Best Truck Kayak Rack – 5 Reason To Buy This!

Last Updated: August 20th, 2021 | By: Gina

canoe rack for pickup truck

Being one of the most adventurous and tactile activities, kayaking makes you enjoy every bit of your life. How serene and thrilling a sport it is!! Don’t you feel the same?

Many of the kayaking enthusiasts just get an adrenaline rush especially thinking about riding those monster waves, yet enjoying the calm waters and more fun when outdoors.

If you are not living by the sea, lake or river side and want more to be there in fine weather then transporting your watercraft safely to the destination is extremely potential.

Kayak racks for your trucks do all the work and make you rest with confidence and this is what most of the people who use this convey. The kayak racks are far more comfortable and convenient than the trailers. Be it convenience, maintenance, or cost the kayak racks are just perfect.

From roof-mounted racks, lumber style racks, and bed extenders, we have all that is striking your mind right now. We have thoroughly analysed durability, reliability, stability, and other specifications about every rack type.

So, without much delay let us PADDLE ON!

3 Top Kayak Rack For Truck - A Quick Look Up

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Types of Kayak Racks

Roof Mounted Racks

These racks the simplest ones to install and easy to remove when you don’t require them. This is an ideal option for the casual kayakers those who plan few visits every month.

This type of rack require existing cross-bars or factory racks. Your vehicle needs to have this type of rack for mounting otherwise you will have to go for an additional investment.

kayak racks for truck beds

Lumber Style Racks

If you consider permanency then this is probably the right rack solution. The lumber style rack is designed to mount to the truck bedsides and offer a raised structure. This in turn supports canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and more.

Once it’s in place then it doesn’t require much tightening or adjustments and carrying your kayak frequently remains hassle-free. On these racks, your kayaks can also be kept up when you strap them slightly down.

Not only kayaks you can also use these to transport long PVC piping, ladders, lumber, and others.

kayak mount for truck

Bed Extenders

If you want to minimize any sort of injury risk then the bed extenders make the perfect option. The kayak will easily slide into the truck bed and will not require any sort of lift for taking it to a secure position life the roof-mounted ones.

They are designed to fit a standard (two-inch receiver hitch) and are quite easy-to-install. The lodging is easy, so is the removal. You can remove and keep them with ease whenever you are not in need of them.

tacoma kayak rack

1. IKURAM Kayak-Surf-Ski Roof Carrier Rack

truck kayak rack

The IKURAM Kayak is designed to offer optimum protection for kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

Made with the best-in-class top guard padding the rubber saddles sit thick and all-weather. These are universal and come with an easy mounting design.

This J-Cradle accommodates kayaks up to 42″ wide and 72 kg/158 lbs, fits to round, square and the most oval shaped factory installed cross rails with convenience.

The good thing about them is they are lightweight, durable, remain water-proof and anti-corrosion for a longer duration. This saves your money and the world too as you can use them every year.

The carrier rack comes with a quick raise and fold design and makes you carry up to two kayaks or stand-up paddle boards due to the multiple position design. Your roof space is maximized as the oversized padding and acrylic fabric sleeves that transform the J-cradle to different configurations.


  • Offers maximum Kayak protection
  • Universal and easy mounting design
  • Made with high-quality anodized aluminum
  • Quick raise and fold design
  • Versatile for sure


  • Does not come with tie-downs

2. Codinter Kayak Roof Rack

canoe rack for truck

These J-sized hook cradles are made of 25mm OD aluminum tube, are powerful, durable, and have a capacity of 330 lbs. The Counter Kayak Roof Rack comes with a soft foam padding on the frame that keeps your kayaks protected.

All the bolts and locknuts are made from stainless-steel and stay rust-proof. You can safely attach the cross bar as you get two lengths of carriage bolts with each pair of roof racks where the short is 60mm and long is 70mm.

All the vehicles like your car, SUV, trucks are suitable to be mounted with these racks.

Prior to traveling attach these racks firmly and follow the manual guidelines. The kayak carrier fits various shapes of max 4-1/3 inch (11cm) width crossbars. Related read: best vertical kayak racks


  • Heavy-duty loading
  • Foldable and portable
  • Easy assembly
  • Suitable to be mounted on different applications
  • Made with finest quality anodized aluminum


  • Liked by customers, ensure that you fix it properly

3. TMS 800 LB Adjustable Fit 2 Bars Utility Ladder

kayak rack for pickup trucks

This is a set of two heavy-duty steel adjustable truck ladder rack. Designed uniquely to drag huge and long items like the kayaks, lumber, ladders, pool equipment, pipes, and more.

To cater to a variety of truck bed sizes, the width is easily adjustable from 5ft. to 7ft. It is much easier to attach longer items to a rack securely and ensure safety of your property likewise.

The rack is absolutely easy-to-assemble as you get 8 bolts and screws. Heavy-duty steel base will require drilling of two holes and use of two bolts to fix the rack.


  • Multi-functional rack
  • Designed to haul longer and bigger items
  • Sturdy frame offers a weight capacity of 800 lbs
  • Easy-to-install
  • Adjustable width for most pick-up trucks


  • Product packaging could be better

4. Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack

kayak carriers for pickup trucks

This racks makes transport of large objects (of different lengths and widths) quite easy and quick. Light weight and corrosion-resistant aluminum is used to create this versatile truck rack.

With a weight capacity of 800-pounds the universal utility rack adjusts to fit most pickup trucks up to 66-1/2” wide. The Apex ATR-RACK comprises of four ladder stops which are designed to slide along the top-bars to fit any cargo of any width. These keep the cargo and truck safe and offer ample of tie-down points for any cargo.

Unlike others this does not require any drilling and is just a clamp-on installation. The fully-adjustable cross bars are made to work well in any full-size, mid, and compact truck.


  • Quick and easy to install
  • Sliding and fully adjustable system
  • Manufactured from lightweight aluminum
  • Perfect fit for any full, mid-size, or compact truck
  • Adjustable width for most pick-up trucks


  • Doesn’t fit on a Toyota truck

5. AMP Research 74813-01A Black BedXTender

kayak carrier for truck

The Brand AMP focusses at promoting innovative creation and this renowned name is the one that you can trust. This classic U-shaped design offers optimum cargo capacity.

This features a torque-resistant clam-shell design with composite uprights and aluminum alloy tubes (rounded-rectangle 6063 T6). This is further enhanced with a durable powder coat finish.

You can flip-it-out with the tailgate open to gain up to 2-feet of enclosed cargo area or flip-it-in and close the tailgate to keep tools and small-sized cargo contained in the truck bed.

This offers you with great ease to assemble and install and manufactured in the United States with a limited warranty of 3-years.


  • Unique U-shaped design for carrying more
  • Torque-resistant clam-shell design
  • Easy to install
  • Created proudly in the United States
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty


  • The installation instructions in the manual could be better
  • Inappropriate for Tundras

6. Mockins Heavy-Duty Steel Bed Extender

truck bed kayak rack

You can easily extend your truck bed to haul more, and have longer payloads such as kayaks, pipes etc. The bed extender can hold up to 750 lbs and has an adjustable width 28.8” – 47.7”, & an adjustable height of 20.7” – 28.6″.

The bed extender is created with heavy-duty steel and is coated with anti-corrosion qualities. This is super easy to install as includes 4-quick release clevis pins for a quick assembly and disassembly.

At night and for long journeys the reflective read tape on the back and sides ensures smooth and safe travel. One more thing that’s liked by the customers is the lifetime warranty or a full refund for any dissatisfaction.


  • Universal fit bed extender for any truck
  • Constructed form heavy-duty steel
  • Includes reflective red tape on back
  • Anti-rust coating
  • Lifetime warranty


  • This is less durable than the others in the list

Truck Kayak Rack Takeaways – Buying Guide

We would like to strongly recommend some important aspects that should not be ignored before selecting a best kayak rack for your truck:

We have hit the most potent factors in the buyer’s guide.

  • Are you strong enough? Can you lift the rack with ease or you need an adjustable one.

  • To drill or not to drill.

  • You want a roof mounted, lumber style rack, or a bed extender. (Refer the details above in the article)

  • Is it a trailer hitch? Then a bed extender would be fine.

  • What is the amount of time and space required?

  • How to carry heavy kayaks or wood logs? Lumber style rack is recommended.

All these questions will be answered by your personal preference and the related specs by the brand manufacturer that will help you in taking the right decision. You should check all the details properly.

It will entirely depend on you if you want a more permanent rack or a temporary one.

Weight Capacity

vartical kayak capacity

Since the entire responsibility will be of the rack to carry your kayaks or any other essentials to keep them safe while on board. Hence, the weight capacity needs to be accessed prior and these specifications will be easily provided to you by the manufacturer.

One simple rule you can follow here is that the rack should be able to manage a load of at least 100 pounds or more than the combined kayak weight.


If you are slightly cash strapped then go for a mid-priced option but try not to compromise with the product quality.

Got for a kayak rack that’s well made, strong, and safe. All the products we have mentioned above possess great quality and reliability and using one of these will give you immense confidence and peace of mind.


This is again important as your vehicle aerodynamics along with fuel efficiency the kayak should show compatibility with the kayaks you plan to carry.

As long distances may be on your cards then the kayak rack you select should be such that is created to improve airflow and thereby minimise the impact on the car/truck fuel efficiency. Henceforth, this becomes more than important.

kayak Additional Accessories


This point rules every time for everything I guess. The safety of the equipment you carry is extremely important and you will always feel confident while transporting them wherever you go.

While you are on road, some extra elements provided added safety like the vertical supports, tie-downs, which will keep your kayak extra-safe on your truck.

Last but not the Least

We have covered almost everything about what a kayak rack for truck should possess. Henceforth, you need to look into the basics as well as the details of the rack you buy so that it caters perfectly to your needs and the needs of your truck simultaneously.

Do not compromise with safety, durability, and the built of the rack as this ha to carry your precious kayak or essentials a long way indeed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Are crossbars required for a kayak rack?

Ans: Yes, you would need cross bars for carrying and transporting your kayak in a decent way. In case your car/truck comes with factory-fitted crossbars then you can easily switch-over to buy a gear mount that is created for:

– Kayaks

– Saddles

– J-cradles

– Stackers

Q 2. Which type of kayak rack should I choose?

Ans: As explained in the write-up above you can choose from three types of kayak racks. Your preference along with the truck compatibility will dictate your decision of buying a rack.

Roof-mounted ones are a good option to transport kayaks. If you don’t like a roof rack then you can opt for a lumber style one for large kayaks and logs also. For trailer hitch a bed extender is fine.

Q 3. Can two kayaks be carried without a roof rack?

Ans: On top of a truck the kayaks can easily be fitted side-by-side and in case it doesn’t then you can out noodles between the kayaks. Later on, you can stack and strap them together.

Bow and stern straps can be added along with lateral 1-2 straps to the vehicle frame. There, you are ready to go….Even if issues then you have huge after-market rack systems that are available in the market.

Q 4. Are bow and stern tie-downs needed?

Ans: The saddles usually come with straps that support a secure fit to keep your kayak tied to the rack properly. The bow and stern-ties hold equal importance like the other ties that keep secure the kayak to the rack.

Q 5. How can I load and unload the kayak by myself?

Ans:A few easy steps for you:

A bath mat can be placed at the back of the vehicle so that the kayak doesn’t scratch your truck/car. (The rubber is designed not to slide of the roof).

A V-shaped kayak foam block should be placed on the roof rack-rails. (Each of them)

The wheeled kayak cart should be attached at the back of kayak.

The kayak front should be lifted up on roof.

Go to the back and let the kayak rest in the V by lifting it.

The wheels should be left attached so that while you unload there are no issues.