America's #1 Rack Store
Price Guarantee


Top Kayak Rack Picks 2024: Secure Your Gear with Style and Ease

Transporting your kayak should be an adventure in itself, not a hassle.
With the right kayak rack, you can hit the water with peace of mind, knowing your gear is secure and ready for action.
In 2024, the market is brimming with innovative options designed to cater to every paddler's needs.
Whether you're a solo adventurer or part of a family of water enthusiasts, there's a kayak rack out there for you.
Let's dive into the top picks for 2024 and find the perfect rack to elevate your kayaking experience.

Understanding Kayak Racks: Types and Considerations

When considering purchasing a kayak rack, understanding the different types and key considerations is essential to making an informed decision.
Kayak racks come in various designs, each offering unique advantages and catering to different needs.
Let's explore the types of kayak racks and important factors to consider before making your selection.

Types of Kayak Racks


J-bars are a popular choice, especially for solo paddlers.
These racks offer a straightforward yet effective method of securing your kayak on the side of your vehicle.
The J-bar design allows the kayak to sit vertically, maximizing roof space and leaving room for additional gear.

Saddle Racks

Saddle racks cradle your kayak from below, providing ample support and minimizing the risk of damage during transport.
This design is particularly beneficial for longer journeys or rough terrain, as it distributes the weight of the kayak evenly and reduces pressure points.

Rooftop Mounted Racks

Rooftop-mounted racks offer versatility and space-saving benefits.
These racks can accommodate multiple kayaks and other gear, making them ideal for family outings or group trips.
With various mounting options available, rooftop racks can be customized to suit your specific needs and preferences.

Key Considerations

Load Capacity

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a kayak rack is its load capacity.
Ensure that the rack can support the weight of your kayak(s) as well as any additional gear you plan to transport.
Exceeding the load capacity can lead to damage to your vehicle or gear, so it's essential to choose a rack that can handle the weight safely.


Before purchasing a kayak rack, check its compatibility with your vehicle's roof rack system.
Not all racks are universal, and some may require specific mounting hardware or adapters.
Ensure that the rack will securely fit your vehicle to prevent any accidents or damage during transport.

Ease of Installation

Ease of installation is another crucial consideration when selecting a kayak rack.
Look for racks that are easy to install and adjust, minimizing setup time and hassle.
Some racks may require professional installation, while others can be easily installed at home with basic tools and instructions.

Additional Features

Consider any additional features or accessories that may enhance the functionality of the kayak rack.
Features like lift assist, locking mechanisms, and compatibility with various types of kayaks can make your kayaking experience more convenient and enjoyable.
Choose a rack with the features you need to transport your gear safely and securely.

The Top Kayak Racks of 2024

Malone Foldaway 5 kayak rack
Malone Foldaway 5 kayak rack
This carrier system is adept at handling various watercraft types, including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.
Installation of the FoldAway is straightforward, and it's conveniently manageable to leave it mounted on the vehicle during non-use periods.
This rack is not only budget-friendly but also durable, capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions to a significant extent.
However, a notable downside is the absence of a locking mechanism, which means there's a risk of the kayak being stolen during quick stops at stores.

Key Specifications and Features:

  • Weight Capacity: Each boat can be up to 75 lbs
  • Rack Weight: 14.5 lbs
  • Size When Folded: 19.5 inches in length, 8.5 inches in width, and 3.5 inches in height
  • Size When Unfolded: 19.5 inches in length, 8.5 inches in width, and 14 inches in height
  • Construction Material: Steel coated with a corrosion-resistant layer
  • Mount Location: Designed for roof-top mounting, it's compatible with most rack systems, including round, square, and oval bars.
  • Considerations: With a maximum load capacity of 75 lbs per boat, it's ideal for those carrying multiple smaller kayaks or a single heavier one. However, its stacking position can make loading some kayaks a bit challenging.
  • Price Point: Positioned as an affordable option without sacrificing quality.
Brand and Quality: Malone is synonymous with reliability and adaptability, making this rack a durable choice for various needs.
Thule Hullavator
Thule Hullavator
The Thule Hullavator Pro simplifies the process of loading a kayak onto an SUV, making it a task that doesn't require excessive physical effort.
This kayak rack features hydraulic arms that assist in lifting the boat as the rack is extended over the side of the vehicle.
The user only needs to lift the kayak a short distance onto the Hullavator in its loading position, after which sliding the kayak into place is easy.
While the Thule Hullavator Pro isn't the most budget-friendly option on the market, retailing at around $1000 at the time of this writing, it significantly eases the process of transporting kayaks, making water adventures more accessible for many.

Specifications and Features:

  • Weight of Rack: 17.5 kg (39.4 lbs)
  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 35 kg (77 lbs)
  • Rack Dimensions: Length 89.7 cm (35.31 inches), Width 15.2 cm (5.98 inches), Height 42.3 cm (16.65 inches)
  • Construction Materials: Aluminum and double-coated steel for durability and strength.
  • Mount Location: Roof-top, but it’s limited to specific Thule crossbars.
  • Considerations: Its maximum load is 77 lbs and can accommodate a width of up to 36 inches. Its premium features come with a higher weight, adding significant load to your vehicle's crossbars.
  • Price Point: On the higher end, but the investment is justified by its ergonomic design and ease of use.
  • Brand and Quality: Thule’s innovation and top-notch quality are evident, making it a go-to for those seeking a hassle-free loading experience.
Malone SS Combo
Malone SS Combo
The Malone SeaWing Kayak Carrier with Stinger Load Assist Combo, also known as the SS Combo, is a versatile kayak rack designed for transporting various sizes of kayaks, including large boats, small boats, and sit-on-top kayaks.
It offers convenient loading support from the rear of a vehicle.
In contrast to other load assist carriers such as the Thule Hullavator, which is heavier and more costly, the SS Combo stands out as a lightweight and budget-friendly option, simplifying the journey to your kayaking spot.
Featuring the innovative SeaWing carrier design coupled with Jawz mounting hardware, this rack accommodates kayaks up to 32 inches wide.
It evenly distributes the kayak's hull weight to prevent potential damage, like oil canning, during transit.
The load assist feature of the SS Combo is particularly helpful for easy loading from the rear of your vehicle.

Specifications and Details:

  • Rack Weight: 15.6 lbs
  • Maximum Carrying Capacity: 75 lbs
  • Overall Dimensions: Length 24 inches, Width 10.5 inches, Height 4 inches
  • Construction Material: Durable, corrosion-resistant polycarbon Click for additional information.
  • Mount Location: Rooftop, compatible with various crossbar shapes.
  • Considerations: Supports kayaks up to 32” wide and a maximum load of 75 lbs. While it’s a space-saver, it does take up considerable room on the roof.
  • Price Point: Affordable, offering value for money with its specialized design.
  • Brand and Quality: Malone’s innovative approach is apparent, ensuring secure and damage-free transport for your kayak.
Rhino Rack J Style Kayak Holder
Rhino Rack J Style Kayak Holder
The Rhino-Rack Folding J Style Kayak Rack and Paddle Carrier S512 is an innovative solution for kayak enthusiasts seeking convenience and efficiency.
Its unique folding design not only saves space but also allows for easy parking in low-clearance areas.
This carrier is specifically designed to transport kayaks on their side, ensuring a secure and aerodynamic profile.
Crafted with durability, this rack is constructed from powder-coated steel tubing, offering strength and resistance to the elements.
The carrier includes integrated paddle cradles, enabling the secure attachment of your paddle directly behind the kayak, an added convenience for enthusiasts.
Its universal mounting hardware makes this rack highly compatible with various crossbars, including aero, factory, square, and round bars.
This wide compatibility ensures that the rack can easily fit most vehicles.
The package has two J cradles, two load straps, two bow/stern tie-downs, and all necessary mounting hardware.

Specifications and Details:

  • Mount Location: Roof, adaptable to most crossbar types.
  • Kayak Capacity: 1, with an option to carry a second kayak using the S512X add-on.
  • Crossbar Compatibility: Fits aero bars, factory bars, square bars, and round bars.
  • Key Features: Universal mounting, folding design for space-saving and low-clearance areas, dual carrier option with additional purchase.
  • Construction Material: Powder-coated steel tubing for durability.
  • Included Accessories: Two J cradles, two load straps, two bow/stern tie-downs, and all mounting hardware.
Furthermore, the product comes with a 3-year warranty and offers fast shipping, ensuring customer satisfaction and trust in the quality of Rhino-Rack products.
Priced at $216.99, it represents a valuable investment for kayak transportation, combining functionality with durability.
Malone Sea-Wing V-Cradle Kayak Carrier
Malone Sea-Wing V-Cradle Kayak Carrier
Malone's SeaWing kayak rack distinguishes itself with its innovative V-saddle design, blending high-tech elements into its functionality.
The SeaWing saddle is not just a space saver; it enables you to transport two kayaks on your roof, which is ideal for group outings where everyone wants to join in the aquatic fun.
Featuring the versatile Jawz mounting system, this rack is compatible with various cross rails, including oval, round, and square types.
Equipped with buckle protectors and load straps, your equipment is assured safe and secure transportation.
For added security, the rack includes stern tie-downs and a safety bow.
Remarkably, the SeaWing rack can support gear up to seven times its own weight, making it a robust choice for a tool of its size.
Crafted from abrasion-resistant Nylon, it effectively extends your vehicle's roof capacity, providing ample space for all your additional gear.

Specifications & Features:

  • Constructed Material: Durable Nylon
  • Rack Type: Saddle
  • Load Capacity: Up to 70 pounds
  • Additional Components: Straps for secure attachment
  • Compatibility: Fits a variety of crossbars (note: crossbars are not included with the rack)
  • Style and Features: This V-saddle rack is unique, allowing for the transport of two kayaks at once. Its design is tailored for space-saving and secure transport.
  • Mount Location: Rooftop; compatible with oval, round, and square cross rails.
  • Considerations: It has a 70-pound capacity, which is more suited for smaller kayaks. The design, while space-efficient, may not be ideal for very large kayaks.
  • Price Point: Mid-range, offering a great blend of features and affordability.
Brand and Quality: Malone’s reputation for quality and innovation is well reflected in this model.
Yakima Showboat
Yakima Showboat
The Yakima Showboat Load Assist Roller, with its price of $249.00, proves that ease of use in kayak transport can be achieved without sacrificing functionality.
This ingenious system is tailored for those who need a straightforward solution to load kayaks or canoes onto their vehicle.
This adaptable carrier, compatible with most crossbars, is designed specifically to assist in loading from the rear of your vehicle.
The Showboat's slide-out roller system not only makes loading effortless but also safeguards your vehicle's hatch or trunk from damage.
Constructed with a focus on durability, the Showboat is crafted from high-quality materials, featuring a robust design that ensures the secure mounting of your kayak or canoe.
The roller, measuring 44.5" wide, extends 34" from the rear crossbar, facilitating the loading and unloading process without straining.
The system's versatility is enhanced by its compatibility with various crossbar types, including Yakima, Thule, and most factory bars.
It is, however, advised that canoe loading is not recommended with factory crossbars.
Each package includes the Showboat 66 slide-out roller and a pair of Yakima 66" side bars, along with all necessary mounting hardware.
These components work in tandem to ensure a safe and secure transport of your watercraft.
Specifications & Features:
  • Construction Material: High-quality, durable materials.
  • Rack Type: Load-assist roller.
  • Carrying Capacity: Designed for kayaks and canoes.
  • Included Accessories: Yakima 66" sidebars, slide-out roller, mounting hardware.
  • Compatibility: Compatible with Aero Bars, Factory Bars, Square Bars, and Round Bars.
  • Features: Slide-out design for ease of loading, a protective mechanism for a vehicle, and adjustable to various load widths.
  • Mount Location: Rooftop, with broad crossbar compatibility.
  • Considerations: Ideal for kayaks and canoes; canoe loading is not recommended with factory crossbars.
  • Price Point: Premium pricing reflects its advanced features and convenience.
  • Brand and Quality: Yakima is recognized for its reliable, user-friendly vehicle rack solutions, offering a lifetime warranty for added customer assurance.

7. Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Carrier

Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Carrier
Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Carrier
The Yakima JayLow Folding kayak rack could be considered the epitome of low maintenance in its category.
This rack offers the flexibility to transport your kayak either on its side, which allows space for an additional kayak with a combined weight capacity of 110 pounds, or in a J-cradle position for a single kayak weighing up to 80 pounds.
Its padded contact points ensure a secure grip and stability, particularly useful on uneven backcountry terrain.
The rack has all the necessary hardware and straps, making additional purchases unnecessary.
Installation is a breeze, typically taking no more than 10 minutes – it's as straightforward as it gets.
An added convenience is the ability to fold the cradles flat when the rack is not in use, allowing them to remain on the roof.
This feature saves the hassle of repeatedly removing and storing the rack.

Specifications & Features:

  • Rack Type: J-Cradle
  • Weight Capacity: Supports 80/110 pounds
  • Size: Dimensions of 20.2 x 10.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Accessories: Straps are included for secure attachment
  • Style and Features: A J-Cradle that can be folded flat when not in use, making it a low-maintenance option. It's versatile in carrying options and is able to transport kayaks on their side or in the J-cradle position.
  • Mount Location: Rooftop; compatible with various crossbars.
  • Considerations: It has a dual capacity of 80/110 pounds, accommodating either one or two kayaks depending on orientation.
  • Price Point: Reasonably priced for its versatile and low-maintenance design.
  • Brand and Quality: YAKIMA is known for creating user-friendly, durable racks that cater to a range of needs.
These kayak racks offer unique features and benefits, making them suitable for different preferences and requirements.
Whether you prioritize ease of loading, versatility, or budget, there's a rack that fits your needs perfectly.


In conclusion, the kayak rack market in 2024 offers a diverse range of options catering to various needs and preferences.
From the versatile Malone FoldAway 5 to the innovative Thule Hullavator Pro, each rack brings unique features like ease of loading, compatibility with different vehicle types, and additional functionalities.
The Malone SS Combo stands out for budget-conscious buyers, while the TMS J-Bar offers a great mix of affordability and functionality. Malone Sea Wing is an excellent choice for those seeking space efficiency, and the ECOTRIC J-Bar caters to those with heavier kayaks.
Yakima JayLow Folding Kayak Carrier is ideal for simplicity and low maintenance.
Ultimately, whether you are a solo adventurer or part of a family of water enthusiasts, there is a kayak rack in 2024 that will secure your gear with ease and style, enhancing your kayaking experience.

More rack action to check out!

Learn from the experts who have been doing this since before Al Gore invented the internet.