So you’re all excited about the order you just placed for your new kayak? As you should be! Maybe it’s your first boat, maybe it’s your third.

We fully understand the new boat enthusiasm, but don’t let it make you forget the one essential item needed to get out on the water: a way to transport your yak(s).

Yes, we’ve had people show up to our shops (or warehouse) ready to take home a boat lacking the rack or trailer necessary to haul it. Fortunately, we have a wide variety of racks and trailers to choose from!Within these two categories, particularly for storage racks, there are several different methods to secure your boat to your vehicle (which vary depending on the type of vehicle you have, how many boats you’re looking to haul, etc.).

But generally speaking, how do you determine whether to go the rack or trailer route? Here’s an overview:

Kayak Rack Pros

Price: Much less expensive than trailers

Storage: Easy to store when not in use (all of the garage space!)

Smaller Road Presence: Less considerations for parking and making tight turns because kayaks are stacked on top of vehicle or in the back of a truck

Kayak Rack Cons

Parking: Clearance issues in covered parking and drive thru’s

Loading/Securing: It’s important to know the proper techniques for loading kayaks and gear on top of your vehicle (if you’re opting for a roof rack) to avoid injury and/or damage to the vehicle, as well as possible damage to other vehicles and your kayak if your system fails due to improper set-up


Kayak Racks For Trucks


If you’ve got a pickup truck and you want to keep your truck’s bed available for other gear, consider the Yakima Outdoorsman 300.

Yakima Outdoorsman 300

If you’re looking for a lightweight option that uses the bed of your truck as support, go with the Boonedox Bed Extender. Make sure you understand your local laws regarding loads extending out of the back of a vehicle.

ACK Customer Loaded Up Boonedox T-Bone Bed Extender With Two Tarpon 160s


Kayak Racks For Cars + SUVs

One of the most basic systems that we carry for car roof racks is the Malone Universal Roof Rack (available in three different sizes), butf you’re looking for extra support, check out the Yakima SweetRoll Kayak Carrier supplemented with Yakima Crossbar Pads. Looking for something else entirely, there are so many different types of kayak carriers you’re sure to find something here.

Yakima SweetRoll Kayak Carrier

Kayak Trailer Pros

Easy loading: Trailers sit lower than the top of the roof of a car/truck, so actually getting your kayak on is less of a feat

Much more storage space: You’re able to carry your kayaks, canoes and SUPs, as well as your other fishing and camping equipment

Higher weight capacity: Roof rack capacity is generally in the neighborhood of ~ 150lbs, whereas trailers start around 275 lbs and commonly have capacities in the 1,000 lbs + range.

Kayak Trailer Cons

Additional costs: $$$ for registration

Feeling of extra baggage: It takes some time to adapt and develop the skill of driving with the trailer, especially when backing up

Special travel needs: Considerations for length, parking, tolls and storage

Malone MegaSport Trailer

Consider the Yakima Rack and Roll trailer or the Malone MegaSport trailer if you’re looking to carry multiple boats with considerable storage space and wanting an easier set-up than a roof rack.

Wanting to browse around some more? You’ve got options! We’ve got a whole selection of trailers to choose from.

2 comments

  1. My wife uses a trailer. I use a rack.

    +’s on the trailer:
    >>> easy to load and unload
    >>> quick into the water
    >>> transport gobs of kayaks
    >>> storage, too if you choose

    -‘s on the trailer:
    >>> registration
    >>> need a launch ramp or a cart to get from trailer to the water
    >>> more maintenance (probably)
    >>> storing the trailer

    +’s on the rack:
    >>> price is better (except arguably the route I went)
    >>> parking is easier
    >>> use a cart and can launch from a lot more places (from street parking, etc.)

    -‘s on the rack:
    >>> your car or truck is your storage
    >>> the lift can be a lot if using a big 4×4 SUV (mine is)
    >>> lift over the rear requires a level parking spot (hard to find at times)
    >>> usually limited to 2 kayaks (fishing size) though I’ve seen stacks

    I use two Hulivators ($$$) to lift from the sides with an assist. They almost cost more than the kayaks, but I’d not do it any other way now.

    Outback/Kracken 13.5/KC12