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7 Best RV Kayak Racks For Your Camper

Many people love exploring new locations with their kayaks, but they’re just so big. How do you transport your kayaks on your RV in a way that doesn’t add additional height and is secure? An RV kayak rack, of course!

You can mount a kayak to your RV in different ways, but for long-term travel, this is what we recommend. 

Keep reading as we look at the best way to mount a kayak to an RV, share seven of the best RV kayak rack options, and learn how to build your own. Let’s get into it!

What’s the Best Way to Mount a Kayak to an RV? 

The best mounting strategy is going to depend on the type of RV you have. Since Class A motorhomes and fifth wheel RVs are some of the tallest vehicles on the road, vertically mounting your kayak often works best. Vertical kayak mounting typically involves standing it up and securing it via a device on your hitch or your RV ladder. 

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

While you can find some kayak racks for your RV’s roof, most RVers don’t want to add additional height. Doing this can also decrease your gas mileage, which is likely already poor. When you only get around 10 MPG, you want to save every bit of gas mileage you can.

However, smaller RV trailers and motorhomes may work well with roof mounts. Another option is to mount your kayaks on the roof of your truck or SUV if you’re towing a camper. Lastly, if you have a motorhome, you could invest in a kayak trailer and tow it behind your rig.

Pro Tip: Before you hit the water, discover The Differences You Should Know About A Canoe vs. Kayak Before Your Next Paddle Trip.

Do You Transport Kayaks Face Up or Down?

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

Placing the kayak face down provides better support and prevents the hull from getting damaged or warped during transportation. Additionally, it helps minimize wind resistance and keeps the kayak more stable while on the roof rack or trailer. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with the kayak manufacturer for best practices in transporting their particular model.

caitlin morton kayaking with dog bella
Cait kayaking with our dog, Bella!

7 Best RV Kayak Racks for Your Camper

Finding the best kayak rack for your camper can pose a challenge. We did a lot of research and came up with these seven RV kayak rack options. 

1. RecPro Vertiyak Hitch Mount RV Kayak Rack

The RecPro Vertiyak RV Kayak Rack mounts on the hitch of your motorhome or trailer. 

This kayak rack will fit up to a 12-foot tall kayak or paddleboard. It’s made out of alloy steel, mounts to a 2-inch receiver, and weighs 46 pounds. 

It can carry two kayaks and up to 150 pounds and has holes for three different mounting heights. The rack includes pool noodles for cushion, an anti-rattle device, and ratchet straps to hold it securely in place. 

You can find this model on Amazon, or you can order directly from RecPro with our 5% off RecPro discount code ONTHEMOVE5.

RecPro RV Kayak Rack Vertiyak Hitch Mount Standing...
  • For kayaks and paddleboards up to 12 ft in length
  • Made in America Main beam and upper section: 14-gauge steel,...
  • Mounts to a 2” hitch receiver (frame-welded receiver...
HITCH MOUNT KAYAK CARRIER - Vertiyak to the Rescue - Love This Rack

2. YakUps RV Kayak Rack 2KR37W 

YakUps, an RV-specific brand, manufactures vertical kayak racks. It’s hard to find other kayak rack brands made specifically for RVs and vertical mounting.

YakUps has several models for different needs, and we’ll cover them below. All YakUps models will fit your specific RV and arrive fully assembled.

The 2KR37W, a narrow and heavy-duty kayak rack, can support two kayaks, surfboards, or paddleboards up to 32 inches wide.

This unit arrives fully assembled with all the necessary hardware, protective guards, and more. It even comes with padlocks to keep your gear secure when you’re away. 

This model can also be used with a heavy-duty swing arm hitch mount for vans or RVs with rear doors that need to open.  

3. YakUps RV Kayak Rack KR2B56 With Optional Bike Rack

The YakUps KR2B56 RV kayak rack can hold kayaks and bicycles. It’ll support up to two watercrafts 32 inches wide and 6.5 feet long and has an optional bike rack add-on. 

The KR2B56 is the most popular option sold by YakUps. This model works great when you want to explore the land and the sea.

Yakups brand RV Racks Vans, Motorhome, Fifth wheel kayaks, Bikes, Paddle board, & Surf Boards,

4. YakUps KR2B56S for up to 4 Kayaks

If you have more than two kayaks or boards to bring, the KR2B56S kayak rack from YakUps is for you. This vertically mounted kayak rack can carry up to eight surfboards or four kayaks, or a combination of both. 

The KR2B56S can carry watercraft up to 32 inches wide. It ships fully assembled in three sections and includes all necessary hardware, locks, and cables. 

5. YakUps for Wide Kayaks: OKR2B56

If you have wider watercraft, YakUps has one perfect for you. The OKR2B56 RV kayak rack can support bikes and watercraft up to 36 inches wide. 

This larger model kayak rack does not work for use with a swing arm hitch. 

This specific rack fits up to two kayaks or four boards up to 36 inches wide, and it can also carry two bikes with the bike rack option. 

6. Mount Your Kayak to Your RV Ladder

Many RVers choose to carry kayaks on their RV by mounting them to the RV ladder. This option is relatively inexpensive, but it requires some ingenuity. 

Some RVers don’t recommend this, stating that the constant stress on the ladder can be too much. Others use this method exclusively and have had no issues. 

Pro Tip: RV ladders can serve many purposes. Read more about Why You Need An RV Ladder.

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

You can also build your own. RV kayak racks are expensive, sometimes even three to ten times as much as the kayak itself. 

Building your own RV kayak rack won’t cost as much, but you may get dirty and need to use a little muscle. Keep reading to find out how to get this done!

How to Build a Kayak Rack for Your RV

There are many ways to build your own RV kayak rack. Let’s take a look at a few design options.

One of the most popular methods is to use a cargo rack as the base. The rack attaches to the bumper of your RV and serves as a tray to hold one end of the kayak.

Sale
MaxxHaul 70107 53" x 19-1/2" Hitch Cargo Carrier -...
  • Impressive Weight Capacity: With a maximum distributed weight...
  • Generous Basket Dimensions: The outer basket dimensions measure...
  • Sturdy Steel Construction: Crafted from heavy-duty steel, this...

To transport the kayak vertically, some RVers will simply strap the upper end of the kayak to their RV ladder. Others will use a truck bed extender in a vertical position attached to a dual hitch receiver.

If you have welding skills, you can fashion the entire thing out of metal. But this is an advanced option. A simple alternative is to craft an RV kayak rack using PVC pipe and fittings.

No matter your method, make sure the rack can support the weight of your kayaks, and be sure each watercraft is secured with ratchet straps.

How to build a DIY RV Kayak/Bike hitch rack

Pro Tip: Want to bring your bikes camping too? Check out the Best RV Bike Racks!

Bring Your Kayaks Along With an RV Kayak Rack

You don’t have to leave your kayaks at home. With an RV kayak rack, you can bring them anywhere you travel and save yourself money on boat rentals. 

Whether you buy a pre-made RV kayak rack or build a DIY one to save some money, you’ll be glad you did! Both options provide a viable means for transporting your kayaks safely and securely on your camper.

How do you transport your kayaks? Drop a comment below!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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Warren Gres

Sunday 16th of July 2023

I agree with some of the other comments that an inflatable kayak is another great option. We have an Advanced Elements tandem kayak that tracks excellently, is comfortable, stable and competitive with many of the hardshell kayak speed wise. I've seen some Oru kayaks that look good, as well as some models of Sea Eagle.

Tom Brian

Thursday 6th of January 2022

Roof racks are popular among RVers, especially those with tiny campers. If you have a larger and taller RV, however, the back of your RV is preferable, as it's difficult to get a kayak down from a tall camper.

Bruce Dillahunty

Friday 8th of October 2021

I know not necessarily ideal, but there are some inflatable kayaks that are pretty nice these days.

Also I’ve heard good things about Oru Kayak (https://www.orukayak.com/) - folding plastic boats.

Donna Diorio

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Hi, I love to read your posts. They’re always well researched and interesting. I did enjoy the article about kayaks, but thought I’d offer another option besides a traditional kayak+carrier. How about inflatables? I got an inflatable last fall and LOVE it. I’m not a spring chicken, so i knew that even if I would be able to hoist a traditional kayak onto the roof of my car now, I may not be able to for long. An inflatable was the perfect solution. I can easily carry it to the shore, and it fits easily into my car. I am partial, but I truly believe the best inflatable kayak brand is Advanced Elements. I did a lot of research and felt it would be the most similar to traditional kayaks I terms of stability and handling. And it is! I’ve seen others in brands I’d seriously looked at and they just don’t look as stable in them as I am. Check it out! You may decide they’re right for you, too!

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

An inflatable kayak is a great idea! We actually have an inflatable paddle board, and we love it!

Donna Diorio

Thursday 7th of October 2021

Also, to anyone out there who sees someone inflating a kayak, please don’t ask “is that a blow-up?” That makes it sound like a pool toy! It’s an inflatable kayak! ???