Best Kayak Racks For RVs
Getting out on the open road and exploring the country in an RV can be an exciting way to spend a vacation. But it can be even more fun if you can bring along your kayak. The only thing is, how do you secure your kayak to your RV?
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you discover some of the ways you can transport your kayak on your RV with a kayak rack.
(these links take you to REI)
5 Best Kayak Racks For RVs
1: Thule GoalPost
- Dimensions: 46 to 67 inches (height) by 58 inches (crossbar)
The Thule GoalPost can be ideal if you tow your RV using a pickup truck. This vertical extender can let you carry your kayak on the roof of your truck, so you don’t lose any storage space in the truck bed.
To use this while towing a trailer RV you may need to purchase a 2 inch receiver adapter, such as this one, so that you can use your tow hitch both to mount the GoalPost and tow your RV.
The GoalPost can be adjusted to suit different heights of vehicles, ranging from 46 inches up to 67 inches. It also features a 58 inch crossbar providing strength and support for your kayaks. The rack has a weight capacity of 165 pounds, so it should be able to carry two recreational kayaks.
It features an anti-wobble design and benefits from a corrosion resistant coating on the inside and outside of the steel tubes. This rack will usually require you to install a crossbar on the roof of your cab (sold separately).
2: Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier
The Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier can be an ideal option if you have a towable RV. It can be installed on top of most vehicles, including cars and SUVs and can carry two kayaks on their sides or one kayak in the J-cradle position.
The JayLow carriers are designed to be compatible with a wide range and shapes of crossbars, including round, oval, square and factory bars. They can provide a suitable cradle for your kayak while it’s on your roof rack and can be easily folded flat against your roof when they’re not in use, giving you more clearance when you’re not hauling kayaks.
The JayLow kayak carrier is compatible with the SKS locking system (not included) and comes with strong tie-down straps as well as bow and stern straps for added safety.
3: Vertiyak RV Kayak Rack
The Vertiyak is a kayak rack that has been designed with RVs in mind. It can be easily installed on the 2 inch receiver hitch on the back of your RV. This rack can carry up to two kayaks, depending on the size of your boats, but may be better suited to recreational kayaks because of the size restrictions.
Either the bow or stern of your boat needs to be able to fit inside the 11 ½ inch by 17 inch loop at the bottom of the rack in order for it to fit securely. The rack is intended for kayaks up to 12 foot long, so it may not be the best choice for longer vessels.
The rack lets you store your kayaks vertically against the back of your RV, which means you may still have room for other gear to be secured to the other side of your RV, such as a spare tire or ladder mount to hold additional gear.
Video: Vertiyak Kayak Rack For RVs and Campers
This Vertiyak rack does not have padding so you may want to purchase padding separately to protect your kayak on the metal bars, but you could use pool noodles for this (sold separately). It also does not include ratchet straps to tie your yaks down.
The boats should be safely strapped at both the bottom and the top to make sure they stay securely in place on the rack.
4: Yakups 2KR37W 2 Kayak Rack
The Yakups 2KR37W is designed to be used as a vertical kayak rack on RVs. It is crafted to hold up to two kayaks but each kayak must not be wider than 32 inches. However, this can make it suitable for a wide range of recreational yaks. It can also hold surfboards and paddle boards up to a maximum of 32 inches.
This kayak rack can be customized to fit your specific RV and kayaks, meaning you can get a more secure fit for added safety. Each one is designed and manufactured to your exact specifications, so the length of the shaft can vary between products depending on your requirements.
The frame of the rack is made from durable powder coated steel so it’s built for strength.
It comes with all the necessary stainless steel hardware, as well as adjustable protective guards, tie-down straps, cables and padlocks so that you can keep your vessel secure on the road.
It can be worth noting that if you have a rear camera on your vehicle, this rack may obscure the view.
5: Yakups OKR2B56 RV Kayak Rack
The Yakups OKR2B56 can be a great option if you want to carry wider kayaks. This rack is designed to be compatible with all types of RVs and motorhomes. It can hold two kayaks of up to 36 inches wide. Or it can hold up to four surfboards or paddle boards, giving you added versatility.
Additionally, the rack can also be customized to include bike storage, so you can carry up to two bikes as well as your two kayaks. This can make it useful for longer family trips where you may want more options.
Video: Fifth Wheel & RV Paddleboard, Surfboard, Kayak, Bike Rack
The durable powder coated steel rack has a width of 56 inches and a depth of 36 inches. It features a horizontal bar at the top that locks in place to help keep your kayaks and boards safe and secure once they’re in the rack.
The rack comes with all necessary hardware, including straps and locks. It also comes fully assembled so that it’s easier to attach to your RV.
How To Choose The Right Rack For Your RV
When you’re choosing a kayak rack for your RV it can be a good idea to make sure it will be suitable for your particular RV. It can also be worth making sure it will work with the size of your kayak, as some kayaks may be too wide or too long for some racks.
Some RV kayak racks can let you haul your kayak in a vertical position, so that the length of the kayak is against the back of the RV, which can let you make use of the height of your RV.
However, this vertical type of rack may not work for other vehicles, such as trucks or SUVs, as the length of the boat may hit the ground in this position or extend too high above the top of your car, making it unsafe while driving.
You may also want to think about whether or not a specific rack will work on your RV if you also plan to tow a vehicle behind it. You may be able to purchase extensions or adapters to let you install additional hitches.
However, it may be easier in this case to attach a trailer to your RV with your car and kayaks secured on top of the trailer, as this could provide you with additional storage space and still give you full access to the back of your RV if you need it.
A trailer may also be useful even if you don’t want to bring your car along. But you should make sure you don’t exceed the maximum length allowed for towing vehicles in the states you visit.
Many kayak racks are crafted using strong, durable materials so that they can hold the weight of a kayak or canoe. It can be useful to look for racks that are corrosion resistant so that they can withstand whatever nature throws at them while you’re on the road.
Not all racks will feature padding, so it can be a good idea to purchase additional accessories or padding to protect your kayak while it’s in the rack.
While some racks might be custom-made to suit your particular boat, with other racks, such as those with crossbars, you might want saddles or cradles to keep your boat in place on the rack and give it a little extra protection.
If you plan to carry more than one kayak, capacity will likely be an important factor in the type of rack you’ll need. You’ll usually find that with most multi- kayak racks you can also carry just one kayak if that’s all you need. But racks that are designed for just one kayak generally can’t handle more due to weight or size restrictions.
You may also want to carry additional items, which could affect the type of rack you need. Some racks may be able to carry other items as well as kayaks, which can be useful if you plan to haul bikes or paddle boards.
Size can be an important thing to consider, whether your rack will be on the back of your RV or if you’ll be towing an RV with your kayaks on the roof of your car.
If you have a towable RV you may want to make sure that you have enough distance between the front of your RV and the back of your kayak, as some longer kayaks may extend beyond the back of your vehicle.
It can be worth considering size as well if your kayaks are on the back of your RV as this could make your vehicle much longer than normal, which could affect where you can park, for example.
If you’re looking for a secure, durable kayak rack that can be installed on the back of your RV then we think the Yakups OKR2B56 RV Kayak Rack can be an ideal solution. It is a versatile rack that can let you store up to two kayaks or four paddleboards, as well as having the optional bike rack, making it great for cross-country family adventures.
Another great option if you have a pickup truck and a towable RV is the Thule GoalPost. This vertical bed extender can let you store your kayak above your truck bed, so you can still pack all your other gear into the bed of the truck. Remember though, you’ll need a hitch receiver adapter to use this rack while also towing your RV. You’ll also need a crossbar on the roof of your cab for this rack.
When you’re choosing a kayak rack for your RV, remember to think about your own specific vehicle and the number of vessels you want to carry. Not all racks will work with all vehicles and they probably won’t be suitable for all types of kayaks, so it can be a good idea to double check your measurements and specifics before you purchase.
Here's our standard car roof rack guide for kayaks.