The Best Kayak Rack For Car Without Rails In 2022 

The Best Kayak Rack For Cars WithoutT Rails

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022


Hundreds of these kayak transportation techniques are available on the market today, making it challenging to pick the ideal kayak rack for car without rails. In conclusion, The next post will review some of the top models currently available on the market.

It is well known that kayaks are notoriously tricky pieces of equipment to carry and store, owing to their size and design. Because kayaks are so long and awkward to drive, most people who go on paddling trips must keep their kayaks on the car's roof to transfer them to their destination.

best kayak roof

Utilizing a rack fastened to the roof rails of your car will be the easiest and most practical way for you to transport your kayak if you find yourself in one of these types of situations. But what if your car does not have rails on the roof? Where may install a roof rack?

There is, luckily, a solution to the problem of carrying your kayak, and it comes in the form of a rack that can mount on autos that do not have rails. You may use this rack to transport your kayak. Even if the car didn't arrive with them, these racks might be safely attached to the roof.

Quick Summary

If you are pressed for time, we have included some of our top recommendations below. Alternately, you might continue reading to read our whole inventory, which contains in-depth assessments of each item.

Quick Summary

  • The Malone VersaRail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack was the best product overall in the competition. "The Malone VersaRail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack offers a solid, long-lasting, and secure means for carrying your kayak to and from the put-in,"
  • who may upgrade the Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack with cross-bars, the most cost-efficient option. "With the Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars, you'll be able to carry your kayak on a wide range of automobiles without having to empty your bank account in the process,"

roof rack kaya

  • We recommend the Malone HandRack Universal Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack for the best inflatable kayak rack. If your car does not have roof rails, the HandiRack Universal Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack is a straightforward option for transporting kayaks. That is an excellent option to take into consideration because it is uncomplicated. This rack satisfies several needs while remaining simple.
  • Pads that are Constructed of Foam of the Highest Quality and are Designed Exclusively for Marine Kayak Roof Racks "For the paddler who is committed to their sport, the Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads provide an outstanding balance of ease of use and affordability,"

best kayak rack

Our buying guide, which you can find at the bottom of the list, also includes all the information you'll need to pick the best roof rack for your vehicle. This information is included to help you make an informed decision.

Best Overall: Malone Versarail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack

May convert any automobile into a vehicle that can transport kayaks by adding the Malone VersaRail Bare Cross Rail Rack to the vehicle's roof. This rack was explicitly designed for sedans and other cars that do not come with roof rails as standard equipment, and it may also use for different types of vehicles.

Best Overall: Malone Versarail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack

With the purchase of a Malone VersaRail, you will receive a set of non-marking silicon pad suction cups and a pair of non-marking silicon pad suction cups to help you attach the Malone VersaRail crossbars to the roof of your vehicle. These cups are designed to prevent leaving any residue behind. The suction cups are then strengthened by a collection of heavy-duty nylon safety attachment straps. These straps have a width of 1.5 inches and are inserted into your car's interior to give an additional layer of protection when you are behind the wheel.

The Malone VersaRail comes pre-assembled with a set of load bars made of a metal that is not susceptible to rust and is, without question, the most beneficial feature of this product. For your convenience, you may buy 50-inch or 58-inch kayak transfer bars. Because these load bars are included in the package, you can transport a number of kayaks by combining a set of J-cradles with these load bars, which are not part of the package. That will allow you to transport kayaks like a kayak rack designed for a car with rails.

Best Overall: Malone Versarail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack

In addition, the Malone VersaRail comes with all of the hardware and accessories required to correctly install your roof rack and prepare it for your next canoeing or kayaking trip. That is included in the package when you buy it. The frame is quick and easy to set together at a moment's notice, making it ideal for those journeys that are decided upon on the spur of the moment.

It is essential to bear in mind, however, that this rack system is designed to work with only automobiles that have four doors; hence, it is not the most suitable choice for sedans that have only two doors. In addition to that, it has a weight restriction of 130 pounds, which is something you should think about if you have kayaks that are significantly heavier than average. However, when everything is considered, the Malone VersaRail is a car roof rack system that is versatile and is built for vehicles that do not come equipped with rails. It can carry a variety of loads, including kayaks, surfboards, skis, snowboards, and more.

Best Overall: Malone Versarail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack


  • Installation that is not only quick but also straightforward.
  • Compatible with J-cradles while in use (not included)
  • Two different length possibilities for the load bar
  • Durable materials
  • Capable of transporting more than one kayak at a time


  • Limit the relatively low weight
  • Not for use with cars that only have two doors.

Best Value: Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Crossbars

The Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Crossbars are an excellent choice for paddlers who want a lot from their gear but don't want to spend much on it. These paddlers desire a lot from their equipment, and it offers a fantastic blend of value and performance at an affordable price point that is accessible.
This rack, manufactured by Seah Hardware, is designed to imitate the conventional roof rack system comprised of crossbars and may be seen on cars with rails that may purchase in either black or silver. However, it does come with a set of cushioned feet that one can place on the roof of most vehicles in case the car in question does not have rails, which is included in the purchase price. After that, a pair of integrated ratchet straps are employed to retain these feet in their current position. These straps travel through the cab of your automobile.

SEAH HARDWARE Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars

In addition, the Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack has a pair of crossbars constructed out of heavy-duty steel and is 47 inches in length each individually. Because it can support loads of up to 66 kilograms (150 lbs. ), the rack is suitable for use with a wide variety of kayaks.

This rack manufactured by Seah Hardware features an additional advantage in that it is suitable for use with a broad selection of J-cradles (not included). This rack, when coupled with J-cradles, has the potential to transport up to two kayaks with a level of convenience that is commensurate with its level of use.

However, you should be aware that this rack is not designed for use with vehicles with just two doors. Before you invest, you should check to see whether your car is compatible with this system to guarantee that it will fulfill its intended function. A further disadvantage of this rack is that the crossbars that come with it are not very long, which may cause the overall storage capacity of your rooftop to be reduced. If, on the other hand, you place a premium on efficiency in terms of cost, it will be challenging to find a product that can compete with the Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars.

Best Value: Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Crossbars


  • Great pricing point
  • Produced from extra-heavy-duty steel
  • We are featuring ratchet straps for a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Can withstand a load of up to 300 kg
  • Maintains compatibility with J-cradles (not included)


  • Not suitable for automobiles that only have two doors.
  • The crossbars are not very long.

Product to be added

Please Create Snippet For B07YVBLRWD

Best Inflatable: Handirack Universal Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack

The Malone HandiRack Universal Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack is an innovative solution that can use with a broad range of kayaks, canoes, and even SUPs. It is uncomplicated, effortless, and oh-so-practical in its use.
The HandiRack Universal Inflatable Kayak Roof Rack is a kayak transport system that, as its name suggests, is entirely formed of inflatable components. It is offered by the company HandiRack. That means that it comes with a pair of two inflatable bars that you can attach to the top of your car to provide cushioning and protection for your kayak while you are traveling in your vehicle. You can connect these bars to the roof of your car using the included tie-down straps.

The HandiRack, like many other kayak racks for vehicles without rails, comes with adjustable straps to secure your kayak. That is required to have the best fit for your kayak.

Best Inflatable: Handirack Universal Inflatable Kayak

After that, the pump system included with the rack is utilized to give the frame its definitive form. You will be able to load up to 175 pounds of equipment onto the shelf, including stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, once everything has been said and done.

One of the most beneficial aspects of this device is that, when it is not being utilized, the HandiRack can be folded up into an exceptionally convenient size. The system also comes with bow and stern lines, which enable you to safely attach your kayak to your car by connecting it to the bow and stern of the kayak and securing it to the vehicle. In addition, the HandiRack can be adapted to fit virtually any automobile, even sedans with only two doors, making it a highly flexible product.

The HandiRack is incredibly versatile, but because it creates a substantial amount of drag and noise while traveling at high speeds, it is not the most practical choice for extended excursions in a car. As a result of the vehicle's narrow breadth, it can only transport a single kayak at a time. However, despite these shortcomings, the HandiRack offers an option for carrying kayaks that is not only budget-friendly but also adaptable.

Best Inflatable: Handirack Universal Inflatable Kayak


  • Compatible with the vast majority of automobiles
  • Condenses down into a space-savingly tiny package
  • Provides cushioning for kayaks in transit
  • Setup that is fast and uncomplicated
  • Includes ropes at the bow and stern for additional protection.


  • On roads, it causes a significant amount of resistance and noise.
  • One kayak at a time is the maximum that can transport.

Best Foam Pads: Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads

The Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads are inexpensive to transport kayaks made of foam blocks, and they won't make a dent in your bank account. They were developed with uncomplicated operations in mind from the beginning.

This rack system from Best Marine comes wholly geared up with everything you need to transport your kayak most quickly and efficiently imaginable. It comes with two foam pads that can secure your vehicle's roof with the assistance of adjustable nylon straps included in the package. In addition, it comes with two sets of ratchet tie-down straps, anchors for the trunk and hood, and extra rope that one may utilize for both the bow and the stern lines.

You need a few minutes to put up the rack you bought from Best Marine since all you have to do to install it is thread the straps of the 48-inch long foam roof bars through your vehicle to get it ready. 


After you have finished everything, you will be able to fasten your kayak to the rack by using the ratchet straps included, in addition to the steep D-rings incorporated into the foam pads. With these D-rings, you'll be able to quickly and safely fasten kayaks of varying widths to your vehicle.

The Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads are some of the most durable foam block pads available on the market. That is a significant benefit. They are constructed to withstand impacts thanks to the EPE foam used in their construction and the 600D polyester fabric that covers them. This combination makes them highly durable.

Be aware, however, that these foam blocks generally are not appropriate for use with autos that only have two doors. That is something you should keep in mind. They also do not give the same level of safety while going at very high speeds, which is another reason why they are best suited for carrying kayaks within the same region rather than moving them to a different location. Despite these drawbacks, the Best Marine Kayak Roof Rack Pads are one of the most convenient and cost-effective kayak racks presently available on the market.



  • Including the anchors in the trunk, bowlines, and stern lines.
  • Provides cushioning for kayaks in transit
  • Fabricated out of long-lasting materials such as steel, foam, and cloth
  • I can set it up in less than five minutes.
  • Affordable pricing point


  • Not suitable for automobiles that only have two doors.
  • Caution is advised when driving on highways at high speeds.

Buying Guide For Kayak Roof Rack For Cars Without Rails

It is not an easy task to acquire a kayak rack that is suitable for a vehicle that does not have rails. You should find a vehicle frame and a kayak frame that will allow you to move your boat on the open road simply and effectively.

When there are so many different kayak rack models to pick from and so many distinct features to consider, it can be challenging to settle on just one kayak rack. When searching for the ideal kayak rack for automobiles that do not have rails, the following are some essential factors to take into consideration, which should make your search a little easier:

Buying Guide For Kayak Roof Rack For Cars Without Rails

  • Kayak Rack Type
  • Vehicle Compatibility
  • Kayak Compatibility
  • Storage Size
  • Ease of Installation
  • Durability

Kayak Rack Type

When you are in the market for kayak racks for vehicles that do not have roof rails, you first need to consider the type of rack you would want to acquire. When it comes to roof racks for vehicles that which did not construct with rails already attached on the top, you essentially have three options to choose from:

  • Metal Cross Bars This roof rack style comes with a set of metal crossbars, quite similar to what you would get if you had a car with roof rails. That is quite comparable to the experience you would have if your automobile were equipped with roof rails. However, for vehicles that do not come outfitted with these pre-installed roof rails, many manufacturers provide crossbars that may secure your car using straps that can adjust their length. These crossbars can be purchased separately. After that, you will need to thread these adjustable straps through the cab of your vehicle so that your rack will remain stable while it is being carried. Compared to the prices of the many other kayak rack options, the one you're looking at right now will set you back a fair amount of money. On the other hand, they usually make it feasible to carry several kayaks simultaneously by utilizing J-cradles. They cause less drag on the road, resulting in increased fuel efficiency.

Buying Guide For Kayak Roof Rack For Cars Without Rails

  • The Name Suggests That Kayak Racks Made From Foam Block Are Made From Large Pieces Of Foam Just As Their Name Suggests, Kayak Racks Made From Foam Block Are Made From Large Pieces Of Foam. These foam blocks may be fastened to a vehicle's roof without rails, thanks to adjustable straps. That is possible even if the foam blocks themselves do not involve rails. Once the foam blocks are in position, all left is to set your kayak on top of them, secure it with straps, and then get on the road. Roof racks made of foam blocks provide several benefits, the most notable of which are their low cost and the ease with which they may be installed. That is one of the essential features that it offers to potential customers. On the other side, they produce a lot of noise while you are driving, they aren't very safe while you are traveling quickly, and you can only transport one kayak at a time with them.
  • Tubes That Can Be Expanded When Needed Racks made of foam blocks and racks made of inflated tubes look very comparable to one another aesthetically. Both activities make use of lines that may increase with air. On the other hand, they have durable inflatable tubes instead of foam that ordinarily serve as the anchor point for your kayak. These may be used everywhere. The utilization of these inflatable tubes throughout the transportation of your kayak will provide it with a sizeable quantity of additional cushioning. In addition to this, they can be folded into a relatively small size, making it simple to store them when they are not in use.

best kayak roof

On the other hand, inflatable tubes are afflicted with many of the same issues linked to foam block racks. In addition to this, the expenses that are connected to them are often of better quality. On the other hand, these ways of transporting a kayak are incredibly user-friendly and practical.

It is essential to bear in mind that there is no one type of kayak rack that is going to be the best option for anybody who uses it. You must pick a style of frame that is well-suited to how you paddle your boat to maximize storage space.

If you take long trips in your car regularly, you could discover that the reliability offered by a metal crossbar rack is the one that best meets your requirements. People restricted in the amount of space available in their homes to store their gear could discover that inflating tube racks are a fantastic alternative. Or, if you want to keep costs to a bare minimum, a foam block kayak transportation solution is frequently a terrific choice to go with, and it is one that you should consider if you are in the market for one.

Vehicle Compatibility

As soon as you understand the several types of kayak racks that you may install on cars that do not have roof rails, it is time to begin limiting your available alternatives. Checking to see if a specific roof rack is suitable for your automobile is the simplest method for achieving this goal.

Vehicle Compatibility

The vast majority of kayak racks made for cars without rails are suitable for use with various vehicles. But before you spend any money on a shelf, you must make sure that it is compatible with your car by checking the manufacturer's guidelines and requirements.

It is important to remember that most racks are not designed to work with vehicles that only have two doors. That is because most kayak racks designed for cars without rails are equipped with straps that may thread through the cab of your vehicle. It might be challenging to properly fit these straps in automobiles with two doors because of the limited space available.

Therefore, if you own a car that only has two doors, you need to make sure that you double verify with the manufacturer to discover whether or not a particular rack is genuinely compatible with the make, model, and production year of your specific vehicle.

Kayak Compatibility

After determining whether or not a specific kayak rack is suitable for your automobile, the next step is to examine whether or not your kayak is ideal for use with the stand.

Kayak Compatibility

Generally, kayak racks for automobiles without rails are designed to be compatible with the vast majority of kayaks available for purchase, however, given that every stand has a maximum weight limit and a maximum width, transporting kayaks that are exceptionally broad and heavy can be challenging.

As a result, you must examine the breadth of your kayak rack and its overall weight capability before making a purchase. Foam and inflatable variants often have more significant weight capabilities, but their widths are more restricted than their metal crossbar counterparts. If you are unsure what to do, it is best to contact the kayak's manufacturer for further information and recommendations on your particular model.

Storage Size

Racks designed for automobiles that do not have rails are not meant to be used for transporting kayaks for extended periods while the vehicle is parked, in contrast to kayak racks designed for cars that have rails. It is highly recommended that you take these racks off your vehicle at the end of each trip to keep them in pristine condition for several years.

Storage Size

Keeping this in mind, anyone interested in purchasing a kayak rack for a vehicle that does not have rails should consider the total size of their rack system and the amount of space that the system will occupy when it is being stored. In other words, they should measure the amount of space the system will take up when it is not in use. Because you can't leave your roof rack on your vehicle for several days or weeks at a time, you need to ensure that your home has enough space to keep it there while you're not using it on the water.

People with limited space for keeping their stuff will benefit the most from utilizing inflatable roof racks most of the time. That is because inflatable roof racks can hold a significant amount of weight. On the other hand, foam block racks are often in a distant second position most of the time. In any event, before purchasing a kayak rack, you should consider the stand's overall dimensions to determine whether it will fit within the amount of space you have available for storing equipment.

Ease Of Installation

As was said earlier, most kayak racks designed for vehicles that do not have rails are not meant to be left on the car for an extended period once they have been installed on the vehicle. As a consequence, you may probably need to install and remove your rack system from your car before and to follow each trip.

Ease Of Installation

Consequently, it is of the utmost essential to locate a kayak rack system that can be placed with a degree of ease that is at least tolerable. The good news is that the majority of the models that are now on the market have simplicity as a primary focus in their product design.

It is not feasible to assert that a certain kind of kayak rack is inherently more straightforward to set up than any other model, and there is a large number of room for variation here.

Racks constructed of metal crossbars, such as the Malone VersaRail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack, for example, can be placed all by themselves in a minimal time. If you also want to attach J-cradles for transporting many kayaks simultaneously, this process might take a little more time.

In a golden period, it is possible to execute the connection of foam and inflatable models to your car. Installing your kayak on one of these racks, on the other hand, will require a little bit more time than mounting it on a pair of metal crossbars would.

kayak rack

That is since, in most instances, you will be required to thread your ratchet straps through various D-rings to tie your kayak to your car successfully. In addition, bow and stern lines are typically required for these racks to give an extra degree of safety whenever they are being transported.


There is no exception to the concept that the things you use endure as long as possible, and kayak racks for vehicles without rails mustn't be an exception to this rule.

Most kayak racks, if not all, are created with durability as the key design aspect in mind during the manufacturing process. However, over time, crossbars made of metal, like the Seah Hardware Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars, tend to be more robust than those made of foam or inflatable, which are more prone to wear and tear.

rack head

Most racks have a lifespan that can estimate in years if they are maintained correctly. That is assuming that they are kept in good condition. Your kayak racks should be stored in a dry, calm, and dark location while not being used. Because of this, they will be protected from the potentially damaging effects induced by exposure to UV radiation and moisture, which will ensure that they are shielded.

The Verdict

It would be irresponsible for any paddler not to have at least one kayak rack of sufficient quality among their assortment of equipment. If you are looking for a frame compatible with a vehicle that does not have roof rails as standard equipment, this is a crucial consideration to bear in mind.

The Malone VersaRail Bare Roof Cross Rail Rack is, in our view, the best kayak rack for vehicles that do not have rails out of all of the variants that we have studied and assessed. This opinion is based on the fact that we have researched and tested all the different versions. The fact that the VersaRail can be quickly attached to almost any kind of vehicle and that it is available in various sizes, allowing it to carry more than one kayak at once, is one of our favorite features of this product. Another of our favorites is that it can have more than one kayak at once.

kayak rack header

However, no one kayak rack is superior to all others in any circumstances, and there isn't one. We hope that the information presented in this post proved to be of use to you in identifying the most suitable kayak roof rack to meet the demands of your individual paddling needs. I'll see you there; in the meantime, have a good day on the lake!

Obtaining a kayak rack for car without rails is not a simple operation because of the lack of rails in the vehicle. You need to locate a car frame and a kayak frame that will enable you to transport your boat efficiently and uncomplicatedly when you are out on the open road.