How to Build a Kayak Rack for an RV? (Your DIY Guide)

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: July 22, 2022
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Many people enjoy the freedom of moving from one place to another without any boundaries or issues. So, if they want to enjoy a ride to a water body, they like to take their kayak along with them. We know that there are different types of kayaks available out there. It is easy to transport the inflatable and foldable kayaks but not the others.

For mounting the kayak on your RV roof, you have to build a kayak rack. You can also get one from the market but if you want to build one, you can try it. In this guide, we have explained how to build a kayak rack for an RV. you will get to know about some easy methods explained in steps so you can easily understand them.

Curious to know these methods? So, what are you waiting for? Let’s have a look at these methods!

How to Build a Kayak Rack for an RV?

You must choose the best kayak rack for your RV depending on your needs and requirements. Also, determine how much weight your RV can bear so you do not overweight it otherwise its roof may get damaged or leaked. 

There are different methods for building a kayak rack for an RV efficiently and effectively. We make sure all these methods will be beneficial for you as they are also very easy. Let’s discuss them!

Kayak Pad Method

We can say it is the most common method to use when getting a hitch mounted kayak rack or any other type of kayak rack. Building this kind of rack requires three ratchet straps for each kayak and two to four solid pool noodles. 

Here we have mentioned some steps to get a vertical kayak rack or any other type of kayak rack using the kayak pad method. Let’s have a look at them!

Step 1: Get the Pool Noodles

First, you have to lay the pool noodles on your RV’s roof. If you have four noodles, it depends upon you whether you place them evenly or place two of them at the back and two at the front of the kayak.

Step 2: Position the Kayak

The next step is to place your kayak on these pool noodles. Make sure these noodles can bear the weight of your kayak.

Step 3: Secure the Kayak

The last step is to secure your kayak after placing it in the pool noodles. For this purpose, you can use ratchet straps to position the kayaks correctly in place. You can place one ratchet in the back, one in the middle, and one on the front of each kayak.

Top Mount Method

Do you need a kayak rack for RV, you must try out the top mount method. It is one of the most common and easiest methods to use for installing a roof rack on your RV in no time. You just need some understanding of welding, no other technical knowledge is required for this purpose. So, do not get worried and confused, just keep on doing it yourself. 

You need a drill machine, welding equipment, large workbench clamps, electric sander, hollow pool noodles, and many other necessary things. You can take the help of a professional to get a list of all the required things for this purpose.

Following are some of the important steps you need to follow when undergoing the top mount method for making a kayak rack on your RV. let’s have a look at them!

Step 1: Get Steel Tubes

First, you need to have each of the 5 ft steel tubes. Cut the ends of these tubes to a 45 degrees angle. Make sure that the pointy ends are on the same side of the tube. 

Step 2: Put the Tubes Altogether

The next step is to lay all these tubes on the ground making a square shape. Then, take two of these tubes and weld the 45 degrees cuts together. Keep performing this task until all the pieces combine and make a square shape. 

Step 3: Use Steel Plants

The next step is to use the steel plants. Here you have to take one of them and lay the plate down on a workbench. Make sure both long sides of this plate are facing towards you. Then take one of the two-inch steel tubings and use the electric sander. Make sure both ends of this tube are flat.

Step 4: Mark the Center of the Plate

Now you have to measure one inch down and make a mark. Make sure you draw this line across the length of the plate. This mark will be considered as the center of the Y-axis of the plate so make sure it is done correctly.

Step 5: Use a Workbench Clamp

The next step is to secure the two pieces together using a large workbench clamp. For this purpose, you have to make sure that welding is done correctly on each side of the tube. In this way, the plate will be secured with the tube with the help of welding. Now, you can remove the clamp and continue welding.

Step 6: Spread the Legs on the Frame

In the next step, you have to take the welded legs and put three of them on the right side of the frames and the other three on the left side. Also, put one on the front, one in the middle and one in the back. For positioning it, you can use a large workbench clamp. Also, make secure the frame with the help of welding.

Step 7: Use Adhesive Rubber Pads

Last but not the least, you have to take the adhesive rubber pads when the frame si still upside down. Make sure the entire frame is covered with a layer of a waterproof patch and seal. Keep in mind never apply the second layer until the first one is set effectively and efficiently. 

Things to Consider When Building a Kayak Rack for an RV

Key points should be considered while you are Building a Kayak Rack for an RV

For performing any kind of task, you need to consider some important things so you could perform that task effectively and efficiently without any issues. If there is any, you could deal with it on time without facing its negative consequences in the future.

Following are some of the important things you need to consider when building a kayak rack for an RV:

Kayak Size

The size of the kayak matters a lot when building a roof rack on an RV. It is because the rack must be able to handle and bear the weight of your kayak no matter what type of kayak you have. You have to measure the width and length of your kayak and make sure it could fit on your RV roof. 

If you have a lake kayak, it is easy to place on the roof rack of an RV because they are short in size. They are also wider than river or ocean kayaks. It might be quite difficult for you to place the longer river and oceans on the roof. So, the size of the kayak matters a lot when building a roof rack.

Type of The Kayak

You need to consider the type of the kayak too when building the roof rack for your RV. Majorly, there are two types of kayaks i.e. rear mount and roof mount. The roof-mounted kayaks are the ones that face the driving speed and wind of the open road. If the kayak is not secure in place, there are chances that it will fall on the road while driving.

We suggest you get rear-mounted kayaks that are easy to secure on the roof of the RV. The construction of such type of roof racks provides more grip and easily holds the weight of your vertical kayak. You can also use heavy straps for keeping the kayak steady and secure in place. Plus, not much space is required for them.

How to Put on the Kayak on Roof Rack?

When you are done with building the roof rack, the next step is to mount the kayak on it. It might be a quite difficult task for you to perform if the kayak is heavy. You might need to help of another person to put on the kayak on your RV roof rack. 

Moreover, you need two decent cross beams and straps for securing the kayak on the roof rack. You must be thinking isn’t the roof rack enough for securing the kayak. The answer is no! The roof rack is just to place the kayak, not to secure it.

If you do not secure it with the help of straps, there is a risk that the kayak falls on the way while driving. Do you want to take this risk? Surely not! Who would like to do it? So, make sure you assemble the roof rack efficiently so the kayak could be placed there greatly. It will also result in enhancing the capabilities of your RV. 

Even if you do not build a roof rack on your RV roof, you still have to use a lot of padding for securing the kayak. No matter if there is a rack on the roof or not, you have to protect your kayak and also make sure it does not get scratched neither your kayak nor your RV. 

When to Hire a Professional?

People who are busy with work or any other thing and cannot build a kayak roof on their own, they can get the help of a professional. Make sure he is an expert and is aware of all the techniques and tools to be used for building a roof rack on your RV.

It’s good to trust the professional but we recommend you not rely on him completely. You should spare some time and make sure that the roof rack has been built according to your needs, requirements, and expectations or not.

If you want peace of mind, you can hire a professional and spend some money to get a roof rack built on your RV. But if you want to build it yourself but need someone’s assistance, you can call upon a friend who is aware of building a roof rack. You can also have a talk with a professional regarding this project so you could undergo this project yourself effectively and efficiently. 


How many Kayaks can be normally placed in a Roof Rack for RV?

We suggest you put one or two kayaks in a roof rack for RV. You can also place three kayaks depending upon the structure and setup of your vehicle.

How can I secure my Kayak on a Roof Rack?

You need strong straps for securing the kayak on a roof rack otherwise there is a chance of damaging the kayak on your way because it may lose balance and fall down.

How many Straps are needed for securing a Kayak in a Roof Rack for RV?

You need at least two straps for securing a kayak on a roof rack for an RV.

What is the significant skill needed for building a Kayak Roof Rack for RV?

You must have knowledge about welding for building a kayak roof rack for an RV.

What are the most necessary things to consider when building a Kayak Roof Rack for RV?

The most important things to consider are kayak size and type when building a kayak roof rack for RV.


To sum up, you must know about the required things, skills, tools, and techniques for building the kayak roof rack on your RV. You must know how to weld and perform each task effectively. You can also take the help of a professional or a friend if needed. No doubt, it is not a very complex task to perform.

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