If you’re here, it probably means you’re the proud owner of a Ford Ranger and a shiny kayak. You’ve got your dream truck and the perfect vessel to explore the serenity of the waters, and now you’re ready to merge these two passions. The only thing standing between you and the crystal-clear water of your favorite lake is figuring out how to get your kayak to the water without it hanging out of your truck bed. So, let’s cut to the chase and talk about how to choose the best kayak rack for your Ford Ranger.
Best 5 Kayak Racks for Ford Ranger
1. MELIPRON Universal Truck Bed Rack
Today, let’s chew the fat about a stellar addition to my trusty pickup – the MELIPRON Universal Truck Bed Rack. I’ve taken this baby for a spin, and let me tell you, it’s been a wild ride! First things first – this rack is a universal fit. It cozied up with most full-size pickup trucks, from the Chevrolet Silverado to the Ford Ranger. A caveat though, it isn’t a fan of trucks with toolboxes, side boxes, camper shells, or tonneau covers. For my trusty Ford F-150, it was love at first fit.
What really won me over was the T.I.G welding. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill rack. Its unique welding design screams safety and reliability. And the hold capacity? A whopping 600lbs-800lbs! Crafted from ultra-lightweight solid material and coated with an electrophoretic black primer and black powder topcoat, it’s rustproof, anti-corrosion, and a bona fide stayer.
Now, let’s talk T-Slot System. This nifty feature provides extra channels for attaching travel accessories via screws. From kayaks to rooftop tents, this rack’s got room for all my adventure gear. Plus, the rubber cover on the edge doubles as a tie-rope fixing point, adding that extra dash of practicality. Flexibility? Check. The rack’s adjustable size, with height ranging from 17 3/4″–27 1/2″ and width from 41 3/4″–52 1/2″, offers maximum versatility to meet various needs. I could customize it to my heart’s content for peak practicality.
But it doesn’t end there. MELIPRON’s commitment to quality upgrades, based on customer feedback, means they’ve stepped up their game with new welding methods and stronger materials to increase load-bearing capacity. Now that’s listening to your customers! Finally, the cherry on top – the installation process. Included in the package are comprehensive instructions, and there’s a helpful video on their listing page. Should you hit a snag, MELIPRON’s got your back with prompt customer service.
2. Hooke Road High Overland Bed Rack
This bed rack cozies up perfectly with mid-size trucks sans bed rails, including the Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado, and the Jeep Gladiator JT. But take note, it’s not the best bedfellow with a Tonneau Cover.
Dimensions? This beauty measures 18.8″ from truck bed rail to the top, expanding from 44.5″ to 53.1″ in length and adjustable from 54.3″ to 65.0″ in width. Tailored versatility to match your cargo needs – that’s what we like! One of the nifty features I simply adore is the side panels. They come replete with an abundance of long-hole cutouts, which is a godsend for adding accessories. Be it lights, high lift jack, fire extinguisher, roof top tent, bike mounts, you name it – this rack’s got room for your adventure accoutrements.
But here’s the kicker – its weight-bearing prowess. With an evenly distributed rated capacity of 400 lbs dynamic and 800 lbs static, this rack can shoulder a serious load. And its weight? Tipping the scales at a lean 117 lbs, it’s no lightweight. The rack’s muscle is built from high-tensile 16-gauge steel for the structure plate, with a sturdier 11-gauge steel for the mounting bracket. Topped off with a textured black powder coat finish and a premium E-coating for enduring durability and rust resistance, this rack has got both grit and grace.
As for the installation, it’s a breeze with its bolt-on design. Assembly is required, yes, but you don’t need to play the drill sergeant. All the mounting hardware and a handy instruction guide are part of the deal, making setup a walk in the park.
3. WANGDUOYU Aluminum Alloy Truck Bed Rack
WANGDUOYU Aluminum Alloy Truck Bed Rack fits like a glove on an array of trucks – we’re talking Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Gladiator JT, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon models ranging from 2005 to 2022. It comes replete with rails and a base and is no stranger to most roof tents. But what sets this rack apart? Well, it’s all about resilience. Crafted from high-grade Aluminum alloy, this bed rack is lightweight yet has the muscle to shoulder your bulkiest gear. Each rail and crossbar serves as a reliable support for your cargo, making the handling of weighty items a non-issue.
Beyond the sturdy build, this bed rack flaunts a textured black powder-coated finish. Not only does it add a dash of brawny appeal, but it also bolsters the rack’s resistance against corrosion. All in all, this blend of strength, lightness, and aesthetic charm makes for an irresistible package. As for the installation, it’s a mixed bag. If you’ve got a model with guide rails, then it’s smooth sailing, no drilling required! But for other models, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and wield a drill. Either way, with some basic mechanical skills and hand tools, you’ll have it set up in about 1-2 hours.
Let’s talk cargo capacity. If your truck bed is falling short in the storage department, this rack comes riding to the rescue. It augments cargo space while offering several top rail mounting positions. Plus, it’s a chum with most roof tents. This bed rack doesn’t stop at cargo management, though. It boasts built-in mounting points, paving the way for a wealth of accessory options. From rooftop tents, recovery boards, gears, and Hi-Lift jacks to spare tires, fuel packs, kayaks, and even lumber, this rack can handle a cornucopia of items. In essence, you can tweak the rack to your needs.
4. XGeek Kayak Roof Rack
XGeek Kayak Roof Rack has truly upped the ante for my kayaking trips. Let’s start with the elephant in the room – assembly. I know, it sounds intimidating, but trust me, it’s far from it. This roof rack arrives with comprehensive instructions that guide you through the installation. And if you’re still left scratching your head, their customer service has got you covered round the clock.
What about its load-bearing capacity? Well, let me tell you, this rack is no lightweight. It can carry a 42-inch wide kayak that tips the scales at a whopping 72 kg or 158 lbs. Talk about strength! As for the material, the rack is a beautiful marriage of space aluminum brackets and foam rubber outer protective pads. The 2.2mm thick aluminum alloy tube is high-grade, anodized aviation material, lightweight yet robust, and resistant to rust. With this sturdy companion, durability is a given.
The icing on the cake? The rack is meticulously designed to avoid scratching your roof. The screws used for fixing are just the right length, so no worrying about unsightly scratches or damage due to vibrations during transport. Now, the rack has a bit of a party trick up its sleeve – a lifting and folding design. This nifty feature allows you to adjust the angle to accommodate different styles of kayaks. But don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just for kayaks. Whether it’s skis, surfboards, small canoes, or even luggage, this rack can handle it all.
5. PIRIPARA Kayak Roof Rack
When it comes to durability and support, PIRIPARA Kayak Roof Rack hits it out of the park. Crafted from high-quality alloy steel, its sturdiness is immediately palpable. Plus, it’s capable of carrying two kayaks, with an impressive total load capacity of 150 lbs. Rest assured, your beloved watercraft are in safe hands!
What really grabbed my attention was its J-bar design. The wide mouth of the J makes loading and unloading a breeze, even for those not well-versed in the art of roof-loading. Plus, it frees up more space on your roof for other adventure gear. Now, let’s talk protection – the lifeblood of any decent rack. The heavy-duty steel framing is complemented by adjustable padding, striking a beautiful balance between carrying strength and kayak protection. No matter how rough the roads get, you won’t have to worry about damage to your precious kayak. And did I mention it has rust-resistant coating and hardware for a longer product life? A win-win situation if you ask me!
Installation? A piece of cake! The quick on/off hardware ensures a speedy installation and removal process. The PIRIPARA Kayak Roof Rack is pretty sociable too – it fits most factory or aftermarket square, oval and flat crossbars. And, it comes with everything you need – kayak rack, heavy-duty tie-down straps, and universal mounting hardware. But don’t box this rack into just being a kayak carrier. It is a veritable multi-tasker, ready to carry your water sports equipment with panache. Be it canoes, ski & snowboards, surfboards, windsurfing boards or various small sailing boats, it’s up for the task.
Key Features to Consider
When choosing a kayak rack, there are several key features you should consider. Here’s a quick rundown:
Durability & Construction
The durability of a kayak rack is paramount. Look for a rack made from sturdy materials like steel or aluminum, which can withstand the weight of your kayak and the wear and tear of outdoor exposure. Additionally, consider the construction of the rack. A poorly constructed rack can lead to damaged kayaks or even accidents on the road.
Loading & Unloading Ease
Unless you’re a bodybuilder, loading and unloading a kayak can be a bit of a chore. Therefore, consider a rack with features that make this process easier, like rollers, sliding mechanisms, or tilt-down designs.
Ensure the rack you choose is compatible with your Ford Ranger. Most racks are universal, but some are specific to certain vehicle models or types.
If you’re planning on leaving your kayak on your vehicle for extended periods, look for a rack with a locking mechanism to protect your gear from theft.
Finally, consider your budget. While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, remember that a kayak rack is an investment. It’s worth spending a little more for a rack that will last longer and protect your kayak effectively.