Universal Kayak Roof Racks For Family Car Trips

16/03/2021
Anyone who owns a kayak understands the need to haul gear between home and the water. For this reason, many individuals purchase a kayak roof rack for their vehicle in a variety of styles.

Kayak Roof Bar Types

From a basic inflatable rack to foam pads for added protection, the roof rack can be as elaborate or simple as you prefer. What matters is how well it works in your case. The overall goal is to ensure your kayak and car's safety and protection, and decent kayak roof bars provide both.

Scratch Protection To Car And Kayak

Although kayaks are indeed durable in the water, damage can occur during bad weather or while you are toting it around. This is why a well-built kayak rack not only supports it but provides padding for protection to the exterior.

A Few Canoe Roof Rack Tips

Putting your kayak into place can be tricky, especially if you don't have additional hands to help. A friend is especially helpful in lifting the kayak, as well as ensuring everything is properly secured.

You can easily prevent tie knots by utilising ratchet straps to secure your kayak into place as well. However, to avoid scratching your kayak, you must also make sure the kayak roof carrier strap has the necessary padding.


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All Roof Rack Kayak Carriers Dimensions

Unfortunately, roof rack kayak carriers are not available in a one-size-fits-all product design. When the hardware doesn't fit your vehicle correctly, it can present 'potential hazards' to your kayak and car, in addition to other people and their vehicles.

Kayak Rack For Type Of Car

Fortunately, regardless of the type of car you drive, chances are there is already that 4 x 4 kayak rack available with a perfect fit. Check out your owner's manual to double-check your car's measurements or measure it on your own.

When determining which kayak rack for car use works best for your car, the vehicle type may also need to be considered. From full-size 4 x 4 to compact cars, you can rest assured manufacturers produce a rack to fit.

Carrying Several Kayaks At Once

Small vehicles can utilise simple setups to carry single kayaks or even as a cycle rack on the roof. Suppose you drive an SUV vehicle of substantial size. In that case, there are kayak rack SUV options available to you, with a frame capable of toting multiple kayaks at once.


: SmartSpec Car Carrier Rack For Kayak


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Measuring The Car Roof Space

While you measure for 2, ensure to measure the outside roof space of your vehicle first. This will give you a better idea of what dual kayak roof rack to shop for, as well as capabilities. Stores offer car roof rack guides to educate kayak enthusiasts of the products best suited to their situation.

Type, Weight And Size Of Kayak

A rather important factor to consider is the type of watercraft you're planning to carry around. Weight, size, and length must be regarded to properly determine your following roof rack capability.


Buy The Right Kayak Car Mounting Systems

A large kayak requires more substantial kayak car mounting systems capable of accommodating the large kayak's width and weight. A smaller vehicle, for example, will not be able to provide the adequate support demanded by large watercraft.

Better Fixed Kayak Rack Stability

A more frequent kayaker might appreciate the ease of a fixed kayak rack. While this works for serious individuals, others may not like the inability to remove attached racks. For this reason, many removable units require the ability to attach to windows and doors for better stability.

Freedom Of Owning A Roof Rack

Kayaking provides us with the ability to explore new and unique areas we may otherwise be unable to experience. It can get boring paddling around in the same body of water time after time.
Individuals who are up for a weekend trip kayaking in a new area would appreciate the options made available by owning their own roof rack.



Kayak Rack Carrier Convenience

Rather than worrying about the kayak itself, a kayak rack carrier enables you to go whenever adventure is calling (and your schedule permits. Whether you plan to take your first kayak home or need to venture toward remote locations for unique experiences. The added convenience of a roof rack should not be overlooked.

Ensure Kayak Is Tightly Secured

New kayakers may feel a bit worried about their kayak getting loose and flying off the roof from high wind speeds during transportation. Or, lifting it onto the vehicle or removing it once you're home may add further stress. Purchasing plenty of rope ensures your kayak is appropriately secured when needed, with less of a chance of damage done to your kayak, car, the road, or other drivers.


Kayak Carrier Kit For Small Or Large Car

Although a kayak cuts through the water with ease, providing versatility from freshwater to the ocean, it's a different story out of water. Transporting it properly between home and bodies of water is essential to responsible kayak ownership.

Small Vehicle To Mount Kayaks

A large selection of smaller cars has several kayak straps for roof options available. The most critical factor in choosing the appropriate rack is the overall size of your kayak. Whether it's even possible or safe is heavily reliant upon this seemingly unimportant detail. The bigger your kayak is, and the smaller your vehicle, the more difficult of a process it is going to be.


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Canoe Kayak Carrier For Car Type

Many small vehicles may require custom-built canoe kayak carriers to properly support your watercraft. However, a wide selection of racks is explicitly designed for subcompact cars. Your best bet is to do some research into manufacturers, your car type, etc.

Roof Rack Aluminium Or Steel Material

The materials used in the construction of your roof rack give a little insight into the overall longevity. It can be expected to last longer when higher quality materials were utilised.
In most cases, you can expect 'kayak roof bar pads' to be comprised of aluminium or steel. A padded design also ensures the protection of your car and kayak during transportation.

Kayak Roof Rack Designs

The pros and cons of each style and manufacturer are essential details for understanding the difference between rack designs. There are four significant roof racks in temporary pads, saddles with rollers, j-cradles or stackers.


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Paddle Board Roof Racks Using Bars Or Ropes

Usually, a kayak is placed upside down over a roof rack, strapped down to the bars by using ropes. Although crossbars are essential for the benefit of paddleboard roof racks, they can also be used without the addition of attachments.

If this is your chosen route, you should ensure they are adequately padded to prevent subsequent damage. This is where temporary pads come into play.

Temporary Makeshift Rack Padding

Pads are a quick, easy method in creating your own temporary canoe roof rack transit solution. Whether you have purchased foam or inflatable pads, temporary padding is a one-step roof rack that doesn't require additional parts. It is even possible to utilise this method without the ease of a factory rack.

Longer Lasting And Heavy Duty

On short hauls, pads can come in handy, especially if you only take occasional trips kayaking. Temporary buffers serve as an excellent option for individuals who'd prefer to take a less permanent route to transport their kayaks. While pads aren't meant to be utilised as a long-lasting or heavy-duty solution, they can come in handy in last-minute situations.

Kayak Transportation Crossbars

Crossbars are often the foundation of a majority of kayak transportation options. A crossbar is a metal bar installed parallel to the rails of your vehicle.

They provide roof racks with a solid, sturdy anchor to attach to. They allow a variety of attachments for bikes, cargo bags, and more. Kayaks, as well as other gear, may also be attached to crossbars directly.



: HonHill J Bars Kayak Canoe Roof Top Rack


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Load Capacity Roof Bar Pads And Lock Options

Roof mounting brackets often require installation; however, you can utilise aftermarket crossbars if your vehicle didn't come with any. You may be able to purchase a lockable option or a basket for added loading capacity of mountain bikes and better security.

Saddle Cradle In Independent Pieces

Pads that extend from your base rack to the bottom of a kayak are referred to as saddles. You can purchase a single cradle or cradle that is manufactured as two separate pieces – this enables it to adjust to the kayak's width.

Motoring In Heavy Wind And Storms

An oversized saddle offers the added benefit of providing large surfaces to rest the kayak upon while it sits on the roof of your car. A saddle provides additional security, such as peace of mind while travelling in heavy winds, storms, etc. Roof rack kayak carrier saddles keep things in place, so you know you're kayak will stay put.


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Consider Kayak Rack Wind Resistance

The saddles also utilise the kayak's aerodynamics to reduce wind resistance and extra noise, and additional fuel. The overall point of contact between the kayak and the carrier is essential in protecting your watercraft.

Steel Car Rack With Extra Padding

A kayak can be somewhat awkward in terms of length and design. The support of your kayak is influenced by the style of 'cradles or saddles'. This is in addition to the distance between cross rails of the rack, etc. Your best bet is to locate an aluminium or steel design with the luxury of additional padding.


Loading Your Kayak On The Rack Using Rollers

The main advantage of rollers is the ease of loading your kayak onto the rack. Rollers may be used on their own or as a replacement for one of the saddle type cradles.

Rollers also mean you can load your kayak onto the rack and roll it down the length of your vehicle. Although there is a slew of more popular roof rack systems, there are plenty of reasons to use rollers instead.

Using The J-Cradle Design Kayak Rack

One of the most popular kayak roof racks worldwide is the j-style kayak rack or j-cradle. They are essentially designed in a J shape form, as side-loading frames that sit at a 45-degree angle (on crossbars). This ensures plenty of room for individuals who prefer to carry gadgets on their adventures.


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Balance And Security Of Rack

Rollers and saddles won't work well in a narrow vehicle roof, especially if you plan on transporting more than one kayak in a vertical position. J-hook kayak carriers sit between traditional horizontal and vertical designs, providing a good balance of security and convenience.

Kayaks are pretty often held at an angle that is more natural for loading and unloading. The cradle design offers further support, in addition to padding, for the overall security and protection of your kayak.

Loading And Unloading Kayaks

A j-cradle is very stable and secure by comparison, offering faster loading and unloading times. Individuals aren't required to load kayaks from the back of the car and can side-load the kayak by simply lifting.



Manually Lifting The Kayak On The Roof

If you are the owner of a heavy kayak, it may be challenging to find the strength to haul them sideways. When the weather is rough, or you're exhausted from hours of the kayak, this may prove highly factual. Therefore, j-cradles may not be ideal for paddlers of shorter height or too old to lift the roof's kayak.

Get Extra Roof Rack Help

It is more than possible to fit your new kayak roof rack into your car on your own. However, it is best to ensure you have an extra pair of helping hands before you get started.


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Rack Instructions To Suit Your Car

Each roof rack should include instructions tailored to your specific vehicle, and they're well worth the time to read. It is also vital to ensure you have the appropriate tools and equipment nearby before you begin. Start by cleaning your roof to ensure attachments fit well.

Top-10 Kayak Roof Racks For Secure Transportation

Most double kayak carriers are relatively versatile and offer a wide variety of transit opportunities. This is hugely dependent upon the cargo you've chosen to carry, which may require additional mounts and accessories. For a vacation, you may need a cargo box to protect your luggage or hold more clothing.

Carry Your Tent, Bike Or Snowboard

If you are taking a camping trip, a roof basket may help carry your tent correctly. Regardless of your outdoor hobbies, you can rest assured there is an accessory made to take your bike, snowboard, and more. A few simple additional mounts will transform your rack into something more versatile.


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How Kayak Roof Carriers For Cars Impact Driving

Many kayak roof carriers for cars adds a significant amount of weight to the roof of your vehicle, regardless of how lightweight the materials may seem. This additional weight increases aerodynamic drag, which means more fuel efficiency is reduced.

The proper fit and maintenance are essential to the use of your roof rack. When not appropriately installed, roof racks can damage your car aesthetically as well as physically. However, this shouldn't put you off completely, as steps can be taken to minimise the risk.

Stacker For More Than A Few Kayaks

The number of kayaks you plan to transport plays another significant role in your choice of roof racks. If you don't plan on carrying more than two kayaks, many kayak carrier kit solutions will work as a double rack. Should you plan on taking more than two kayaks, a stacker maybe your best option.


: Thule Hull Aero Rooftop Kayak Carrier


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Narrow Roof Kayak Rack Options

This stacker provides maximum boat capacity, limited only by the width of your vehicle's roof, as well as the size of your crossbars. Those who own two or more kayaks, and possess a car with a narrow roof, are advised to look into a pair of j-cradle sets.

Hitch Or Side Mount Kayak Carrying

A sound kayak carrier rail system will make all the difference, as you may be able to carry two kayaks more easily. A trailer, hitch mount, or side mount will ensure appropriate space for up to five kayaks.
There are also various boat trailers, providing space for over eight kayaks in a single trailer. This option works well for many participants, as well as institutional programs.

The number of kayaks you plan on bringing is something to consider when shopping for a roof rack. Although many kayak roof racks can accommodate two watercraft, many will tote up to four.
Regardless of the kayak roof rack design you've chosen, it's best to ensure it is manufactured specifically to support the number of kayaks desired.