How To Build A Kayak Rack For An RV?

Last Updated on July 7, 2023

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RV Kayak Rack


When you have an RV, and you’re starting into kayaking, setting up a rack for your kayak might be a headache. Some have difficulty figuring out precisely which rack will fit and getting started, let alone building their own. Well, hauling a kayak on your RV is possible. You just need to attach a kayak rack, and you’re ready to go; this can be a bit costly. So, to keep costs to a minimum, the team RV Camp Gear will share some methods for assembling a Kayak RV rack.

  1. DIY Kayak Rack for Your RV
  2. DIY Carrier Rack System

DIY Kayak Rack for Your RV

Most DIY camper kayak racks rely on a hitch-mounted cargo carrier as a support system. One or two stowed kayaks can be hauled easily with one of these by simply hooking them up to your tow hitch.

Things Needed 

All-in-one trailer hitch-mounted cargo carriers include waterproof cargo bags, steel hitch stabilizers, and ratcheting straps. For additional convenience, look for a carrier that can hold more than 500 pounds of cargo, such as camping gear or a kayak.

Step 1: Gather the Tray 

You can begin putting the tray together as soon as you get it. It’s usually 60 inches long, 20 inches broad, and 6 inches high, depending on the manufacturer. Attach it to the hitch on your RV, and you’re ready to go.

Step 2: Adopt Empty Milk Crates 

Secure the milk boxes on the truck’s cargo foundation using foam packing sheets. The kayak ends can be dropped into a bucket or another container, which can be done with the correct tools and custom-sized holes made in the tray. 

Step 3: Strap Your Kayaks Down

Utilize your vehicle’s height to construct a vertical kayak rack. Stand your kayaks upright to secure them to the ground. Ensure the ladder is attached to the cargo tray at the top and the ladder at the back of the truck. When properly positioned, the kayak’s stern will rest below the tray’s surface.

Things to Consider

Your vertical clearance and the total weight of your kayaks should be considered while constructing a DIY kayak rack for your RV. A 30- to 80-pound kayak shouldn’t be a problem unless you intend to pack the rack with an excessive amount of extra stuff. Because of its length, the kayak’s overall height can be determined. A twelve-footer, for example, may get its nose over the top of your rooftop air conditioning unit, lowering your clearance.

DIY Carrier Rack System

Racks for kayaks up to 8 feet long and folding bikes up to 20 inches wide are possible. In the case of larger cycles and kayaks, such as 10-footers, you may simply raise the camper attachment bar position and lengthen the bike rack parts to accommodate larger loads.

 Things Needed

A carrier rack system is required for this technology and design, and it is made up of the following: Bumper sleeve, Kayak pads, Camper back wall attach bar, Bike rack stanchions, and Bike rack pads.

Step 1: Bumper Sleeve

Build your bumper sleeve out of steel angle iron and wood boards. To complete the project, glue and bolt it together into an “L” shape. Then, attach the bumper sleeve to the frame with the shackle bolts. It should be placed around the camper’s frame, not on your RV’s bumper.


Step 2: Kayak Pads 

Kayaks can be built on wooden planks. Customize your kayak pads to accommodate the end of your kayak. In addition, wrap the PVC tubing around the pads before securing it all in place. It will help keep your kayaks in place while your RV is in motion, making them more stable. After that, attach your kayak pads to the bumper sleeve using adhesive and bolts. Cradle it by extending its back under the bumper.


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Step3: Bike Rack Pads

For each side, you’ll need two bike rack pads, and as a result, you’ll need two sets of each piece of equipment you need. Use wood planks to cover the surface of the table. Then attach the bike rack pads to your bumper sleeve using adhesive and bolts. U-clamps with aluminum channels on both sides should be bolted in place at this point. Due to the bike’s position, it can retain the back tire. 

Step 4: Bike Rack Fixtures

In addition to the two-bike rack pads, you’ll also require two bike rack fixtures. The top and bottom of each bike rack fixture are made of wood bolted to the aluminum L channel on each side. Using the same method as the bike rack pads, attach each fixture’s aluminum channel to the top of the U-clamp. After that, it will keep your bike’s front Tyre vertically. Then attach it to your bumper sleeve with adhesive and bolts. Bolt it to the vertical sides of your bumper sleeve, and you’re ready to go!

Step 5: Camper Back Wall Attach Bar

To strap your kayaks, first install three anchor loop hold-downs. Attach the steel angle iron to the back of your RV. For this, you’ll need to drill five holes in the wall and then bolt it in place. Then, drill two sets of 14-inch clearance holes for the pin sets that will secure your bike rack fittings to the wall. Attach the foam pipe insulation to either side of the PVC pipe once it has been covered in foam insulation. As a result, your rack’s upper portion will be protected from damage by these bumpers.

Step 6: Diy Kayak Connect-Hold Down Bar

Attach the EMT steel pipe to each side of the 200-PSI PVC pipe before putting it together. PVC fittings are then attached to the 200-PSI PVC pipe on either side of the PVC tubing. One end should be a connector/pin that can be removed, and the other end should be a pin that can be attached and removed. You may then use that as a roof for your RV. Its primary function is to keep your two kayaks in one place.

Building a Kayak Rack for an RV using metal without welding

Bike racks, extra coolers, generators, and other equipment are commonly stored on these trays. It’s possible to adopt them, though, to hold your kayak. Mostly, the bottoms of these racks are made of metal grating with a mesh pattern. One end of the kayak is well-protected, thanks to the mesh’s square holes. This cutout must be padded with foam or another non-damaging material to prevent the kayak from making contact with the metal edges. 

Different methods exist for securing the kayak’s upper section. It’s possible to create a sturdy kayak rack on your truck bed using a hitch-mounted extender. Here, the double hitch receiver is critical. It enables the attachment of two different attachments to the vehicle’s hitch at the same time. Long objects can be safely transported using a truck bed extender, typically used to create a rear roof height bar for trucks. This will give the kayak’s upper half substantial support and security. The metal bar should also be foam-covered to prevent the kayak from making contact with the metal edges. 


1. How long does it take to build a kayak rack for an RV?

You should expect to spend between 100 and 120 hours on the project if you are doing it at home. With the right tools and training, a stripper can be knocked out in as little as 200 hours.

2. Is it hard to build a kayak?

To create a strip canoe, you’ll need some woodworking abilities, a budget for suitable materials and tools, an area where you can build it, and some spare time.

3. What makes a kayak stable?

It’s widely accepted that a kayak with a broader hull provides more stability. There are, however, three primary aspects that influence the stability of a kayak. They are the length, width, and volume. The stability of a kayak is determined by how these three metrics interact with one another.


Outdoor living has become so popular recently that many creative ideas are being shared on social media. Research YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest to see some of the most creative examples of DIY RV kayak roofs and rear-mounted racks. Everyone needs a break from family and enclosed places after spending so much time in the same place. Always put your safety first, regardless of what you decide. If you want to ensure the safety of everyone in your car and anyone else who happens to be driving near you, make sure your rack is road-ready and free of rattles. Weekend getaways might be ruined by an accident or a traffic ticket.

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