Best Kayak Racks and Carriers for Cars in Australia

Need help choosing the right Kayak Racks? Read the definitive buyers guide down below. Read More

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M-SKU: 840003

Thule K Guard Kayak Carrier

$549.00 AUD $579.95 AUD

Everything You Need to Know About Kayak Racks

With summer in full swing, water adventures once again beckon -- and kayaking is one of the most enjoyable pursuits for you and the entire family. Kayak racks are designed to make it convenient for you to transport your kayak so you can paddle away to pure bliss under the full glory of the sun anytime, anywhere.

What are Kayak Racks

Kayak roof racks are accessories that you can add to the roof of your vehicle for secure kayak storage and transport. 

You might think you don’t need one. After all, there are general racks that you can add to your car, truck, or SUV roof to carry various types of equipment, including kayaks. 

However, a kayak carrier is still best suited for the purpose, owing to the many benefits that it offers. These include the following:

Easy loading and unloading. Some kayak racks are designed with load or lift assistance to help you easily load and unload the board by yourself. Unlimited portability, unbridled fun!

Secure transportation of multiple kayaks. If you have more than one board, it’ll also be convenient to safely and securely move them from place to place with a kayak roof rack. You can fully optimise travel time, while making it easy for everyone else to join in on the fun.

Space-saving options. Finally, you won’t need a lot of space or get a trailer to travel with your kayaks to your destination. With a cartop rack, you can leave the interior of your vehicle free, and get the adventure started.

Types of Kayak Roof Racks 

There are three major types of kayak racks that you can choose from, which attach to the crossbars or platforms that come with your car or can be added to the top of your vehicle. They are as follows:


If you're transporting only one kayak at a time, saddle racks are ideal. Most kayak racks come with four cradles, which can be adjusted to fit the shape and size of your kayak. Their decks also point up from the crossbars, so your kayak can stay protected from scratches. 


J-Cradles are best if you want to load other equipment aside from kayaks, or save space while transporting multiple things. Highly sought after for their versatile shape, they use a side-loading mechanism to make space for other boards and equipment you may be transporting, as well as ensure there's enough padding below the kayak to minimize contact that can lead to damage. 

Some of these racks are also equipped with load or lift assistance for easy loading and unloading of your kayaks. Their only main disadvantage is that they're not suited to vehicles with narrow roofs. Additionally, J-cradles with built-in load assist can only be used with overhanging roof racks, not flush racks.


Another rack that can transport multiple kayaks, stackers are designed with a vertical bar so you can store your kayaks on their side and stack more than one. Just be careful to follow proper installation to make sure that the boards won't slip off during the transport.

How to Choose the Best Kayak Rack

When choosing among these three kayak rack types for your vehicle roof, there are a couple of factors that you should think about. First off, you'll want to check whether certain racks are suitable for your car make, model, and year. Subsequently, consider whether those racks are compatible with your kayak cradles.

Additionally, consider the following:

Kayak Size and Length

Kayak size and length will dictate how well your kayaks attach to your roof and, more importantly, how safely you can transport them. Bigger boards (as in the case of ocean kayaks) and longer boards (like tandem kayaks) will require racks that offer more stability and integrity, especially while on the road. Also, look into models that offer load or lift assistance. J-cradles or stacks are recommended for these types of kayaks.

Material Choice

Kayak racks are typically available in aluminum, steel, and plastic. Whichever you opt for is usually a matter of personal preference, but these three materials differ in terms of cost, durability, and corrosion resistance.

If you don't mind splurging for a kayak carrier that is lightweight and can hold up well against corrosion, choose aluminum racks. But if you believe that durability and structural integrity are more important, you'll want steel.

Or if you want ease of use, portability, UV protection, waterproofing, mold and corrosion resistance, and flexible functionality, you can opt for plastic carriers. These also typically come designed with rubber pads for easy loading and unloading.

Total Weight Capacity

Also, look into the maximum load that a rack can take. If you have just one kayak, this shouldn't be an issue, but if you're growing your collection in the future, it's best to invest in kayak racks now that can carry the weight of multiple kayaks. 


If you're taking off the racks during the off-season, you should also think about which racks are easier to store. J-cradles and saddles are great for this, but J-cradles with load assistance can be a little more cumbersome.


Finally, define your budget. Some racks, especially those that come with special features, fetch higher prices but they also prove to be more durable and efficient.

Get Your Kayak Racks at Roof Rack and Towbar World

With our diverse catalogue of kayak racks, canoe carriers, and SUP holders for cars, we provide a one-stop shop for all your rack needs. These include fixed or folding carriers, rear and side-loading saddle options, tow ball-mounted products, as well as racks with load-assist and lift solutions.

Working with only the best manufacturers, our collection boasts high-quality options from leading brands like Thule, Yakima, Rhino-Rack, and Rola. We can also assist with existing roof racks, or complete a custom and complete fit, depending on your needs.

Ready to place your order? Call us at 02 8999 8878 today, or drop by our Artarmon or Burwood location.

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