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What is the Best Car Rack for Paddle Boards

Introduction

If you're looking for a vehicle roof rack that will carry your paddle board then you should read this article before you buy. For those that don’t live right beside the water and have the luxury to just carry or wheel their paddle board to it, the best way to transport the board is by car. Unless you have an inflatable, the majority of people will want to mount their paddle board to their roof, cruise down to their favorite spot and enjoy a day of paddling. There are many ways to get a board to sit on the roof, but unsurprisingly not all car racks are created equal.

So, what goes into the perfect roof rack to ensure that it keeps your board safe and prevents it from being airborne as you zip down the road?

Best Value Car Rack

There are various styles and setups for car racks. Some are designed specifically to carry paddle boards, while others are more general and can accommodate everything from kayaks to mattresses (yes, you read that last one correctly). But then there’s also build quality to consider. These racks are exposed to the elements and road debris. They must be user friendly and provide security to a boarders’ cherished possession.

Roof Racks That Are Easy to Install

Not everyone is mechanically inclined and having to deal with the height of a car doesn’t make it any easier. A good car rack should not only be built well but should be easy to install, use and uninstall. Mechanisms should be as intuitive to use as they are durably constructed.

Durable Board Racks

If you’re going to assemble and install your car rack and leave it on your car permanently or at least for a long time, then all well and good. If however you’re going to attach your rack and remove it on a regular basis you should consider your choice of rack very carefully. You should look for very durable fixings – any screw threads that are plastic or nylon stay clear of as these are going to get worn extremely quickly. Go for the most robust rack you can and you’ll get years of use no matter how many times you attach and remove it.

Secure Car Roof Racks

No one wants to have that crushing feeling of having to run into a store to grab a few essentials before hitting the water only to find that their paddle board has been lifted off the top of their car. A car rack that has the ability to lock the board in place, not only provides physical security but also peace of mind. Boards can represent significant financial investments for some people and having a way to safeguard them is more than welcome. More importantly – you don’t want anyone injured from a board that’s come adrift from your roof rack. Take responsibility and fix your board properly. If need be use your own bindings as well as the fixings provided by the rack. If you’ve invested properly the rack will be sufficient. Let’s get into the meat of the review.

Review

Triple X Stand Up Paddle Board Car Rack

Considered a “soft rack”, the Triple X is a strap and buckle system that can be technically fitted onto any car, however the manufacturer will be the first to let you know that the system may experience difficulties when it comes to 2-door cars as the length of the roof may not be able to accommodate the size of the boards. This is obviously something that you will have considered prior to making your purchase.

The metal rust proof buckles keep the boards tight and secure onto the vehicle, but the lack of any security locks and features may be an issue for you if you're leaving your board unattended. The webbing or straps, makes the system versatile and it doesn’t need drip rails or roof racks to hold the boards in place. This system is versatile and simple but you'll have to decide if a 'strap system' is preferred to a rigid rack system.

Triple X Stand Up Paddle Board Car Rack

PROS

  • rust proof metal buckle
  • will fit any car
  • no need for drip rails or roof racks

CONS

  • no security locking features
  • not as durable as its aluminium or hard plastic competitors


Inno Kayak/Canoe/SUP Locking Carrier with Board Pads

It is important to note that the Inno Locking Carrier does not include the crossbars for the roof rack, but rather attaches onto existing crossbars. When removed from packaging and all components have been identified, the rig is pretty easy to set up. Rubber padding is provided to go over the crossbars to provide traction to your boards during travel, as a bonus it also prevents abrasion damage to boards during travel.

Inno Kayak:Canoe:SUP Locking Carrier

Boards are then stacked on top of the padded cross bar and fastened down with a stainless steel cable strap. The whole rig can be secured with a lock and key.

PROS

  • stainless steel cable strap
  • can be locked and secured
  • easy to install

CONS

  • needs to be installed on an existing rack


2 Pairs Universal J Shape Steel Carrier Roof Mount

What may initially look like a plain old, almost old school-looking, steel roof mount is actually one of the most durable and easy to use car racks on this list. The 9sparts Universal J Shape Carrier can be easily attached to any number of roof racks and crossbars. It is made of highly durable steel, coated to make it resistant to rust. Being made of steel, this particular rack is almost impervious to damage from the environment or incidental debris damage. Its accommodating shape not only allows the user to carry paddle boards, but also kayaks, surfboards, snowboards etc etc.

2 Pairs Universal J Shape Steel Carrier Roof Mount

The main drawback, however, is its lack in anything that resembles security. It doesn’t even come with straps with which to fasten the item onto the roof. Therefore, this is more of a mount rather than a carrying system. The user will need to procure their own straps or webbing and secure the boards appropriately.

PROS

  • highly durable steel
  • quick and easy to install

CONS

  • no locking mechanisms


THULE 810 Stand Up Paddleboard Taxi

When it comes to transporting sporting equipment on vehicles, few companies can match the reputation that Thule can bring to the table. This is for good reason. Thule is a specialist in the field and has spent a considerable amount of resources on developing products and systems to efficiently attach and secure items to a vehicle.

THULE 810 Stand Up Paddle Board Taxi

Their 810 SUP Taxi is no exception. Using the Speed-Link mounting system, users can easily install and mount the rack onto the vehicle without needing any tools. For security, Thule has included a locking mechanism that requires a key for opening.

PROS

  • speed-link mounting system makes install tool-free and convenient
  • lockable

CONS

  • we're struggling here!


Block Surf Single Wrap Surfboard Rack

The Block Surf Single Wrap is the quintessential no-frills soft rack. Comprised of nothing more than straps, a buckle and a bit of padding, this rack is dead easy to understand and install. The buckles themselves are aircraft grade and provide a great deal of strength and safety.

Block Surf Single Wrap Surfboard Rack

Their build quality means that they are nearly impervious to damage, but the same cannot be said for the webbing or straps, which are susceptible from fraying and cuts from high speed debris.

PROS

  • high quality aircraft buckles for safety and strength
  • easy to use and install
  • multi-use

CONS

  • no security locking mechanism


Conclusion

The truth is that it is currently difficult to find the “perfect car” rack for paddle boards. There are several great options out there that have the majority of the attributes of the perfect rack. However, the rack that you do decide on should, at the very least, be durable enough to withstand the environment and abuse of road travel, be easy enough to install and securely fix your boards to the car.

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