If you own a kayak, you probably know the unbridled joy and frustration that it can bring you. The joy comes from the afternoons you spend out on the water, soaking up the sun, working out your mind and body. The frustrations can come from trying to haul the darn boat to the water, to begin with.
Some people are lucky enough to dock their kayaks near the water while others have to deal with hauling them on their vehicle.
A kayak carrier makes hauling your kayak around easier for you.
Trailer Hitch Kayak Carriers
The most popular style of kayak carrier, for a number of different reasons, are the trailer hitch receiver kayak racks. Your trailer hitch is located on the back-end of your car and it is what you use for the majority of your towing, hauling, and carrying needs. Trailer hitches are great for kayak hauling duties because they are stable, durable, and capable of handling a ton of weight. This means that you can even haul multiple kayaks at a time if you buy the proper carrier for the job. No matter how big and rugged your truck or SUV is you won’t be able to properly fit a 12′ boat into your trunk or pick-up bed. If you want an easy way to haul your kayak around then you need to look at trailer hitch kayak carriers.
Top Selling Hitch Mounted Kayak Racks
You can spend hours on the internet mindlessly browsing through page after page of kayak carrier. After awhile you’ll notice that they start to blend together and you aren’t making any progress towards actually picking one. To spare you a headache and make your job a little bit easier we decided to compile a list of trailer hitch kayak racks that are affordable as well as great at their job. We have three different brands and three different prices depending on your budget.
Extend-A-Truck 944 Truck Bed Extender
Everybody wants to save some cash but nobody wants to sacrifice quality. That’s why we decided to start out by putting the spotlight on the Extend-A-Truck 944 Truck Bed Extender. If you have a truck with a trailer hitch then we want to congratulate you: hauling your kayak just got real easy. This truck bed extender attaches to your trailer hitch and offers you 4 feet of width at the top of the bar. You can adjust the height of the extender if you want to haul the kayak with the base of your roof or the bed of your truck. At under $100 you aren’t going to find a trailer hitch rack that is more affordable. Haul your kayak face down as there are no cushioning mechanisms at the front of the carrier.
Yakima DryDock Truck Hitch Boat Carrier
If you are an outdoorsy type than the Yakima brand is already familiar to you thanks to their work with bicycle racks. The Yakima DryDock Truck Hitch rack is perfect if you have a kayak that you want to take good care of when hauling it around. You’ll notice that this carrier utilizes a Y frame to give your kayak a wide base to rest on while minimizing how much space it takes up. You can adjust the height of the carrier in order to match your roof and you can lower it out-of-the-way when not in use. You also have strong safety straps to make sure that nothing moves on longer trips. This hitch carrier fits to a 2″ hitch receiver and requires Bow/Stern straps, purchased separately.
Rhino Rack T-Loader Kayak Rack
Rhino Rack isn’t a juggernaut in the industry yet but they will be soon thanks to products like the Rhino Rack T-Loader Kayak Rack. The Rhino Rack is as easy to use as it looks and requires little more than a 2″ hitch receiver to get in operation. This carrier can have its height and tilt adjusted and is perfect for someone with a single kayak that needs to be carried around. You don’t need any additional straps or accessories and you’ll have it installed and ready to go in a few minutes. We love this kayak for situations where you won’t have an additional rider with you to help load/unload. Easy to install, easy to use, the Rhino Rack T-Loader Kayak Rack is our overall favorite top option on the marketplace right now.
What should you look for in a trailer hitch carrier?
Alright, so you’ve wisely decided to opt for the trailer hitch carrier in order to solve your kayak hauling needs. What are you exactly looking for? A cursory search on Google will reveal to you a variety of different sorts of hitch carriers that all kind of look-alike. Are they all similar? Sure. Are they interchangeable? Not at all. Let’s break down what you’ll be looking for as you start shopping
Unless we all owned the same car, height will be a priority when you shop for your trailer hitch kayak rack. You optimally want a hitch carrier that you can adjust the height and tilt with relative ease. This allows you to accommodate for tight spaces and easier loading.
Do you have two single person kayaks that you need to carry around? Are you just interested in hauling your own kayak around? The width of the T-bar in your hitch carrier will decide how many kayaks you can load on top of it. If you need to carry two kayaks then make sure your vehicle and carrier are both wide enough to take on the job.
When you don’t have your kayak loaded up you don’t want to be dragging a couple of feet of steel rack behind you, do you? The best kayak carriers are as easy to install as they are to put away. We’ve seen trailer hitch carriers that fold nicely against your vehicle when not in use. Ultimately this is a preference and not something mandatory, but we like a carrier that we can shove out-of-the-way when we are done without any fuss.
This kayak carrier is installed directly onto your roof by way of your roof racks. For a horizontal kayak carrier you will need a roof rack along with the 4-piece fitted kayak handles that clip on top of your ride. From there you load your boat and then strap it down by going end to end, underneath the car.
There are a couple of different styles of roof racks out there: Horizontal Kayak Carrier, J-Style Kayak Carrier, and Vertical Kayak Carrier. When you use a roof rack you will be sacrificing fuel efficiency and height in order to be able to easily load/unload your kayak.