Best Trailer Hitch Mounted Kayak Carrier Racks

Kayak Carriers boat

Kayaking is among the most popular outdoor activity in the United States for the past decade. In fact, the number of participants and equipment consumers has nearly tripled between 2006 and 2016 from 6.5 to 15.69 million. You can fairly say that a kayak is a more versatile and well-rounded counterpart of the generic canoe.

The kayak’s basic design meant to handle rough streams, allowing you to paddle on both sides or easily resurface if you completely lose balance. Considering its popularity trend, you’d easily notice how contemporary automobile accessories incorporate a feature that is specifically meant to properly fasten kayaks on a vehicle – hence the hitch mounted kayak carrier.

Different Types of Kayak Carriers

In terms of buying a receiver hitch kayak carrier, your choice is pretty much determined by how you prefer to bring them to your rustic holiday venue. Would you like to tie it down behind your pickup truck? Or do you fancy towing them on wheeled trailers instead?

Bed Extenders

If you don’t like putting more than four wheels on the road, then you are looking for a bed extender variety. You should take note, however, that this accessory is specifically meant to be assembled on a pickup truck. It comes in two forms: the horizontal extender and the vertical extender.

If you choose a horizontal extender, then you’re placing your kayak on your truck bed. Since outriggers are longer than even the most pickup cargo decks, you will need to open your tailgate. The rack side wings support the other end of the coracle on a level surface.

If you choose a vertical extender, then you’re placing one end of your kayak on the roof of your pickup truck. With this design, you can load heavy stuff you won’t normally pile over a standard 40-pound plastic/wooden vessel (e.g. generator or ATV). You have to close your tailgate in order to properly buttress the other end of the kayak.

Trailer Racks

If you like to pull a set of wheels that strap your kayak and other boating accessories well, then the trailer hitch kayak rack is more suitable for you. The one clear advantage that this kind of kayak carrier has over a bed extender is that it can be rigged into the hitch receiver of every type of vehicle (e.g. subcompact, sedan, or SUV).

The Top 5 Kayak Carrier Options

Check out the top 3 bed extenders and the 2 most outstanding trailer kayak carriers in the market:

Lund 601021 Hitch Rack Truck Extender

This product is considered by many consumers to be a role model for most horizontal bed extenders. Among its well-known advantages is that it can handle fairly huge numbers in terms of length and mass loading capacity.

You can adjust the side wings by up to 49 inches and it can support a weight of 750 pounds.

Flags and a reflective red tape also provide nocturnal visibility. Many buyers are keen to notice how the shaft tends to sway when you make a turn. Some even reported installing additional tapering to ensure complete stability.

Pros

  • Wide adjustable side wings
  • Impressive load capacity

Cons

  • Potential sideways swaying

Darby Extend-A-Truck 944

Ordinary consumers would choose between a horizontal or vertical bed extender. But why should you if you can have both on one item? This is the particular advantage Darby Extend-A-Truck has over its competitors.

You can pretty much choose to fold the length and height to fit your preference. On top of that, this model also allows you to store it behind your seat if you’re taking a day off transporting your outrigger.

The most common grievance that the online consumers reported was the vertical extension’s integrity.

Pros

  • Dual extension adjustments
  • Good retail price value

Cons

  • Vertical extension may require tapering

Thule 997 Goal Post Hitch

If the Lund 601021 is the role model for horizontal bed extenders, its vertical counterpart would have to be the Thule 997 Goal Post Hitch. For one thing, occasional swaying that often impresses a lack of stability is something this item is known to handle very well.

Apart from high-grade steel material, this product also allows you to tweak the height as well as the allowance between the two locking rails along the 58-inch long load bar.

Surprisingly for a vertical bed extender, this rack can function on flat-reared vehicles. Unfortunately, you need to remove the spare tire and use a different hitch receiver bolts.

Pros

  • Zero swaying stability
  • Adjustable height and width

Cons

  • Poorly rigged on SUV’s and vans

Malone Auto Racks Micro Sport Trailer

This model can load up to 4 outriggers. But for a multi-vessel rack, the biggest value comes from its extensive warranty period of 5 years.

Curiously, the rear bumper sports signal light reflectors for night-time traffic safety.

A standard two-hour DIY installation period is just a relatively minor issue. For those on a tight budget, this product is far from a reasonable option. In fact, it costs almost twice the price of a mid-range bicycle.

Pros

  • Loads up to 4 kayaks
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Very expensive

Right-on Trailer Multiple Rack

If simplicity is power, this model pretty much capture every word of the slogan. It’s seemingly rudimentary two-tiered cubic design enables you to carry up to 4 kayaks on the lower platform and up to six bicycles on the upper platform.

If that’s not impressive, you’d love to know that it is comparatively cheaper than other wheeled kayak carriers.

The only real drawback comes from its DIY installation. Since it is distributed as multiple components, it has to be assembled every piece by piece. This can entail nearly an entire single day to complete for one person who follows every detail instruction precisely.

Pros

  • Impressive loading capacity
  • Lightweight material

Cons

  • Takes 3 to 5 hours to assemble

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