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.
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.
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.
- 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...
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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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