Get Started with Kayak Roof Racks

To select the Kayak Rack that best fits your needs, please follow the steps listed below.  

1.  Choose The Correct Kayak Rack That Fits Your Specific Crossbars

Kayak Racks require crossbars, if you don't have them please visit our Roof Rack Systems page.  Whether you have Round, Square of factory roof rack crossbars, there is a Kayak Rack for you.  Some Racks only fit round, some only Square, some are universal and fit any crossbar.  See table below

2.  Decide How Many Kayaks You Need To Transport

Kayak Rack Style affects Kayak capacity.  Kayak Racks can carry 1, 2, 3, even up to 4 Kayaks per vehicle.  In every product description we tell you the capacity of the rack and how many racks per vehicle. See Table Below





Cradles/Saddles - 1 Kayak"J" Style - 1 KayakFoam Cradles - 1 KayakUpright/Stacker - 2 - 4 Kayaks

Within these styles there are Lift/Load Assist Kayak Racks.  They are usually within the Cradle/Saddle Style or "J" Style Rack.  These involve an added design feature, like rollers or felt, that offers assistance in getting your Kayak on top of your car. 


Lift/Load Assist

You can also double-up the Racks on your vehicle.  So if you have (2) racks that hold 2 kayaks each, your kayak capacity is 4.  In our descriptions we tell you how many carriers can fit on a vehicle.  The number of racks allowed on your vehicle is affected by your crossbar spread.  See step 3

3.  Check The Size And Weight Limitations Of Your Kayak Rack, Car, And Crossbars

Some Kayak Racks have size and weight limitations, some have no limitations at all.  Measure and weigh your kayak to see if its size meets or is under the limitations of the rack.  These limitations are listed within the product descriptions.  

It's also good to know your crossbar spread, this will tell you how many kayaks you can fit on your vehicle.  The total width of the Kayaks you need to carry cannot exceed the width of your crossbar spread.

Your car and crossbars can only handle so much weight as well.  It is very important to know how much weight your car and crossbars are capable of supporting.  Add the weights of your racks, accessories and crossbars, and compare to your cars maximum weight capacity.  Add the weights of the rack and accessories and compare to your crossbars maximum weight capacity.  
See table below

4.  Choose Your Accessories

Bow/Stern Tie Downs, Kayak Straps, Locks, and Load Assist Adapters are accessories for Kayak Racks.  Many of the Kayak Racks come with some of these, like Bow/Stern Tie Downs, Kayak Straps and Locks.  Bow/Stern Tie Downs and Kayak Straps are the most important accessories, they secure your Kayak to the Rack and your car.  See table below


Kayak Straps - secure the Kayak to the Rack and hold the Kayaks weight in place

Bow/Stern Tie Downs - connect the Bow to the front hood of your car and the Stern to the rear bumper or hitch.  This prevents the Kayak from lifting during high speeds

Locks - secure your Kayak to the Rack, giving you some peace of mind

Load Assist Adapters - connect to your crossbars and support some of the weight of the kayak while you're loading.  This helps prevent injury to you, your car and the kayak

*These accessories are listed at the bottom of the Product Pages, listed as "Customers Also Bought."

The Chart below will help guide you to the perfect Kayak Rack

Kayak Carrier Kayak StyleCrossbars Kayak Capacity Carriers per Vehicle Size Limitations Included Accessories Added Features
Inno Two Kayak Carrier
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 2 2 None Straps
Inno Kayak/Canoe Locker
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory

1 2 None Straps Locks
Rhino Rack Side Loading Kayak Rack
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory1 1 None Straps
Rhino Rack Rear Loading Kayak Rack
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory
1 1 None Straps
Rhino Rack Kayak/Canoe Carrier
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 1 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Rhino Rack Kayak Carrier RX
"J" Round, Square 1 2 None Straps Folds Down
Swagman "J" Kayak Rack
"J" Round, Square, Factory
1 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Thule Hydro-Glide
Cradle/Saddle
*Load Assist
Round, Square, Factory 1/2 2 None 1 Strap, 1 Bow/Stern Tie Downs Felt Lined
Thule Set-to-Go
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 1/2 4 Up to 34"W and 75lbs 1 Strap
Thule Top Deck
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 1 2 Up to 34"W and 75lbs Straps
Thule Stacker
Upright/Stacker Round, Square, Factory 2 2 Up to 34"W and 75lbs Straps
Thule Hull-a-Port
"J" Round, Square, Factory 1 2 Up to 34"W and 75lbs Straps
Thule Glide and Set
Cradle/Saddle
*Load Assist
Round, Square, Factory 1 2 Up to 34"W and 75lbs Straps Felt Lined
Thule Roll Model
Cradle/Saddle
*Load Assist
Square 1 2 None Straps Integrated Roller
Thule Slipstream
Cradle/Saddle
*Load Assist
Round, Square, Factory 1 2 Up to 36"W and 75lbs Straps Extending Roller
Thule Hullavator
Cradle/Saddle
*Lift Assist
Round, Square 1 2 Up to 34"W and 75lbs Straps Gas Assist Lift Struts
Yakima Universal Kayak Foam Blocks
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 1 1 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Yakima Mako Aero Saddles
Cradle/Saddle
Round, Square, Factory 1/2 4 None 1 Strap Locking Option
Yakima HullyRollers
Cradle/Saddle
*Load Assist
Round, Square 1/2 4 None 1 Strap, 1 Bow/Stern Tie Down Padded Rollers
Yakima Evenkeel
Cradle/Saddle Round, Square, Factory 1 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Yakima Kayak Stacker
Upright/Stacker Round, Square, Factory 2 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Yakiama Bigstack
Upright/Stacker Round, Square, Factory 2 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs Locking Option, Folds Down
Yakima HullRaiser Aero
"J" Round, Square 1 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs
Yakima Bowdown
"J" Round, Square, Factory 1 2 None Straps, Bow/Stern Tie Downs Locking Option, Folds Down, Bottle Opener


































We want you to find the right Kayak Rack, so please contact us if you have any questions, 1-800-301-GEAR. Get Started with Kayak Racks

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