Even the best kayak roof racks are useless if they can’t carry a kayak for you and your favorite paddle partner. While we’ve already reviewed some of the best kayak racks for trucks, we haven’t yet given you our selections for the best 2 kayak roof rack.
No matter the type of vehicle you use to transport your kayak, you’ll need crossbars to make these 2 kayak roof racks work. If you don’t already have crossbars on your vehicle, you might explore our article on how to transport a kayak without a roof rack.
We recommend getting crossbars on top of your vehicle if you’re going to be transporting two kayaks. They make it much safer and also protect the top of your vehicle from scratches and damage that can occur during the loading and unloading processes.
Today, we’re going to review the 10 best 2 kayak roof rack models on the market today. And we’ll also provide you with a comprehensive Buying Guide that will help you select the best 2 kayak roof rack for your specific needs.
So let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1 Buying Guide
- 2 2 Kayak Roof Rack Reviews
- 2.1 1. Malone Downloader 2-Pack
- 2.2 2.Leader Accessories Kayak Rack 2-Pair
- 2.3 3. Malone Stax Pro2
- 2.4 4. IKURAM Folding J-Style Rack
- 2.5 5. Yakima JayLow Rooftop Mounted Kayak Rack
- 2.6 6. DrSportsUSA Folding Kayak Carrier
- 2.7 7. Malone Foldaway-5 Multi-Rack
- 2.8 8. XCAR Folding J-Bar Rooftop Kayak Rack
- 2.9 9. AA-Racks 2 Pair J-Bar Rack
- 2.10 10. TMS 2 Pair J-Bar Rack
- 3 Our Pick – Malone Stax Pro2
- 4 Enjoyed 10 Best 2 Kayak Roof Rack? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the Kayak Help journey.
Unfortunately, the term ‘universal’ can be very inaccurate when used to describe a 2 kayak roof rack’s ability to fit on any vehicle and handle any type of kayak. So we’re going to provide some important tips to help you narrow down your options and choose a 2 kayak roof rack that’s actually going to work for you.
There are several different types of kayak roof racks out there. So let’s start by defining the main types you’ll need to choose between and providing a few pros and cons of each type.
Traditional J-Style Racks (sometimes called ‘J-Bars’)
J-style racks are designed for you to set your kayaks on their side with the cockpit facing out and away from the center of your vehicle. Once your kayaks are in place, they’ll rest on these racks at roughly a 30-degree angle.
J-style racks are arguably the most popular choice for carrying two kayaks because they do well to maximize the space on your vehicle’s roof. Their only downside is that they can cause wind drag that reduces your fuel economy when you’re not transporting kayaks.
Folding J-Style Racks
When you need to transport your kayaks, folding J-style racks operate in much the same manner as traditional J-style racks. Your kayaks sit on their side and straps run over them and down underneath your vehicle’s crossbars.
But when you aren’t transporting kayaks, you’ll be able to fold these racks down and improve your overall fuel economy. And some of these racks can even fold into multiple different positions that allow you to carry items other than your kayaks, such as SUPs, canoes, surfboards, skis, and snowboards.
These racks typically include a single vertical post that gets installed right at the center of your vehicle’s crossbars. They usually have some sort of slots at the top of those posts for securing straps and many of the best stacker racks include foam blocks or pads that also secure to your crossbars.
These racks are generally the best for permanent installation because they can fold down in between your crossbars when you’re not using them. This allows you to use your vehicle’s crossbars just as you would if the racks weren’t installed and it means you won’t have to constantly be installing and removing these racks once you set them in place the first time around.
The weight capacity of any 2 kayak roof rack is arguably the first thing you should look at when comparing different models. Kayaks can come in a variety of sizes and weights, so you’ll need to make sure the rack you choose can handle the combined weight of both your kayaks.
Be careful when looking at the weight capacity of certain kayak roof racks. Some will advertise the rack’s total weight capacity while others will advertise the approved or tested capacity for just one side of the rack.
The next major consideration is whether or not the rack you’re interested in will be compatible with the crossbars on your vehicle. All of these racks require that your vehicle already has crossbars, but not all of them are compatible with all types of crossbars.
Generally speaking, there are round, square, oval-shaped, aerodynamic, and factory-installed crossbars. If you’re not sure what you have on your vehicle, you can always compare pictures online or consult your vehicle’s manufacturer.
But if you have square crossbars and the rack you choose is only compatible with round bars, you’re going to end up returning the rack. So crossbar compatibility is really important if you want to make sure you get your purchase right the first time around.
These roof racks always require that you have the right straps or tie-downs to secure your kayak to them. While some models will come with the straps or tie-downs you need, that is unfortunately not always the case.
If you don’t already have either cam-style or ratchet-style straps at your house, make sure you choose a rack that at least comes with one style or the other. But, in the best-case scenario, you’ll find a rack that comes with both types of straps so that you don’t have to ever worry about the security of your kayaks!
2 Kayak Roof Rack Reviews
These racks are designed to make it easy for you to load your kayaks from the side of your vehicle. And they can remain on your vehicle even when you’re not carrying kayaks because they fold down and reduce wind resistance.
Each set of racks has ample padding to protect the integrity of your kayak’s hull during transportation. They also come with the appropriate hardware to fit round, square, and most oval-shaped crossbars.
The Downloader 2-pack has a maximum weight capacity of 75 pounds for each rack and each rack comes with both 60-millimeter and 70-millimeter pre-coated mounting bolts to make installing them securely a breeze.
Once you have your kayak loaded onto this rack, you won’t have to search around for your own cam-style or ratchet straps. This 2 pack of kayak racks comes with its own cam-style load straps and an additional set of SpeedLine ratchet-style tie downs as an added bonus!
This makes it a great solution for heavier fishing kayaks or canoes up to eight feet in length. These J-style racks are constructed with powder-coated steel so that you can count on them to resist the build-up of rust and corrosion over time.
Each rack boasts a total of four pieces of foam padding that are designed to specifically sit under the most fragile parts of your kayak. They serve to reduce scratches and dents that can sometimes occur when transporting 2 kayaks.
The Leader Accessories racks also come with a total of four tie-down straps so that you don’t have to purchase them separately. And these racks can also be great for anyone that needs to transport surfboards, SUPs, and snowboards.
The octagonal posts are designed to secure to the center of your vehicle’s crossbars and the injection-molded nylon platforms provide maximum stability for your precious kayaks. It also comes with Malone’s proprietary stacker blocks, which provide cushion for the side of your kayak while you’re driving.
This 2 kayak roof rack comes with all of the hardware and mounting bolts you’ll need for a complete installation and you won’t need any additional tools to get them secured to your vehicle’s crossbars. Once they’re in place, they can stay there permanently because the T-posts will actually fold down towards each other to reduce drag.
The Stax Pro2 can handle two kayaks up to 80 pounds in weight and 32 inches in width each. The posts themselves are also corrosion-resistant and this rack comes with 12’ cam-style straps and an additional set of 12’ bow and stern safety tie-downs.
This rack is somewhat unique because the vertical post can be adjusted to multiple positions, depending on your preference. This allows you to carry not only kayaks, but also SUPS, surfboards, and large canoes.
The racks themselves are made from anodized aluminum alloy, which is lightweight but also highly durable and corrosion-resistant. And each rack includes plenty of padding to protect your kayak from being damaged during transportation.
The IKURAM racks also include Native Paddle Holders, which allow you to keep your paddles secure in between your kayaks. This can be super convenient and also helps you save space inside your vehicle for the rest of the items on your kayaking accessories list.
This rack is designed to fit one kayak in a J-style position or two kayaks stacked vertically. When using it for the latter application, it can handle a maximum weight capacity of up to 110 pounds.
One unique benefit of this kayak rack is that it can be locked to your vehicle’s crossbars for added safety. In order to do so, you’ll simply need to purchase Yakima’s Same Key System (SKS) locks and then you’ll be able to rest assured knowing no one is unscrewing your racks while you’re out paddling.
The JayLow also includes an integrated cam lever that allows you to adjust the position of the upright post on the racks. That lever also gives you the ability to fold the rack completely flat when your kayaks aren’t there and you don’t want them to impact your vehicle’s fuel economy.
The final thing that we’ll say about this rack is that both components come fully assembled and with all the hardware and bolts you’ll need to install them on your vehicle’s crossbars. By following the instructions carefully, you should be able to have this system ready to roll in about 10 minutes after unpacking the racks.
It boasts a maximum weight capacity of up to 150 pounds and the racks themselves are made of 1.5-millimeter thick steel tubing. These racks are compatible with round, square, and most factory-installed, oval-shaped crossbars.
It also includes rubber and foam padding in all the right places so that your kayak’s hull doesn’t get scratched or dented unnecessarily. And you’ll also enjoy easy installation with all the included bolts and hardware.
This folding kayak carrier also comes with everything you need to strap your kayaks down to it. It includes two cam-style loading straps and two bow and stern safety lines to make your life simple and easy.
Indeed, this multi-rack actually comes with two different lengths of mounting bolts so that you can guarantee a more secure fit on your specific vehicle. And it includes 11-foot cam straps and tie-downs for two kayaks.
The vertical posts on the racks include a quick-release lever that allows you to fold it down when you don’t need it. That’s what makes this rack adaptable to larger vessels and also allows you to leave it on top of your car when you’re not transporting kayaks without worrying about compromising your gas mileage.
The Foldaway-5 Multi-Rack also comes with SUP insert pads that provide an extra cushion for boats made of more sensitive materials, such as fiberglass. And all the parts of this rack are constructed with corrosion-resistant coated steel, so you don’t have to worry about it degrading in humid or salty environments.
It’s compatible with most square, factory, and aerodynamic crossbars, but you won’t be able to use it if you have round bars on your vehicle. Like most of these racks, it does come with its own set of four ratchet-style tie-down straps to help you secure your kayak to it.
The materials used in the construction of this rack are corrosion-resistant as well. And you’ll like the ability to fold the vertical post on the rack down so that you can fit in lower parking garages or reduce drag whenever you’re not transporting kayaks.
The XCAR folding kayak rack can also carry canoes, SUPs, and surfboards. It has plenty of weight capacity to handle two medium-sized kayaks, although you might consider a more durable design if your kayak exceeds about 80 pounds.
This set comes with a total of four J-racks that are compatible with round, square, and factory-installed, oval-shaped crossbars. And unlike some J-style racks, these boast extra thick foam padding to provide more insulation and protection for the hull of your kayak.
The base of each rack is approximately nine inches wide, which is plenty to fit most recreational kayaks. And they offer steel construction, which provides better long-term durability than aluminum alloy.
The AA-Racks 2 Pair also comes with a set of four ratchet-style load straps to help you secure your kayaks in place. And they’re also capable of handling kayaks up to 16 feet in length, which is longer than most of the other racks on our list.
Each rack is secured to your crossbar using a total of two bolts. By loosening the bolts halfway and then removing one of them entirely, it makes it easy to set these racks in place, swivel the mounting bracket around, and secure the bolts back in place.
This installation process allows you to install or remove these racks in a matter of minutes, which is essential for racks that can’t fold down when you’re not using them. They also boast powder-coated steel construction, which provides ample durability and superior corrosion resistance.
The TMS J-Bar rack can hold a total of two kayaks at a weight of up to 75 pounds each. Each of these kayaks can also be up to 36 inches wide and these racks come with a total of four cam-style loading straps to make it easy to secure your kayaks in place before heading to your favorite waterway.
Our Pick – Malone Stax Pro2
And while there are other folding racks on our list, none quite get fully out of the way like the Stax Pro2. Once the vertical posts on this rack are folded down, you’ll largely have the same access to your vehicle’s roof as you would if they weren’t there at all.
This is simply something that other folding, J-style racks won’t allow. And it means that you can more easily load lumber, a larger canoe, or anything else onto your vehicle’s standard crossbars without worrying about this rack getting in the way.
But we also picked this rack because it offers the ability to carry very heavy kayaks without concern. And Malone’s stacker proprietary stacker blocks help to protect the integrity of your kayak’s hull in a way that other racks simply do not.
Finally, the Stax Pro2 makes loading your kayaks easier because it includes slot straps at the top of each vertical post. This allows you to preset your straps in place before loading your kayaks and makes it much easier to pull the straps over the top of your kayak and tie them down securely without having to climb awkwardly onto your vehicle.