Unless you have a rather large pickup truck, getting your kayak from the garage to the creek is going to involve carrying it on the roof of your vehicle. Even though it is possible to strap it to the bars of a standard roof rack that comes with many sports utility vehicles and four-wheel drive vehicles, specialized kayak carriers do a much better job at securing the boat and preventing it from sailing away like an expensive kite. Several manufacturers offer a wide variety of kayak racks.
Thule 835PRO Hull-a-port Pro
The Thule 835PRO Hull-a-port Pro ($179, 2010 prices) is a J-style kayak carrier that carries your boat on its side and folds down onto the bars when not in use. The 835 mounts to standard Thule rack bars, Yakima bars and will also attach to many factory mount cross bars, making it an economical choice. The bars of the 835 are padded to prevent damage to your boat while it is secured. The 835 comes with ratcheting bow and stern tie down straps to secure your boat.
The Yakima BigStack ($139, 2010 prices), is a post system that can be used to carry up to four kayaks. The BigStack fits Yakima round bars, Thule square, Thule Aero and most factory crossbars. The BigStack is a two-post system, one for the front bar and one for the back bar, and comes with bow and stern straps for your boats and heavy-duty straps to strap the boats to the posts. The BigStack folds down when not in use and can be locked to your roof bars with the optional SDS lock system.
The Malone SeaWing ($129, 2010 prices) is a traditional cradle-style kayak carrier that carries the boat flat, instead of at an angle. However, unlike most flat-style carriers, the SeaWing was designed with a mid-point mounting system so that two SeaWings can be placed on your bars side-by-side to carry two boats. The SeaWing comes with universal mounting hardware and is compatible with most round, square and oval roof bars. Cam style load straps are provided to secure the boat to the SeaWing.