Traveling with a kayak can be a trying experience, even with a roomy SUV or a long-bedded pickup truck. Those with an RV don’t have to sacrifice their living quarters or their vehicle’s clearance to transport a kayak safely.
With the right RV kayak rack, you and your family could comfortably enjoy the gorgeous streams, rivers, and lakes across the country! No matter your budget, the size of your kayak, or how many kayaks you intend to bring with you, there’s a perfect kayak rack for you and your RV. Below is our research on the best kayak racks for your RV. Spoiler alert: only a couple of brands really impressed us.
Our Top Picks by Category
|Best RV Kayak Racks||Category|
|Vertiyak||Most Affordable Kayak Rack|
|Yakups KR2B56||Most Durable Kayak Rack|
|Yakups OKR2B56||Best for Wider Kayaks|
|Yakups KR2B56S||Best 4-Kayak Rack|
|Yakups Swing Out RV Kayak Rack||Best Swing Out Kayak Rack|
Here are a lot more details about each of our top picks.
Most Affordable Kayak Rack
The Vertiyak hitch mount attaches to the rear of your RV and secures up to two kayaks in a vertical position. To use, you must be able to fit at least one end of your kayak into the 11 ½ inches x 17 inches lower hoop. The two metal arms at the top of the Vertiyak rack should technically help keep your kayak stable, but they aren’t always snug, as kayaks vary in width and size, and the arms do not adjust.
Though the Vertiyak is a budget-friendly option, buyers must also obtain ratcheting straps to secure the kayak to the rack, and larger kayaks may not fit into the rack’s lower hoop. Also, the hard metal of the frame may cause damage to the exterior of your kayak, and many Vertiyak owners install foam padding around the lower hoop and arms to prevent scratches and wear.
Ground clearance may also become an issue and is something to be aware of. Because the Vertiyak attaches to the bottom-rear of your RV, there’s a chance that your kayak may be damaged or dislodged if it sinks too low within the rack, or if you happen to drive over an obstacle. For this reason, the Vertiyak is best-suited to shorter, lighter kayaks.
- Simple design and structure
- Can add additional support with straps or cables
- It does not include foam padding or ratcheting straps
- May not fit wide or long kayaks
- No ground clearance protection
Most Durable Kayak Rack
The Yakups KR2B56 can take on a lot of weight and a ton of gear. This sturdy rack can easily fit kayaks up to 32 inches wide and 6 ½ feet long. Also, it has a maximum capacity of four regular-sized kayaks, and that means plenty of fun on the water for your family and friends. The Yakups KR2B56 can also be used as a combination rack, storing two bicycles and two kayaks at the same time.
Also, the Yakups KR2B56 is made to meet your exact specifications. Each RV rack is custom-made to fit your kayaks, bicycles, and vehicles like a glove. Besides, the Yakups KR2B56 arrives fully assembled and with all necessary additional equipment and tools, making installation a breeze. Because every one of these racks is customized, there’s never a chance that your vehicle’s rear view or backup camera will become obstructed when the Yakups KR2B56 is installed.
And with this kayak rack, ground clearance isn’t an issue. The Yakups KR2B56 ensures that your kayak will never scrape against the asphalt, even on rough or uneven terrain. Two stainless steel troughs, located beneath the kayak storage portions of the rack, ensure that your vital cargo never meets the ground. These shields also aid in supporting your kayak’s weight during travel.
- Durable enough to last a lifetime
- Easy to install
- Ground clearance protection
- Excellent storage capacity – can carry four regular-sized kayaks and two bicycles
- It does not block the rear camera
- Adds 90 pounds in weight to your vehicle, not including the weight of kayaks or bicycles
- The bike rack is not included, buyers must pay an additional price for that
Best for Wider Kayaks
For kayaks up to 36 inches in width, there’s the Yakups OKR2B56. While many RV kayak racks can carry vessels up to 32 inches, there are very few that can handle broader crafts. For this reason, the Yakups OKR2B56 is an ideal option for those with wider kayaks.
Besides its marvelous kayak-carrying capacity, it also arrives pre-assembled and comes with all required tools and miscellaneous equipment such as straps, cables, and padlocks. These straps and wires, in addition to the stainless steel guards near the rear of the rack, ensure that your kayaks never get scratched while out on the road.
You’ll never have to worry about the Yakups OKR2B56 fitting onto your RV. Every order is customized to meet your vehicle and equipment measurements and specifications. And while wider loads can be a cause for concern, they won’t be with this RV kayak rack. The horizontal front bar on the Yakups OKR2B56 hugs your kayak or bicycle tightly, keeping your equipment stable while you navigate congested highways, potholes, and bumpy country lanes. Unfortunately, the bicycle rack option is not included and requires an additional fee.
- Can transport kayaks up to 36 inches in width
- It can be used to transport kayaks, bicycles, and paddleboards
- It does not obscure an RV’s rearview camera
- Features a horizontal front bar for added security
- The bicycle rack option comes at an additional price
- May not be the best option for those with regular-sized kayaks
Best 4-Kayak Rack
Those looking to transport up to four kayaks on their RV should consider the Yakups KR2B56S RV kayak rack. Not only is it capable of transporting multiple kayaks, but it can also be used to take surfboards along for the ride. A bicycle rack is an optional feature and limits the number of kayaks you can transport with this rack.
Like many of the Yakups RV kayak racks, the Yakups KR2B56S is custom-made to meet your vehicle and your equipment’s measurements and specifications. This attention to detail ensures that your kayak rack fits your RV perfectly and that your equipment is secure and stable no matter how far down the road you travel.
This RV kayak rack can carry vessels up to 32 inches wide and easily holds four regular-sized kayaks. The stainless steel components arrive completely assembled. All necessary hardware is included, so there’s no need to purchase extra straps or cables. You can enjoy your RV experience knowing that your kayaks are safe and sound. The pivoting top bar keeps your kayaks verticals while the steel guards at the base of the rack ensure that your equipment never scrapes the ground.
- It can transport up to four regular-sized kayaks
- It can also be used to transport surfboards
- Minimal assembly required, easy to install
- Steel guards keep equipment safe from scrapes
- Pivoting bar helps keep equipment vertical and stable
- It may not be the most suitable option for someone with only one kayak
- It cannot carry up to four wide-bodied kayaks
Best Swing Out Kayak Rack
Yakups Swing Out RV Kayak Rack
Using a kayak rack on a van-style RV can be challenging, as most RV kayak racks are attached to the rear of the vehicle, and most van-style RVs have rear doors. Instead of blocking off an imperative point of entry or exit, you could consider choosing a swing-out RV kayak rack,
The Yakups swing out RV kayak rack allows you to transport your favorite sporting goods without sacrificing your rear doors. This rack can carry kayaks up to 32 inches in width, under the condition that they don’t weigh more than 50 pounds each.
Unfortunately, both the bike rack add-on feature and the swing-arm mechanism are not included within the base price for this kayak rack. However, owners of van-style RVs may be willing to pay the price to transport their kayaks and keep their rear doors.
- Allows those with van-style RVs to have a kayak rack without blocking-off their vehicle’s rear doors
- It can also be used to transport surfboards
- The swing-arm mechanism is sold separately
- There is a strict weight limit associated with this rack
Recap: Best RV Kayak Racks
- Vertiyak – Most Affordable Kayak Rack
- Yakups KR2B56 – Most Durable Kayak Rack
- Yakups OKR2B56 – Best for Wider Kayaks
- Yakups KR2B56S – Best 4-Kayak Rack
- Yakups Swing Out RV Kayak Rack – Best Swing Out Kayak Rack
What to Consider Before Buying an RV Kayak Rack
There are several things you may want to consider before deciding to purchase an RV kayak rack. The size and type of your vehicle, your intended destinations, your budget, and how many people you’d like to accompany are all key factors that are likely to influence your choice.
Not all kayaks are equal. Some kayaks are quite small and thin, while others may be wide and thick. The exact shape and style of any given kayak depends mainly on its intended use.
Because kayak size varies greatly, kayak racks also have a wide range of capabilities and capacities. Before investing in an RV kayak rack, it’s essential to be familiar with your kayak’s measurements. A small kayak may be around 7 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide, but larger kayaks can reach lengths of 12 feet or longer, and widths of about 3 feet.
Understanding what type of kayak you have is critical to choosing the right RV kayak rack.
The type of RV you own is also a significant factor when considering an RV kayak rack. Smaller vehicles such as a fifth wheel or travel trailer may not be able to support the added weight of your kayaks or kayak rack. It’s important to factor in the added weight of your equipment before making a purchasing decision, as too much weight could lead to scratched kayaks, lower fuel mileage, and a damaged vehicle.
Life can be an expensive endeavor. Several factors contribute toward the overall cost of owning an RV, and when you add kayaks, bicycles, and other sports equipment to the mix, you may find that your wallet has somehow shrunken.
Getting the most out of your RV should be an exciting experience, not a financially draining one. Budget-friendly RV kayak racks are an excellent option for those with a tighter budget. You can go out in your RV and find the perfect spot to kayak, without breaking the bank.
Where Are We Going?
Another vital aspect to consider is your intended destination. While you may go lots of places in your RV, there are probably specific locations where you enjoy kayaking.
A long journey requires resilient equipment, and a sub-par RV kayak rack may not be up to the task. Before embarking across the country in your RV, be sure that your RV kayak rack can withstand inclement weather changes and extended usage.
Who Are We Going With?
One final thing to consider before buying an RV kayak rack is company. You should ask yourself if you intend to go kayaking alone or if you are you more interested in kayaking with a group of friends. The more people you expect to be spending time with, the more kayaks you’ll need.
Not all RV kayak racks can carry multiple kayaks. Before coming to a final decision on an RV kayak rack, reflect on your habits.
Those who prefer to kayak alone may not benefit very much from a 4-kayak rack. But if you enjoy having a people-oriented kayaking experience, you may want to consider investing in a more massive, more capable kayak rack.