RV Kayak Racks: The Perfect Solution for Transporting Kayaks on Your Camper

Are you passionate about exploring new locations with your kayaks? If so, you’ve probably faced the challenge of transporting these large and cumbersome watercraft. How do you safely secure them to your RV without adding unnecessary height? The answer lies in using an RV kayak rack!

In this article, we will explore the best methods for mounting a kayak to an RV, showcase seven top-notch RV kayak rack options, and even teach you how to build your own. So, let’s dive in!

Which Mounting Strategy Is Best for Your RV?

Finding the ideal mounting strategy for your RV largely depends on the type of vehicle you have. For Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel RVs, vertical mounting is often the best option. By standing the kayak upright and securing it using a device on your hitch or RV ladder, you can efficiently transport your kayak without adding extra height.

Man Installing Kayak on the RV Camper Van
Secure your kayak onto your camper with an RV kayak rack.

While some kayak racks can be installed on the roof of your RV, most RVers prefer to avoid this method to maintain vehicle height and improve gas mileage. However, if you have a smaller RV trailer or motorhome, roof mounts may be a suitable option. Alternatively, you can also mount your kayaks on the roof of your truck or SUV if you are towing a camper. Another possibility is investing in a kayak trailer to tow behind your motorhome.

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Should You Transport Kayaks Face Up or Down?

When it comes to mounting your kayak on an RV or vehicle, it is generally recommended to transport it face down or upside down. This positioning helps protect the hull of the kayak, which is typically the most delicate and vulnerable part of the boat.

Transporting the kayak face down provides better support, preventing damage or warping during transportation. Moreover, it reduces wind resistance and enhances stability while on the roof rack or trailer. However, it’s always wise to consult the specific kayak manufacturer for their recommended transportation practices.

Cait kayaking with our dog, Bella!

The 7 Best RV Kayak Racks for Your Camper

Finding the perfect kayak rack for your camper can be a daunting task, but fear not! We have done extensive research to bring you seven exceptional RV kayak rack options.

1. RecPro Vertiyak Hitch Mount RV Kayak Rack

The RecPro Vertiyak RV Kayak Rack is designed to mount on the hitch of your motorhome or trailer. It can accommodate kayaks or paddleboards up to 12 feet in height. Made of alloy steel, this rack weighs 46 pounds and features three different mounting heights. It includes pool noodles for cushioning, an anti-rattle device, and ratchet straps to ensure a secure fit.

2. YakUps RV Kayak Rack 2KR37W

YakUps specializes in RV-specific kayak racks, and their 2KR37W model is a standout choice for vertical mounting. Able to support two kayaks, surfboards, or paddleboards up to 32 inches wide, this fully assembled rack comes with all the necessary hardware and protective guards. For added security, it even includes padlocks.

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3. YakUps RV Kayak Rack KR2B56 With Optional Bike Rack

If you want to combine kayaking with biking, the YakUps KR2B56 RV kayak rack is the perfect solution. Capable of holding up to two watercrafts up to 32 inches wide and 6.5 feet long, this rack also offers an optional bike rack add-on.

4. YakUps KR2B56S for up to 4 Kayaks

For those who need to transport more than two kayaks or boards, the YakUps KR2B56S kayak rack is an excellent choice. This vertically mounted rack can carry up to eight surfboards or four kayaks, or a combination of both. It comes fully assembled in three sections and includes all necessary hardware, locks, and cables.

5. YakUps for Wide Kayaks: OKR2B56

If you own wider watercraft, YakUps has a solution for you. The OKR2B56 RV kayak rack can support bikes and watercraft up to 36 inches wide. With the ability to carry up to two kayaks or four boards, this rack also offers an option to attach two bikes.

6. Mount Your Kayak to Your RV Ladder

Many RVers choose to attach their kayaks to the RV ladder. This cost-effective method requires some ingenuity, as it involves securing the kayak using straps. While some RVers caution against this method due to potential stress on the ladder, others have successfully used it without any issues.

Exterior shot of RV ladder.
If you don’t have an RV kayak rack, you can attach your kayak to your RV ladder with a little ingenuity.

7. Build Your Own

For the DIY enthusiast, building your own RV kayak rack is an option worth considering. While pre-made kayak racks can be expensive, crafting your own rack using materials like PVC pipe and fittings can save you money. However, it’s essential to ensure the rack is sturdy enough to support the weight of your kayaks and secure them using ratchet straps.

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How to Build a Kayak Rack for Your RV

Designing your own RV kayak rack offers endless possibilities. One popular method involves using a cargo rack as the base, which attaches to the RV bumper and acts as a tray to hold one end of the kayak. To transport the kayak vertically, you can strap the upper end to your RV ladder or use a truck bed extender in a vertical position attached to a dual hitch receiver. For those with welding skills, creating a metal rack is a more advanced option. Alternatively, constructing a rack using PVC pipe and fittings provides a simpler and cost-effective alternative.

Bring Your Kayaks Along With an RV Kayak Rack

With an RV kayak rack, you don’t have to leave your kayaks behind when hitting the road. Whether you opt for a pre-made rack or take on the challenge of building your own, both options will enable you to transport your kayaks safely and securely, saving you money on boat rentals during your travels.

So, how do you transport your kayaks? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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