Best Vertical Kayak Racks – Updated 2023

Last Updated: January 6th, 2022 | By: Gina

canoe rack for pickup truck

If you are on a hunt for a kayak rack known for its space efficiency, then vertical kayak rack is the best fit for you. Also known as stack rack, it is a common type of kayak rack that allows you to fit a maximum of 4 kayaks at one time.

It differentiates from other types of racks in a manner that they are placed on the side of the vehicle. It comes in a plethora of models with a high loading capacity. Each model is ranged between $150 and $200. However, some cheaper models are also available which might lack premium features.

When deciding a specific vertical kayak rack model, it is a toss between different models since they are so similar and functions almost the same. Have a closer at top vertical kayak racks along with their features, pros, and cons. Also included is a comprehensive buying guide and reviews of some popular vertical kayak rack models to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Top 3 Vertical Kayak Racks - A Quick Look Up

Vertical Kayak Racks - Detailed Reviewed Below

1. Thule Stacker

This highly efficient vertical kayak rack can carry 4 kayaks at one time. It works really well if the kayaks are lightweight. With the quick on/off hardware, installation and removal can be carried out in a prompt manner.

It is worth the price of $170. The users said that it is a great kayak rack because of its stability and high-quality design. It is very secure and kayaks didn’t move around on the rack even when the vehicle is moving on rough terrain. It can even carry other watercraft like paddleboards.



  • Its foldable trait allows it to be folded when not in use.
  • The upper strap loop design makes tying down boats easier than ever.
  • It can accommodate kayaks up to 36″ wide and weighing 75 lbs.
  • Comes equipped with additional attachments including- one pair ratcheting tie downs, two straps and buckle protectors.


  • It lacks the ability to carry heavy kayaks.
  • The cheap plastic base is not durable.

2. Malone Stax Pro2

hitch mount kayak carrier

This car kayak rack can carry 2 kayaks once in a safe and secure manner. However, the capacity can be extended up to 4 racks with additional foam blocks and straps. The users have claimed that it offers a high-value fold-down design and foam blocks protect the kayak while on the rack. Also, the rack works well and is quite easy-to-installIt makes transporting kayaks safe for highway speeds and for narrow roofline vehicles.

The affordable price of $90 makes it easy to access even by those who are on a shoestring budget. The lifetime warranty gives the owners ultimate peace of mind as they don’t have to incur repetitive repair cost.


  • It can fit the 50lbs per kayak.
  • Its Malone’s “JAWZ” mounting hardware, allowing the rack to fit almost all round, square, or aerodynamic crossbars.
  • To save fuel, it can be easily folded when not in use.
  • It comes equipped with high impact ABS plastic clamps which fit over your crossbars.
  • Known for its Grade 8 hardware and thumbnuts.


  • Straps take time to set up and takedown.

3. Yakima Kayak Stacker

kayak rack for truck hitch

It comes with a capacity to carry 4 kayaks by transporting 2 on each side of the rack. People who have used this say that transporting longer kayaks is extremely easy due to heavy-duty straps and bow/stern tie-downs.

This narrow profile rack takes up the least amount of space. Also, the high padding protects both the kayak as well as the vehicle. The easy set-up and installation make it highly convenient to use. The users are highly amazed with its sturdiness. At such a low price of at $87, it offers a great value for money. Also Read: Best Truck Kayak Rack – 5 Reason To Buy This!


  • Comes with non-scratch steel posts and with the easy-to-use design.
  • Easily fits car rack systems with round and square crossbars.
  • Great for carrying multiple white water boats.
  • The versatile arrow top hook makes it quick and easy to tie down the boat.
  • Folds down to allow better aerodynamics.


  • Product packaging could be better

4. Yakups Kayak Rack KR2B56

hitch mount kayak carrier

It can carry upto 4 regular sized kayaks. Made in the USA and operated by USA veterans; they are worthy to rely upon. These racks are known for their durability as they can carry a lot of weight and a ton of gear. It can fit kayaks up to 32 inches wide and 6 ½ feet long. The people who have use this rack states that it is designed to safely carry the entire stuff while keeping them firm in their place.

It arrives fully assembled and with all necessary additional equipment and tools, thus making installation an effortless task. Moreover, it can be customized according to the customer’s specific requirements.


  • Manufactured using heavy steel tubing and stainless steel hardware.
  • Highly long-lasting.
  • Easy to install.
  • Excellent storage capacity.
  • It is compatible with most hitch receiver swing-arms.
  • Comes with a five-year warranty.
  • It offers ground clearance protection.


  • Its accessories are not inclusive of bike rack.
  • Extremely heavy in weight i.e. approx. 90 pounds.

5. VertiYak Kayak Rack

vertiyak kayak rack

If you are in a search of a vertical kayak rack cheaper than the Yakup, VertiYak is something meant for you. It is extremely a budget-friendly option with 1/3rd the price of Yakup.

It can carry two full-sized kayaks with a maximum length of 12 feet but it is suited only for shorter and lighter kayaks.


  • It offers free shipping to anywhere within the continental U.S.A, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.
  • For additional support, straps or cables can be added.
  • Its solid metal frame gives tight and snug fit to the racks.


  • Lack of ground clearance protection.
  • Lacks the ability to fit wide or long kayaks.
  • Lacks foam padding and ratcheting straps.
  • Hard metal of the frame can cause damage to the exterior of the kayak.

Best Verticle Kayak Racks – Buying Guide

Now, After being well acquainted with different variants of vertical kayak racks, you need to make a decision which vertical kayak rack to purchase. Below are some of the valuable considerations that must be taken into account to ease your process.

Rack’s Capacity

Each kayak rack comes with a different capacity. How many kayaks do you wish to carry in the rack? Do you need to load the kayak’s other equipment too? After being specific with the answers to these questions, choose the kayak of a required capacity. Avoid overloading the kayak rack.

vartical kayak capacity


Before buying the kayak rack, don’t miss to check its material. The racks made up of steel frame ensures the durability and high lifespan of the rack. To keep rust and corrosion at bay, opt for powder-coated or anodized racks.

Additional Accessories

Besides kayak, if you also aim to carry your kayak’s accessories like lights, bike racks, surfboard, and paddleboard trays in the safe and secure manner, you can get it done by customizing the rack. Some racks also come equipped with heavy-duty straps that keep the accessories firm in its place.

kayak Additional Accessories


To ensure the optimum safety of your kayak, choose a kayak rack that comes with high-quality straps and bracket system. It must have a place to secure a cable lock so that you can run away the risk of damage, especially on rough terrain.

Last but not the Least

Upon closer inspection, it’s clear that each type and design of vertical kayak rack has their individual distinctions. Whichever type of rack you decide to spring for, engage in thorough research before buying. Make sure that it is compatible with your vehicle.

Always invest in a sturdy kayak rack so that it can firmly hold the kayak even on rough terrains. It is better to look for the companies that specialize in the products they offer and have top quality choices but often provide a more narrowed, expensive selection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. What are kayak racks made up of?

Ans: Good quality racks are constructed using steel tubing with a special powder coating that will ensure the durability of the rack. The bottom nose pans are stainless steel to protect the kayaks and prevent damage from uneven pavement due to parking lots, driveways and bumpy roads.

Q 2. How to ensure the longevity of the kayak racks?

Ans: To ensure the functioning of the kayak racks till years to come, make sure that the feet must not be in direct contact with the ground. Rather, it should be raised higher and set on a landscaping block. Using a stain or outdoor finish will also extend the life of the 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 you get a customized kayak rack?

Ans: Yes. If you have any specific requirement in mind in accordance with the length, width, height, and number of kayaks; you can get your type of kayak rack customized.

Q 4. Which is the most affordable range of kayak rack?

Ans: Well, Vertiyak is the most affordable vertical kayak rack model which can be purchased even when you are on a tight budget. You can get it at 1/3rd the price of Yakup. It also offers additional support with straps or cables.