Best RV Hitch Carrier: ROLA Vortex Steel Cargo Carrier
This cargo carrier is made from heavy-duty steel and is built to last. Coated in a black powder coating, your cargo carrier will be protected from the wear and tear that comes with use. It’s also resistant to rust which is great if you’re on a camping trip and get caught in inclement weather.
At 56 inches wide and 23 inches deep with a 5.25-inch lip, this carrier has a large capacity. A lighting kit, sold separately, provides a fully functional lighting system. The ROLA Vortex attaches easily to your RV with a two-piece assembly. You can also use this carrier with your everyday vehicle.
The unusual rise-shank design brings the cargo carrier up and out instead of straight out from your receiver. This makes loading and unloading your carrier easier and more comfortable. It also provides a little extra clearance, which is great for navigating RV sites and parking lots.
The Vortex is a multi-use carrier, capable of storing any number of your overflow items. Although not specifically designed for kayaks, this carrier accommodates them well. When using the Vortex with kayaks, simply latch the kayaks to the RV ladder.
Best Budget Hitch Carrier: Tricam T-Mount
If you’re looking for a dedicated kayak rack, this Tricam product could be ideal for your RV kayak needs. Made from 2-inch tubular steel, this is a heavy-duty option that’s powder-coated for extra protection from the weather and road debris.
This carrier is adjustable so you can easily customize it to suit your needs. It can be mounted to your RV receiver horizontally or vertically. It can also be set to five different heights. Fully extended, the support bar is 51 inches from the hitch receiver.
The welding work on this carrier is top quality and the one-year warranty ensures there’s little risk involved in trying it.
While the adjustability is great, you may need to add extra support to this unit for optimal performance. This is especially true if you’re using the carrier in its fully extended state. The unit can be heavily loaded and create a significant amount of wag without extra support.
This carrier is a budget-friendly option for those looking for an alternative to tying their kayaks to the roof. If you do choose to keep your kayaks mounted on the roof, this load extender provides another contact point for safer traveling.
Best Toad Kayak Carrier: Yakima Jaylow Kayak Carrier
If you’re hauling another vehicle behind your RV, you’ll have more options for transporting your kayaks. With this toad carrier, you can strap your kayaks securely to the vehicle you’re towing with your RV.
This carrier system can be used to secure one boat of up to 80 pounds or two boats with a combined weight of 110 pounds. It’s suitable for use with a variety of lengths.
Thoroughly padded, this carrier will help protect your kayaks during travel. When it’s not in use, you simply fold down the carrier. This helps improve gas mileage and will give you additional clearance in parking garages and drive-throughs.
Additional locks are available for purchase and these help keep your kayaks safe while mounted. This is a great feature for parking lots and overnight RV sites. This carrier set includes straps and tie-downs.
The Yakima Jaylow comes fully assembled and is simple to install. In fact, installation is tool-free and can be easily accomplished by a single person. The included mounting hardware can be used on almost any crossbar.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use and versatile kayak carrier to use on your toad vehicle, this Yakima Jaylow is one to consider.
Best Budget Toad Kayak Carrier: TMS Kayak Carrier
This toad kayak carrier is a great option if you’re on a budget. It’s affordable and designed with a universal fit in mind. Most people won’t need to make any modifications to attach this carrier securely to their car.
This set includes two pairs for a total of four individual units. Each pair can hold up to two kayaks. You can choose to use one pair if you’re traveling with just one or two kayaks or take both pairs and take more kayaks.
The kayaks are stored on their sides, minimizing their weight impact on the load bar. This kayak rack is suitable for kayaks up to 36 inches wide and weighing up to 75 pounds.
This carrier system is suitable for use with most factory or aftermarket crossbars, whether round, square, flat, or oval. This set comes with straps to help securely attach the kayaks to your toad vehicle.
The padded J-style rack adds protection for your kayaks. It also creates a better, more secure fit. The system is easy to install. You can choose to mount it directly to your car or use a ladder rack for mounting.
Best Tie Down Straps: Rhino Ratchet Straps
This classic set of four ratchet straps is a heavy-duty and multi-purpose product for traveling with kayaks. It’s great for strapping your kayaks securely to your RV and for reinforcing your current traveling system.
These Rhino ratchet straps have coated steel ratchets and chromoly steel S-hooks. The webbing is made of an indestructible PolyBlend. With a 5,208-pound break strength, there’s not much you can’t do with these ratchet straps.
The straps offer superior construction, including extra width, with sturdy stitching. The ratchet mechanism works smoothly and reliably. A full set of instructions detailing how to use the staps is included, along with a warranty on the product.
These straps are great to have on hand when you’re traveling in your RV, even when you aren’t using them for your kayaks. They can be used to secure items to roofs and cargo carriers. You may be surprised by how frequently they can come in handy.
Also included with this set of ratchet straps are four soft loops, offering additional strapping options, depending on your vehicle and needs.
Budget Tie Down Straps: Ratchet Tie Down Straps
These all-purpose ratchet straps are a great cost-effective solution for securing your kayaks during travel. With a 500-pound load capacity and a 1,500-pound break strength, these are heavy-duty enough to work well with kayaks.
The molded, ergonomic handle resists damage and won’t fall off your ratchet strap. The rubber coating on the S-hooks helps prevent any damage to your cargo or RV. The straps are one inch wide and made from durable nylon.
Included with this set are four ratchet straps and a convenient carry bag to keep them tidy, accessible, and out of the way. They also come with a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
To use, simply close the ratchet completely. Then, slide the non-hook end of the strap through the slot on the backside of the cam. Begin to pull the strap through the slot and toward the handle. Once you’ve secured your S-hook to another point, begin to ratchet until you’ve reached the required amount of tension.
FAQ's For Buying a Kayak Rack
Whether you’re a first time RV owner or a long-time RV pro, choosing an RV kayak rack for your next trip across the United States is a big decision. If you’re getting ready to bring home a new piece of equipment, here’s what you’ll need to know.
Types of Kayak Racks
Before getting into the finer details, here are the kinds of kayak racks you can expect to encounter when shopping.
- Roof rack kayak racks: These kayak racks attach to an existing roof rack. Many can be used on factory or aftermarket roof racks. These are frequently used on personal vehicles being towed behind the RV (also known as toads).
Hitch carriers: Hitch carriers attach to your car or RV via the traditional hitch receiver.
There are three different types of roof rack kayaks you might encounter:
J-style kayak rack: A J-shaped bracket supports and cradles your kayak, usually on an angle.
Vertical RV kayak rack: The space-saving vertical kayak rack approach maximizes roof rack space.
Horizontal kayak racks: These racks have you load your kayak flat on its belly.
The kind of roof rack or dedicated kayak rack you choose will depend on multiple factors, including how many kayaks you travel with, and your vehicle.
Buying Considerations for Kayak Racks
Kayak racks can cost very little or several hundred dollars or more. Determine your budget prior to shopping and commit to sticking within your price point. It’s likely you’ll find something suitable within your budget.
The number of kayaks you travel with will impact your kayak rack choice. Whether you drive a fifth wheel or haul a toad will factor in as well.
Always plan on maintaining your kayak rack. This keeps it from becoming compromised and will keep you safe on the road. Your kayaks are a financial investment you don’t want to lose because you failed to check your equipment frequently. Know exactly how much of an effort you’re willing to make when it comes to regular maintenance.
Determine whether or not a warranty is an important factor for you. If you travel frequently, you may have more need of one. Items with warranties may be more expensive, but you won’t be out the purchase cost if something happens to your unit.
Know ahead of time how much your kayaks weigh and what the total weight needs of your kayak rack are. This will help you weed out any racks that won’t work with your kayaks.
How can I travel with my bike rack and my kayaks at the same time?
To safely accommodate your bikes and your kayaks, you will probably need to use multiple systems or a custom rack. Your choices will be impacted by what other recreational items you are bringing, as well as your RV and toad setup.
Can I store my paddle board in a kayak rack?
Depending on your SUP and your kayak rack, you may be able to travel with your SUP in the kayak rack. You might have to modify your securing system, though. This is due to the difference in thickness between the SUP and a kayak.