The Bottom Line
The Thule Compass kayak carrier is a great option for anyone looking to invest in a high-quality rack that will be used often. It’s really easy to fit and a very practical solution that can be left on the roof of your vehicle all the time.
At a Glance
32″x 19.6″x 7″
If you have a kayak then you already know the biggest issue is getting it to and from where you want to go. Even if you have a big estate car you’re not going to want to slide a wet kayak inside it, even if it will fit. That means you need an effective way of carrying your kayaks. Of course, choosing a trailer is an option but this can be cumbersome, especially if you’re only taking one kayak with you. Fortunately, Thule has come up with a great solution, the Thule Compass Kayak, and SUP carrier. Check out this review to find out what’s so good about this kayak carrier and why it may just be your next purchase.
It is worth noting that transporting your kayak is only half the battle. You also need to have a good storage system at home. Take a look at this list of the 10 best kayak storage racks to make sure your kayak is really being looked after.
I’d be surprised if you haven’t already heard of Thule. They are the largest supplier of bike and kayak accessories in the world and have a reputation for producing high-quality products. This is a great starting point for the review of the Thule Compass kayak and SUP carrier.
Ideal for Carrying a Range of Water Sport Equipment
This is one of the most popular options as it is convenient, the kayaks utilize space that isn’t currently being used and have surprisingly little effect on aerodynamics or fuel consumption.
Some kayak racks are designed just for kayaks and, although you can use them for other items, they’re not practical. Fortunately, Thule has designed the Compass properly and ensured it can carry a wide array of water-based equipment.
If you have factory roof bars, round bars, or any other type, you’ll be pleased to note that this rack will fit straight on. While there may be a few roof bars that it won’t fit, the majority should be easy. That’s per boat, which should be good enough for your needs.
Don’t forget you can always add an extra rack on your roof to carry even more! This is a limitation but shouldn’t be an issue for most people, 36” hull width covers most kayaks.
You may be surprised at just how many positive attributes this kayak rack has:
This is an incredibly versatile cradle. Not only can it accommodate paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes you can also choose the way in which you carry the items. One kayak can be carried in the same way as a J style bracket, or as a saddle-type configuration.
The cradles are extremely easy to fit your vehicle. You’ll need to have roof bars but you’ll be pleased to discover that they should fit virtually any style of roof bars. Even better, you won’t need any tools to fit the rack. All the universal mounting hardware you’ll need is also included.
Once you slide the kayak into place you can effortlessly tie it down at the front and rear. Don’t forget, the secret is to use the included straps and not to over tighten them. Your aim is to prevent lift. The rack will prevent the kayak from falling off.
The straps which are included have integrated strap catches to ensure securing your kayak is almost effortless.
As mentioned, this rack is not just for kayaks, you can mix the types of craft you carry. This allows you and your friends to experience the water in several different ways.
This makes the rack exceptionally good if you’re taking your family out and they all have slightly different interests. It’s not surprising to discover that the Thule Compass Kayak Carrier is well built.
The frame is powder-coated steel and it has plenty of padding on the uprights and the saddle. This will ensure your kayak or paddleboards arrive in as good condition as they leave.
Thule has designed this rack to fold. Simply push in the button and watch as the rack folds down parallel to the roof of your vehicle and then locks into position. This reduces drag and allows you to drive your car normally until you need your rack again.
As you’ll know from other reviews, no rack is perfect. The Thule Cpmass does have a few issues you need to be aware of:
Roof-mounted kayak racks are one of the most popular options but you do need to note that this means lifting your kayak into place. If you have a heavy kayak or any back/shoulder issues, you’ll need to consider how easy it is for you to lift your kayak to the necessary height.
This is a quality product and one made by Thule. Unfortunately, this means that it is at the more expensive end of the price scale. This is something you need to be aware of before you purchase.
Obviously, cost is generally a reflection of quality. If you’re going to use your rack every weekend then it’s a good idea to invest in one of the best options that is currently available. However, if you are only going to use it once or twice a year you may want to look at something a little cheaper.
One of the other issues we encountered is that while a number of initial retailers had information that this rack worked with a locking mechanism, this turned out to be false and the Compass in fact does not offer locking capabilities.
It should be noted that there are only 8 bolts holding the racks to your vehicle. This should be more than adequate despite a couple of customers having an issue with the kayaks staying on the rack.
Final Thoughts On The Thule Compass Kayak Carrier
Although the Thule Compass kayak carrier is at the more expensive end of the scale, it’s well built and one that you should consider if you’re looking for a new kayak roof rack system.