How Far Apart Should Roof Racks Be for Kayak

Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Will Sabel

Some think more spread-apart roof racks may be the best kayak choice. This is wrong! Well, that’s why it’s crucial to know how far apart should roof racks be for kayak?

In most cases, a gap that is 40 percent of the whole length of your kayak should be maintained between racks. We strongly suggest having a spread of 24 inches to 36 inches which is sufficient enough.

The closer they are together, the more likely it is that your kayak will be damaged when you’re driving, and the less stable it will be.

How To Load a Kayak onto My Automobile?

Loading a kayak onto your car is easy, but it can be a little bit tricky and require two people. 

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Raise the kayak to the appropriate level. 
  • You can either put it in the cradles or lay it out on the crossbars in a flat position. 
  • Make sure you utilize straps and tie them down in the centre, stern, and boat’s bow.

How Many Kayaks Can a Roof Rack Hold?

If you don’t have a high ceiling on your vehicle and are looking for a simple and cost-effective choice, a horizontal kayak rack can get the job done. Horizontal racks can hold 2 kayaks on the roof. Meanwhile, if you want to take 4 kayaks with you, it would be best to go with stacker racks.

But if your goal is to transport more kayaks than that. Or, if you wish to carry a variety of boats on your vehicle, including inflatables and SUPs, then a vertical kayak rack will give you the flexibility you need.

Ultimately, it would help if you chose which kayak rack best meets your needs.

Does Roof Rack Affect Mileage?

The weight of your kayak is going to affect your fuel consumption. The more weight you have on your car, the less efficient it will be. The less efficient the vehicle, the more fuel you’re going to use. 

So how much can you expect to lose by hauling my kayak with roof racks?

Simply installing the roof rack results in a loss of over 5 miles per gallon in vehicle efficiency. In addition, the mileage you get relies on the car you drive along with the amount of gear you bring along. Look, every extra pound counts.

And remember, heavy vehicles burn more gas than lighter ones.

Difference Between Roof Racks and Roof Rails

Roof racks and roof rails are both essential components of a vehicle’s accessory package. They are designed to add extra space to your car, but they do it differently. But there is a clear difference between them

Roof Racks: are usually mounted on top of or around your vehicle’s roofline

Roof Rails: are mounted along the sides of your car or truck

They’re both solid and durable pieces of equipment that can hold up to several hundred pounds each. As long as you have an appropriate vehicle to mount them on, they’ll be sure to provide a safe and secure way to transport your belongings wherever you go!

Should You Transport a Kayak Upside Down?

Do you have rotomolded kayaks? If so, you better transport it upside-down or on its edges while keeping the hull up position. 

The reason for this is simple. Kayaks are made to be transported on their edges, not their hulls. But what about the hull? Won’t it get damaged if you transport it upside down? Not if you use an appropriate kayak stacker. While kayak stackers aren’t necessary to transport your kayak, they can make it much easier and safer. 

On the other hand, it might seem like the best way to transport your kayak is upside down, but this isn’t always the case. Composite kayaks will become misshapen if they are transported in this manner. In that case, the best way to move composite kayaks on their bottoms in this case would be to use cradles.


When transporting a kayak, roof racks are of tremendous assistance and are highly recommended. On the other hand, if you are unable to spread out the racks properly, there is a possibility that the kayaks will topple over or harm any component of your car while being transported.

We hope you’ve got your answer about how far apart should roof racks be for kayak? And ready to hit the road.

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Author: Will Sabel

Will Sabel is an avid car enthusiast. When he's not writing for RidersWant, you'll find him cruising the country in a new car. People are always wondering how many cars he has!

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