How To Build a Kayak Rack for Your Truck? (Easy Steps)

Kayaks are a great way to enjoy our camping. But carrying them is a hard task. Some people take them for lease in the camping without taking from home. But if you have a truck and kayak also, then you may save your leasing money.

You may take your own kayak on the truck with you to camp. But for that, you need a kayak rack on your truck.

We know buying a rack is more costly than leasing one but making one at home will save you money. However, most people don’t know how to build a kayak rack for their truck at home.

In this discussion, we will show you how to build a kayak rack for your truck. This will be a DIY project with some easy steps. If you can follow all the steps, you will be able to make one at home.

Is It Possible To Build a Truck Kayak Rack At Home?

Yes, it is possible to build a truck kayak rack at home. This rack can be used to store your kayak horizontally or vertically and is perfect for those who have a limited amount of space. The rack can be built from wood, rod, Pvc pipes, and any other strong but lightweight materials.

Whatever the material you use, you need to follow a proper process to make one for your truck. The DIY process depends on your own model, size, materials, and some other things. If you have a plan to make one at home, then follow all our instructions. 

Materials and Tools Need To Build a Truck Kayak Rack?

The materials and tools you need to build a truck kayak rack depend on the type of rack you are building. As we are going to show you a wood kayak rack making process, you will need the following tools and materials.

  • 4 screws
  • Kayak straps (2 per post)
  • L brackets
  • Nails or screws
  • Drill or driver bit
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Chisel or saw
  • Lumber: 2x4s your desired length
  • U bolts

If you can arrange all of these tools, it will be easy for you. But some tools are not a must. They will just make your building process easy and fast.

Sometimes you may feel comfortable with some other tools to complete the same task. In that case, you may change the tool list.

How To Build a Kayak Rack for Your Truck?

You may build one rack without taking any help from us. But if you have any premium quality support from experts then it will be easy and perfect. That’s why you need to read this discussion from beginning to end.

There are different material options for you that you may select to make a kayak rack of your own. But we are going to use wood for this purpose. So, if you have any plan to use other materials then you may avoid this process.

Step 1: Select Your Own Design

The design of a kayak rack is completely on one’s own taste and truck size. As we are going to make a rack for our truck bed, we will make a two stand rack. The rear stand will be higher than the front one. You may design according to your own choice.

Step 2: Complete Measurement

After you complete the conceptual design, you have to measure your truck bed, kayak, and lumber pieces. While measuring the truck body, you have to measure the height, width, and length also.

To measure, you may use a measuring tape. While measuring the wood pieces, keep the design in mind.

Step 3: Cut The Wood Pieces

Now is the time to cut the wooden pieces. Here also the design will get priority. If you are planning to make a rack that we are going to make, you have to cut two vertical beams and two horizontal beams.

Besides that, you have to cut 4 small pieces to insert inside the mounting holes. If you take 4*2 lumber pieces, you have to make one edge thin according to your mounting hole size. To make the wooden pieces thin, you may use a chisel.

Step 4: Hammer the Wood Edge Into the Mounting Hole

After you cut all the wooden pieces according to your measurement, you have to start setting up. Start with putting the wooden pieces into mounting holes. You may need to use a hammer to insert these wooden pieces into the mounting hole. 

Try to keep these mounting wooden pieces tight in the hole to make the rack strong. DO it with all four mounting holes.

Step 5: Use L Brackets To Connect Wood Pieces

Now you have to connect the beams together. In this step, we need to take help from a screwdriver, L brackets, and nails/ screws.

The L brackets will work mainly here. We mounted vertical beams on the truck, now we have to connect both the beams with a horizontal beam.

Do the same thing on the front side. We added two vertical beams on the back and front sides. We have to work on both sides here.

Step 6: Place U Bolts On Horizontal Beam

Now the rack manufacturing is almost done. We have to make a hook that will keep our kayaks tight with the beam. In this case, a strap will help us. But where will the strap be tied? To solve that problem, we will suggest you take 4 U bolts. Then add these bolts on the horizontal beams. 

After adding one, keep some distance in the middle for the kayak then add another one. Do the same thing on both front and back.

One reminder for you. If you have more than one kayak then you may add two more U bolts for that too. A small truck’s width can carry two kayaks at the same time.

Step 7: Keep Kayak Straps Ready To Tie

Now everything is done. When you go for camping, you just need the straps to tie your kayaks with the U bolts. If you face any problems in this DIY project then the video will help you a lot. Try to watch that.

Cost To Build a Kayak Rack for a Truck?

The cost depends on many things. As we need so many items to complete the task, you need to gather common tools first.

The common tools like saw, drill, hammer, measuring tape, level etc should not be included in the cost list. Because most of us have them as household tools.

Besides them, you have to buy U bolts, lumber, screws, L brackets, and nails should be brought in. So, they will affect our cost. Based on different places, the price may change. But on standard, it may cost you around $150 to $200. 

This cost is an estimate for our model that we show you in this discussion. If you have something different then the cost may change. Besides that, your location will also affect the cost. Please keep this in mind.

How Long To Make a Kayak Rack?

Making a kayak rack is not so complex as making a truck camper. So, this will not take much time if you have every tool and material ready. The process we show you here will take around 2 to 4 hours from beginning to end.

If you choose a different design and material then it would take more or less time. But if you can make every tool ready, it will save you a lot.

You may even complete the whole process within 30 minutes. However, you should not be in a hurry. It will reduce the rack quality.

Is It Worth Making A Kayak Rack Than Buying?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the costs and benefits of making your own kayak rack will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.

However, if you are looking to save money on your kayak rack, making your own rack is a good option.

There are some reasons for our making suggestions. The main reason is the benefits of self-building kayak racks.

Its customized design will fit your truck in every way. Besides that, the homemade racks are stronger than others. Finally, the self-build kayak racks will save money.


For a handy way to transport your kayaks from place to place, the racks will be the best. After reading this discussion, I hope you will be able to make it successfully. The process is not hard, but you need to be more careful about it. 

If the Kayak is hitting any part of the truck body and damaging that part, then you may use foam there. That was all for today. Thanks for reading.

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