How To Build a Kayak Rack For Easy Kayak Transport On An RV

Kayaking is a great activity to try on any camping trip, but if you’re taking your RV into the great outdoors you might be wondering if you can even carry a kayak on your RV.

The good news is that it is possible to transport a kayak on an RV, but you must first check if your camper is able to hold the extra weight. This is important because a kayak would most likely be placed on the exterior of the RV. Therefore, it needs to be secured properly so as not to pose any risks while traveling.

Luckily, kayaks are not too heavy either, with the average weight of a kayak being around 30-70 lbs. However, fishing kayaks are a tad heavier at 70+ lbs. 

There are a few ways you can transport a kayak on an RV. These include strapping a kayak on the ladder at the back of your RV, putting the kayak in a trailer, or using a roof rack.

Using a roof rack is definitely the easiest way. There are kayak racks that are specifically designed to hold the kayak in the right way so it’s not damaged during travel. Racks are easy to take off as well as install and can be fitted to either the back of your RV or the roof. 

You also need a hitch on your RV in order to use some kayak racks. If your RV does not have a hitch you will need to install one before you can install a rack.

One drawback to kayak racks is that they can be expensive. However, DIY kayak racks are possible. Below I’ll take you through how to build a kayak rack for an RV. 

How To Build A Kayak Rack For An RV

DIY RV Kayak Rack

Most DIY RV kayak rack tutorials you’ll find use a hitch mount cargo carrier like the Mockins Steel Cargo Basket as a rack. 

The Mockins Steel Cargo Basket comes with a waterproof cargo bag, 2 ratchet straps, and cargo net with a hitch stabilizer that is made of heavy duty steel. It’s able to hold a hefty 500 lbs of cargo like camping gear – or a kayak!

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Once assembled the tray will be 60 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 6 inches tall. You might be thinking, that doesn’t seem wide enough to hold my kayak? But if you’re driving an RV, you can take advantage of the height of your vehicle and stand your kayak or kayaks on end and mount them that way. Use the ladder at the back and strap the top end to that while strapping the bottom end to the cargo tray.

Some people have stuck the kayak ends in empty milk crates. The crates are strapped to the cargo base and padded with foam packing sheets. Or you can get fancy and cut custom size holes in the tray with some proper tools and insert a bucket or other container where the ends of the kayaks will drop into. The ends of the kayak will be below the surface level of the tray and will help stabilize them.

Bonus: if you’re only mounting one kayak, you have room for a cooler, bicycle, or other storage container on the cargo tray.

Are Roof Mounted RV Racks Good?

One of the most popular ways to transport your kayak on your RV is to get a roof-mounted rack. It’s super easy to get a rack mounted on your RV or travel trailer and you can easily install it by yourself. 

However, you should always make sure it’s fastened correctly and securely so your kayak stays in position, especially when you are travelling at high speeds on busy roads like freeways or highways. 

Plus, an RV roof rack is multi-functional. You don’t have to just use it to transport your kayak but other camping gear too. It’s especially useful for carrying large items like water containers and larger pieces of luggage. 

There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show you how to easily install a roof rack on your RV. You can even find videos for how to fit a roof rack onto your particular RV.

Carrying Kayaks On The Roof Of Your RV

While pros recommend using a roof rack to transport your kayak, you can still carry a kayak on the roof of your vehicle without one. Next to a DIY rack, this is the most affordable option. You just need pool noodles to secure the kayak and protect your RV from damage. 

To carry a kayak on the roof of your RV, you will first need to measure the length of your kayak against your RV roof. Once you’ve done that, then put the noodles on each end of the roof.

The pool noodles will act as a regular rack, and you should place them where a rack would go. Then place your kayak on the pool noodles and fasten the ratchet straps on each end securely. 

To make sure your kayak stays put on the roofs in high winds and when you’re travelling at high speeds use as many pool noodles as possible – the more pool noodles the better! Just make sure the noodles themselves are secured tightly.

It’s also easier to bring a kayak onto an RV when you’re travelling in a fifth wheel. You can carry a kayak on a fifth wheel by placing it on the roof of the towing truck or by placing it at the back or at the top of the 5th wheel. 

Can I Carry Two Kayaks On My RV?

Yes, it is possible to carry two kayaks on an RV. You just need to buy a rack that can easily accommodate two or more kayaks.

If you want to carry more than two kayaks on your RV, make sure they are smaller, lightweight kayaks. With larger kayaks or when you have more than two kayaks you might want to look at getting a kayak trailer

Some people even transport their kayaks inside their RV. For example, a 10 foot kayak can easily fit inside one of the rooms in your RV. Just strap them with a ratchet strap and you should be fine!

Plus, since kayaks are generally lightweight anyway, it’s not hard to find somewhere they can go. But if you’re an avid kayaker and kayak frequently, then it’s good to make a more permanent solution like a rack. 

If you have a toy hauler RV, then carrying a kayak or even a small paddle boat is easy peasy. Bigger fifth wheel toy haulers or travel trailers are more than capable of transporting such large equipment. 

How To Build a Kayak Rack For Easy Kayak Carrying On an RV
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How To Build a Kayak Rack For Easy Kayak Carrying On an RV
There are numerous ways to carry a kayak on an RV. Buy and install a rack or build your own kayak rack for your RV. Tips inside.
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Board and Kayak Life
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2 thoughts on “How To Build a Kayak Rack For Easy Kayak Transport On An RV”

  1. Kayaking on a river, stream, lake, or beach is one of the nicest activities i can do on your vacation. However, my RV doesn’t have a spot for my kayak, I’ll have to make one. Thank you for sharing this tutorial.


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