Best Kayak Roof Rack of 2018

Your kayak does definitely cost a considerable amount of money. Therefore, there is every need for you to have a reliable transportation method. And it goes without saying that a high-quality kayak roof rack is what you need for your out-of-doors kayaking adventures.

There are many kinds of roof racks, and you have to be careful not to buy basic bar racks. Such racks will require personal improvements in order to keep your kayak safe from scratches and wear. And this is why we prepared this guide to help you find the ideal product.

In this guide, we have prepared seven best kayak roof rack reviews. We picked these products based on their excellent design qualities and reputation among other product qualities. These racks come highly recommended by users; you can buy them right now.






Best Overall

Malone Downloader Kayak Roof Rack


2nd Choice

Yakima JayLow Folding Rooftop Kayak Rack


3rd Choice

2 Pair Universal Canoe Car Top-Mount Carrier Roof Rack Kayak


4th Choice

ROLA Kayak Roof Rack (59912)


5th Choice

PACK’EM Kayak Roof Rack


6th Choice

Yakima HullRaiser Rooftop Kayak Rack


7th Choice

Booster BG008B Universal Kayak Roof Rack


No. 1 Malone Downloader Kayak Roof Rack Review

If you are looking for a device to haul your kayak safely and securely on your car, you should look no further than the Malone J-downloader.  It is a J-style kayak carrier that features a built-in ramp for effortless loading and unloading of your kayak.

It incorporated with a J-cradle that is adjustable, providing safe and stable transportation for a wide range of kayak sizes and style.  Its universal mounting blocks and t-knob bolts are designed to fit most factory cross rails, which provide you with easy tool-free installation.

When not in use you can easily fold down the cradle arms for low clearance. It features an E-coated corrosion resistant aluminum housing, making it strong. It also comprises of a rubber padding that is fully synthetic and holds the kayak safely and firmly.


  • Its fully padding protects the kayak’s finish from damages.
  • Its built-in boarding ramp allows for easy loading and un-loading.
  • Its E-coated, corrosion resistant, aluminum housing design makes it durable.
  • Its universal mounting blocks and t-knob bolts make it versatile by allowing it to fit most vehicle cross rails.
  • This roof rack is easy to use and install with its single touch slide locks.
  • It is able to hold all sizes of kayaks on top of the vehicle cross rails safely and securely.


  • It is quite expensive compared to competing models.

Verdict: The Malone Downloader Kayak Roof Rack takes the first spot in our ranking primarily because of its quality features and superior performance.

No. 2 PACK’EM Kayak Roof Rack Review

The PACK’EM Kayak Roof Rack is a competitively priced carry system that is worth its price, due to its quality features. It has a large J-style design for easy and fast loading and unloading. The racks are designed to fold down in order for them not to be removed.

They are also foldable to ensure that they do not hit on things like fully opened garage doors.  It is incorporated with various mounting hardware that allow you to quickly adjust the straps, making transportation safe.

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The rack features a heavy-duty steel design that is painted to avoid rusting. The surface is padded, keeping your kayak protected and durable. It has a standard design that allow for easy mounting to various load bars or luggage racks on vehicles.

It is also engineered to be able to transport kayaks on the side, making it efficient, able to save space and provide room for more items.


  • The rack’s J-style structure allows for easy and fast loading and unloading.
  • Its efficient design saves on space and also provides extra room to carry additional items.
  • The rack’s painted heavy-duty steel design surface makes it durable and rust resistant for use in extreme conditions.
  • The durable steel construction is padded to protect the kayak when driving on rough terrain.
  • Its standard design allows it to mount on various luggage racks on vehicles.


  • This roof rack is a bit difficult to install.

Verdict: If you are after simplicity and ergonomics at a fair price range, then the PACK’EM Kayak Roof Rack is your best choice.

No. 3 ROLA Kayak Roof Rack (59912) Review  

The ROLA Kayak Roof Rack is among the top kayak carry systems in the market, because it is manufactured by a well-known company in the world. It is integrated with a remarkable capacity that is best suited for sit on tops, tandems and singles.

The rack features long-lasting straps and bow tie down that maximize the rack’s staying power. The straps offer you confidence when using the carrier. So, you do not have to worry about your cargo.

The rack has a housing that is made of high strength powder, which is coated with steel.

This construction is rust resistant, making it secure, able to last for long and less prone to damages. It incorporates foam pads that support and offer safety to the watercraft during use. Also, features universal hardware that works with a wide range of crossbars.


  • The tough straps provide additional safety by holding your kayak into position.
  • The foam pads offer added protection during transportation.
  • Its steel construction makes it superior, rust-resistant, and durable.
  • It offers enough space for you to carry various items.
  • Its universal hardware makes it versatile and compatible with ROLA crossbars.


  • You may experience installation problems before you get used to it.

Verdict: The ROLA 59912 Kayak Carrier is compatible with universal hardware among other crossbars and it comes with a customer-friendly price range.

No. 4 Yakima HullRaiser Rooftop Kayak Rack Review

The Yakima HullRaiser rooftop kayak rack is described as a no-fuss rooftop carrier that is sturdy and lightweight. It features an aluminum construction that provides security for your kayak and also makes it durable.

It comprises of foam padding that provides you with more comfort and makes your car look nice. The rack features durable straps, bow/stern tie-downs and coated metal buckle to protect your vehicle.

It is integrated with a universal hardware that is able to fit square, round, factory and aerodynamic crossbars. It props up the kayak on its side creating more space on the crossbar for other gears.

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Upon delivery you receive everything you require to haul.  The Yakima HullRaiser rooftop kayak rack has the capacity to support one kayak per pair.


  • Its steel construction makes it strong and durable by making it rust resistant and less prone to damage.
  • Its foam padding makes your vehicle look nice and comfortable.
  • It universal hardware allows it to fit various crossbar such as round, square, factory and aerodynamic.
  • Its strong straps come with coated metal buckles for proper fastening and additional safety.
  • It is easy to install, since it does not require any tools to mount and also stands easily.


  • It is only able to support one kayak per pair.

Verdict: Yakima is among the world-class rooftop kayak rack manufacturers, and they have proven their ingenuity with the production of the HullRaiser model.

No. 5 Booster BG008B Universal Kayak Roof Rack Review

The booster BG008B-1P universal kayak roof rack is among the best in the market. It features 1.5mm thick steel tube that makes it strong and able to hold 36 inches wide and holds up to 150lbs kayaks.

It has a durable weather resistant paint allowing it to be used in all weather conditions. It features a foam padding and rubber base cover that protects your vehicle and makes it comfy. It incorporates of a tubing design with strong and stable pre-punched holes that provide you with perfect alignment.

The BG008B-1P universal kayak roof rack is the best to purchase and it is worth the price. It offers you confidence when using it with no need of worrying about it getting damaged easily. You will hardly regret buying this kayak roof rack.


  • Its tubing design makes aligning the kayak on the rack easy and also makes it strong and stable.
  • It provides you with a large carrying capacity by being able to accommodate a maximum weight of up to 150lbs.
  • Its external housing paint that is rust-resistant and weather resistant makes it durable.
  • Being rust resistant and weather resistant makes it a versatile gear that can be used in all weather conditions.
  • Its foam padding provides you with comfort and also adds to its durability.


  • It does not fit on a ROLA rack due to the wide spacing between the rack bars.

Verdict: The Booster BG008B Kayak Roof Rack is your best bet, if you are after quality features, but you have a limited budget.

No. 6 Yakima JayLow Folding Rooftop Kayak Rack Review

The Yakima JayLow folding rooftop kayak rack is known for its multiple settings. It features upright arms that comprise of integrated cam levers for stabilizing the kayak.  Its 2 folding and J-style cradles allows you to transport your kayak on crossbars.

The kayak is able to sit on the side in order for it to create space for additional luggage. It incorporates of in-built ramps that makes loading and unloading easier. It is made up of padded bases and arms that protects your kayak and keeps it free from scratch or other damages.

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It features a lightweight design that is made up of aluminum silver powder coat finish that is corrosion resistant. It does not require tools for installation since it is simple and clamps on most crossbars.


  • Its tie-down straps and bow/stern tie-downs ensure that your kayak is secured and your luggage is safe.
  • It’s lightweight and foldable, making it easy to carry without adding any unnecessary weight.
  • It allows you to easily load and unload at the side of the vehicle with its in-built ramps.
  • Its aluminum with silver powder coating is corrosion resistant making it durable.
  • It has a carrying capacity of two kayaks and a weight carrying capacity of up to 80lbs.


  • It has a small weight carrying capacity.
  • It may present some issues when securing your kayak.

Verdict: This is another great Yakima Rooftop Kayak Rack with remarkable features and manageable design flaws.

No. 7 2 Pair Universal Canoe Car Top-Mount Carrier Roof Rack Kayak Review

The 2 pair universal canoe car top mount carrier roof rack is a unique kayak carrier that fits on most types of crossbars and load bars in the market. It mainly, secures the kayak on the side, which allows you to save space that can be used to carry additional items.

It is made of a durable steel housing that makes the rack strong and hard-wearing. For added durability, it is integrated with a rust-resistance coated surface. This surface also allows you to use the rack in various weather conditions without worrying about it getting damaged.

It comprises of a wide mouth J bar that allows you to easily and quickly load and unload your kayak. It has the capacity to accommodate kayaks of up to 36 inches and 165lbs.


  • It provides you with a large loading capacity allowing you to carry luggage weighing up to 165lbs.
  • It is a durable rack that will last for a long duration, due to its rust-resistant surface coating and heavy-duty steel housing.
  • It is an easy to use carry system; with its wide mouth J bar loading and unloading is much quicker and easier.
  • Its universal mounting hardware makes it easy to mount.
  • It is a versatile kayak rack that fits in all crossbars and load bars available in the market.


  • It is not suitable for oval roof bars.

Verdict: This SUV VAN J-bar offers you quality performance at an affordable price range that will fit the budget. But, you should expect a few manageable design problems.

The Wrap Up

We have reached the end of our best kayak roof rack reviews. By now, you should have found at least one product that meets your expectations, as far as your budget and performance are concerned. Our top picks come highly recommended by users in today’s market.

We strongly urge you not to rely on the kayak roof racks that come as standard equipment on most outdoor automobiles. Instead, you should consider purchasing a professional-grade roof rack system that will actually protect your kayak from damage.