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.
These high-capacity kayak racks are also called “vertical” (or “stacker”) kayak racks. We’ll start this post with our choices for the best high-capacity kayak racks.
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.
Here is a summary of our favorite high-capacity kayak rack choices:
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.
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 an affordable price, it is our pick for the best value stacker kayak rack.
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.
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 travelling 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 it’s 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.
What is a Stacker (Vertical) Kayak Rack?
A vertical kayak rack, more commonly referred to as a “stacker” rack, is a common type of a 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 allows 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 racks 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 side, 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.
Recommended: 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.