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.
We’ll look at the best way to mount a kayak to an RV, provide seven of the best RV kayak racks on the market, and share 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 detract from your gas mileage. When you only get around 10 MPG, you want to save every bit of 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 are towing.
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 ft tall kayak or paddleboard. It’s made out of alloy steel, mounts to a 2-inch receiver, and weighs 46 lbs.
It can carry two kayaks and up to 150 lbs 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 5% off with coupon code ONTHEMOVE5.
- 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.
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 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.
All YakUps models will fit your specific RV and arrive fully assembled.
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 ft 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: No ladder on your RV to mount your kayak to? 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
You have many ways to build your own RV kayak rack.
Check out this video on YouTube to learn how one RVer made his kayak and bike rack for less than half the price of some commercial options.
In this other video, Bob from WhereRVTraveling shares how he built his for $400, saving over $1,000. He made it out of a few easy-to-find components. The kayak rack consisted of a dual extender hitch, a vertical load extender hitch, and a cargo-carrying rack and basket.
Bob made some changes to the cargo carrying tray to adapt to his kayak and bicycles. His modifications included adding padding to protect his kayak and metal strips to support his bike wheels.
To secure the kayak, Bob used ratcheting straps to tie it to the rack and the vertical load extender. He then made additional adjustments by adding a rearview camera and a license plate holder to the back.
Pro Tip: Many RV outdoor enthusiasts will dream of taking their kayaks and bicycles on the road with them. This is How to Bring Your Bikes Camping: 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 choose to go the easy route and buy an already-made RV kayak rack or try a DIY one to save some money, we hope you can find a great option on this list.
Where would you take your kayak to first? Drop a comment below!
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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.
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.
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!
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! ???