9 Best Canoe Racks for 2022

9 Best Canoe Racks for 2022

popular mechanics; Thanks to Thule

Canoeing is a relaxing way to explore the great outdoors, but making a DIY solution to attach one to the roof of your car can be a stressful start to the day. Canoe racks keep your canoe safe while you’re on the move, and there are models that are compatible with all types of vehicles, from sedans and SUVs to pickup trucks and even trailers. Most are designed to attach to factory-built or custom racks already installed, but options are also available for bare roofs, so you can always count on taking your canoe with you on your next outdoor adventure.

Best canoe racks

What to consider?

The most important factor to consider when choosing a canoe rack is compatibility: the rack you buy should fit both your car and your canoe. You want to make sure the product will fit your car’s existing roof racks, whether you have a factory rack or special system, or if you don’t have a rack, buy one that will work with the bare roof of your car. It is also important to check the rack’s carrying capacity, or how much weight it can safely support, to ensure your canoe is safely supported.

Other things to consider include ease of installation, how the canoe is loaded, and whether the rack comes with all necessary straps and tension straps.

How we selected

To find the best canoe racks, we searched for top quality products from respected brands such as Yakima, Thule, Rhino-Rack and more. We evaluated each product based on rack compatibility, payload and ease of use, prioritizing options that work with multiple styles of roof racks, as well as a few choices for cars without racks already installed.

We wanted to include options for a range of vehicle types and consulted user reviews to get an idea of ​​the strengths and potential shortcomings of each canoe rack. Also, every canoe rack we write about has an average customer rating of 4 stars or more.

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Best Overall

ThroatAbout Canoe Carrier

  • Universal fit
  • Tool-free mounting
  • Damping saddles

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 119 pounds
  • Compatible racks: Universal
  • Belts included: Yes

The Yakima KeelOver Canoe Carrier is a top choice for transporting your canoe. It comes with four saddle style holders that can be installed without special tools, and their universal design fits most Whispbar, Round, Square and Factory bars.

The saddles are made of rubber that cushions the canoe edges while holding them securely, and bow and stern mounts and straps are included.

This rack has a maximum weight load capacity of 119 pounds, which is more than adequate for most canoes, and the product is extremely well made so you can use it for years to come.

More: The best bike racks for cars and trucks


Buy budget

Boats Canoe Car-Top Roof Rack Kit

  • Fair price
  • Easy to install
  • Works with most vehicles

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: Not on the list
  • Compatible racks: Universal; bare roof
  • Belts included: Yes

If you don’t want to spend a lot on a canoe rack, this budget-friendly option works with most vehicles and is the best choice. The pads can be used with bare-roof cars, as well as most factory rack systems, and the non-slip foam pads help protect both your car and the canoe.

The kit works with canoes up to 14 feet long and 32 inches wide, and it’s incredibly easy to install – just place the pads on the roof of your car and charge your canoe. The kit comes with multiple straps to tie down the boat, as well as a storage bag for all components.


Best all-in-one system

Big Foot Pro universal car carrier

  • All inclusive
  • Universal fit
  • Moderate price

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 90 pounds.
  • Compatible racks: Universal
  • Belts included: Yes

For an all-in-one solution to transport your canoe, this system saves you the purchase of extra straps or other supplies. There are four padded gunwale brackets, four universal mounting blocks and eight 40mm and 50mm T-button mounting bolts, plus a set of bow and stern safety fasteners and two 12-foot buckle straps.

The rack can hold canoes up to 90 pounds and the universal design can be attached to round, square or factory oval cross rails. The saddles are made of durable polycarbonate and have padding to protect your canoe and your car.


Best for bare roof

Universal Inflatable Soft Roof Rack Rods

  • Universal fit
  • No roof racks needed
  • Includes air pump
  • Cannot be used on cars with side curtain airbags

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 175 pounds.
  • Compatible racks: Not required
  • Belts included: Yes

If you don’t have a roof rack on your car, this option allows you to safely transport your canoe without damaging your vehicle. The inflatable bars can be installed on almost any car and are secured with five metal D-ring anchors.

Certified for use at highway speeds, the bars have a high load capacity of up to 175 pounds, and you can install them in minutes without tools. The inflatable racks come with sturdy tension straps, bow and stern lines and a pump for quick and easy inflation. The only caveat is that they cannot be used on cars with side curtain airbags.


Best saddle rack

Nautic 570 Series Kayak/Canoe Carrier

  • Large surface
  • Models with side or rear loader
  • Universal fit
  • 3 year warranty
  • Tools Required for Installation/Removal

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: Not on the list
  • Compatible racks: Universal
  • Belts included: Yes

The Rhino-Rack Nautic 570 offers extra stability to your canoe or kayak thanks to the saddles with a large contact surface. They hold your craft securely while you drive, and they feature universal mounting hardware that fits elliptical, round and square roof racks.

This rack comes in side- and rear-loading configurations depending on how you want to load your canoe, and two 18-foot webbing straps with buckle guards are included. The system is also UV-resistant and waterproof, and it’s also backed by a 3-year warranty.

More: High-quality kayak racks for your car


Best for Thule racks

Portable canoe rack

  • Easy to load
  • Canoe pillows
  • Quick Draw Fasteners
  • No stern/bow straps included

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 100 pounds.
  • Compatible racks: Thule; round bars; most factory racks
  • Belts included: Yes

Thule is an extremely popular manufacturer of car carriers and if you already have a set of Thule carriers on your vehicle, the Thule Portage Canoe Rack is the best way to transport your canoe.

The four saddles are compatible with any Thule rack, as well as round bars and most factory racks, and they have a maximum weight capacity of 100 pounds. It’s easy to load your canoe into the rack thanks to the angled sides, and the cushioned base provides padding to prevent your canoe from getting scratched in transit.

The rack also comes with buckle bumper straps to protect both your car and canoe from scratches.


Most versatile

Lock roof rack

  • Works with multiple crafts and boards
  • Universal fit
  • Rubber Coated Tires
  • Pricey
  • Tension straps not included

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: Not on the list
  • Compatible racks: Universal
  • Belts included: no

The rack isn’t just limited to canoes, it can also be used to carry kayaks, surfboards, paddleboards, and more. It has a universal design that fits square, round, Aero and most factory bars, and the floating strap design makes it easy to load your craft or board onto the carrier.

The straps have a rubber coating that helps prevent scratches or scuffs on whatever you’re carrying, and it also comes with board pads and locking covers. However, if your crossbar height is between 1.25 and 2 inches, you will need a set of long bolts (sold separately) to use this carrier.


Best for trucks

Goal post

  • Heavy duty construction
  • Height adjustable
  • Solid payload
  • Anti-wobble design
  • Saddles not included
  • Pricey

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 165 pounds.
  • Compatible racks: N/A
  • Belts included: no

If you are looking for a way to transport your canoe in a pickup truck, the Thule Goalpost is a worthwhile purchase. This attachment can be mounted in a 2 inch hitch and is made of robust corrosion resistant steel with an anti-wobble design.

The Goalpost can hold vessels up to 165 pounds and the height can be adjusted between 46 and 67 inches to accommodate a variety of trucks. It includes a 58-inch loading bar for you to attach watersports carriers, and there are even two loading stops for extra stability while riding.

Please note, however, that this product does not include saddle mounts – you will need to purchase a product such as the Thule Portage Canoe Rack separately.


Best for trailers

Ladder rack for trailer roof

  • Works on closed or open trailers
  • High loading capacity
  • Wide range of applications
  • Wood and straps not included

Key specs:

  • Load capacity: 100 lb./crossbar
  • Compatible racks: N/A
  • Belts included: no

This setup is designed to be mounted on top of closed or open trailers and the durable brackets are made from extruded aluminum. Once the brackets are mounted, install 2×4 lumber (not included) to act as crossbars, and the payload is 100 pounds per crossbar—more than enough to support a canoe. Please note that this product is a trailer rack only, so it does not include the straps or clips needed to secure your vessel.

Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen and pet products.

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