What Kind Of Kayak Truck Rack Do I Need?

What Kind Of Kayak Truck Rack Do I Need?


How Does A Truck Kayak Rack Work?

Well, that depends on what kind you choose.

Thule cartop cargo rack

The average kayak truck rack mounts on the rail receivers, which can be found on the cab roof of most pickups, cars, and SUVs sold in America. Many reinforced truck caps or toppers also have mounts suitable for a kayak truck rack.

Other types of kayak truck rack are designed to let you transport kayaks or other long, delicate pieces of equipment above the bed and cab of a pickup truck. These can also hold canoes, ladders, lumber etc.

Finally, there are various types of kayak truck racks that mount to the trailer hitch of your vehicle.

We’ll look at each of these in turn.

Truck with Thule kayak rack


Who Sells Kayak Truck Racks?

We’ll take a look at a few examples of Thule kayak rack for trucks, Yakima truck kayak racks, and even a few lesser-known brands who make kayak racks that mount on your truck hitch. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. A very specialized kayak truck rack like Thule’s Hull-A-Vator might be very good at transporting a kayak, but not much good for anything else. A more generalized “goal post” rack like Yakima’s Overhaul HD might carry many different things well, but won’t be as easy to use with a kayak.

We might just have time to look at a few DECKED brand accessories which will work alongside many of these kayak truck rack systems.  


Category: Yakima Truck Kayak Rack

Will A Yakima Kayak Truck Rack Be Any Good?

Yakima is a very well-known brand for truck accessories, and their truck bed rack systems are particularly well-liked. Generally speaking, people who buy Yakima kayak truck racks are happy with what they got.

It is worth noting that most of the Yakima racks we’ll look at today are in fact multi-purpose truck rack systems, and not only dedicated kayak truck rack systems. While that means you might need a little adaptation to transport kayaks perfectly, it is more than made up for by the fact that you can easily do much more with the truck as well.


Yakima Goalpost-Style Kayak Truck Racks

Many of the Yakima kayak truck racks we’ll be looking at are so-called “goalpost racks.” Goalpost racks are well suited to open-bed pickup trucks, because they mount to the rails of the bed. Goalpost racks are designed to hold longer pieces of cargo (like canoes and kayaks) up over the cab.

This means they are not as specialized for kayaks as many of the Thule systems we’ll look at later. This isn’t all bad, of course. It does mean you might need some special equipment or accessories to add to your Yakima kayak truck rack before you can feel really secure off-roading with it attached, though.

Almost all goalpost kayak truck racks can also be used with the DECKED Drawer System, which we’ll talk about later.  


Yakima Overhaul HD Truck Bed Rack

As far as kayak truck racks go, the Yakima Overhaul HD truck bed rack system is one of the most flexible. It can carry loads of up to 300 pounds even in off-road conditions, and up to 500 pounds while on-road. It is adjustable from as little as 19 inches of lift off the rails or as much as 30 inches up. This is ideal for a kayak truck rack, as it can raise longer kayaks and canoes over the truck’s cab, but can lower shorter loads down and out of the wind.


Yakima OutPost HD Truck Bed Rack

The Yakima OutPost HD is a medium height solution which makes a great kayak truck rack for long-bed pickups of those with lower cab designs. It is fully rated for off road use, and was designed to keep your truck’s center of gravity closer to the ground than taller rack systems. You can use Yakima’s SideBar mounts with the OutPost HD, and really make the most of this mod-height kayak truck rack system.  


Yakima Bedrock HD


Yakima Bedrock HD Low Profile Truck Bed Rack

The Bedrock HD is not a goalpost rack. However, it is ideal as a kayak rack for long-bed pickups. This system used 4 low-rise clamp pylons to position 2 rails, which then served as the base for any roof-style kayak truck rack. It is available in a 55-inch, 60-inch, 68-inch, and 78-inch version, depending on the size of your truck. Overall, it is quite sturdy. It has a 300 pound on-road rating, and 180 pounds off-road.



Category: Thule Kayak Rack For Truck

Truck kayak roof rack


Will A Thule Kayak Truck Rack Be Any Good?

People know Thule as a quality brand. Though the company has changed hands quite a few times since really making a name for itself, it is still one of the world’s top names in sporting goods transportation technology. Most Thule kayak truck racks come with a lifetime warranty, as well, so you can buy with confidence.

Most Thule kayak truck rack models begin with two 47-inch crossbars. This is smaller than many of its competitors, and you might struggle to make a Thule kayak rack work as a canoe rack, but it will hold a kayak without any problems. The Thule kayak truck rack in general is known to be relatively quiet on the road, which is a nice feature. You can expect to see features like top-notch clamping systems for cargo boxes and easy release foot packs as well.


Thule Kayak Rack For Trucks

There are several very popular Thule kayak truck racks on the market today, including the Thule Hull-A-Port, the Thule Hull-A-Port Aero, the Thule Hullavator Pro, and the Thule Hull-A-Port XT. Note that all of these models are primarily designed for cars, so you’ll need to mount the rack to the roof of your cab or to a reinforced truck cap. They are not bed-mounted.

Thule Hullavator pro


Thule Hullavator Pro Kayak Truck Rack

The Thule Hullavator Pro is more than just a roof-rack for your kayak. The Hullavaotor system provides 18kg of lift-assistance, allowing a single person to mount a kayak on a car or truck’s roof rack single-handedly in complete safety. It provides 8 padded touchpoints to cradle a single kayak gently on the road, as well.


Thule Hull-a-Port

Thule Hull-A-Port Aero Kayak Truck Rack

The Thule Hull-A-Port Aero works with any car or truck roof mounted Thule roof rack system. It folds away or raises up quickly to reduce wind resistance when not in use. Soft rubber padding protects your kayaks on the road, and the StrapCatch system makes the kayak easy to strap down. The system even includes locks to prevent theft of your expensive sporting equipment.


Thule Kayak Truck Rack Prices

Prices range from the top-end Hullavator pro at $800 to the lower end Hull-a-port kayak truck rack at $200.


Thule Goalpost Truck Rack

There are several models of Thule kayak truck rack which can only be called goalpost racks. These are designed for open-bed pickup trucks, and mount to the rails of the bed. This includes kayak truck racks like the Thule Xsporter kayak truck rack, Thule Xsporter Pro kayak truck rack, and the Thule TracRac SR kayak truck rack. These have all been designed specifically for pickup trucks, and mount directly to the bed rails. No drilling is generally needed.



Thule Xsporter Pro Multi-Height Aluminum Truck Rack 500xt

The Thule Xsporter Pro kayak truck rack is ideal for many different types of cargo besides kayaks and canoes. You can adjust its height to make sure your cargo clears the roof of the cab, or lower shorter kayaks to improve wind resistance. This kayak truck rack system comes in silver aluminum or black finish. These are fairly expensive at nearly $900, but that is really in line for this class of truck bed kayak rack.


Category: Kayak Rack For Truck Hitch

RecPro RV Vertiyak Kayak Rack


RecPro RV Vertiyak Kayak Rack

RecPro’s Vertiyak kayak truck rack attaches to your trailer hitch mount, but that is where the similarities with other kayak truck mounts ends. This unique system mounts up to two kayaks vertically, leaving your entire truck bed clear. It will also accept paddleboards and other equipment of a similar size. Because the system is bed-agnostic, it will work with mobile homes, SUVs, and any vehicle with a trailer hitch.


Darby Extend-A-Truck


Darby Industries 944 Extend-A-Truck

Darby’s Extend-A-Truck kayak truck rack works by extending the bed of your pickup far enough to carry up to two kayaks. They sit mostly in the bed, below the sight line of the cab rear window, but extend out past the tailgate. This is a much more aerodynamic solution than an over-cab rack. The height of that rear support is adjustable, so you can use the Extend-A-Truck to carry other types of loads as well.


Where Can I Find Kayak Truck Racks Near Me?

All of the kayak truck rack models we’ve looked at today can be found at auto accessories shops all over the country. Of course, you can order online as well, either direct from the manufacturer, or from a host of online retailers.  


DECKED Products You Can Use Alongside A Kayak Truck Rack

DECKED drawer system


The DECKED Drawer System Works Alongside Most Roof-Mounted and Rail-Mounted Kayak Truck Rack Systems

The DECKED Drawer System allows you to carry a lot more equipment than the average truck rack, and offers security and aerodynamics advantages no rack can even approach. All kayak rack systems increase the drag on your vehicle, and that will generally make it less fuel efficient when you get up to highway speeds. The DECKED Drawer System serves many of the aerodynamic purposes of a tonneau cover. This can save you a great deal of fuel and even reduce your carbon footprint.


DECKED Drawer System in a white pickup

The most important thing you need to know about the DECKED Drawer System is that it gives you two full-bed-length high-capacity storage drawers. Together, they can literally hold a ton of expensive, delicate or hard to replace tools, gear,  and equipment. Better yet, they allow you to access those tools or equipment at waist height – much more convenient than climbing up to detach a cargo box off a high rack.


DECKED drawer system with heavy load


You never need to worry about the DECKED Drawer System holding its own as a cargo bed. Not only does it protect your bed from damage, but it can also carry at least as much weight on top as the bed could before. It is made of our unique high density polymer resin with all the steel and aluminum reinforcing elements it needs to stand up to any load you might need to carry.  


DECKED Drawer System installed under a truck cap



The DECKED Tool Box – Mobile, Low-Profile Tool And Gear Storage That Fits Under Most Kayak Truck Racks




The DECKED Tool Box mounts low, just behind the cab of your pickup. Not only does this make it compatible with all but the lowest-mounted truck bed rack systems, it allows the DECKED Tool Box to work with the DECKED Drawer System as well. When what you need is mobile, ultra-secure storage without any hassle, you need a DECKED Tool Box. You can even order the DECKED Tool Box with a fold-away ladder mounted inside, allowing for easy access to even the tallest truck beds.




Finally, let us add that The DECKED Tool Box and the DECKED Drawer system are both parts of the DECKED tool organization ecosystem. The Tool Box includes extras like a DECKED D-Box and Snack Traysmall parts container, and the DECKED Drawer System comes with A DECKED D-Box, a set of Drawer Dividers, a DECKED Crossbox, and a DECKED Drawerganizer.



We hope you learned a little about kayak truck racks, the ways they can be used, and the fine DECKED products you can use alongside them. When it comes to off road adventuring, you need more than convenience; you also need the strength and security you can only get with DECKED.