Living by the waterside is one of the greatest joys on earth, really; all you need to do is wake up, get dressed, and drag your favorite water sport gear—such as the kayak—down to the waterfront and have the best time of your life. No need to worry about moving your expensive kayak for any length of time, exposing it to all forms of mishap both real and imagined. You’re happy. Your kayak is safe and protected. Life’s truly sweet.
But, alas, this is not meant to be, not in the real world anyway. Even if you’re extremely well off to afford one of those exotic beach-front houses on a lease basis, you may still have to commute from the city as you’re likely to use the place as a holiday getaway only.
What we’re saying is this: you absolutely need a suitable means of transportation for your expensive kayak. And there’s no better way to do that than to use a kayak car rack. Unlike the bike rack
, a kayak car rack can only be roof-mounted because of its relatively lengthy nature that won’t be practical in any other position.
Although they may come across as expensive, kayak car racks are really a must-have for any kayak owner. You wouldn’t want to risk having your kayak flying off the car roof on the highway, simply because the ropes used to secure it came undone. The damage to the kayak may be unrepairable and pales in comparison to what could happen if it hits another moving vehicle.
What’s more, installing a kayak car rack can come in handy if you wish to transport canoes or even small boats
to the waterfront, depending on the style of the rack. And if you’re going on a family outing, you can car-top more than one kayak on your car roof, also depending on the style of kayak car rack you choose.
The kayak car rack frees up precious space in the back of the car so you can throw in other smaller kayaking accessories such as paddles
or have your family and friends join you for the ride.
The importance of the kayak car rack cannot be over-emphasized as there’s no better way to conveniently and reliably transport your kayak from one point to the other. But before you make the financial commitment, there are certain factors that you need to consider to make the right choice. First off, you need to consider the type of car and the availability of a roof rack. Then you’ll look at the type of kayak car rack, number of kayaks you’ll be carrying, lift assist feature, and then your budget (extremely important).
The most important feature of a kayak car rack that affects the price is the ease of loading, otherwise known as the lift assist feature. Unless you’re quite tall or have a low-profile car with an easy-to-reach roof top, loading up your kayak might be a study in frustration—thus kayak car racks with a lift assist feature tend to cost a little bit more than normal kayak car racks. There’s also the issue of the high-end and naturally expensive models versus the more practical, budget-friendly ones.
Great kayak car racks can be gotten for as low as $30.00, but if you need something more versatile, you have to go up to somewhere around $150.00 and of course, there are high-end models costing as much as $600. The brands we reviewed have products in the range mentioned above and so, whatever be your budget or needs, you can rest assured that you’ll get a quality and reliable kayak car rack.
In the course of our research, we came across some ridiculously cheap kayak car racks, but what’s the point of going for a flimsy model when you can get the real deal at great prices?
To get a top-performing kayak car rack, you need some serious work on your end. But with the features we will be outlining here shortly, you’re sure to make the right choice and in the shortest time possible. The features include:
- Type of car
- Type of kayak car rack
- Number of kayaks involved
- Lift assist mechanism
Construction and Design
Two things we believe you should consider when looking at the construction and design of your potential kayak car rack are: the type of car you’ll be using it with and the type of kayak car rack itself. Let’s take a closer look at these features.
Type of Car
The type of car you own plays a major role in determining the type of kayak car rack you go for. Low-profile cars are ideal in terms of having easy-to-reach roof tops that let you load up the kayak on the rack with little or no stress. But on the other hand, they have poor aerodynamics, especially when top-loaded with something as big as a kayak.
Minivans and SUVs are manageable; they have better aerodynamics when compared to low-profile cars, but they usually have narrow roofs that limit the number of kayaks it can fit. Also, their height doesn’t make it all that easy to load up and offload; unless you’re really tall, you may be needing a step ladder.
Trucks have wide roofs that are extremely accommodating and great for installing kayak car racks, especially if you’re given to carrying several kayaks at once. Their height, however, makes it tricky to load up the kayak and may require special assistance, unless you have the height and patience required to load it up just right.
Type of Kayak Car Rack
Kayak car racks can be classified into 3 styles: the J-style racks, saddle style, and the vertical kayak racks. The saddle or horizontal-style carriers are popular and offer the widest surface contact between the hull of the kayak and the carrier, which decreases the chances of the hull warping. They carry the kayak on a horizontal plane, flat on its belly, thus reducing fuel consumption and wind resistance. It may come in pairs or in singles and the number of kayaks carried is determined by the size of the carrier crossbars and width of the car roof.
The J-style kayak car rack is widely used because while it sits your kayak in a secure and comfortable 45-degree support, its space-saving design ensures more space is made available on the crossbar so you can carry more items on the roof.
Kayak posts, otherwise known as vertical racks, are the most economical style in terms of number of kayaks loaded. It holds kayaks securely on their sides, hence the kayaks can be stacked sideways to ensure more kayaks are loaded.
Performance and Ease of Use
A kayak car rack requires patience in setting it up and most especially in loading up the kayak securely on it. Once you get the kayak secured on the rack, your journey will be fun and worry-free.
One good thing is that kayak car racks are designed with versatility in mind, thus one rack can adjust to carry kayaks of different sizes and shapes with no problems.
The saddle-style kayak car rack is the easiest to load or unload as you can just slide one end of the kayak up the back of the car towards the roof, and then roll the whole kayak up on the rack by pushing from the other end.
The J-style rack usually comes in a folding design so you don’t have to dismantle the rack before driving through low places. It allows you to put your kayak up from the back or sideways of the loading vehicle, and comes with locking mechanisms that lock the kayak firmly to the rack, and the rack firmly to the vehicle.
The vertical-style kayak rack is the simplest to install, load, and dismantle. All you need to do is lift up your kayak and put it flush against the rack post or another kayak, if you’ve loaded some in already. There’s no adjustment needed for this style and you get to transport several kayaks in style and comfort at the same time.
To make loading and unloading your kayak onto the car rack a breeze, most high-end kayak car racks feature one form of lift assist mechanism or the other.
The simplest form has a hooked pole sliding out from under the rack that helps you lift the boat one half at a time.
Another lift assist mechanism has a roller lift system that allows you to lift the kayak one end at a time until it’s safely ensconced on the car rack.
The most advanced lift assist uses pneumatic gas extrusions to extend down to the side of the car at about waist level so you can easily load the kayak on and then it uses the same pneumatic gas extrusion to take the kayak back up onto the vehicle’s roof.
And in case your car doesn’t have factory-fitted roof crossbars, you’ll need to get one installed on your vehicle before you even think of mounting a kayak car rack on it.
Having gone through our informative buying guide, there’s no doubt that you have the best information on kayak car racks at your disposal now. This means you can now look at our carefully selected kayak car racks and find the one that meets your requirements and status.
We do hope you’re leaving this page as one happy customer and… do not forget to place an order for the kayak car rack that caught your eye.