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The Best Rooftop Kayak Carriers To Kick Off Your Outdoor Adventure

Updated on November 28, 2010

No matter how much you expect to have fun on your outdoor trip, the goodness of your experience will still depend on how well you can prepare and trust me optimism will only go nowhere when your roof fastenings snap or get loose and cause your precious outdoor gear to fall off. That is why each time I prepare to go kayaking, I make sure to use only the best rooftop carriers that are specifically suitable for my gear. It protects me against unexpected gear damage and theft and gives me more peace of mind. With sturdy and reliable gear carriers, I can take breaks at restaurants while on the road without having to worry. I’m sure everyone will benefit from high quality rooftop kayak carriers and that’s why here are some things I’m going to share.

To make your roof rack selection easy, check your vehicle for the kind of rack system it has. Vehicles usually have Thule or Yakima load bars. Thule racks are angular so they prevent your gears from rolling or shifting. On the other hand, Yakima racks are rounded for more strength for carrying heavy gear and for easy adjustment. When looking around for rooftop kayak carriers, you’ll see that some of them indicate which type of load bar or rack system they are compatible with.

Check those with locks for your gears’ maximum security. There are also some really excellent rooftop kayak carriers with features that add to your convenience such as easy install features, durable straps and more as you’ll follow through this list.

With years of numerous outdoor experiences, here are some of the best rooftop kayak carriers I’ve tried.

Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Folding Kayak Carrier
Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Folding Kayak Carrier

Thule Hull-a-Port Pro Folding Kayak Carrier

This rooftop kayak carrier is designed to carry one kayak. It attaches easily and is compatible with both Thule and Yakima racks. It’s also great with Rapid Aero bars and Xsporters bars. It features the new and proven J profile that allows you to easily load your kayak. Plus, there is also a couple of ratcheting straps for keeping your kayak secure while you’re on the way to your destination. It’s designed to cut down wind resistance so you can have more mileage without the noise caused by such things as drag. This rooftop kayak carrier also features a foldable design that allows you to easily store it while it’s not in use. It is also specially designed for easy removal for your maximum convenience.

SportRack ABR511 J-Stacker Kayak Carrier
SportRack ABR511 J-Stacker Kayak Carrier

SportRack ABR511 J-Stacker Kayak Carrier

This J style rooftop kayak carrier is one of the best choices if you want something that will help you maximize your vehicle’s roof rack. It is compatible with both Thule and Yakima roof racks to make your decision easier. Actually, SportRack is a brand owned by Thule so you can be sure that you get the same great quality as with Thule products. This roof rack is easy to use and can be installed easily. It comes with heavy duty tie down straps for your kayaks and cam buckles and steel bumper hooks for more reliable fastening. It’s also one of those high quality kayak carriers designed to cut down noise and drag so you get more convenience. Plus, it comes in a very affordable price so you get the quality you want at a very attractive bargain.

Thule 835XTR Hullaport Rooftop Kayak Carrier
Thule 835XTR Hullaport Rooftop Kayak Carrier

Thule 835XTR Hullaport Rooftop Kayak Carrier

Here’s another J style rooftop kayak carrier for maximizing your roof rack’s capacity to support loads. It’s compatible with both Thule and Yakima load bars as well as Rapid Aero bars so you can also transfer your kayaks from one vehicle to another easily. It also includes soft adjustable paddings to provide cushion and protection for your kayaks against scratches and other damages. This rooftop kayak carrier also includes tough, buckled load straps to keep your gear intact. It’s also designed to cut down drag and noise while you’re on the road as well as improve mileage. With this, you can be sure that your gear stays where you put it and it stays as good as when you loaded it.

Thule Kayak Stacker
Thule Kayak Stacker

Thule Kayak Stacker

If you’re planning to go kayaking with your friends, this rooftop kayak carrier is a great choice. It can carry up to four kayaks provided that your vehicle has the required dimensions for all of them. It’s compatible with both Thule and Yakima roof racks too so you can transfer your kayaks from one vehicle to another even if they have different rack systems. This kayak carrier also features an upper bridge design that makes it easier for securing loads. It includes heavy duty ratcheting tie down straps and buckles that keep your gear intact while you’re on the road and it’s also designed to cut down undesirable factors such as drag and noise. When not in use, this kayak carrier can be folded neatly and stored for your convenience.

Yakima BigStack Rooftop Canoe, Kayak, or Surfboard Rack with Tie Down
Yakima BigStack Rooftop Canoe, Kayak, or Surfboard Rack with Tie Down

Yakima BigStack Rooftop Canoe, Kayak, or Surfboard Rack with Tie Down

Here’s another rooftop kayak carrier that’s great for outings with friends - the Yakima BigStack Rooftop Rack. It lives up to its name by allowing you to load up to four kayaks as long as your vehicle has the sufficient dimensions. And despite the huge load it can support, this kayak carrier can be folded flat into a very convenient size that you can easily store inside your vehicle when it’s not being used. It includes soft pads to cushion and protect your kayaks from abrasions and dents as well as sturdy straps guaranteed to hold your gears securely while you’re on the road. This kayak carrier is also designed to provide you with better mileage during your trip by reducing drag and noise.

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