The 5 Best Truck Kayak Racks of 2020


Best Truck Kayak Racks

If you are someone who is on the mood for boating and fishing at any time, then you should consider upgrading your truck to hold a kayak rack. Having such a roof rack with ensuring that you can carry your kayak hassle-free, anytime, anywhere. Some of the powerful and reliable kayak roof racks, that we have listed here make sure that your kayak stays in this position throughout the entire transportation process.

The kayak racks are strong, reliable, and stable and help in transporting the kayak in one piece, safely and securely, irrespective of the length of the journey. After all, it is not a good idea to toss the kayak in the truck bed and endure damages to both of them. Let us discuss the best kayak racks available for your truck, along with their buying guide.


Best Truck Kayak Racks

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Truck Kayak Racks – [2020]

  1. AA-Racks Extendable Aluminum Pick-Up Truck Ladder Rack
  2. Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum Truck Rack
  3. AMP Research BedXTender HD Max Truck Bed Extender
  4. Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack (Adjustable Truck)
  5. MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack

Best Truck Kayak Racks Reviews

#1. AA-Racks Extendable Aluminum Pick-Up Truck Ladder Rack


AA-Racks Extendable Aluminum Pick-Up Truck Ladder Rack At a Glance:
  • Universal design to fit a variety of trucks
  • Durable construction
  • Reinforced heavy-duty aluminum material
  • Ideal for hauling ladders
  • Distributed load handling up to 800 lbs.
  • Doesn’t require drilling
  • Easy to install
  • Universal mounting clamps
This is an ideal aluminum pickup truck rack for mounting kayak, ladder, and other utilities carrying. The rack features a standard weight loading capacity of 800 pounds. Its exterior material is rust-free aluminum.

The rack comes with eight Aluminum C clamps for installation without any drilling. This rack is compatible with a variety of truck models and the racks have powder coating with weather-resistant paint. In short, this is a rack that has been built to work and to last.

The dimensions of this rack are about 71” wide and 28” high. It is capable of lifting almost anything as its uprights are separate from its horizontal bits and its slides are capable of adjusting to any size. Its load stops are also adjusting and are removable.

People love this rack as it features a simple assembling process. Its bed clamps and its hardware are sturdy and solid. The load stops are also perfect for lumber and sticks. One of the best features of buying the AA-Racks truck ladder racks is their prompt and friendly customer service.

#2. Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum Truck Rack


Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum Truck Rack At a Glance:
  • Air trip technology to redirect airflow for excellent aerodynamics
  • Maximum carrying versatility
  • Wind Diffuser technology for quiet road performance
  • Secure lock that locks the rack with the truck
  • 4- one key lock cylinders
  • Includes Thule lock system crossbars
  • Wind Diffuser technology for noise reduction.
You can carry any quantity of load in your truck with the help of this Thule Xsporter Pro Aluminum rack mounting. This rack is ideal to carry Canoes, Kayaks, ladders, SUPs, and even building supplies. These racks don’t require any drilling or cutting to mount and feature easy height adjusting features with superior aerodynamics.

The rack helps in a quiet ride and helps with a Secure Lock design that gets the lock secured with the truck. This rack is capable of holding a weight of up to 450 pounds.

This rack has superior load handling capacity and extreme versatility to load, carry, and store kayaks. Its AirTrip technology helps in redirecting the airflow for superior aerodynamics. Its wind diffuser technology helps with ultra-quiet road performance.

This rack demands Thule rack systems round bars, crossbars, and factory racks and its Wind Diffuser technology disturbs airflow considerably to decrease noise and drag for improved fuel efficiency.

#3. AMP Research BedXTender HD Max Truck Bed Extender


AMP Research BedXTender HD Max Truck Bed Extender At a Glance:
  • Classic U shape design for maximum cargo capacity
  • Tailgate can offer additional cargo space
  • Torque resistant design
  • Aluminum alloy tubes
  • Durable powder coat finish
  • Easy to assemble and install
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
This is one of the best truck kayak racks that features a classic U-shape design for maximum cargo capacity. You can flip it out to let the tailgate open and benefit from two feet of cargo area with the enclosure.

You can also flip it in and close the tailgate to keep the tools and cargo contained within the truck bed. Its torque resistant clamshell design comprises of composite uprights. Its aluminum alloy tubes feature a durable powder coat finish as well.

This kayak rack is extremely easy to assemble and to install. The product comes with three years of the limited warranty and is made in the USA.

Overall this product has expert design and it is also easy to install, without requiring a drill adapter. It serves as an excellent truck bed extender and you can use it to carry a kayak and additional cargo as well.

#4. Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack (Adjustable Truck)


Apex ATR-RACK Ladder Rack At a Glance:
  • Universal utility rack
  • Adapts to most pickup trucks
  • Sliding and adjusting system
  • Perfect fit for any truck
  • Quick and easy to install
  • No-drill and clamp-on installation
  • Comes with four ladder stops
  • Made from lightweight aluminum
  • The load capacity is 800 lbs.
This is a universal truck rack with four posts. It makes hauling large equipment extremely easy and simple. It has completely adjusting crossbars that work great with any compact, mid or full-size pickup truck.

Its innovative clamp system does not mandate any drilling and there are ladder stoppers to keep the truck and kayak safe while driving. The rack also offers ample tie-down points for any type of cargo. You can easily carry even heavy objects in this rack as it is made from high-strength aluminum.

The aluminum material of this kayak rack is corrosion-resistant and is lightweight. The load capacity of this rack is about 800 pounds. It features a completely adjusting crossbars that fit trucks of 66 inches’ width.

They adapt to mid and full-size trucks as well. It has four triangular ladder stoppers that slide along the top bars to fit the width of any cargo. The installation is quick and easy with a clamp system. Doesn’t require any drilling.

#5. MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack


MaxxHaul 70423 Universal Aluminum Truck Rack At a Glance:
  • Durable aluminum material
  • The reinforced structure on the crossbar
  • The load capacity is 400 lbs.
  • Adjusting cargo bumpers
  • Mounts easily on a pickup bed rail system
  • Requires no drilling
This superior aluminum truck rack has its horizontal and vertical posts made from durable aluminum material. Its base brackets are from heavy-duty steel for additional strength.

These bars have a powder coat finishing for additional durability. The racks have an internally reinforced structure for enhanced strength and the maximum load capacity of these racks is about 400 pounds.

The crossbar can extend to at least 70” long to fit with any truck bed. Its supporting uprights measure at least 26” in height. These racks include adjusting cargo bumper at the end of each of the crossbars to prevent the cargo from sliding when the vehicle is in motion. The rack is capable of mounting easily on the pickup rail system, without mandating drilling.

Buyer’s Guide For Best Truck Kayak Racks

Best Truck Kayak Rack

Types of Truck Kayak Racks

There are three different styles of Truck kayak racks depending on their mounting style and their alignment. Let us discuss them in detail here.

  • Receiver racks
  • Bed rail racks
  • Bed Extenders

Receiver Racks:

These racks settle at the receiver of the truck. The racks adjust vertically and render support for the kayaks when your stash them in the truck bed with the tailgate.

These racks are ideal for trucks with short beds and have very little room to accommodate longer boats. You should have a receiver installed in your truck to use these racks and are cheap and good to use as well. Overall, these racks are both easy to install and easy to access as well.

Bed Rail Racks:

Truck beds also possess rails on either side, termed as bed rails. These can be ambient spots to attach the racks, toolboxes, rails, and other accessories. These bedrail racks either attach to the rails or settle at the stake pocket on the rails.

This type of truck racks can be an intelligent choice, as you can leave them as such all the time. As they go over the truck, they will not interfere with the payloads. But the drawback is that they could be hard to reach as they are tall and they could be a hindrance to tight parking spaces.

Bed Extenders:

If you wish to minimize the risk of enduring injury, then you should consider using bed extenders. You can slide the kayak into the bed of the truck and secure it, without having to lift it or store it on top of the truck.

These racks are easy to install and fit on a standard two-inch receiver hitch. They are also super easy to remove and break down to a simple structure to store at the back seat of the truck when you won’t require them.


Buying Tips– What To Consider While Choosing The Best Truck Kayak Racks:

Best Truck Kayak Rack

There is no single solution when it comes to buying the truck kayak rack. Generally, these kayak racks either extend the length of your truck bed or allows you to stack them on its top. But there are some clear pointers that you should consider while buying these racks so that you make the best out of the money you spend on them.

  • Truck kayak rack material
  • Security of the kayak rack
  • Capacity
  • Tongue weight capacity and receivers
  • Brand
  • Budget

Truck Kayak Rack Material:

It is the material of the kayak rack that determines the strength and durability of the kayak stand. Two materials are commonly popular for the strength and durability they offer, namely steel and Aluminum.

Steel racks are strong, cheap, and are available widely. But they can be heavy. They can handle a lot of weight and force than aluminum. You can buy them if you think you can use your receiver extender on the truck bed for things, other than transporting kayaks.

Aluminum racks on the other hand are expensive than steel. They are lightweight and are a viable option if you are removing and installing the rack at every time of your use. a vast majority of kayak racks come as a combination of both these materials, carrying the good features of both these independent materials.

Security of The Kayak Rack:

Though kayak racks won’t create a hole in your pocket, they are still costly investments. You cannot afford to lose your kayak holder to a thief. Therefore, it is important to buy a kayak holder with some built-in security features such as locks or locking hitch pin.

Somehow you have to find a lock for your hitch rack. Racks that go with the bedrail can be hard to secure. For kayak bed rails, it is a good idea to look for built-in locks to put one’s lock. But owing to their design, the bed rail racks can have limited options for installing your lock.


When it comes to the capacity of the kayak racks, there are two things to consider, first one is how many kayaks you wish to carry. The majority of the truck beds can fit in two boat side by side, bed rail racks will also work for two boats at a time. The second most important point to consider is the length of the boats.

Generally, any bed over the cab rack or the hitch rack will be able to handle kayak of any length. But if you have a longboat that is of 15’ or more, then you have to double-check the dimensions of the rack that you buy.

Though the kayak rack doesn’t have to be as long as the length of your kayak, it should be able to support the kayak well and be able to strap the boat securely. Longboats are better on bed rail racks. To avoid collisions, parking issues, and damages to the kayak, consider a bed rail rack to place the kayak above the truck.

Tongue Weight Capacity and Receivers:

Generally, hitch mounting kayak racks have limitations to the receiver they are fitted in. Receivers are generally the square sockets on the truck, SUC, or the car into which the hitch goes.

Pay attention to the tongue weight rating. Though the kayak rack can hold 400 pounds, the receiver may not and this can result in bending, destroying the receiver, breaking the hitch, bumper, and the boats, etc.

Be sure not to put more weight on the kayak rack, more than what the receiver can handle. The majority of the hitch racks will share the weight of the kayak with other parts of the vehicle. Thus, an 80-pound kayak can render only 20 pounds of force directly on the receiver.


There are several kayak roof racks brands out there, and you must take your time to select the right type of rack according to your needs. Check the brand, their years of experience, and their reputation before choosing to buy them. Check detailed information about customer service as well. Buy from companies that specialize in selling kayak relevant products.


Budget is always a constraint for all of our purchases. Especially when we have already spent a huge deal of money buying the kayak itself. It becomes mandatory to choose a rack that offers an excellent level of support and quality to maintain the weight of the kayak, still at pocket-friendly rates.

Though the price is an important determinant in making the purchase, make sure you invest in quality products that cost a little higher as they will stand the test of time and do justice to the money spent on them.


Best Kayak Truck Racks FAQs:

How much weight should I levy on the kayak rack?

Check the maximum weight rating on your kayak rack. And make sure that you install the kayak rack as per the specifications to achieve the maximum weight ratings. The majority of the kayaks weigh less than 100 pounds and thus even with two boats you should be well within the weight capacity of any rack or extender.

How to shift my kayak in the rack safely?

Remember to secure your kayaks with the help of tie-down straps, so that loads don’t shift. Shifting loads can also create momentary weight increases and could stress attachment points beyond their specified load rating.

What will happen to the gas mileage when I use racks on my truck?

No doubt using a rack on the truck will decrease the gas mileage, as more air resistance means less gas mileage. But it will be a very minute difference that you probably will not notice.

How should I attach my kayak to the truck rack?

Irrespective of what you are using, a roof rack, or a bed extender, you should have a healthy supply of ratchet tie-down. Irrespective of what kind of rack you are using you require ratcheting straps will help in securing your kayak in place. Also, invest in quality tie-down straps to save headaches and unwanted frustrations.


Final Thoughts:

Kayak racks are great options for your truck so that you can carry your boats easily without having to rearrange things. Irrespective of the type of rack you are choosing, do not forget to read the instructions manual carefully and install the rack as per the instructions. We hope we have covered all the major aspects that will help you in choosing your best kayak rack for your truck.


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