino Rack Folding J Style Kayak Roof Rack Review.Buy Now
5.Yakima SweetRoll Kayak Rack ReviewBuy Now
6.Thule Dockglide Review.Buy Now

For this problem, you should get the best car top kayak rack and install it correctly to go long distances safely.

There are several affordable car top-mounting options, some of which can handle multiple kayaks.

Check out my list of best car top kayak rack and buying guide for how to pick one for your car or SUV ahead of your next kayaking adventure.

Are you in a hurry? then check out below:

If you’re in a hurry and want the Best Car Top Kayak Racks from our list then the Thule Compass Kayak rack is for you. The most trusted roof rack manufacturer makes the Thule Compass rack for kayaks or SUPs up to 130 pounds.

Compass allows numerous carrying modes. You may carry one kayak in a J-cradle or saddle, two kayaks vertically, or two SUPs in saddle mode.

Thick rubber saddles and cushioned uprights provide optimal protection. Use its integrated StrapCatch to handle your load straps (two sets plus bow and stern tie-downs).

The carrier of this kayak fits most roof rack systems, however some may need an adaptor. Moreover, it has Thule’s limited lifetime guarantee and folds flat for aerodynamics.


  • Multiple kayak and SUP hauling types
  • When not in use, folds flat.
  • Installation requires no tools.


  • Some roof racks may need an adaptor.
  • Expensive

So this was a quick and best option, if you want to try a few more options then you’re welcome to visit my other suggested car top kayak racks too.

Best Car Top Kayak Racks

Thule’s Hullavator Pro kayak rack costs five times more than my list’s overall best option, but it makes loading and carrying your kayak a breeze.

Dual-extending arms on its lift help rack allow you to load and unload your kayak at waist height, while gas-assisted struts support 40 pounds.

Its eight padded contact points ensure your kayak is well supported, and the kayak cradles adjust to match various hull lengths.

The system has Thule’s QuickDraw bow and stern tie-downs and is made of aluminum and double-coated steel for corrosion protection. This carrier is compatible with all Thule roof racks, except the Wingbar Edge, and can hold one 75-pound kayak.


  • Capable of waist-height loading and unloading.
  • Gas-assisted struts support kayak weight.
  • Expanded kayak cradles allow broader hulls.


  • The most costly option listed.
  • Not compatible with all roof racks

For fast, affordable fishing kayak transport, use Attwood’s Universal Rack Free Cart Top Kayak Carrier with a factory rack, aftermarket system, or cartop.

Although easy, it might be time-consuming if you’ve never used it before. It works with most vehicles, however improper installation might dent the car’s roof.

Place foam blocks far apart to avoid this. For occasional kayak carriers or those seeking a cheaper car top kayak rack, it offers a credible, economical tool.


  • Affordable choice
  • Applicable to any vehicle
  • Simple system
  • Proper application should not cause automotive damage.


  • Time-consuming to secure
  • Some cars may need extra straps.

Best Car Top Kayak Racks Rhino Rack Folding J-Style Carrier can carry one kayak. Strong, sturdy, and simple to build. I like the paddle holder on the rear of the J-cradles on this foldable kayak roof rack. This enables you carry a one-piece kayak paddle on the rack, saving vehicle space.

I use this to carry big fishing kayaks due to its great load capacity. Long sea kayaks and touring kayaks may also be used. This roof rack carries canoes.

Its powder-coated steel frame has rubber cushions to protect your kayak’s hull. It contains load straps, bow and stern tie-downs, and universal mounting gear for non-square bars.


  • Strong
  • High load capacity
  • Paddle holder


  • Unsuitable for square bars

Best Car Top Kayak Racks Rollers in the Yakima SweetRoll’s rear saddles make kayak loading and unloading easier than with standard roof racks.

The full system comprises front saddles with a spring-loaded base that automatically cradles your boat while loading.

Its smooth, molded padding protects different kayak varieties and can hold an 80-pound boat.

This package contains SKS locks, heavy-duty straps, and bow/stern safety tie-downs. The kayak carrier should work with round, square, aerodynamic, and industrial roof bars.

There must be at least 24 inches of crossbar spacing, however. Easy, tool-free installation takes 10 minutes. Moreover, there is a limited warranty that lasts a lifetime.


  • Integrated rollers enable single loading.
  • The spring-loaded base conforms to the hull.
  • Easily installed


  • Supports just one kayak.
  • Highly expensive for limited usage.

Best Car Top Kayak Racks For water sports enthusiasts who carry different equipment every day, the Thule Dockglide kayak saddle rack is ideal.

This rack uses separate pivoting saddles that may be strained to any angle. You may modify them to the gear’s size and form without compromising safety.

The big, flexible padded mats also protect gear and the car. Lay your 36-inch-wide, 85-pound gear horizontally to carry it. Secure your kayak in place with the help of the rubber buckle straps that come with the center load straps.


  • Contains T-rack attachments compatible with most Thule crossbars.
  • Its adjustable angle fits various aquatic equipment, including stand-up paddleboards.


  • Compatible with Thule rack systems only.

What To Look For In A Car Top Kayak Rack

Weight Limit

All kayak carriers and roof racks have manufacturer instructions and weight limits. If the carrier can carry more than one kayak, there may be a per-kayak or total restriction. Make sure your load doesn’t go over the limit. Fishing kayaks and sit-on-tops may surpass most standard carriers’ weight limits.


Four kinds of kayak carriers exist. First, a saddle rack holds your kayak horizontally. It securely transports one kayak and is simple to load. The J-cradle carries kayaks at 45 degrees using J-shaped bars. This is ideal for small rooftops with two kayaks side-by-side. Stackers can hold up to four kayaks vertically, whereas those without crossbars can only use temporary foam or inflatable pads.


Cheap kayak roof racks cost about $100, while luxury ones cost approximately $900. The priciest versions include hydraulic load assist for waist-level loading and removing, superior materials that won’t corrode after saltwater contact, and a lifetime warranty. Your budget needs and carrier are use to determine how much you should pay.


The height, breadth, and roof space of a kayak carrier vary depending on its type. Always make sure the measurements match your rooftop, particularly if you want to add a second carrier or other roof accessories. Choose car top kayak racks that fold down when not in use or are readily removed for travel and storage to avoid height issues.

Car Compatibility

Does it need crossbars? is the first question when comparing kayak racks. Most cars have these, but if yours doesn’t, you may add them or use temporary pads for bare roofs. Check that your desired purchase fits your crossbar spread width and form. Although most kayak carriers are universal, adapter kits are available for crossbars that are incompatible.

Installing a Kayak Roof Rack Safely

Securely carry your kayak with a car top kayak rack. Several measures are needed to do it safely.

• Check whether your car has a roof rack suitable for the kayak rack you are installing. If not, buy a suitable rack.

• Measure kayak size and car roof to guarantee a perfect fit.

• Secure the kayak rack to your car’s roof rack using proper straps. Tighten the straps to secure the kayak.

• Stick kayak to rack securely. Use ratchet straps or bungee cords to secure the kayak during shipping.

After following these instructions, you can be certain that your kayak is securely mounted on your car and safely transported.

Tips For Loading Your Kayak On Car Roof Rack

When placing a kayak onto a roof rack, remember these tips:

• Ensure the roof rack is properly fastened and can support kayak weight.

• Ensure your kayak is firmly attached to the roof rack using appropriate straps and tie-downs.

• Wear gloves to prevent abrasions and injuries while lifting kayaks onto roof racks.

• Center align the kayak on the roof rack for secure and balanced driving.

Before driving away, check all straps and tie-downs to ensure the kayak is tight. Several kayak lift-assist devices make loading your kayak onto your car roof easy.


Transportation is crucial for your new kayak. Since most passenger cars are not meant to transport loads on top, the possibilities appear restricted for automobile owners.

That’s no longer a concern. Choosing from my top picks above may solve any car kayak rack hauling and selection problem.

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