You don’t have to cram all your stuff inside your RV. The 13 helpful RV racks featured in this article will help you get your gear from campground to campground while safely mounted to your camper.
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Note about Safety and Suitability
Please note there are LOTS of RV racks out there and not all of them will be suitable for your RV.
You’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure your camper can safely use a particular RV rack.
Disclaimer: Because they are shown here doesn’t mean we are recommending it for your RV, and we can’t be held responsible for any improper purchases or mishaps that may result from reading this article.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR RV MANUFACTURER PRIOR TO ADDING EXTRA CARGO WEIGHT, RACKS OR ATTACHMENTS to avoid exceeding your RV’s maximum allowable weight limits or your tow vehicle’s limits.
For instance, according to Yakups brand of racks they state that most travel trailers should NOT have additional weight added to the rear bumper of the trailer because it could decrease tongue weight and negatively effect handling. (For more information on tongue weight scroll to the bottom of the article.)
For more information on RV weight terms see page 52 of this PDF called GMC Trailering Guide.
With that out of the way, lets look at some RV racks and hopefully one of them will be suitable for your needs and suitable for your RV.
Table of Contents
- 1 13 Helpful RV Racks
- 1.1 RV Bike Racks
- 1.1.1 1) RV Bumper Mount Bike Rack using U-Bolts (by Swagman)
- 1.1.2 2) RV Bumper HITCH Bike Rack (comes with receiver)
- 1.1.3 3) RV Ladder Bike Rack (by Camco)
- 1.1.4 4) Create a Hitch at Front of Trailer (Straddler by Swagman)
- 1.1.5 5) Dual Hitch Extension to have a bike rack at the back of the tow vehicle
- 1.1.6 Other Ideas for RV Bike Racks
- 1.2 Kayak Racks for RVs
- 1.3 8) Bumper Mount Grill for RV
- 1.4 RV Drying Racks
- 1.5 RV Cargo Carrier Racks and Boxes
- 1.6 13) Rack for Portable Waste Tanks (for the Rhino Tote Tank)
- 1.7 How to determine tongue weight of your trailer:
- 1.1 RV Bike Racks
13 Helpful RV Racks
I’ve broken down the RV racks into sub-categories that include RV bike racks, kayak racks for RVs, RV cargo racks, RV drying rack (for clothes), RV grill bumper mount rack and more.
RV Bike Racks
Biking around your campground can be a great way to get out and explore the area. In this section we’ll look at at couple different RV bike racks.
1) RV Bumper Mount Bike Rack using U-Bolts (by Swagman)
This is a 2-bike bike rack that mounts to a standard 4-inch square RV bumper using U-bolts.
The manufacturer claims that it will support 2 bikes up to a maximum weight of 30 pounds per bike. With this weight limit in mind, it would not be appropriate for most ebikes since they generally weigh about 45 – 50 pounds (reference).
Note: bumper mounted bike racks are usually NOT a good choice for pop up campers because these bumpers are not strongly re-enforced to the trailer’s frame and the bouncing of the bikes could damage your camper.
Plus, the extra weight at the back of the camper would decrease “tongue weight” at the front of the trailer and could result in excess trailer sway. And as mentioned earlier, most travel trailer manufacturers do not recommend extra weight on the rear end either. (Reference)
Scroll to the bottom to see more information about tongue weight.
2) RV Bumper HITCH Bike Rack (comes with receiver)
What is cool about this 2-bike rack from Stromberg Carlson is that you can use it two ways.
- Insert the bike rack into your RV’s existing 2-inch receiver
- Install the included hitch receiver to your 4-inch square RV bumper, then insert the bike rack into the newly installed receiver
It has a maximum weight capacity of 80-pounds.
Do you have a spare tire on the back of your RV? If you do then a bumper-mounted bike rack may hit your spare tire. Some purchasers get an extension so the bike rack sticks out farther from the back of the RV, and some say they had to move the spare tire (or bike rack) to accommodate both.
3) RV Ladder Bike Rack (by Camco)
If you have a ladder mounted to the back of your RV, then a ladder bike rack may work for you. This bike rack – made by Camco – can hold two bikes and up to 60 pounds total weight.
Some people claim that they have to hang it really high on the ladder to clear their bumper. Something to think about if you have trouble hoisting your bikes up into the air.
4) Create a Hitch at Front of Trailer (Straddler by Swagman)
This isn’t actually a bike rack itself. What it does is it creates a 2-inch hitch receiver at the front of your trailer into which you can stick your current hitch-mounted bike rack.
The picture below shows you what I mean.
It is adjustable so it can be attached to many A-frame trailers and overcome existing propane tanks.
They say it can hold up to two bikes, BUT the total weight of the bikes and your bike rack cannot exceed 100 pounds.
And keep in mind that the extra weight near the front of the trailer will add to the tongue weight (total weight pushing down on the tow vehicle’s hitch).
CLICK here for more details on Amazon.
5) Dual Hitch Extension to have a bike rack at the back of the tow vehicle
You stick a dual hitch extension like this into the 2-inch receiver of your tow vehicle, then you tow your camper using the bottom 2-inch receiver hole on the extension, and you use the top hole for a bike rack or a cargo rack.
But it will reduce your combined tongue weight to 400 pounds. A Class 3 hitch has a maximum tongue weight of 500 pounds (reference), but if you’re using a dual hitch extension like this it reduces your maximum tongue weight to 400 pounds regardless if your hitch is rated for more. So that includes the tongue weight of your trailer, plus the weight of your bike rack and bikes.
Below is a picture giving you a better idea of how this product works. (This is the picture on the box for the Reese dual hitch extension.)
Other Ideas for RV Bike Racks
If you use a tow vehicle (for instance if you have a travel trailer or pop up camper) then carrying your bikes on your tow vehicle may be the easiest way to go.
You could put the bikes in the back of your pick up truck if that is your tow vehicle. Or you could use rooftop carrier if you use a SUV as a tow vehicle.
Kayak Racks for RVs
If you love watersports then you’ll want to have an easy way to bring your kayak with you when you go camping.
In this section we’ll look at a few RV kayak racks and hopefully one of them will work for your camper.
6) Vertical Kayak Rack for RV (Yakups brand)
Yakups is a ‘Made in the USA’ brand of RV racks. This model is a 2-kayak vertical kayak RV rack that they’ll make custom to fit your motorhome or 5th wheel trailer.
Larry from Yakups let me know in an email that these are NOT intended for travel trailers or pop-up campers because it will negatively effect your trailer’s tongue weight. (Scroll to bottom for more information on tongue weight.)
7) Vertical Kayak AND Bike Rack in one (Yakups brand)
Do you need to carry bikes and kayaks? If so, check out this kayak and bike rack for motorhomes and 5th wheel trailers. This is another product made by the Yakups brand. This model fits kayaks up to 32-inches wide. (But they do make models that hold wider watercraft.)
Click here to get more information on this custom, made in the USA RV rack.
And if you have more general questions about Yakups RV racks, click here to see their Frequently Asked Questions page.
8) Bumper Mount Grill for RV
This isn’t exactly a way to carry more stuff in your RV, but it is a clever way to mount a grill to your RV.
It attaches to a standard 4-inch square bumper, and it swivels out to allow you to grill outside yet away from the side of your RV.
For more details on this Fleming Sales bumper grill swinging arm, click here.
RV Drying Racks
When you’re camping clothes and towels can get wet, and drying them inside the RV can potentially lead to condensation issues. (See ‘How to stop your RV windows from sweating‘ for more information on this.)
That is why it is really handy to have an RV clothes drying rack for outside where your clothes can dry in the sunshine and fresh air.
9) RV Drying Rack for RV Ladder
It is kind of hard to tell what this looks like in action, but the black part mounts onto your RV ladder and the 6 chrome-plated arms allow you to hang your clothes to dry.
10) RV Bumper Mount Clothes Drying Rack
This mounts to a 4-inch square RV bumper and allows you a convenient place to hang dry your clothes and wet towels. The black painted metal pieces stay attached to your bumper, and the aluminum arms slide on and off for easy removal.
RV Cargo Carrier Racks and Boxes
11) Trailer A-frame Cargo Box
There are standard trailer boxes (sometimes called tongue boxes) that may fit onto your trailer, or you may have to get someone to customize one for your unit.
My friend bought a travel trailer off a guy who had modified the trailer’s frame and mounted this tool and cargo box to the front of the trailer.
12) Elevated Cargo Trailer Tray (by Stromberg Carlson)
This mounts to most A-frame trailers (possibly your travel trailer or pop up camper) and it provides an elevated tray that can hold up to 300 pounds.
The manufacturer – Stromberg Carlson – suggests you could use it to carry your generator or cargo boxes.
13) Rack for Portable Waste Tanks (for the Rhino Tote Tank)
If you use a Rhino portable waste tank (aka RV tote tank or “honey pot”) then this bumper-mounted rack by Camco is a handy way to carry it around.
It comes with 4 U-bolts to mount it to square 4-inch (or 4.5-inch) RV bumpers.
How to determine tongue weight of your trailer:
I am not an expert on this, but I’ve been trying to learn what I can because it’ll influence our decision on what bike rack we get for our pop up camper. So here we go…
Tongue weight is the force – or weight – the trailer pushes down upon the tow ball of the tow vehicle. (Reference) [I realize I’m probably messing up some physics terms there but I hope you get the point.]
What tongue weight should I aim for?
According to Ram Trucks towing guide, the ideal tongue weight of your trailer should be 13% of your trailer’s Gross Trailer Weight. (They say 10% is the minimum and 15% the maximum but 13% is ideal.) This ideal tongue weight of 10-15% is also suggested by the GMC towing guide.
And check your tow vehicle’s hitch to see what it’s maximum tongue weight is. For example, according to that same Ram Truck towing guide, a Class 3 hitch has a maximum tongue weight of 500 pounds, and a Class 4 hitch has a maximum tongue weight of 1,045 pounds.
Make sure that any accessories you are adding to the front of your trailer doesn’t result in you exceeding 15% tongue weight of your trailer NOR exceeding the maximum tongue weight capacity of your tow vehicle’s hitch.
How to measure tongue weight?
The company “Weight Safe” is dedicated to ensuring your have proper tongue weight. They make the towing ball shown above that actually measures your trailer’s tongue weight. This on-the-spot measurement will allow you to load your cargo to ensure you’re in the 10-15% tongue weight range.
Below are two additional ways to measure tongue weight:
Click here to see how to find tongue weight WITHOUT a vehicle scale.
What happens when you have too little tongue weight?
If your trailer’s tongue weight is less than 10% of the Gross Trailer Weight it could result in excess trailer sway or fishtailing. You won’t be able to properly control your trailer. (See the video below for a great example.)
What causes too low of a tongue weight?
Improperly loading your trailer with too much weight towards the back of the trailer, or adding excess weight to the rear of your trailer could result in having too little tongue weight.
Want to see the importance of proper tongue weight in action? Check out the clever video below.
What happens if you have too much tongue weight?
If your trailer’s tongue weight is greater than 15% of your trailer’s Gross Trailer Weight, your trailer will exert too much downward force on your tow vehicle’s hitch and could drop the back of your tow vehicle down (causing too much pressure on the rear tires and suspension) and it’ll make the front of the tow vehicle rise and you’ll have less responsive steering. (Reference)
Thanks for checking out this list of RV racks. I hope something on there has inspired or helped you out.
Plus check out:
9 ways to improve your RV outdoor living space