Kayaking is all fun and games…until you have to bring them yourselves to the kayaking location and you don’t have anything to accommodate and travel your big boy with.
Whenever you’re set for an adventure with your kayak, one of the things you’ll need is a kayak rack for your truck.
Some truck kayak racks are also built to be aerodynamically efficient to make the travel for your kayak smoother and lighter.
These are just a few of their benefits.
Today we’ll review some of the reliable and best kayak rack for truck you need to take home and we’ll also be covering:
- Different kayak truck racks for different budgets;
- Specifications, pros, and cons;
- How it worked for us;
- Lots more!
You can also use these ergonomic racks for many other purposes!
Ready to find the perfect kayak rack for you?
Let’s get into it.
Quick Overview Of Kayak Racks For Truck
1. Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum Truck Rack – Best Overall
- Can hold up to two kayaks
- Bed rail type
- Adjustable truck rack
The Xsporter has an adjustable height feature that comes pretty handy when the truck beds of your vehicle are fully loaded.
All you need is to adjust the height of your rack bars according to your preference. Once done, you can quickly load all other items and maximize the space of your truck beds.
We also love the fact that all you need is a dial to adjust your kayak rack’s height. And, you can even change each of the four bars separately!
Aerodynamic Truck Rack
Once we’ve had the Xsporter installed on our truck, we’re pretty much off for an adventure. And while we’re on the road, we didn’t notice any struggles!
Thanks to its Air Trip Technology, the rack is pretty much aerodynamic. We didn’t experience any air resistance while on the road, which translates to fuel efficiency.
Secure Locking System
Safety is always an important feature we’re looking for in kayak racks. After all, we don’t want to cause damage to our kayak, truck, and other trucks.
This is why we’re more than happy to share that the Xsporter sports a secure locking system. It keeps your kayak in place, even as you drive fast along an empty highway.
There are four separate lock cylinders for you to keep the posts secured and lock on the truck bed.
When it comes to durability, consider this kayak rack indestructible. With its reinforced Aluminum material, the rack can hold up to 450 pounds at a time! Not bad at all!
It’s also worth mentioning that the Aluminum material can withstand daily wear and tear. Thus, you’re sure that this kayak rack will last you for a long time. It’s a worthy investment for your money!
Finally, we’re more than impressed that this heavy-duty kayak rack comes with a lifetime performance warranty. You read that, right!
And one thing we learned from this is that the Xsporter isn’t one to mess with. It’s that durable!
And in case you find a flaw in the performance of this kayak rack, contacting the manufacturer wouldn’t be a problem.
One of the selling points of this kayak rack is its hassle-free and reliable support system. You’ve got nothing to worry about anymore!
Is the Thule Xsporter Pro for You?
Once you’ve loaded your truck bed with all sorts of things, where else can you put your kayak? With the Thule Xsporter, you have your answer.
You can easily install this heavy-duty rack behind your truck and load all your items! Put your kayak on the rack, and leave the truck bed for all other things. It’s a win-win.
To whom do we recommend this guy?
Literally for every kayaker out there. This is easy to install and easy to use, so why not?
- Adjustable to up to 3 different height settings
- Extend truck storage easily
- Can hold heavyweights
- Relatively pricey
- AirTrip Technology is integrated into the bar to redirect airflow for superior aerodynamics
- Features WindDiffuser Technology, a raised textured strip that disturbs airflow for an ultra quiet ride
- SecureLock locks the rack to the truck with four One-Key lock cylinders (included)
- Includes Thule Load Stops
2. Malone J-Loader Kayak Roof Rack – Best Value for Money
- Universal rack
- Can carry one kayak
- Easy to install
Reliable and Quality Brand
For many years, Malone has established itself to be a well-known and reliable brand. They always offer quality products, and the J-Loader is no exception.
Right out of the box…
…you can already notice that the rack comes with extra padding that keeps your kayak protected. You don’t have to worry about scratching or damaging its hull whenever you place it on the rack.
Plus, you’ve got all the hardware and instructions necessary for the set-up. It’s that easy and straightforward. Perfect for beginners.
Easy to Install Kayak Rack for Trucks
Believe it or not, you can install the J-Loader without any fancy tools. It’ll only take you a few minutes to get the whole thing set up!
This is why the J-Loader is one of the best kayak racks for trucks that new kayakers should get their hands on.
After all, who wants to deal with the hassle of installing roof racks?
The package comes with a ratchet strap for you to secure your kayak and other boards. There’s also a 12 feet long loading strap that can protect both your truck and the kayak.
From the moment you take it out of the box and up to the time you use it, you’ve got nothing to worry about!
If you’re not using this rack for your truck, you don’t have to disassemble it! Instead, you can easily fold it down whenever you’re not loading your kayak.
You won’t have to keep assembling and disassembling this roof truck all the time! You can keep it in place without worrying about any obstacles.
Lightweight and Durable
We noticed how incredibly lightweight the J-Loader is, compared to other roof racks.
You might even consider it as the lightest on the market, weighing only 12 pounds.
But just because it’s light doesn’t mean it’s not durable. It’s the complete opposite of the J-Loader rack.
This lightweight kayak rack for trucks is highly durable and can support different kayak styles and sizes. Impressive!
That being said…
…we feel pretty secure using the J-Loader for our different kayaks. We have peace of mind knowing that it can support the weight of our kayaks with no problem.
The Aluminum construction also adds to the durability of this truck rack. It’s corrosion-proof and resists rusting so we’re confident that we’ll be able to use this for years ahead.
Regardless of the weather condition that it’s exposed to, the J-Loader is a kayak rack that’ll last a long time.
Built-In Boarding Ramp
One of the winning features of this rack for your truck is its built-in boarding ramp. I mean, where else can you find a feature like this?
The J-Loader comes with an angled boarding ramp for you to load and unload your kayak quickly.
This feature sounds pretty simple, right?
But you’d be surprised…
…with how extremely helpful it is, especially when it comes to lugging very heavy kayaks after a long and tiring day.
You won’t have to struggle to get your kayaks on and off your car anymore. It’s a lifesaver!
Is the Malone J-Loader for You?
Without a doubt, the J-Racks sport some of the best features you’d want kayak racks for trucks to have.
The design is ideal for most kayaks, and it fits perfectly on any truck. But we love the fact that you can use the J-racks for other things!
Use it for your paddleboards, snowboards, and more. No problem!
This roof rack also comes fully equipped with a bow and stern tie-down to keep your kayak secure in place.
- Heavy-duty roof rack
- Comes with boarding ramps
- Includes a lifetime limited warranty
- The kayak is stored on its side instead of being flat
- Universal mounting system - fits square, round and factory bars
- Boarding ramp simplifies kayak loading and unloading
- Over-sized padding to protect the kayaks finish
- 12 ft. cam buckle straps and bow and stern lines
3. MaxxHaul 70231 Hitch Mount Truck Bed Extender – Best Budget Pick
- Adjusts both horizontally and vertically
- Adjustable roof and truck beds extender
- Highly affordable
Ideal for 2-Inch Receivers
If you’re looking for a kayak rack that’s sure to fit your vehicle, look no further because the MaxxHaul is all you need.
Safe to say…
…that this hitch mount bed extender is perfect for any vehicle with two-inch receivers. You can use it on your truck and all other sorts of vehicles! Convenient right?
You won’t have to worry about getting this kayak rack to fit your vehicle, thanks to its standard size.
Durable and Long-Lasting
The MaxxHaul is one of the most affordable kayak racks you’ll find today. But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s not durable.
It’s quite the opposite with MaxxHaul because this truck bed extender is rust-resistant and can withstand even the harshest weather conditions.
Whether you’re parked outside the garage or experiencing hot and cold weather conditions, you’re guaranteed that the MaxxHaul stays in tip-top shape.
…just because you’re looking for an affordable option, doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have to compromise its quality.
You’ll be surprised to know that there are still some affordable kayak racks out there that sacrifice their quality and security. Over time, these poor-quality roof racks tend to degrade and won’t be good for anything anymore.
But brands like MaxxHaul are a saving grace for those who’re limited by their budget.
Adjustable Length and Width and Foldable Side Arms
If you’re looking for a versatile kayak rack, MaxxHaul won’t disappoint. Thanks to its adjustable length and width, you can use the rack for different purposes.
You aren’t limited to just stowing your kayak!
Store your other outdoor equipment, gear, and more! The possibilities are endless.
And even if you don’t plan to go kayaking, you can still use this kayak rack for other uses. Pretty versatile if you ask me.
The rack also sports foldable side arms to hold your kayak. But whenever you’re not using it, you can easily fold it down. You don’t have to worry about uninstalling the whole kayak rack just to get it out of the way.
We especially enjoyed the fact that we’re able to use the side arms even without the kayak. We’re able to double the side arms as an additional work area for us!
The MaxxHaul comes with safety features of its own. Though we have to say that these features are standard and plain, it nevertheless serves an essential purpose.
On the front and sides of the rack, you’ll be able to sport reflective tapes. So whenever you’re driving late at night, cars are warned of your presence.
They can steer clear of your truck and avoid hitting your kayak. No doubt this feature is pretty simple. But you might be surprised by the number of kayak racks that don’t have this feature.
The reflective tape is just as important as any other safety features out there.
Easy to Assemble and Disassemble
One of the hassles of owning a kayak side or roof rack is the installation process.
Sometimes it takes a very long and complicated process, which no kayakers want to deal with, and that’s why we’re happy with how easy it was for us to install this heavy-duty truck rack.
There are four quick-release pins on the rack, so you can quickly assemble and disassemble this truck rack. Pretty convenient for a lot of kayakers!
If you’re new to kayaking, we’re sure you wouldn’t have a hard time finding your way around the installation process.
Is the MaxxHaul Bed Extender Hitch Mount for You?
Whether you load a kayak, ladder, or board, the MaxxHaul Hitch Mount is your best choice. It comes at a friendly price point, so it’s a purchase you’ll never regret.
Stow your kayak with ease and move on to your adventure. Rest assured, whatever you load in this kayak rack will remain safe and secure.
And once you’re done with the day, simply use the quick-release pins to unload your things. Simple!
- Ideal for longer loads
- Compatible for 2-inch hitch receivers
- Foldable side arms
- Installation tends to be confusing
- Extends your truck bed for carrying longer payloads, designed to fit 2-Inch hitch receivers
- Adjustable length and width gives versatility for use in many different applications
- Features 4 quick release clevis pins for quick assembly and disassembly
- Uses grade 8 hardware
- Safely transports kayaks
- Fits up to 4 kayaks
Securely Load Your Kayak
The Malone Stax Pro2 belongs to the list of amazing kayak racks for trucks because of its excellent security system.
You can quickly secure your kayaks on your roof rack, whether it be for a truck or an SUV! Thanks to its high impact ABS plastic clamps, you can secure and keep them locked on your crossbars.
You won’t have to worry about your kayaks falling over once you’re on the open road! Rest assured, you can reach your destination safely and securely.
Unfortunately, there are some kayak racks for trucks that tend to rust over time. And sometimes it’s unavoidable.
This is especially true if you load your kayak on your roof straight out of saltwater.
But with the Malone Stax Pro2, this will be the least of your problems. The rack is made of non-rust composite material, so you’re guaranteed that this rack remains rust-free.
Fits up to 4 Kayaks
We’re pretty impressed with how the Stax Pro2 can hold up to 4 kayaks easily! So if you’re a family or group of friends, this rack is always the right choice.
It’s easy to install and disassemble, get the job done, and more! The feet-long straps make sure all four kayaks stay safe and secure!
It’s an easy way to bring all your kayaks at the same time when you need them to!
Is the Malone Stax Pro 2 for You?
The Stax Pro2 is one of the kayak racks for trucks you’d want to own. It’s collapsible and uses a simple tie-down system.
You can fit up to two kayaks with no problem, perfect for both beginners and professional kayakers.
…once you’re out on the open highway, the kayaks stay secure on your car’s roof. Safety is always guaranteed.
And once you’re done with the day, you don’t have to disassemble the whole rack. All you’ll need to do is fold it down, and you’re done!
- Ideal for lSimple and beautiful design
- Easy to install
- Collapsible rooftop rack
- Straps require some time to set-up
- Strong, stable two boat auto kayak carrier that folds out of the way when not in use
- Holds two kayaks stacked side by side
- Universal fit JAWZ mounting blocks - works on factory round, square, and most oval cross rails
- Octagon shaped, fold down aluminum posts
Kayak Rack For Pickup Trucks Or Truck Buying Guide
We made sure to list only the best kayak racks in the market. But we’re sure you’ve got questions about what makes them the best.
There are a lot of considerations to make when choosing the best rack. Most often than not, these factors are different depending on the user’s needs.
Regardless of your decision…
…we have a few important considerations you might want to know. It’ll make your life a lot easier when it’s time to make a decision.
It’s no secret that kayaks are heavy. Even the lightest kind of kayak requires some strength and effort on your part just to stow them on your truck.
Now imagine how much weight your kayak will add to your vehicle once you’ve mounted it.
If you haven’t driven a truck with a kayak mounted on it, then you’ll be surprised with the weight of it all.
And once you’re out on the highway, you might even feel some struggles with driving your truck. You’ll need to hit your gas more often and consume a little more gas than you’d normally.
…you can avoid that struggle by choosing an aerodynamic kayak rack.
It helps improve airflow passage as you drive along the highway so that you won’t feel any resistance. Most importantly, you can save a ton of gas in the long run.
Truck Kayak Rack Type
If you don’t know it yet, there are different kayak rack types. There’s the standard roof-mounted racks, bed extenders, and lumber-style racks.
Let’s get to know each of them and check which type is meant for you.
A lot of kayakers prefer roof-mounted racks because of their convenience. Installation is pretty simple, and removing is just the same.
This is why we aren’t at all surprised that kayakers prefer this option. You don’t have to worry about all sorts of hassle!
Because of how easy the installation process takes, we recommend roof-mounted racks to first-timers or casual kayakers.
If you only take your kayak out a few times a month, then roof-mounted racks are an economical choice.
Do note that your car or truck needs to have crossbars or factory racks on it.
Some vehicles already have this installed. But if your truck doesn’t come with this yet, then you’ll need to invest in a crossbar or factory rack.
If you want to experience the least injuries possible when loading or stowing your kayak, consider getting bed extenders.
We love how easy and convenient it is to use, and you can slide your kayak on the bed of your truck with no problems! Keep it secure on your track without the hassle of lifting your kayak above your head!
Bed extenders are ideal for kayakers who don’t have that much upper-body strength.
Installing a kayak rack bed extender is very simple, which is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of first-time kayakers love it.
Removing these truck bed extenders is also very easy, and storing them is just as simple. Keep it behind your backseat or in your garage whenever you’re not using them. It’s that simple.
If you’re looking for a permanent fix, then lumber-style racks are the solution. You won’t have to install and remove the rack every single time.
So if you frequently take your kayak out, then the lumber-style truck rack comes pretty handy. You don’t need to adjust it nor tighten it once you’ve already installed it.
Installing this truck rack is somehow different from the previous types we’ve mentioned. Because with this type of rack, you need to mount it on the side of your truck bed.
We love the fact that lumber-style racks are pretty heavy-duty. You can use it to support your kayak, paddleboards, canoes, and more!
That being said…
…this truck rack type is one of the most versatile you can find out there. You can use it to transport other large and bulky items!
Safety is always our number one priority, regardless of the product in front of us. Whenever you’re faced with many kayak racks before you, check which of them can keep your kayak safe.
Regardless of where we’re going, we want to make sure that our kayaks won’t fall once we’ve hit the road.
Just imagine the horror when your kayak falls from your truck and hits other vehicles! Sounds like a disaster.
…not a lot of kayak racks come with safety elements and features. You won’t be able to securely tie down your kayak, and you’re exposed to many risks.
For us, it’s always worth paying a little more for those extra safety features.
Weight is always an important consideration when you’re looking for kayak racks. As much as possible, you want to make sure that your kayak rack can support your kayak!
If it isn’t able to support your kayak, then you’ll risk damaging your truck and your tires.
As a tip…
…we always recommend weighing your kayak before officially buying a truck rack. And once you know the weight, you can finally make an informed choice.
Don’t worry because kayak racks come in different sizes that can accommodate even the heaviest kayak weight, so there’s always something for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re not going to lie. We love all the kayak racks we’ve listed in this review. They’ve lived up to all their hype and almost effortlessly got the job done.
Regardless of which kayak rack you choose, we can guarantee that your life will be a lot easier on your next adventure.
…there are two standout products in this list worth mentioning another time: the Thule Xsporter Pro and the Malone J-Loader.
Runner Up: Malone J-Loader
Malone J-Loader is an excellent addition to the other J-Racks of this brand. It lives up to the brand’s greatness, which is why we just can’t leave this out.
It’s an all-in-one roof rack system that allows you to store your kayak vertically. Nevertheless, your kayak stays secure all the time because it also comes with great safety functions.
Winner: Thule Xsporter Pro
The Xsporter Pro can transform your truck in an instant. What was once a small truck bed is now a ‘two-storey’ truck space for all your things.
Load your truck bed with all your outdoor gear, and stow your kayak on the rack. It’s that simple!
Because of its convenience and versatility, we name the Xsporter as one of the best kayak racks today.
Owning a kayak brings a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy riding on open waters. You can escape from the busy city life and take a breather outdoors instantly at any time of the day.
Having a kayak rack is just one of the ways that can make your life a lot easier in the long run.
We hope you enjoyed our review of some of the best kayak racks for your truck. Don’t miss out on them and a chance to extend your truck storage!
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family! Feel free to leave a comment below because we’d love to hear from you.
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