Which Truck Kayak Rack Should You Get?
Asking if you have a kayak would be a rhetorical question, if you don’t you wouldn’t be here looking for kayak racks for trucks, right?
It’s not far from the truth that top-quality kayaks can be a little pricey, an investment that you wouldn’t want to toss in the bed of any pickup truck and hope that it stays in place.
This is why a reliable transport system is needed to get them safely to the desired spot. One juicy part of owning a kayak is the freedom to explore newly discovered waterways.
You can go on and on from lakes to beaches, from ponds to rivers, and from creeks to different coastal waterways. There is always something spectacular about them all.
Wait a minute, do you have a truck kayak rack that can safely transport your watercraft? If you don’t, then you may have to consider a reliable way to keep moving your kayaks from place to place.
Fortunately, kayak manufacturers have designed different kayak racks for every type of truck. Therefore, the safest transport solution that will protect your investment is a kayak truck.
We know quite well that choosing a kayak rack for any pick-up can be time-consuming, but no worries! We are set to make your shopping life even easier.
So we will review ten of the best kayak racks on the market. You’ll get to know each kayak rack while it serves as a guide to help you select the perfect kayak rack, suitable for your needs.
1. AA-Racks Model APX25 Pick-Up Truck Kayak Rack
The AA-Racks Model APX25 Truck Kayak Rack is designed to fit a wide range of pickup trucks but seems not to be compatible with trucks that have a utility track system.
Its installation needs no drilling, yet quick and easy installation with a universal mounting clamp makes it even more impressive.
Instead of drilling holes to make a permanent modification on your truck, the universal mounting clamps take all that out of the way. Who could have thought that such a lightweight rack could load up to 800 pounds?
Not many lightweight kayak racks have the capacity for loads up to 500 pounds, AA-Racks Model Truck Rack changes that narrative. Great for hauling kayaks, lumber, ladders and many more.
The rack is constructed from aluminium, highly durable. Made with rust-resistant aluminium and significantly with a powder coating to resist wear.
The quick and no drilling installation rack comes with 8 aluminium C-clamps that grip on tightly to your truck after installation, ideal for a variety of different models of truck.
The four adjustable load support brackets hold your kayak firmly when transporting it to your favourite spot. The ultra-convenient rack leaves the truck’s bed empty for storing other items you might be needing for camping and it holds your gear up over the height of the truck.
The rack measures 28 inches high and 71 inches across. The included cantilever attaches to the crossbar on top of your truck and gives you an extra carrying capacity of 38 inches.
- Universal Design: universally designed to fit a variety of different trucks (except for trucks with Utility Track Systems)
- No Drilling: no drilling is required for its installation rather, the included 8 mounting clamps make for easy installation
- No Rusting: rack is coated with powder paint to counter rusting
- Durable Material: rack is reinforced with heavy-duty aluminum
- Adjustable: features four adjustable load support brackets
- Over-cab Design: hold kayaks and other loads up over the height of the truck while making extra space in the truck’s bed for keeping other gears
- Material: Aluminum
- Length: 3″
- Weight: 40.2 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 800 pounds
- Mounting Type: Power Grip
- Can accommodate two kayaks
- The tie-down points are adjustable
- No drill, easy installation
- Easy removal from trucks when not in use
- The plastic end cap can be easily misplaced as it comes off more often
- The height of the rack is not adjustable
- The powder-coated finishing can be easily tampered with as it receives scratches while in transit.
2. TMS Adjustable Utility Rack
The TMS Adjustable Utility Rack is a multifunctional rack designed to haul longer and bigger items or any equipment that the average pickup truck bed won’t fit. This heavy-duty rack is perfect for hauling kayaks, ladders, pipes, lumber and other long and big items.
It is even much more convenient to attach longer kayaks to this rack as the TMS Adjustable Utility Rack kayaks ensure the safety of your cargo without the worry of it falling off the truck.
If you desire an excellent rack for camping, this heavy-duty rack is made just for that. It is versatile, sturdy, and durable and to top it all, it is compatible with a variety of trucks and allows you to take all your equipment with you at once.
One of its great features is that you still have enough access to the rest of the truck and tailgate regardless of your kayaks on its top. And again, you can pull a trailer behind you since it leaves your hitch receiver free.
The adjustable width makes TMT Adjustable Utility Rack a fit for different truck beds, adjustable from 5 feet to 7 feet. It has a cleat to tie down your kayak.
For maximum base support, it is safer to drill two holes into your bed rails on each base and use the provided bolts and screws; however, some users have tried to mount them on the truck using C-clamps.
- Front & Rear Bars: the included set of 2 steel heavy-duty multifunctional racks are designed for hauling longer and bigger kayaks.
- Adjustable Width: just where the rack attaches to the truck bed, a custom fit of 5 feet to 7 feet maximum can be created for most pickup trucks
- Heavy Duty Steel Bases: may require drilling two holes and the use of two bolts with screws to tighten the rack
- Hardware: great hardware like 8 bolts and screws, with each rack having 2 bolts and screws for easy assembling.
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Length: 51″
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 800 pounds
- Mounting Type: Truck Bed Mount
- Compatible with most trucks
- Comes with mounting bolts
- Adjustable width for a custom fit
- Versatile, sturdy and highly durable
- Great for longer and heavier kayaks
- May need drilling into the bed rails
- The height cannot be adjusted.
3. Goplus Pick-up Truck Bed Hitch Extender Adjustable Extension Rack
Are you still thinking about how to haul that kayak that extends past your truck bed (or roof) to the water? Think no more, the Goplus pick-up Truck Bed Hitch Extender has paved an excellent way to get longer kayaks to the water.
Its versatility is not only its unique aspect, it has become the easiest and least expensive solution for transporting kayaks, lumber, canoe, ladder and long pipes. The icing on the cake is the fact that it has earned itself the title of being one of the best kayak racks for truck hitch.
Depending on what works for you or maybe what you intend to haul, you can either use this Truck Bed Hitch Extender in a vertical position such that it is the same height as the roof of your vehicle or use it to extend the bed of your truck in such a way that it becomes longer than what it used to be.
One interesting and unique part is that both the height and the width are adjustable. Speaking of the height, you can adjust it from 12”to 19” while the width tends to be adjustable from 29”to 49”.
However, the extender is preferably suitable for use with a 2″ hitch receiver or on 1-1/4″ receivers with a hitch adaptor. To make the Goplus’ Bed Extender extra visible, the design is equipped with reflective tape on its sides and in the front.
Also, it comes with a red safety flag, implying that visibility should not be an issue even at night and as such, protects you from any trouble with the law. The hitch extender usage is not only limited to trucks, it can as well be used with SUVs.
This becomes plausible when you lay down the SUV seats while you use the extender that way or better still, you can apply it in the vertical configuration so that the kayak is strapped on the SUV roof.
This however boils down to the length of your kayak. What’s more, the rugged steel tube construction gives it a sturdy body that can flawlessly stand the test of time.
Maximizing the available loading space to carry longer items is possible with the help of the adjustable arms which could either be used horizontally or vertically.
Long-distance loading with oversized cargo may not be transported better without the Goplus Pick-up Adjustable Extension Rack.
- Flag and Reflective Tape: The included safety red flag is useful during the day to increase visibility on the road while the reflective tape in the front and on the side of the rack makes more sense in the dark. With these, accidents become avoidable during the daytime and at night.
- Adjustable width and height: the hitch extender height can be adjusted from 12″ to 19″ while the width could be adjusted from 29”to 49” to suit your preference.
- Large Load Capacity: has the ability to haul loads up to 750 pounds.
- Versatility: can be adjusted vertically or horizontally on any 2″ hitch receiver that it was originally designed for or on 1-1/4″ receivers with a hitch adaptor, to carry bigger or longer cargoes.
- Durable Material: the extender is constructed with a heavy-duty steel tube and coated with black. Its sturdy body can stand the test of time.
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Length: 19″
- Weight: 5 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 750 pounds
- Mounting Type: Hitch Mount, Truck Bed Mount
- Has two ways configuration (vertical and horizontal)
- Powder coating enhances durability
- Pretty versatile
- The design (flag and reflective tape) improves visibility
- The vertical configuration has proven to be shaky over time.
- The bed extender does not include a hitch pin which would have been better.
4. APEX ATR-RACK Ladder Rack
The APEX ATR-RACK Ladder Rack is a four-post universal truck rack that makes hauling loads an easy job.
The name might not imply that it can haul your kayak, you’d rather not look at the name but what it can do. Hauling kayaks and other large equipment becomes safe and easy with the APEX ATR-RACK Ladder Rack.
Its cross bars are fully adjustable and compatible with nearly any compact, mid, or full-size pickup truck.
You do not have to drill into your pickup bed, the innovative clamp system makes installation an easy task with the included stoppers ensuring that both your kayak and your truck are safely driven to your destination while providing ample tie-down points for any bulky loads.
As these universally used cargo racks haul your cargo, it leaves the truck bed open for extra cargo. The rack requires no drilling; instead, it comes with a clamp-on installation system that you can easily install within a few minutes.
The aluminum slides allow users to create a custom fit for any pick-up truck. The adjustable sides or simply put, the width of the truck can be set apart to fit any model of truck however, the height is not adjustable. To fit most pickup trucks, it can adjust up to 66-1/2” in width.
- Adjustable Width: with the aluminum slides, you can create a perfect custom fit for your pickup truck
- Ample Weight Capacity: the utility rack can handle long cargoes with a durable weight of 800 lbs. Such include kayaks, lumber, conduit and many more
- Easy Installation/No drilling: it can be installed easily using a clamp-on installation system that can be completed within a few minutes plus, no drilling is required
- Four Stoppers: includes four ladder stoppers that help to keep both the truck and the cargo safe on transit while providing tie-down points for the load carried
- Material: Aluminum
- Length: 63″
- Weight: 38 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 800 pounds
- Mounting Type: Clamp Mount, Truck Rack, Crossbar Mount
- Universal, adjustable and versatile
- No drilling
- Quick and easy installation
- Side-to-side adjustable slides
- The height cannot be adjusted
- Does not accommodate a truck canopy.
5. MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack
The MaxxHaul Universal Aluminum Truck Rack is designed to effortlessly mount onto most truck bed rails. It is a lightweight design with heavy-duty steel brackets.
For durability and to ensure a rust-free rack, the mount steel brackets are given a powder-coated finish. In extension, it resists years of wear and tears usage.
And to increase the structural strength of the inner chamber of the crossbars, the manufacturer gave it a little bit of reinforcement.
This is a universal truck rack suitable for hauling kayaks, paddle boards, ladders and the like while ensuring the safety of loaded items.
The rack comes with adjustable cargo bumpers located very close to the end of each crossbar to protect your kayak from sliding off the rack during transit. The crossbar has an upright supporting height of about 26″ and it can extend up to 71″ in length.
No drilling is required for the rack to be installed and yet, the entire frame mounts handily onto your choice of pickup bed rail system.
Installation required that liners and railing be removed such that the user has complete access to bedsides. In other words, you can not install the rack on the truck bed with railings and cleats and bed liners.
- Adjustable Cargo Bumpers: these give extra stability, protecting kayaks or any other loaded cargo from slipping away from the racks during transport. It can practically be adjusted from anywhere along the length of the crossbar.
- Adjustable Mounting Brackets: this enables installation without the need to drill into the truck bed rail. However, installation requires that cleats, railings and liners must be removed before installation.
- Stop-and-Go Transition: mounts onto a pickup bed rail system effortlessly, leaving drilling as an option (not required)
- Adjustable Crossbar: to fit most truck beds, the crossbar will extend up to 70″ long with a supporting upright measuring 26″ in height
- Suitable Transport: The rack is ideal for transporting kayaks, ladders, surfboards, plumbing supplies, deck boards, and more. Once the load is secured with straps during transport, safety is guaranteed.
- Material: Aluminum
- Length: 71″
- Weight: 63 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
- Mounting Type: Truck Rack, Railing Mount, Crossbar Mount
- Fits most truck’s bed railings
- Adjustable length and height for a custom fit
- Easily mounts onto a truck bed rail system
- The powder-coated finishing can be easily tampered with.
6. AA-Racks Model APX2501 Truck Bed Kayak Rack
For kayakers whose goal is to keep a rack as lightweight as possible, the AA-Racks APX2501 will be the perfect option for you. It’s another great model by AA-Racks, they are known for making reliable kayak racks for pickup trucks.
Speaking of versatility for carrying, easy loading and storage, the rack ticks all the boxes. For added strength and durability, the rack is reinforced with heavy-duty aluminum. It is made from the rust-free material of aluminum. Ideal for hauling kayak, ladder, lumbar, and every other utility.
Its installation is a breeze, no drilling into the truck bed railings is required as it comes with a set of 8 universal, aluminum C-clamps. This in turn makes it ideal for a variety of different truck models.
It features a custom adjustable bar height which offers maximum versatility, from easy loading, effortless carrying to storage. Also, the rack is constructed out of powder-coated, weather-resistant paint which is meant to make it last and work longer.
- Adjustable Height: the customise setup allows the height of the rack to be adjusted from 17″ to about 29″ for the utmost versatility
- Easy Installation: Can be easily mounted with 8 aluminum clamps that are provided
- Easy Loading: the included ladder stoppers ensure easier carrying by preventing cargo from falling off the truck during transport
- No Drilling Installation: no need to drill holes into truck bed railings as mounting clamps are provided to that effect. Although the design is not compatible with trucks that have Track Systems, however, the universal aluminum C-clamps fit a variety of pickup trucks
- Material: Aluminum
- Length: 29″
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 450 pounds
- Mounting Type: Clamp Mount
- No-drilling installation
- Universal design fits a variety of different pickup trucks
- Adjustable height for cargo-hauling versatility
- Exceptionally lightweight aluminum construction
- It can be a little pricey for anyone who is on a budget
- Not ideal for trucks with a utility track system and tonneau covers
7. Lund-in-Motion Universal Truck Bed Xtender
The Lund-in-Motion Universal Truck Bed Xtender is what we refer to as the problem solver. The manufacturer observed that not every truck has a hitch and seeing that everyone does not like to see a long kayak hanging from behind their truck, then devised a means to bridging the gap.
Hence, the U-shaped gate truck bed extender allows you to lower your tailgate and attach it such that the entire bed is judiciously used. Should you have a shorter kayak or a truck without a hitch, this model is a perfect option for you.
The universal truck bed extender design (the flip-out/in design) can create up to 2 ft. extra storage space for your truck.
Regardless of how long your truck bed is, it might never be long enough for some loads or items. Hauling long items such as long kayaks, lumber, ATVs, long pipes and other bigger loads can sometimes feel like you could use a few additional feet.
While all of that could be a wish, the Lund in Motion Universal Budtender HD provides you with space to stack all items to the very end of your opened tailgate.
The black powder coat finish strengthens the extender thereby, protecting it against corrosion and rust. And to top it all, the glass-reinforced Nylon improves the structural integrity of the extender.
Installation requires a little bit of drilling, while it mounts to the side of the truck bed’s walls instead of mounting to the hitch, this design is quite different. When you open the tailgate, it flips out and flips back in when the tailgate is closed. The quick-disconnect mounting brackets give room for easy removal.
- Lightweight Material: this heavy-duty bed extender is constructed with 6063 T6 Aluminum. It comes custom-made so that it perfectly fits.
- U-Shaped Gate Design: the simple U-shaped design allows for everyday use and easy removal.
- Durability and Versatility: coated in a rust-resistant black powder and works on any mid-size/full-size pick-up.
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 67 pounds
- Mounting Type: Tailgate/Truck Bed’s Wall Mount
- Convenient for everyday usage
- Increases truck bed storage space
- Great for truck bed sectioning
- Not compatible with tonneau cover
8. Tidal Contractor Pickup Truck Ladder Lumber Rack
If you would like to have a utility rack that can handle virtually anything you load on it then, the Tidal Pick-up Truck Utility Rack is your sure bet.
It comes in a classic design with enhanced features that only a beast of a ladder style can offer. Installation requires no drilling however, you may need an extra hand to get the job done quicker.
While installation might not be permanent, removing it daily might also be somewhat impossible. This is why many subscribe to permanently mounting the rack on their truck.
The Tidal Pickup Truck Utility Rack is great for transporting kayaks, boards, and boats, to just about anything, you’ll be surprised how it gets the job done effectively. This classic, adjustable design rack fits almost any truck bed, long-bed or short-bed trucks, regardless.
Thanks to the crossbars that are made to fit taller cargo, the built-in tie-down points are meant to secure and hold your load in place and gusseted corners for that needed extra strength and rigidity.
You can load up to 1500 pounds as long as you keep the weight evenly distributed on the rack. Although this might be way too much for the average kayaker, it would serve as a huge plus for you if you plan to use the utility truck rack for some other greater stuff, it can handle just anything.
The installation can be a lot of work, although it needs no drilling into your truck to get it mounted. You’ll need the included J-Hooks for a short time or temporary installation. To avoid the extra work that removing the racks brings when not in use, you may want to consider permanently mounting the rack with the supplied hardware.
- No Drilling Installation: the included J-Hooks do not require drilling for installation and can be permanently mounted with supplied hardware
- Strength and durability: all hardware is gold zinc plated and rated 8 grade, while it offers maximum strength and durability
- Adjustable: leg and feet can be adjusted for complete customization
- Built-in Tie-Down: each leg has a built-in tie-down that helps to secure just about anything
- Removable center and rear cross bars: this help to handle those extra tall loads
- Excellent Finishing: the glossy black finish looks great
- Gusseted Corners: gusseted corners offer extra strength and rigidity.
- Air Deflector: to minimize the noise, the included air deflector is provided to achieve no ambient noise.
- Material: Steel construction
- Length: 41″
- Weight: 8-pound
- Weight Capacity: 1500 Pound
- Mounting Type: Tie Down Mount, Crossbar Mount
- Kayaks and other load is secured with built-in tie-downs
- No drilling is required
- High load capacity
- Adjustable to fit both long-bed and short-bed truck
- Rigidity and strength
- Quite heavy
- Installation is way too demanding
- Due to the noise, a wind detector must be used.
9. Yakima Longarm truck Bed Extender
Looking for a light but strong kayak track for your truck? The Yakima LongArm truck bed extender rack is a great option. It attaches to a 2″ hitch and extends up to about 4 ft. of your truck bed length.
It features three distinct load-carrying heights for both the truck and the load. The aluminum hitch-mounted rack is a perfect solution for hauling kayaks, canoes, Stand up paddleboards, ladders, lumber, and even more.
It suits any type of load you intend to carry hence, versatile. The LongArm bed extender is adjustable to three different load-carrying positions and can carry a load that weighs up to 300 pounds in a lower position.
This implies that it can carry up to two lightweight kayaks as long as your truck has the adequate width required to do so.
However, apart from the included longarm bed extender, additional accessories such as a longarm height extension and longarm pad (although not included) would be needed to be able to make use of the three load-carrying positions.
You can customize your setup by pairing it with the bedrock rack system or tonneau cover; and for added boat protection, you can put in a Yakima boat mount to the crossbar. Installation is quite easy; it installs quickly and easily with any 2″ hitch receiver using the 5/8″ threaded hitch bolt that it came with.
This truck bed extender is made from aluminum and the added black powder-coat finish is great for its durability. Again, the crossbar is compatible with other Yakima accessories like kayak saddles. The LongArm also comes with a built-in handy bottle opener that you can use for camping trips.
- Adjustable: adjustable to 3 distinct load-carrying positions: Truck bed-rail position (with a Yajima BedRick or tonneau cover), Open bed position (with the tailgate open), and Vertical position (for cab-level use) with a carrying capacity of 300 pounds
- Quick and Easy Installation: quick and easy to install securely with a 2″ hitch receiver while using the 5/8″ of the included threaded hitch bolt.
- Secure Ride: the integrated tie-down points guarantee a secure ride for your kayak
- Extended Truck Bed: the extender offers 4 ft. of additional truck bed length with the 60″ wide crossbar that allows you to haul your kayaks, boats, canoes, boards, and more.
- Bottle Opener: the included handy Yakima signature bottle opener makes you enjoy a chilled drink after paddling
- Compatible: the extender is compatible with any Yakima accessories such as the Yakima boat mount (separately sold) that can be added to the crossbar for additional boat protection
- Extra Load Protection: the LongArm pad (separately sold) can be added to increase load protection. Included components are: 1 LongArm, 1 Hardware Bag, 2 End Caps, 1 Wrench, 1 Flag and 1 Instruction
- Material: Aluminum
- Length: 48″
- Weight: 12 pounds 8 ounces
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Great for short bed truck
- Easy installation
- Compatible with other Yakima accessories
- Durable material
- Might leave scratches on your kayaks if you squeeze them all into the truck’s bed at once
10. Thule GoalPost Kayak Rack For Truck
The Thule GoalPost Adjustable Watersport Carrier is designed to make life easier for paddlers when it comes to transporting watercraft from one paddling spot to another.
It uses a hitch receiver-based system, combining the truck’s existing front load bar to haul kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, canoes, sailboards, and many more. Its anti-sway, multi-strap design helps to hold items in place in all road and driving conditions.
It is compatible with a 2″ hitch receiver and as it attaches to the hitch on the back of your truck, you may extend it vertically to make a second crossbar to support the kayak. As the GoalPost serves as the back support, the truck’s existing cab load bar also serves as the front support system.
The rack can be used with either Set-To-Go saddles or Thule Hydro-Glide (not included) which holds the kayak hull at the front and rear for ultimate support.
This makes loading and unloading a breeze, leaving no scratches or wasps behind. It comes with an adjustable telescopic vertical bar extending from 46 inches to 67 inches.
It can be adjusted to accommodate different models and different heights of pickup trucks (but designed to work with 2-inch receivers only) while keeping it in line with the crossbar on the roof of the truck.
The GoalPost comes with a 58-inch Thule steel load bar and a durable plastic coating that protects it from damage by friction with associated loaded items.
It also has two vertical load stop attachments that prevent loads from sliding from side to side when in transit. What’s more? The hitch connection is meant for stability, created with an anti-sway design, and accompanied by 2 load straps for more secure transport.
The straps connect its centre mast assembly to your truck’s rear bumper on either side thereby, stabilizing and holding the load firmly.
- Stability: the anti-sway design and the included 2-straps help to stabilize the load when transporting from place to place
- Adjustable: hitch-mounted, height-adjustable load bars to accommodate different models of trucks
- Secure Transport: 2 vertical load stops with hook straps help to hold and keep the load stable in all driving conditions
- No sliding while in transit: the 57″ Thule steel load bar as well as the durable plastic coating prevents side-by-side sliding of kayaks while in transit
- The telescoping mast is always in line with the truck cab height.
- Material: Steel
- Length: From 46 to 67 inches
- Weight: 27 pounds
- Weight Capacity: 165 pounds
- Mounting Type: Strap
- Adjustable height for a custom fit
- Easy loading and unloading of items
- The strap keeps cargo in place
- Durable and quite strong
- Limited load capacity
While hitting the waters for some moment of excitement and relaxation in a kayak is great for a healthy lifestyle, transporting it to your intended paddling spot shouldn’t be any less important. The above kayak racks were carefully selected to guide you in your next shopping for suitable truck kayak racks. Let’s go shopping now!