Kayak Racks - Travel Right
Roof Truck and Car Storage
Once you’ve got a kayak you’re going to need to get some kayak racks – to store and to transport your kayak. After all, your kayak is likely to be in storage more often than in use and unless you live right on the edge of a water way you’re going to have to get it to a put-in point somehow.
Before you ever buy a kayak you need to consider where you’re going to store it. There are a variety of kayak storage racks available – either for wall or rafter mounting or as free-standing units. These options are discussed in more detail on our page on kayak storage.
Transporting your kayak safely
Your other real need for kayak racks is for transport. Few of us are lucky enough to live on a glassy lake or even a stretch of white water and so lugging your kayak onto the roof of your car or truck is an unavoidable reality. And unfortunately most kayaks get damaged while they’re in transport rather than in use.
Buying the right rack and accessories can significantly prolong the life of your kayak. Yakima and Thule are the two biggest manufacturers of roof racks – both are reliable and similarly priced and come with a range of accessories to use with various pieces of equipment. This means that if you’re into a variety of sports you’ll only need one rack and a bunch of different accessories to attach all your equipment to your car roof.
Buying from a large manufacturer also means that if you change your vehicle you’ll be able to get a different set of feet to fit your new vehicle without having to change your rack. This is important as your rack has to attach securely to your car or truck. Kayaks and canoes offer considerable wind resistance and you don’t want that rack moving around when you’re speeding down the highway. Get advice on which type of mount you need for your particular vehicle.
Although at its simplest you really only need to two bars across the roof of your car or truck, there are a variety of ways to attach your kayak to the rack. A gunwale system uses padded brackets to attach to the gunwales of an upside down kayak or canoe. Vertical systems carry the kayaks vertically or at an angle, this reduces pressure on the hull and reduces wind resistance while driving. Roller systems have padded wheels attached to simple foam saddles, the kayak is then attached to the rack with straps.
Make sure all the contact points are padded and get good webbing straps with quick release buckles. Don’t ever use bungee cords or elasticized rope to secure your kayaks to the rack. For extra security it’s a good idea to tie your kayak to your car or truck as well as to the roof rack. Hearing a thump and watching your kayak fly off down the highway through your rear view mirror is not a pleasant sight.
Roof racks with accessories to fit your kayak cost between $69 and $150.