Store 4 Kayaks Easily: The High-Capacity Racks Guide

green kayak strapped to high-capacity vehicle roof rack

I've been guiding sturdy kayaks through countless adventures on various waterways for the past 7 years.

Having multiple kayaks can be a hassle, especially when it comes to finding a rack that can accommodate them all.

If you have more than one kayak, it can be a pain to shell out the extra money to have 2 separate kayak racks. This is also pretty inefficient since it will probably use up all the space on your roof.

And if you want to carry any more than 2 kayaks, good luck! . . . Unless you have a high-capacity kayak rack. I've done the research and found the ultimate solutions for double and 4-kayak racks.

Here is a shortlist of two favorite high-capacity kayak racks

Best Double Kayak Roof Rack: The Stax Pro2 by Malone

Best 4-Kayak Roof Rack: The Stacker by Thule

In this article, I'll expand on my top picks for the best high-capacity kayak racks. Whether you have two kayaks or four, I've got you covered.

But before we dive into the recommendations, let's take a closer look at what exactly stacker kayak racks are and why they're a game-changer.

What are high-capacity kayaks?

Introducing high-capacity kayak racks, also known as "vertical" or "stacker" kayak racks. These racks are designed to hold multiple kayaks, making it easier and more efficient to transport them.

Our list includes two kayak racks that can hold up to 4 kayaks and one that can hold 2 kayaks.

You can read more about what stacker kayak racks are at the end of this post.

Best Double Kayak Roof Rack

If you want a double kayak roof rack that can carry 2 kayaks at once, the Malone Stax Pro2 is a fantastic option.

The Stax Pro2 by Malone is a 2-boat capacity kayak transport system that is safe and secure. It features a fold-down design and foam blocks to protect your kayak while on the rack.

stax double kayak roof rack

It can hold up to 50 lbs per kayak and includes straps and tie-downs for them. Although the Stax Pro2 states that it has a 2-boat capacity, up to 4 kayaks can be supported on this rack with the purchase of additional foam blocks and straps. It also features Malone’s “JAWZ” mounting hardware, allowing this rack to fit almost all round, square, or aerodynamic crossbars.

People who purchased the Malone Stax Pro2 said that the rack works well and is easy to install. Not many people encountered issues when using this kayak rack.

Due to its solid and easy-to-use design while still being affordable price, it is our pick for the best value stacker kayak rack.

Check it out on Amazon

Best 4-Kayak Roof Rack

If you need to carry 4 kayaks on your roof at once, it can be pretty tricky.

Buying a stacker roof rack is the best option for carrying 4 kayaks on your roof.

The Stacker by Thule is a space-saving stacker that carries as many as 4 kayaks at once, stacked on their side for maximum space efficiency.

thule 4 kayak rack system

The Stacker’s steel design fits kayaks up to 36 inches wide and 75 lbs. heavy. The Stacker carries 2 kayaks on each side of the rack, allowing for a maximum capacity of 4 kayaks if your vehicle’s roof is wide enough. Additionally, the rack folds down when not in use.

People who purchased The Stacker said that the rack was very secure and kayaks didn’t move around on the rack, even when traveling at high speeds. They also noted that it can carry other watercraft, such as paddleboards.

Overall, The Stacker by Thule is a great stacker kayak rack because of its stability and high-quality design. It’s important to keep in mind that this rack is only compatible with Thule crossbars. Additionally, it only includes enough straps to secure one kayak.

Check it out on Amazon

What is a Stacker (Vertical) Kayak Rack?

A vertical kayak rack, more commonly referred to as a “stacker” rack, is a common type of kayak rack known for its space efficiency. A stacker holds the kayak straight on its side, allowing you to fit the maximum amount of kayak racks.

Stacker kayak racks typically allow you to fit up to 4 kayaks, as long as your vehicle’s roof is wide enough to fit them. If you don’t load your roof to maximum kayak capacity, you’ll also have room to keep more cargo on your roof.

Advantages of Stacker Kayak Racks

Although stacker kayak racks are similar to other styles of kayak racks in many ways, they have one main advantage.

By orienting the kayaks on their side, stacker kayaks provide maximum space efficiency. While you can only fit up to 2 kayaks on your roof with a horizontal kayak rack, you can fit up to 4 with a stacker rack.

For those who need to haul more than 2 kayaks, a vertical kayak rack is the perfect option. No other type of kayak rack can support such a high capacity.

Disadvantages of Stacker Kayak Racks

Although vertical kayak racks have some advantages, this comes at a cost.

Most stacker kayak racks only support the kayaks using two vertical bars (one for each of the front and rear crossbars), even with 4 kayaks loaded. This is a major disadvantage since other types of kayak racks have some sort of cradle for each kayak, which is much more secure.

Stacker kayak racks will require extra straps and tie-downs because of this disadvantage, although most kayak racks include these parts.

Stacker Kayak Racks: Pros and Cons

  • Very high loading capacity
  • Typically includes straps and tie-downs
  • Less stable than other kayak rack styles

Should I Buy a Stacker Kayak Rack?

Stacker kayak racks are best for people who need to carry as many kayaks as possible on their vehicle’s roof.

Stackers hold the kayaks on their sides, therefore they take up less horizontal space on the roof.

Stacker kayak racks will typically hold a maximum of 4 kayaks, which no other type of rack can carry. If you need to carry any more than 2 kayaks, a vertical kayak rack is your best option.

How Much Does a Stacker Kayak Rack Cost?

Although stacker kayak racks are not extremely cheap, they are still very affordable.

A vertical (stacker) kayak rack typically costs between $150 and $200, but sometimes cheaper.

Also check out: How Much Do Kayak Racks Cost?

Stacker kayak racks in this price range all have similar features and work the same way.

Some cheaper models may be lower quality and lack features, such as folding down when the rack isn’t being used.

Bottom line for 2 or 4 kayak racks

When it comes to transporting multiple kayaks, investing in a high-capacity kayak rack is a game-changer.

Having more than one kayak can be a hassle, especially when it comes to finding space on your roof for two separate kayak racks. Not to mention the extra cost involved.

But with a high-capacity kayak rack, you can efficiently transport multiple kayaks without taking up all the space on your roof.

Our top picks for high-capacity kayak racks include:

- Stax Pro2 by Malone, which is the best double kayak roof rack

- Stacker by Thule, which is the best 4-kayak roof rack.

These racks are designed to securely hold your kayaks, allowing you to transport them with ease.

But why stop at just two or four kayaks?

With a high-capacity kayak rack, you can carry even more kayaks on your adventures. These racks, also known as "vertical" or "stacker" kayak racks, provide the solution for those who want to take their kayaking trips to the next level.

Don't let the hassle of transporting multiple kayaks hold you back from exploring the rivers and waterways you've always dreamed of. Get yourself a high-capacity kayak rack and embark on your next kayaking adventure with confidence.

Bill Nikolaou
I live for wild rides on rivers, and have passion for digital marketing. With 7 years of experience in white water guiding, I've transported more gear than most folks will in a lifetime. Need a reliable rack or carrier? I got you covered!