Advantages of kayak racks for trucks
There are many advantages of using a kayak rack for truck, and here, we look at the main reasons.
Maximize storage space – Having one of these roof racks will allow you to use your truck bed to store any other items you need. It maximizes storage space and allows you to take everything you need.
Versatility – As well as kayaks, these racks can also carry a lot more gear. That gives you versatility, and you’ll find plenty of uses for one of these racks.
Prevent damage – Having the kayaks securely attached to the rack will prevent any damage that may otherwise happen to your truck.
Highest security – Having a dedicated rack is going to be the most secure way to carry your kayak. You’ll be able to travel with confidence, knowing that your kayak isn’t going to be moving around.
Simple installation – Installation on most of these kayak racks is going to be fairly simple, and you’ll have it up in no time at all. Along with that, taking them down is also simple, so you can store them away with ease when they’re not in use.
How to pick the best pickup kayak rack?
There are two key aspects to choosing the best pickup kayak rack. First, you have to get a rack that fits the dimensions of your truck. Secondly, you can look at the features to see which rack is going to be the best option for your kayaks. After checking the compatibility, you want to look at the material used, the maximum weight load it can take, the weight of the unit, and the height it has, among other factors. Finally, you may want to check it has the right color for your truck and any other features, such as an aerodynamic design.
The most important thing to know is whether the rack that you want is going to fit your truck. The key measurement for this is going to be the width of the rack. You should also check the mounting system to see if it can be installed on your truck.
While some truck racks are made to fit specific vehicles, others have a universal design and can be fitted to a wide range of different models. We see this with the TMS 800LB Universal Pick Up Truck Ladder Rack, which is great for those not certain about the measurements.
Truck computability is a step that you want to tick off before moving on. Not all of these truck racks are going to fit all types of trucks.
You’ll also want to check how the kayak rack is going to be mounted. Many of these systems will use a clamp system. We see this with the AA-Racks Model APX25, which uses 8 different clamps to give you a secure fit. Others may not use clamps and instead require you drillings holes to be able to clamp the rack.
Drilling holes can be more secure, but also it requires a permanent change to your truck and can make it slower to take down. You’ll also want to see how the various pieces fit together. Nuts and bolts can give you security and stability but can make it hard to remove quickly. That’s why many models will use pins instead, which aren’t as secure but are quicker and easier to use.
There are two main types of material used with these racks, and they are either aluminum or steel. The difference between these two materials comes down to a simple trade-off. Steel is stronger and harder than aluminum and less likely to warp. The downside is that steel is much heavier and denser than aluminum. It will also corrode much quicker if not protected.
In practice, there’s not a lot between the two materials as you’ll see thinner steel used. This means that two racks made from different materials will still have similar strength and weight. For an aluminum rack, the Erickson Truck Rack is a great example. If you want a steel rack instead, you can’t go wrong with the TMS 800LB Universal Pick Up Truck Ladder Rack.
Max weight load
A single kayak will probably weigh around 30-40lbs, but big fishing kayaks can weigh over 100lbs. Due to this, the max weight load probably isn’t going to be an issue as even if you’re transporting four kayaks, these racks would be able to cope easily.
If you had thoughts of carrying more than a single kayak, then max weight load may become more of an issue. The
is a great example of a heavy-duty model, as this can carry weight up to 800lbs with no problem at all. If it’s just one kayak you’re carrying, then the minimum weight load of any of these racks exceeds 300lbs, so it won’t be an issue.
We’ve already looked at one key dimension, and that is the width. Many of these truck racks are adjustable, and that will allow them to fit on a wide range of trucks.
Along with the width, it’s also a good idea to see how high the kayak racks are going to be.
Most of these truck racks will sit between 26” and 30”, which would be an ideal fit for most trucks. The Erickson Aluminum Truck Rack, however, is very high at 34”, which may look a little too big on some trucks, whereas on larger trucks, it may be the perfect fit. It’s worth thinking for a moment about the ideal height for your truck.
A lot of people don’t like to have a kayak rack permanently installed on their truck. That extra weight will change the balance of the car, cause drag at higher speed, and also mean more fuel being used.
If you plan on taking your rack down after each kayak trip, then you’ll want that to be as easy as possible, and weight can be a factor in that.
The ECOTRIC Pick Up Truck Bed Hitch Extender at only 27.5lbs is a good example of a light rack. Even the heaviest models here are pretty easy to remove for two people. If you plan on removing your rack, then check how easy it is to do this and how much it weighs.
The MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack is easy to take down and weighs 55lbs, which is still a pretty comfortable weight, but it could be a struggle for one person.
You’ll probably want a kayak rack that matches the color of your truck. For some, this won’t be an issue, especially if you have a more colorful truck, such as red or blue, as these options are incredibly hard to find. If you do want a color match, then there are a few options out there.
Most come in just one color, which is often the bare metal silver or a powder-coated black finish. The Thule TracRac TracOne is unique as this comes with both of these options. It offers you a little more choice compared to other models.
What else should I check?
The kayak racks usually come with load stops to hold whatever you’re carrying. You must find out how adjustable these stops are and how easy they are to use. Most are simple to operate and give you a secure fit.
Checking the shape of the rack can also be useful. Some have a more rounded aerodynamic shape, which will reduce drag. Also, any exposed holes in a rack can cause a loud whistling sound, which you’ll don’t want to happen.
Aside from that, it’s also a good idea to check what hardware comes with the rack. Some manufacturers include nuts, bolts, or pins, so you won’t have to buy them separately.