If you’re into canoeing or kayaking, then we don’t have to tell you how much fun it is to be out on the water.

On the other hand, lugging your kayak to the shore may be quite lacking in the fun department.

Properly transporting a kayak (or canoe) however, is essential for both its protection and the safety of other motorists.

So, you’re going to need a quality watercraft rack.

But how do you choose the right one?

Read on.

Kayak & Canoe Hitch Racks


Reese Towpower has a hitch-mount canoe rack that’ll work on passenger cars too. (Image/Reese)

Are you fortunate to have a pickup truck? Then moving your canoe or kayak may be as easy as sliding in the kayak/canoe, strapping it down, and driving off–though there some accessories that can make it easier to transport boats with a longer length or wider beam, like Thule’s Goalpoast carrier.

Kayak & Canoe Roof Racks

If you don’t have a truck, there are plenty of roof-mount rack options out there, so selecting the right one for both your vehicle and your kayak/canoe shouldn’t be difficult.

For starters, SportRack makes a economical Jetty Deluxe Kayak Carrier which uses foam blocks that rest directly on your vehicle’s roof surface, and secures the kayak via heavy-duty straps.

Got a luggage rack on your vehicle? Then you have even more options.

The traditional method is to secure your kayak with the hull parallel(ish) with the roof. This method incorporates specialized saddles, like those seen on Thule’s Dockglide and Dockgrip. These can have an advantage, because they may be compatible with other watersports activities like large paddleboards and surf boards. (Of course, you should always check sizing and dimensions before you make a purchase.)

A rack like Rage Powersport’s T-Rack/J-Rack or SportRack’s J-Stacker can make lifting your kayak on your roof more manageable, while maximizing roof space–smart if you’re transporting two kayaks on top of a smaller car.

If you’re dreading the thought of heaving your kayak up past your car’s roofline, check out Thule’s Hullavator Pro:


Thule’s Hullavator Pro uses articulating arms to bring the kayak cradle down to the side of the vehicle, which makes hoisting your kayak to the roof a much easier job. (Image/Thule)

Kayak & Canoe Dollies

Once you’ve reached your destination, a dolly is an easy way to move your kayak/canoe around by yourself. It’s a great companion if you do a lot of solo paddling. Rage Powersport makes a pair of them.

Other Smart Watersports Cargo Accessories

With a kayak on your roof, your car, truck, or SUV may be loaded with paddles, fishing tackle, and maybe even a four-legged friend. A receiver hitch-mount cargo carrier can ensure you still have room for a cooler or camp stove.

Also, if you don’t have a set of high-quality cargo “ratchet” tie-down straps, now’s the time to get some.

Cargo Nets are a great way to secure life vests, boat fenders, or anything else you may need on your aquatic journey.


Share this Article