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Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck Adventures

There is nothing like a day out on the water. From the sun and the fresh air to the sounds and the memories, being out on a kayak is refreshing. If you frequent the water, you know the importance of having the best kayak rack for truck use that takes you to and from your adventures. We know you work hard and you deserve to play hard, which is why the kayak rack you chose for your truck matters.

 

As with most truck accessories, there are different options for you to consider. You may be familiar with some of the kayak rack options out there:

  • Kayak roof rack for truck
  • Kayak rack for truck hitches (also known as goal post)
  • Kayak rack for truck with 5th wheel
  • Kayak rack for truck bed rails
  • Kayak trailer

 

When you are looking for the best kayak rack, you have many factors to consider. You will consider the type that works best for your truck. If you are towing a camper or 5th wheel, your needs will be different. If you have a truck bed toolbox, you want something that fits with your toolbox. You also have to consider the materials and weight when thinking about your truck’s capacity and your ability to lift and move. Lastly, we know you are considering your budget as you chose what will serve you and be affordable. We want your adventures to be never-ending. So, we have a few tips on how do you pick the right kayak rack for a truck you drive.

man lifts kayak up onto a kayak rack for truck

 

Choosing a Kayak Rack for Truck by Material and Capacity

Before you look at shapes and setups, you need to know what your truck can safely handle. A truck rack for kayak transporting usually comes in either steel or aluminum. Steel can be more than twice the density of aluminum, causing high-quality steel to weigh more. An aluminum kayak rack for truck transporting is a lighter material for a kayak rack for small truck travel. When looking at the best kayak racks on the market, you will find a mix of both materials. This also means that you do not want to use a car kayak rack on your truck, as weight capacity and fitting may be unsafe.

Ensuring the Best Kayak Rack for Truck Overall Needs

 

Next, before looking at specific kayak rack options like the Thule kayak rack for truck beds or the Yakima kayak rack for truck beds, consider the function of your truck. For example, if you are someone who is pulling a travel trailer or a 5th wheel, some kayak racks will not work for you. Consider whether you usually keep a truck bed toolbox in your truck bed, because if so there are some kayak racks for truck beds that cannot be installed. For example, if you use your hitch to tow a camper or trailer, you will not be able to use a rear hitch post kayak rack. Or, if you have a 5th wheel gooseneck installed, your kayak rack will not be able to span the truck bed.

Fortunately, there are options that allow you to keep your kayaks behind your truck, on top of your truck, or even on the front of your truck.

Help choosing what kind of kayak rack to get for your truck

Racks that Require Extra Accessories

Some types of kayak racks for trucks may require extra parts or accessories. For example, many of the choices for a roof rack for kayak on truck cabs require a crossbar. Hitch racks may require you to get a receiver-style hitch to accommodate the rack. When searching for the best kayak rack for a truck you already own, factor in any additional purchases that need to be made.

Knowing How Many Kayaks You Need to Carry

Once you have considered the questions around what your truck can accommodate and what your transportation needs are, you are ready to consider the different types of kayak racks for trucks. Are you a solo traveler? Then you can likely choose a smaller kayak rack for just one kayak. However, if you are traveling with friends or family, you will be looking for a style that accommodates more. A 2 kayak rack for truck, 3 kayak rack for truck, or even 4 kayak rack for truck will guide the type you and your truck need.

 

Installation and Moving the Kayak Rack

For most people, a removable kayak rack for truck travel will be desired. With a removable rack, you want to know how easy installation is. Another thing to consider is whether or not the kayak rack of your choice requires you to drill into your truck. We know you want to be able to end a workweek, get the kayak rack for truck travel up and ready, and spend the most time possible enjoying the water. If you are fortunate to be enjoying a vacation or a long road trip, we want you to have all the time possible to soak up and enjoy. No time needs to be wasted with a tedious kayak rack.
man lifts kayak to the top of his truck
Another part of choosing the location and type of your kayak rack is considering the number of times you will be lifting the kayak. Getting your kayaks to the roof of your truck would take more energy and strength than loading on a hitch rack or front rack.

If you use the same truck for work and play, installation may mean you need to remove the rack for the workdays to make room for your tools or other professional obligations. However, there are ways to make this easier and have a setup you do not have to constantly change. Having a
DECKED truck bed toolbox, for example, frees up space to accommodate a kayak rack for trucks of all kinds. A removable kayak rack for truck bed use allows you to be a professional through the week and a water warrior on the weekend and your vacations.

 

How Do You Pick the Right Kayak Rack for a Truck?

You may have a picture in your mind of what a kayak rack for truck adventures looks like. But, the truth is there are many looks and locations for you to store and carry your kayaks. We want you to have the best system possible to accommodate all of your needs from your kayaks to your toolbox so we have put together a description of each kayak rack option for your truck.

Kayak Rack for Truck Hitches

You can use a front or rear hitch to insert a goal post-style kayak rack. This type of kayak rack goes into your hitch and creates an extension to hold your kayaks. Most of the truck hitch kayak racks hold your kayaks above the truck cab and/or bed. You can find a couple of brands that offer vertical kayak rack for truck bed options as well.


If you drive down the road near a body of water, you will usually see these hitch post kayak racks in the back hitch. However, for needing a kayak rack for truck with 5th wheel or another trailer attached, you may see the owner using the front hitch to maximize space.

truck with kayak rack on river

Kayak Rack for Truck Bed Rails

A kayak rack that is secured to the truck bed rails is also often able to double as a ladder rack. This rack makes use of the space above the truck bed without extending the length of the truck in the front or the back. The popular Thule kayak rack for truck rails is this type of rack. We love how easily this type of kayak rack works for those using the DECKED toolbox system because you get to make use of the truck bed with tools and storage, and transport your kayaks above that.

Kayak Roof Rack for Truck

If you want your kayaks as close to the heavens as possible, a kayak roof rack for truck travel may be your best bet. These racks secure your kayak to the cab roof. This is a great kayak rack for truck camper shell set up. This is also a good kayak rack for truck bed with Tonneau cover.

Truck Bed Extender for Kayak

For those who want the kayak to rest snuggly in the truck bed, a truck bed extender for a kayak makes this possible. Just as it sounds, a truck bed extender allows you to make use of your truck bed and tailgate. An extender cannot be used with many other storage or towing options. However, it is easy to load.

Kayak Trailer

Perhaps you do not want to secure your kayak to the truck or you are unable. If this is the case, there are options with a kayak trailer. A kayak trailer is what is used by most companies to transfer kayaks back and forth to launching docks. Smaller trailers are available for personal use.

man shows organized truck bed tool box for work and for kayaking

DIY Kayak Rack for Truck

We know you are extremely handy, so you have thought about a DIY truck rack for kayak storage. Just like any other DIY project, a homemade kayak rack for pickup truck use requires a plan and some important questions. A popular approach is the DIY PVC kayak rack for truck beds.

If you are looking at the DIY approach consider the material you will use, the weight, the secure tactic, and how well it will travel. Many DIY options are more difficult to install and remove than options you can purchase. Most people look for a no-drill kayak rack for truck travel in order to keep the truck in top condition. In some cases, drilling or other extra installation during a DIY could impact the truck warranty.

Maximizing your Truck Rack for Kayak Transporation

We want you to have more fun playing and we know you deserve it. Even though the waters can be unpredictable, your trip does not have to be. Choosing a kayak rack for your truck is an investment of time, money, and energy, but the payoff means days of soaking up the sun and water. Take your time identifying your needs, looking at the options available, and finding the best kayak rack for truck transportation.

For our customers using the
DECKED truck bed toolbox system, we are excited for you to find a kayak rack for truck adventures that pairs with the toolbox that already houses all of your favorite tools, toys, and accessories.

Man stands overlooking the river



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