DIY Kayak Rack for RV: Step-by-Step Instructions


To build a kayak rack for an rv, measure the dimensions of the kayak and rv, select the appropriate materials, and follow a step-by-step guide. Creating a diy kayak rack for your rv can save you money and provide a practical solution for transporting your kayak on your travels.

Kayak racks are an essential accessory for rv enthusiasts who want to enjoy kayaking while on the road. However, buying a pre-fabricated kayak rack can be expensive, making a diy option an ideal choice. By following specific measurements and instructions and using quality materials, you can build a sturdy and secure kayak rack for your rv that will protect your kayak while traveling to your next adventure.

In this article, we will take you through the steps needed to build your own customizable rv kayak rack.

DIY Kayak Rack for RV: Step-by-Step Instructions


Planning For Your Diy Kayak Rack

Want to build a sturdy and durable kayak rack for your rv? Before you start building, you’ll need to plan out some key elements to ensure your project’s success. Here are some essential planning tips that can help make your kayak-racking dream a reality.

Finding The Right Location For Your Rack

The first step in planning your kayak rack is determining the best location on your rv to place it. Consider these tips to help you choose the right spot:

  • Determine where you want to store your kayaks.
  • Make sure you have enough space to maneuver your kayaks into and out of the rack comfortably.
  • Consider the height of your rv’s roof and how high you want the rack to be installed.
  • Check that the location you choose doesn’t interfere with the rv’s roof vents or air conditioners.

Measuring Your Rv’S Roof To Determine The Size Of Your Rack

The next step is to measure your rv’s roof to determine the size of the rack you’ll need. Here’s what to do:

  • Measure the length and width of your rv’s roof to determine how much space you have to work with.
  • Use these measurements to determine how long and wide your frame needs to be.
  • Make sure to leave enough space between kayaks so you can easily load and unload them.

Choosing The Right Materials For Your Kayak Rack, Including Types Of Wood And Fasteners

Choosing the right materials is critical to building a strong and sturdy kayak rack. Here are some options to keep in mind:

  • The best material for constructing kayak racks is usually treated lumber, which can withstand the elements and provide excellent support.
  • Use stainless steel screws and bolts to secure the wood frame, as they’re lightweight and durable.
  • Polyurethane or some other weather-resistant sealant can be applied on top of the wood to further protect from the elements.

Overview Of Basic Design Elements To Consider During The Planning Process

Consider these fundamental design elements during your planning process to ensure a strong and reliable kayak rack:

  • Keep the structure of the rack simple and straightforward, using square or rectangular shapes for the frame.
  • Consider adding additional supports to the frame to handle the weight of multiple kayaks.
  • Place the rack support arms at consistent intervals to create equal weight distribution.
  • Use angled support brackets for added stability.

By following these planning tips, you can create a well-designed, robust, and long-lasting kayak rack for your rv. Happy building!

Building The Base Of Your Rack

Before setting out to build your kayak rack, you must get the right materials and tools. Once you have all the required materials, start building the base by following these simple steps:

  • #### preparation and assembly of the wooden base for the rack
  • Measure and cut the 2×4 wooden pieces making up the base measurement. Typically, the base should be the same length as the rv’s roof and around 24 inches wide.
  • Lay out the 2×4 boards on the ground, ensuring they are evenly spaced apart.
  • Attach the 2×4 boards together using wood screws to form the rectangular base frame.
  • With the base frame assembled, attach the cross beams joining both sides of the rectangular base frame together.
  • #### screwing the base to the rv roof
  • Position the base where you want it on the rv roof.
  • Ensure the base is level and align it with the front and back of the roof of the rv.
  • Drill holes for the screws through all four corners of the base frame and use screws to attach the base to the rv roof.
  • #### adding wooden beams for extra support
  • Cut two additional 2×4 boards to match the length of the base.
  • Position the wooden braces vertically, at each corner of the base.
  • Attach the wooden braces on each corner of the base using galvanized metal brackets with wood screws.

To ensure the base is level and secure, use bubble levels in different directions and adjust the base’s position if necessary. Always fasten the screws tightly to ensure the base frame is stable, but avoid over-tightening as it can damage the rv roof.

With your base frame in place, you can now proceed to build the rest of the kayak rack.

Adding The Support Posts

Determining The Correct Spacing And Placement Of The Support Posts

Before adding the support posts to the base of the rack, you’ll need to determine the correct spacing and placement for these posts. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Measure the width of your kayak and add a few extra inches to ensure that it will fit securely on the rack.
  • Determine how many kayaks you’ll be carrying on the rack and consider how much weight the rack will need to support.
  • Measure the height of your rv’s roof and subtract the height of your kayak to ensure that the rack won’t be too tall for your rv.
  • Consider any obstacles on your rv’s roof, such as roof vents or air conditioners, and plan your support post placement accordingly.

Measuring And Cutting The Support Posts To Size

Once you’ve determined the correct spacing and placement of your support posts, you’ll need to measure and cut these posts to size. Follow these steps:

  • Measure the distance between the base of the rack and the rv’s roof to determine the length of the support posts.
  • Cut the support posts to the appropriate length using a saw or other cutting tool, taking care to make straight cuts.
  • Sand the rough edges of the support posts to ensure a smooth finish.

Adding The Support Posts To The Base Of The Rack

Now that your support posts are cut to size, it’s time to attach them to the base of the rack. Follow these instructions:

  • Hold the support post against the base of the rack and mark the location where the post will be attached.
  • Secure the support post to the base of the rack using screws or bolts.
  • Repeat the process for each support post, ensuring that they are evenly spaced and securely attached.

Attaching The Supports To The Rv Roof

The final step in building your kayak rack is to attach the supports to your rv’s roof. Follow these guidelines:

  • Use a ladder to carefully climb onto your rv’s roof, taking care not to damage the roof or any equipment located on it.
  • Position the support posts on the roof of your rv, checking to ensure that they are aligned and level.
  • Secure the support posts to the rv’s roof using brackets or other fasteners that are designed for use with your specific rv model.
  • Double-check that the support posts are securely attached and that the rack is level and stable before loading your kayaks.

Installing The Kayak Carriers

Overview Of The Different Types Of Kayak Carriers, Including J-Hooks And Saddles

When it comes to transporting your kayak on an rv, a kayak carrier is essential. There are different types of carriers, each with its unique set of advantages. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular types:

  • J-hooks: J-hooks are easy to install on the kayak rack and can support the kayak’s weight from the side. They are perfect for kayaks with wide bodies, and their shape keeps the kayaks securely in place while driving.
  • Saddles: Saddles are attached to the rack like j-hooks but are more flexible in terms of kayak shape. Centering the kayak on a pair of saddles ensures that the kayak will stay in place during transit.

Step-By-Step Instructions On How To Install Each Type Of Kayak Carrier

Once you have decided on the type of carrier you prefer, follow these instructions on how to install each one.

Installing J-Hooks

  • Align the j-hooks perpendicular to the crossbars of the kayak rack.
  • Attach the j-hooks to the crossbars, making sure they are secure.
  • Place the kayak onto the j-hooks, ensuring that each end sits in the j-shape of the hooks.
  • Strap the kayak down securely.

Installing Saddles

  • Take out the saddles from the packaging and attach them to the kayak rack.
  • Adjust the distance between the saddles to accommodate the width of the kayak.
  • Place the kayak onto the saddles, ensuring that it is centered.
  • Strap the kayak down securely.

How To Adjust And Customize The Carriers For Your Specific Needs

There are different ways to adjust and customize your kayak carriers, depending on the specific needs of your kayak. Here are some ideas:

  • Adjust the distance between the carriers to ensure the kayak sits snugly and securely.
  • If your kayak is long and heavy, you can add extra tie-down points to ensure it won’t shift during transit.
  • Consider adding bow lines to the carriers to keep the kayak from moving side-to-side.

Tips For Storing Other Outdoor Gear On The Kayak Rack

Your kayak rack can double up as a storage space for other outdoor gear. Here are some tips:

  • Consider using cargo boxes to store gear like coolers, camping chairs, and tents.
  • Use bungee cords to secure gear like fishing poles, lifejackets, and paddles to the rack.
  • If you have other watercraft, like a stand-up paddleboard, check with the manufacturer to see if there are compatible racks that you can use.

By following these steps, you can be sure that your kayak and other gear will stay secure and safe during your travels on an rv.

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

What Materials Do I Need To Build A Kayak Rack For An Rv?

To build a kayak rack for an rv, you’ll need pvc pipes, t-joints, elbow joints, end caps, and zip ties. You’ll also need a measuring tape, a saw, and a drill. These items can be found at most hardware stores or online.

How Do I Measure The Right Size For My Rv’S Kayak Rack?

To measure the right size for your rv’s kayak rack, measure the width and length of your rv’s roof. Then, decide how many kayaks you want to carry and measure their lengths. Add a few inches on each side to ensure a secure fit.

Use these measurements to cut your pvc pipes to the correct size.

Can I Remove The Kayak Rack When Not In Use?

Yes, you can remove the kayak rack when not in use. Simply detach the cords or straps that hold the kayaks in place and remove the rack from the rv’s roof. You can store the rack in your rv or garage until you’re ready to use it again.

How Do I Secure The Kayak Rack Onto My Rv’S Roof?

To secure the kayak rack onto your rv’s roof, use zip ties to attach the rack to the roof. Make sure the ties are tight and secure. You can also add more stability by drilling screws into the roof and attaching the rack to the screws.

Can The Kayak Rack Hold Other Types Of Equipment Besides Kayaks?

Yes, the kayak rack can hold other types of equipment besides kayaks. You can use it to transport bikes, surfboards, or other outdoor equipment. Just make sure the equipment is safe and secure before transporting it.


After reading this post on how to build a kayak rack for an rv, you are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to create your own personalized setup. With a few simple tools and materials, you can easily build a sturdy and efficient kayak rack that meets your unique needs.

Remember to consider factors such as weight capacity and size when choosing materials and building your rack. Additionally, regularly inspect and maintain your rack to ensure it remains in prime condition over time. By following these tips and using your own creativity, you can build a kayak rack that makes your rv travels even more enjoyable and adventurous.

So, start planning and building today, and get ready to hit the open waters with ease and convenience.

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