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SUV Buyers Guide: Best SUV For Kayaks 

It would be best if you had an SUV that can handle your daily commute but is also big enough to fit your kayaks when you go on weekend trips. However, there are so many different makes and models on the market, and it’s tough to know which one is right for you. So, in this guide, we’ll show you the best SUV for kayaks. 

The best SUV for kayaks should have plenty of space for your gear, but it should also be able to handle the elements. We’ll help you choose the right car for your needs, and we’ll give you a breakdown of the pros and cons of each model. 

So we’ve got you covered whether you’re looking for a family-friendly SUV or a vehicle that can handle off-road adventures.

Best Recommended Cars For Hauling Kayaks

If you’re looking for a car that can haul your kayak, there are a few different options to consider. The first is a crossover SUV, which typically has plenty of cargo space and can handle rough terrain. A second option is a pickup truck with a bed extender or canopy. This will give you the most room for your kayak and also keep it protected from the elements. Finally, consider a wagon or hatchback with a roof rack if you’re looking for a smaller and more fuel-efficient option. Whichever option you choose, make sure your vehicle can handle the weight of your kayak and gear.

Assuming that you already have a kayak or two, the capacity to haul them is going to be your primary concern when choosing a car. You could get an open-bed truck, but those usually have worse gas mileage. An SUV is a much better option for fuel efficiency as well as space. Many of them even come with features like an all-wheel drive to help you out in tough situations. You might have to sacrifice a bit of storage space inside the vehicle, but it will be worth it when you don’t have to worry about your kayak sliding around in the back.

If you want the best of both worlds, consider getting a car with a roof rack. These are great because you can put other things on top of them, freeing up space inside the vehicle. Many wagons and hatchbacks come with standard roof racks, so keep an eye out for those if you’re in the market for a new car.

Bestseller No. 1
MaxxHaul 70115 46" x 36" x 4-1/2" Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket, Car Top Luggage Holder for SUV and Pick Up Trucks - 150 lb. Capacity
  • Instant cargo space for vehicle with cross bars; Basket size - 46" x 36" x 4-1/2"
  • Easy to assemble and install (assembly and mounting hardware are included)
  • Attaches to most cross bars with easy to use u-bolts for simple installation
  • Includes rubber caps to cover the U-bolts and protect the cargo
  • Powder coat finish
Bestseller No. 2
MPH Production 48" Universal Fit Black Adjustable Aluminum Window Frame Roof Rack Rail Cross Bars Utility Cargo Carrier with 3 Pairs of Mounting Clamps (2 Pcs)
  • Fitment: Universal Fit For Most 4-Door Models Vehicles ( Cars, SUVs, Trucks, etc ) with Naked Roof (**IMPORTANT NOTE: Will not fit vehicles with any types of actual side rails, like integrated side rails, raised side rails)
  • Design: Window-Frame-Type Aluminum Roof Rack Cross Bars With Mounts & Locks ( Comes With 3 Different Sizes Of Mounts To Fit For Your Car Models )
  • Rail: 48" In Length.
  • Color: Black
  • High Quality Removable Roof Rack Cross Bars made of light-weight Aluminum. Durable Tube Construction with Hold Up To a 150lb Capacity. They Attach To Side Window Frames To Transport Luggage, Ladders, or any other cargo
SaleBestseller No. 3
SEAH HARDWARE Universal Roof Rack Cross-Bars for Car, 2 PC.
  • The straps go through the door frames, and attach the rack on top of the roof, it fits most four door car without side rails, it fit most four door car with side rails which height is less than 6.4 cm from roof, because the distance from car roof to bottom of bar is 6.5 cm.
  • Comes with a pair of crossbars Heavy duty steel tube make it strong and safe. 4 PC 1/4" x 2" screw and 4 PC 1/4" lock nut.
  • Crossbars are adjustable in position. Install in minutes and disassemble in seconds.These cross bars will get your favorite things to anywhere.
  • DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN!* 1800 lbs ratchet tie down ensures the roof bar will remain firmly on your car top. Please be careful not to over tighten.
  • It doesn't fit two door cars.
Bestseller No. 4
Silscvtt 48 Universal Car Top Roof Cross Bar Luggage Cargo Rack w/ 3 Kinds Clamp Silver Aluminum
  • 48 universal car top roof cross bar luggage cargo rack w/ 3 kinds clamp silver aluminum
  • Easy to install, directly adapt to your vehicle, no need to modify
  • Replacement for four door models (sedan, SUV, truck, etc), 120 - 132cm size between cars rain gutters with bare roof
  • When you receive the product, we can provide you with installation instructions, kindly note
  • Please carefully confirm whether the options you have selected match your vehicle before purchasing
Bestseller No. 5
Aoile 42" x 36" Roof Rack Rooftop Cargo Carrier Steel Basket, 200lbs Heavy Duty Motoring Roof Rack, Top Mount Universal Rack Carrier for SUV, Truck, Black Steel
  • This roof cargo basket is easily mounted onto the cross bars or roof racks of your vehicle.
  • It provides secure storage for your belongings when camping, traveling or carrying other equipment, with a maximum capacity of 200 pounds.
  • The powder coat reduces drag and noise, as well as inhibiting rust and corrosion. Additionally, the sturdy steel construction ensures longevity and durability.
  • Assembly is effortless and suitable for all weather conditions. The basket comes with a steel wind fairing, which minimises wind resistance and noise.
  • Two 12ft tie-down straps, with a rating of up to 2200lbs, can provide added strength and protection for larger cargo items such as tents, luggage, and storage boxes.

Finally, don’t forget about towing capacity when you’re choosing a car to haul your kayak. If you plan on taking your kayak out on the water, you’ll need to make sure your vehicle can handle the weight. Many SUVs and trucks have a good towing capacity, but some smaller cars might not be able to handle it. Be sure to check the specs before you make your purchase.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start shopping around. There are plenty of great options out there, so take your time and find the perfect car for hauling your kayak. With a little bit of research, you’ll be hitting the open road in no time.

Best SUV For Kayaks 2024

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about each vehicle, from gas mileage to carrying capacity. 

Chevrolet Tahoe

Chevrolet is one of the most reliable car brands, so it’s no wonder that Tahoe is one of the most popular SUVs on the market. The Tahoe has a spacious interior and a comfortable ride. It’s also available with various engines, including a V8 that provides plenty of power for towing and hauling.

best suv for kayaks

The Chevrolet Tahoe is a great option for those looking for an SUV that can accommodate their kayaks. The Tahoe has several features that make it easy to transport your kayak, including a roof rack and trailer hitch. The Tahoe is also available with four-wheel drive, which makes it a great choice for those who want to take their kayaks on rougher terrain.

Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV manufactured by Ford. The Ford Expedition is a great choice for those looking for an SUV that can accommodate kayaks. 

The Expedition has a cargo space of 121.5 cubic feet, which makes it the perfect vehicle for outdoor gear. The Expedition also comes with various features that make it an ideal choice for those who enjoy outdoor activities, such as a tow hitch and trailer backup assist.

Toyota Sequoia 

Toyota is a Japanese car manufacturer that is headquartered in Aichi. Kiichiro Toyoda founded the company in 1937 as a spinoff from his father’s company, Toyota Industries, to create automobiles. 

Three years earlier, in 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product Type A engine, and in 1936 its first passenger car, the Toyota AA. 

Toyota Motor Corporation produces vehicles under five brands, including the Toyota brand, Lexus, Hino, Ranz, and Daihatsu.

It also holds a 5.9% Isuzu stake, a 20% Subaru Corporation stake, as well as joint ventures with two in China (GAC Toyota and Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor), one in India (Toyota Kirloskar), one in the Czech Republic (TPCA), along with several “nonautomotive” companies.

The Toyota Sequoia is a great option if you’re looking for a vehicle that can accommodate your kayaks. With 120.1 cubic feet of cargo space, there’s plenty of room to store all your gear. 

The Sequoia is also a great choice for families, thanks to its spacious interior and comfortable seating. Plus, its powerful engine provides plenty of power and torque to handle whatever you might encounter on the road. 

best suv for kayaks

So if you’re looking for a reliable and versatile SUV that can handle your kayaks, the Toyota Sequoia is worth considering.

Jeep Wagoneer

Jeep is a brand of American automobiles that is a division of FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group, LLC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Italian-American corporation Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

Jeep has been a part of Chrysler since 1987, when Chrysler acquired the Jeep brand, along with remaining assets, from its previous owner: American Motors Corporation (AMC).

The Jeep Wagoneer is the best SUV for kayaks because it has a large cargo space that can easily accommodate a kayak. With its V6 engine, the Wagoneer has plenty of power to tow a kayak trailer. And its all-wheel-drive system provides great traction on slippery surfaces.

Honda Pilot

Honda is a Japanese multinational corporation that was founded in 1948. The Honda Pilot is a great choice for those looking for a spacious SUV that can accommodate a kayak. 

With 109.2 cubic feet of cargo space, the Pilot has more than enough room to store all of the necessary gear for your next outdoor adventure. 

The Pilot also has various features that make it easy to transport your kayak, including a power liftgate and roof rails. And with its comfortable and spacious interior, the Pilot is perfect for long road trips with the family. 

So if you’re in the market for a new SUV and you’re looking for one that can handle your kayak, the Honda Pilot should be at the top of your list.

Honda Passport

The Honda Passport is a great choice for those looking for an SUV that can accommodate their kayaks. The Passport comes with an all-wheel drive system that provides great handling and traction and a V6 engine that delivers plenty of power. 

best suv for kayaks

Plus, the Passport has an impressive list of safety features that will help keep you and your kayaks safe on the road.

Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. With its globally recognized brands, the Volkswagen Group sells vehicles in more than 150 countries.

In 2018, the Group delivered 10.83 million vehicles, including 615,000 commercial vehicles, to customers worldwide. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Porsche, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, and MAN. 

Volkswagen Atlas is an SUV from the German automaker Volkswagen. It was introduced in late 2017 for the 2018 model year.

The Volkswagen Atlas is a great SUV for kayaks. The Atlas is a comfortable and spacious vehicle with plenty of headroom and legroom. 

It has a powerful engine and all-wheel drive so that it can handle any terrain. The Atlas is a great choice for transporting your kayak.

Acura MDX 

Acura is a luxury vehicle marque of automaker Honda. Acura’s North American headquarters is located in Torrance, California. 

The Acura MDX is a great choice for those looking for an SUV that can accommodate their kayaks. The MDX comes with both heated and cooled seats, which will keep you comfortable no matter the weather. The MDX also comes with a powerful V6 engine, which makes it easy to get up to speed quickly and easily.

Subaru Ascent

Subaru is a Japanese car manufacturer that is known for its production of reliable and durable vehicles. The Subaru Ascent is a large SUV that was introduced in 2018. It is the largest vehicle Subaru has ever produced and is available in either seven- or eight-passenger seating configurations. 

best suv for kayaks

The Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces up to 260 horsepower. 

The Ascent has various features and options, including a panoramic sunroof, heated front, second-row seats, and an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

The Subaru Ascent is a great choice for kayaks. It has ample cargo space with 86 cubic feet of room. That’s enough to fit all the gear you need to go with them. 

The Ascent is also a very capable SUV, with plenty of power and features to make your trip safe and enjoyable. It’s perfect for weekend getaways or longer trips into the wilderness.

Lexus LX 570

Lexus is known for making some of the most comfortable and luxurious cars on the market, and the LX 570 is no exception. This full-size SUV comes standard with features like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, four-zone automatic climate control, and a Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system. 

And if you’re looking for even more luxury, the LX 570 can be optioned with a rear-seat entertainment system, a head-up display, and adaptive cruise control. 

The Lexus LX 570 is a great option for those looking for the best SUV for kayaks. The LX 570 has a V8 engine, which provides plenty of power and torque to tow kayaks or other watercraft. 

In addition, the Lexus LX 570 comes with several features that are perfect for those who enjoy spending time on the water, such as an air suspension system that allows for a smooth ride over rough terrain and an intuitive infotainment system with navigation capabilities.

How To Choose The Right SUV For Your Outdoor Activities?

best suv for kayaks

Assuming you have a family of four and frequently go camping, fishing, or hiking together, here are some factors you should consider when choosing the right SUV for your outdoor activities: 

Size

The first thing to keep in mind is the size of the SUV itself. If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking or camping, you’ll want something that’s not too large or cumbersome to drive around.

There are many compact SUVs on the market these days that are perfect for those types of activities. So take into account what kind of activities you’ll be using your SUV for and choose accordingly.

Seating Capacity

When choosing the right SUV for your outdoor activities, it is important to consider the seating capacity. 

Certain SUVs have a higher seating capacity than others, which can be advantageous when taking a large group on an outdoor excursion. 

For example, the Ford Expedition has a seating capacity of up to 8 passengers, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee only accommodates up to 7 passengers. 

Storage Space

When considering an SUV for your outdoor activities, it’s important to think about how much storage space the vehicle has. This will determine how much gear you can bring with you on your next camping trip or hike. 

Many SUVs nowadays come standard with a third row of seating, which takes up a lot of storage space. If you don’t need the extra seating, consider looking for a model that doesn’t have it. You’ll be able to fit more gear in the trunk that way.

4-Wheel Drive

best suv for kayaks

When looking for an SUV to take on your outdoor adventures, a 4-wheel drive is an important consideration. Here are four reasons why: 

  • It gives you better traction in slippery conditions. The 4-wheel drive can help you stay safe and in control when the roads are wet or icy. 
  • It allows you to go off-road. If you want to explore the great outdoors, the 4-wheel drive will let you go places other SUVs can’t reach. 
  • It helps with heavy loads. If you often transport cargo or tow a trailer, the 4-wheel drive will give you the power you need to handle those extra pounds. 
  • It provides peace of mind. Knowing that your SUV has 4-wheel drive gives you added confidence when tackling challenging terrain or hazardous weather conditions. 

So, if you’re looking for an SUV that can handle anything your adventures throw at it, consider one with 4-wheel drive. It could make all the difference on your next outdoor excursion.

Fuel Efficiency

When considering the purchase of an SUV, one of the factors you will want to take into account is fuel efficiency. All SUVs are not created equal in this regard, and there can be a significant difference between different models. 

Some SUVs are designed for greater fuel efficiency than others. So how do you go about choosing the right SUV for your needs?

One way to approach this question is to consider what type of activities you will most often use your SUV for. If you spend most of your time driving on the highway, then you will want to choose an SUV that has good fuel economy ratings for highway driving. 

If you do a lot of off-roading or need to tow heavy loads, you will want an SUV designed for those activities and has good performance specs in those areas. 

best suv for kayaks

But even if your needs don’t perfectly align with any one model, there are still some general tips you can follow to get the best fuel economy out of any SUV.

  • First, make sure you are using the correct fuel type for your SUV. If you have a flex-fuel vehicle, you can save money by using the cheaper E85 ethanol blend when it is available. 
  • Second, keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. This can help improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. 
  • Third, use cruise control when you are on the highway to help maintain a consistent speed and save fuel. 
  • Finally, ensure you are regularly servicing your SUV and keeping up with maintenance to help ensure it is running at its best.

Towing capacity 

When considering what SUV to buy to accommodate your outdoor activities, one of the most important factors is the vehicle’s towing capacity. 

Many SUVs have a tow rating of 5,000 pounds or more, which can be adequate for many needs. However, if you plan on doing any serious off-road camping or trailering, you will need a vehicle with a higher tow rating. 

Certain midsize and full-size SUVs have a tow rating of 10,000 pounds or more, making them capable of handling even the most strenuous tasks. So before making your final decision on an SUV, check the tow ratings and ensure that the vehicle can handle your specific needs.

How To Secure Your Kayaks Inside An SUV?

There are a few different ways to secure kayaks inside an SUV. 

Use A Roof Rack System

best suv for kayaks

One way is to use a roof rack system. This will require purchasing or renting a rack system and installing it on the roof of your vehicle. The kayaks can then be secured to the rack with straps. 

To do this, first, position the kayaks on the rack so they are parallel and facing the same direction. Next, place a strap around each kayak in the middle, and secure it to the roof rack. You can then use additional straps to secure the kayaks at the bow and stern.

Use A Cargo Carrier

Another option is to use a cargo carrier. A cargo carrier is a metal frame that attaches to the vehicle’s rear and can hold several kayaks. The kayaks can again be secured to the carrier with straps. 

Start by placing one kayak onto the carrier to be balanced in the middle. Then, secure it to the carrier with straps. Repeat this process for each kayak.

Once the kayaks are loaded, you must secure them to the vehicle. This can be done with ratchet straps, rope, or bungee cords. Ensure the kayaks are securely fastened, so they will not shift while you are driving.

Use Kayak Racks

Finally, some SUVs come with built-in kayak racks. These racks typically consist of two metal bars that extend from the back of the vehicle to the front, and the kayaks are secured to these bars with straps. 

First, you’ll need to secure the front of the kayak to the front bar with a strap. Then, you’ll need to do the same with the back of the kayak but on the rear bar. Make sure the straps are tightened securely so the kayaks don’t come loose while you’re driving.

If you don’t have a built-in kayak rack, you can always purchase one from a sporting goods store. There are many different types and styles of kayak racks, so you should be able to find one that fits your vehicle.

best suv for kayaks

Whichever method you choose, ensure the kayaks are securely fastened so they will not move around while driving.

FAQs

How Do I Know If My SUV Can Hold A Kayak?

Most SUVs can hold a kayak, but you’ll want to check your vehicle’s specifications to be sure. Many SUVs have roof racks that can accommodate a kayak, or you may be able to use a roof-top carrier. You’ll also need to consider the kayak’s weight and your vehicle’s capacity limit.

What Are The Dimensions Of A Typical Kayak?

Most kayaks range in size from 10 to 12 feet long and around 30 inches wide. Depending on the type, they can weigh anywhere from 22 to 55 pounds.

What Are Some Tips For Loading And Unloading A Kayak Off An SUV By Myself?

When loading a kayak onto an SUV, it is important to use caution and take time. Here are a few tips to help make the process easier:

  • Ensure the kayak is clean and free of debris before loading it onto the vehicle.
  • Position the kayak on its side with the deck facing up. This will prevent water from entering the vessel.
  • Use straps or ropes to secure the kayak to the roof of the SUV. Ensure the kayak is tightly secured, so it does not move during transport.
  • When unloading, remove all straps or ropes from the kayak before lowering it to the ground. Again, take your time and use caution when handling a loaded kayak.

Conclusion

This SUV buyers guide will help you choose the best SUV for kayaks. We’ve highlighted some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a vehicle and provided a few of our favorite SUVs that are perfect for transporting kayaks. 

Whether you’re looking for a large SUV or something smaller, we’ve covered you. Let us know which SUV is your favorite!

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