How to Build a Kayak Rack for an RV: A Complete Guide.

Building a kayak rack for an rv involves installing brackets and attaching crossbars to hold the kayaks. To do this, measure the distance between the rv’s roof and the ground, install suitable brackets on the rv’s ladder or rear bumper, and attach crossbars on the brackets.

Kayaking is an exciting outdoor activity that rv enthusiasts enjoy. However, transporting kayaks can be challenging without a kayak rack. A kayak rack for an rv is a practical solution for carrying kayaks on long road trips and camping adventures.

With so many options available online and in stores, building a custom kayak rack can be a cost-effective alternative. In this article, we will outline the step-by-step process on how to build a kayak rack for an rv using readily available materials.

How to Build a Kayak Rack for an RV: A Complete Guide.


Understanding The Requirements Of Building A Kayak Rack For An Rv

Building a kayak rack for an rv can be a challenging task, especially if you’ve never done it before. There’s a lot to consider, from the necessary materials and tools to weight distribution. In this guide, we’ll discuss the requirements of building a kayak rack for an rv.

Define The Necessary Materials And Tools

Before you start building a kayak rack for your rv, you need to ensure you have the necessary materials and tools. Here are some of the key items you’ll need:

  • Pvc pipes
  • End caps
  • T-joints
  • Elbow joints
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Saw

Discuss The Different Types Of Kayaks

When building a kayak rack for your rv, it’s essential to consider the type of kayaks you have. Here are the different types of kayaks you may encounter:

  • Recreational kayaks: These kayaks are ideal for beginners and are suitable for exploring calm waters such as lakes or slow-moving rivers.
  • Touring kayaks: These kayaks are designed for longer trips and can handle more challenging waters.
  • Whitewater kayaks: These kayaks are designed for experienced kayakers and are meant for use in rapids and other fast-moving water.

Emphasize The Importance Of Considering Weight Distribution

When building a kayak rack for your rv, you need to consider weight distribution to ensure your rv is stable and safe on the road. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Place the heaviest kayak on the bottom. This will help distribute the weight evenly and prevent the rv from becoming top-heavy.
  • Consider the weight capacity of your rv’s roof. Ensure that the combined weight of the kayaks and the rack doesn’t exceed this capacity.
  • Distribute the weight equally on both sides of the rack to maintain balance while driving.

Building a kayak rack for an rv requires careful planning and consideration. By defining the necessary materials and tools, discussing the different types of kayaks, and emphasizing weight distribution, you can ensure a successful build.

Steps To Build A Kayak Rack For An Rv

If you’re an avid kayaker who loves going on a road trip in your rv, then learning how to build a kayak rack for an rv is essential. A kayak rack will allow you to bring your favorite watercraft with you wherever your adventure takes you.

Fortunately, building a kayak rack for an rv isn’t a difficult task. Here’s a complete guide on how to do it, broken down into five easy-to-follow steps.

Measure The Rv’S Dimensions To Determine The Proper Size Of The Rack

Before you start building your kayak rack for an rv, you need to determine the right size for it. The size of your kayak rack depends on the size of your rv. You want to make sure that your kayak rack is proportional to your rv’s size and can hold your kayak safely.

Here are some steps to follow:

  • Measure the width of your rv’s roof where you plan to install the kayak rack.
  • Measure the length of your kayak(s) to determine how much space you need.
  • Decide how many kayaks you want to carry on your rv.

Cut And Drill The Pvc Pipes Used For The Rack

Once you get the measurements you need, you can start building the kayak rack. You can use pvc pipes for your kayak rack’s frame. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Cut the pvc pipes according to the measurements you’ve taken.
  • Drill the holes in the pvc pipes where you’ll attach the kayak carrier and the clamps.

Secure The Pvc Pipes Onto The Rv Using Clamps Or Screws

After cutting and drilling the pvc pipes, you need to secure the kayak rack onto your rv’s roof. There are two ways to do it:

  • Using clamps: Place the clamps onto the pvc pipes and then tighten them onto the rv’s roof. Make sure they’re tight enough to keep the pvc pipes in place.
  • Using screws: Drill screw holes into the pvc pipes and the rv’s roof. Then insert screws to secure the pvc pipes onto your rv.

Install The Kayak Carrier Onto The Pvc Pipes

Once you’ve secured the pvc pipes onto your rv’s roof, you can then install the kayak carrier onto the pvc pipes. Here’s how:

  • Attach the kayak carrier onto the pvc pipes using bolts and nuts.
  • Make sure the kayak carrier is centered on the pvc pipes and level.

Test The Kayak Rack For Stability And Weight Support

After installing the kayak carrier, the final step is to test your kayak rack for stability and weight support. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place your kayak onto the kayak carrier and secure it with straps.
  • Make sure your kayak is level and balanced.
  • Give it a little shake to test if it’s stable and can support the weight of your kayak(s) during your travel.

Building a kayak rack for an rv is an excellent way to bring your kayaks on the road and enjoy the water wherever you go. With these easy-to-follow steps, you can build a kayak rack for an rv and have peace of mind that your watercraft is safe and secure while on the road.

Tips For Maintaining And Using The Kayak Rack

Maintaining and using your kayak rack properly can help prolong its lifespan and ensure safe transportation for your kayak. Here are some essential tips to help you maintain and use your kayak rack correctly:

Explain How To Keep The Rack In Good Condition

  • Always check the kayak rack for damages or any signs of wear before using it.
  • Regularly clean the rack to remove dirt and debris, especially after use, saltwater, or exposure to harsh weather conditions.
  • Lubricate the moving parts of the kayak rack with a silicone or teflon lubricant to keep it working smoothly and rust-free.
  • Store the kayak rack in a dry place when not in use.

Discuss How To Load And Unload The Kayak Onto The Carrier

  • Position the kayak next to the rack’s cradles, ensuring that the kayak is centered and aligned.
  • Lift the kayak, placing it on top of the rack’s cradles.
  • Secure the kayak to the rack’s cradles and straps, making sure they are tight and secure.
  • When unloading the kayak, loosen the straps and lift the kayak off the cradles.

Provide Advice On How To Secure The Kayak While In Transit

  • Use bow and stern lines to secure the kayak to the front and rear of your rv, preventing it from shifting or moving during transit.
  • Position the kayak symmetrically on the rack to help reduce rattling or sudden movements during transportation.
  • You can also use additional straps or bungee cords to secure the kayak to the rack further.

Include Tips On Troubleshooting Common Kayak Rack Problems

  • Movement or instability during transport may occur due to improper loading and securing of the kayak. Make sure the kayak is centered and aligned with the cradles and secured tightly.
  • If the kayak rack is unstable or wobbly, check the screws and bolts to ensure they are tight and secure. You may also need to adjust the rack’s components to reduce vibration and movement.
  • If you notice any significant damage or issues with the kayak rack, repair or replace it immediately before using it again.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can safely and efficiently transport your kayak using a rack on your rv. Happy kayaking!

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Build A Kayak Rack For An Rv

How Do I Measure The Kayak For The Rack?

Measure the length and width of the kayak. Also, measure the distance between the crossbars on your rv’s roof and the height of the kayak to determine the optimal placement for the rack.

What Materials Are Needed To Construct The Kayak Rack?

You will need pvc pipes, t-joints, elbow joints, end caps, screws, and bungee cords. Pvc cement and a saw may also be required.

Do I Need To Secure The Kayak To The Rack?

Yes, it is important to use bungee cords or straps to secure the kayak to the rack while traveling to prevent wind from blowing it off.

Can I Use The Same Method To Build A Rack For Other Types Of Boats?

Yes, the same pvc pipe method can be used to build a rack for canoes and paddleboards. Adjust the measurements to fit the size of the boat.

How Do I Prevent The Rack From Damaging My Rv’S Roof?

To prevent damage to the roof, make sure the rack’s crossbars rest on rubber padding or a soft foam. Regularly check for any signs of wear and tear and remove the rack when not in use.


Now that you have learned how to build a kayak rack for an rv, you can enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about storage. This budget-friendly and customizable solution allows you to transport your kayaks safely, securely, and conveniently. Remember to always double-check the measurements and use durable materials to ensure stability and reliability.

By following these steps, you can create a kayak rack that fits your needs and preferences. It’s important to also keep in mind the weight limits of your rv and stay within those limits. Overall, building a kayak rack for your rv is a fun project that enhances your outdoor adventures.

Now, it’s time to hit the road and experience the beauty of nature from a kayak!

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