How To Carry A Kayak On An RV: 8 Best Ways Revealed

If you are planning to carry your kayak on your RV, there are a few different ways of doing so. By far the best way of carrying a kayak on an RV is to use a special RV kayak rack mounted on the rear of the vehicle.

Other options include;

  • With a Kayak roof rack.
  • Carry the kayak on the roof of the RV.
  • Mount the kayak to the rear ladder.
  • Use a trailer.
  • Use the bed or roof of your towing vehicle.
  • Store it inside your RV.
  • Use inflatable kayaks.
how to carry a kayak on an RV

8 Best Ways To Carry A Kayak On An RV

As you can tell from the heading, there are actually several good ways of carrying a kayak on an RV, and right now we’re going to take a look at all of them.

1. With An RV Kayak Rack

By far the best way to carry a kayak on your RV is by using a dedicated rear-mounted kayak rack. These are usually always mounted to the rear of your RV, and they’re designed to keep your kayak stored in a vertical manner. 

To be specific, this type of kayak rack usually always mounts to the trailer hitch of your RV. Do keep in mind that you really cannot use this option if you do not have a trailer hitch on your RV. If you don’t have one, you will first need to install one

These are ideal for a variety of reasons, mainly because they are generally easy to use, and very secure as well. However, this type of kayak rack does tend to be a bit expensive. Yet, it is a lifetime investment, and it will last for very many years to come.

2. With A Kayak Roof Rack

The second best way is to use a roof-mounted rack. Getting a kayak rack mounted on your roof may seem like a challenge, but it’s actually quite easy. The only thing to watch out for here is that you ensure that it is securely fastened to the roof. 

You don’t want the kayak moving around when you are traveling quickly. Now, another convenient thing about this type of RV rack is the fact that they can use for canoes, as well as other items, not just kayaks. 

These roof racks also allow you to carry various fairly heavy items, such as large pieces of luggage. This type of RV roof rack also doesn’t cost all that much, at least not if you go for the right kind.

3. Carry the Kayak on the Roof of the RV

Another option at your disposal, if you don’t want to invest in any kind of rack, is to simply carry the kayak on the roof of your RV. Now, technically speaking, a roof rack will keep your kayak much more secure than just tying it down alone. 

However, if you are going for a much easier option, one that is also more affordable, then this is a good way to go. You really just need some pool noodles as well as some ropes or straps. Here, you are going to use those pool noodles as a roof rack. 

You’re going to place the pool noodles in the same position as a rack would be placed, so that the pool noodles support the kayak, and so that the kayak does not touch the roof of the RV.

You are also then going to want to ensure that your straps are very tightly tied so that the kayak cannot move around.

RV roof storage

4. Mounting The Kayak To The Rear Ladder

Another solid option that you have at your disposal is to strap the kayak onto the rear vertical ladder of your RV, the ladder that leads up to the roof.

If you want to go with a very easy method, this is it. Most people are going to use normal straps and cords to attach the kayak to this ladder. 

Having regular straps with buckles will prevent you from having to tie or untie any knots. Moreover, this also makes it easy to secure the kayak in place so that it doesn’t move around. This is ideal as it helps protect both the kayak and the RV from damage. 

Now, do keep in mind that with this method, you can only carry a single kayak. On that note, if your RV does not have one of these ladders on the rear, then this method is not an option for you. You need to have that ladder. 

5. Use A Kayak Trailer

The next option that you have at your disposal is to get yourself a special trailer designed for hauling kayaks and other such items.

These trailers are definitely ideal for people who need to carry several kayaks. With the right kind of trailer, you can carry anywhere between four and ten kayaks. 

These are also very secure, as they come with special designs, things like bumpers, to ensure that kayaks cannot move around, as well as to keep the kayaks from getting damaged. These are also very easy to use, as you just put the kayaks in the designated areas and strap them down. 

That said, beware that you do need to have a trailer hitch in order to haul a kayak trailer. Also, keep in mind that you will also need to connect the electronics so that the brake lights and turn signals on the trailer can be seen by vehicles behind the trailer. 

6. Using The Bed or Roof of Your Towing Vehicle

Skoda Yeti with kayaks

Another option you have here is to actually use the bed of your towing vehicle, which of course does mean that you need to have a pickup truck. However, some towable RV’s or trailers may not allow for this. 

Another thing that you can try doing is to strap the kayak on the roof of your actual vehicle. Yes, this does mean that you will need a roof rack for your car.

However, if mounting the kayak on the RV in any way is not an option, then your vehicle is the next best thing.

7. Inside of the RV

There are then also some RV’s that have enough room on the inside to store a small kayak. Some RVs also come complete with storage areas that might accommodate one or even two kayaks.

Of course, this really does depend on the specific RV that you have.

8. Use Inflatable Kayaks

If storing a regular kayak in any way is simply not an option, then the other thing you can do is use inflatable kayaks. These can deflate down into very small packages that can be easily stored in even the smallest spaces.

Of course, you will have to deal with inflating and deflating these kayaks, but they certainly don’t take up much space.

What Are The Best Kayak Racks For RV’s?

We now just want to take a quick look at the five best kayak racks that you can get for an RV. 

Vertiyak RV Kayak Rack

This is a great kayak rack to consider if you want a vertical rack for the rear of your RV. It’s really easy to install as long as you have a 2-inch receiver hitch on your RV. Depending on the size of your kayaks, it can hold up to two of them. 

Do keep in mind that this particular unit is designed for kayaks that are up to 12 feet long. This is a really easy to install model that allows you to vertically store your kayaks on the rear of your RV. 

It doesn’t have any padding, but it is cheap, and you can always use some pool noodles for some extra padding as well. It’s also really easy in terms of mounting your kayaks on it.

Yakups RV Kayak Rack

If you have long and wide kayaks, then this particular mount is a great one to go with. What is really cool is that particular RV kayak rack is compatible with virtually every single motorhome or RV out there. Moreover, it has the capability to hold kayaks that are up to 36 inches wide. 

It also has the ability to hold paddleboards and surfboards. This rack is even customizable so you can carry up to two bicycles along with two kayaks. This is definitely something that makes it very convenient. 

Moreover, it’s made out of super high quality powder coated steel, so you know that it will last for a long time. It also comes with a horizontal locking bar to ensure that your kayaks stay in place.

It’s also a convenient option because it comes fully assembled and comes with all mounting hardware as well.

AA Products Inc. X27 Roof Rack with Ladder Stoppers

Here we have a really convenient roof rack that can be used for both RV’s and pickup trucks. What’s cool is that here you can choose from either double bar or triple bar options. There are also options available for both low roofs, and for high roofs.

One of the best features of this unit is the fact that it comes complete with adjustable ladder stoppers. There is also the fact that these bars are made out of 10 gauge stainless steel, so they are quite durable.

They also come complete with rubber surfaces. This prevents them from scratching the roof of your vehicle, as well as your kayaks.

These bars are also highly adjustable so that you can fit a variety of kayak sizes. They also come complete with a locking mechanism to ensure that your kayak stays securely in place at all times.

IKURAM Kayak Roof Carrier

Here we have a really simple kayak roof carrier. This is another one that we really like due to the fact that it can be used both for RVs and for pickup trucks. In fact, it can actually be used for more or less any type of vehicle. This option is also very simple to mount.

This J style carrier is also convenient due to the fact that it can hold two kayaks of fairly impressive sizes. These things can actually hold kayaks that are up to 42 inches wide, which is nothing short of impressive.

The frame here is made out of extremely durable aluminum alloy. Not only is it strong and durable, but also very lightweight, and even rust resistant too.

You might also like the fact that this carrier comes complete with paddle holders. There is also a ton of rubber padding present to ensure that your kayaks don’t get damaged.

Thule GoalPost

If you have an RV that you haul using a pickup truck, then this is the perfect option to go with. This is a great option because it allows you to carry your kayak on the roof of your pickup truck without losing storage space.

In other words, it doesn’t require the bed of the pickup truck. If you are towing a trailer RV, you will need a 2-inch receiver adapter. 

This will allow you to tell your RV and to mount this unit on the post. T+This particular kayak rack can suit any kind of vehicle that is between 46 and 67 inches. It also comes complete with a 58-inch crossbar to help support your kayak. 

What is quite impressive is that this unit has a maximum weight capacity of 165 pounds. It can easily carry at least two kayaks. It also comes complete with a durable frame and a corrosion resistant coating.

However, to use it, you may have to install a separate crossbar on the roof of your vehicle.

Is It Easy To Build Your Own Vertical Kayak Rack For An RV?

It is fairly easy to build your own kayak rack for an RV. That said, whether or not it is cheaper to just buy one is questionable.

This is due to the fact that you build your own vertical kayak rack for an RV, you’re still going to need a number of pieces. For example, one option here is to use a truck bed extender.

Besides the truck bed extender, you also need a heavy duty luggage rack for your hitch mount and a double decker receiver. You’re then going to need to cut square holes in both sides of the rack, and then fit all four edges with pool noodles.

Another option at your disposal here is to use an RV cargo rack. You’re going to assemble the RV cargo rack and then install it on the trailer hitch.

You then need to line the bottom of it with some kind of foam padding to protect the kayaks. You then stand the kayak up vertically and use ratchet straps to secure it to the RV.

It is much easier to create a roof-mounted kayak rack for your RV than it is a vertical one. In all reality, you are much better off buying a kayak rack than making one.

Can You Put Kayaks On Top Of A Pop-Up Camper?

With the proper equipment, it is possible to mount a kayak on top of a pop-up camper. Just keep in mind that a pop-up camper can usually support around 300 pounds, give or take.

A normal kayak is going to weigh somewhere between 25 and 60 pounds. You can indeed put a roof rack on top of your pop-up camper. You should be able to carry anywhere from two to four kayaks on one of these units.


Personally, we would definitely recommend going for one of the rear-mounted or roof-mounted RV racks that we have discussed today.

They tend to be the easiest to use, and they keep your kayak in great condition as well, not to mention the RV itself.

Madeline Cooper