How To Transport A Kayak In A Truck? [10 Easy Steps]

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The feeling of the first feelfree Kayak in the back of the truck was nerve-wracking to say the least. 

Having a pickup truck is one of the most practical things you can have. Anyone who has one can attest to this. A kayak may be transported in a truck in a variety of ways.

  • With the tailgate up, smaller kayaks can fit in the bed.
  • With the tailgate down, medium kayaks may be fastened in.
  • A bed load extender can be used to transport larger kayaks.
  • Truck bed racks may be used to transport numerous kayaks.
  • Finally, a truck bed rack may be used to transport numerous kayaks.

There are three distinct bed lengths to select from: an 8-foot long bed, a 6-foot-5-inch regular bed, and a 5-foot-7-inch small bed. Depending on the manufacturer, they vary by a few inches. 

A kayak may be loaded either straight out or diagonally onto a truck bed. If you pack it diagonally, you can carry somewhat longer kayaks.

What are the requirements for transporting a kayak in a truck?

Before we get into the meat of the matter, I’d like to compile a list of everything you’ll need to transport your kayak in a truck. As a result, you’ll know what to buy:

👉 A rubber mat

👉 A truck which can be extended which is totally optional

👉 Cam strap

👉 Cable for lock

👉 Truck bed extender

👉 Foam padding

👉 Red flag

How To Transport A Kayak In A Truck?

One of the simplest methods to get your kayak to the water is to transport it in a truck. 

If you’ve never done something like this before, it’s normal to feel puzzled about how to accomplish it. So, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to accomplish it.

Step 1: Clean the bed of the truck

The first thing you should do before getting your kayak into the vehicle is remove it from the bed since you’ll need all of the available space. 

You should also clean the bed of your kayak of any debris or dirt to keep it clean and free of any things that might damage it. 

The next step is to place your foam padding or kayak foam blocks in your truck’s bed. 

This will assist to protect the hull of your kayak by preventing it from sitting directly on the truck bed floor. 

You may put a rubber mat on the bed’s floor to give some padding so your boat doesn’t get scratched while being transported.

Step 2: Bring the tailgate down and carry the kayak

You should drop the tailgate once you’ve cleaned up the truck bed adequately. After that, you may go grab your kayak. 

Requesting assistance since carrying it with two people is simpler than carrying it alone. Just remember to grasp it by the grab handles while picking it up.

Step 3: Check to see whether your truck bed can hold the weight of your kayak.

Before you load your kayak, double-check that the weight will be supported correctly by your truck bed. supporting a kayak that is between 10′ and 12.5′ length may need some forethought. 

At least 70% of the length of your kayak should be supported from beneath the hull. 

When just a tiny portion of the hull is supported, issues might arise, ranging from hull deformation to your kayak becoming lost on the roadway. 

You should be OK hauling a shorter kayak in a 6′ truck bed with the tailgate down. However, if you have a longer kayak or a 5 inch truck bed, you may want to consider adding a bed extension. 

It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on a bed extension for your truck. The majority of bed extenders cost between $50 and $200.

Step 4: Put the kayak in the truck’s bed

It’s time to load your kayak into the bed of your truck once you’ve made sure it’ll be adequately supported. 

Lift your kayak and load it stern first into your truck, with the bow facing you. If you’re using a truck bed extender, just hoist your yak onto the T bar of the extender and slide it into your truck’s bed. 

Your vessel should now be sitting on top of the foam blocks or foam cushioning in both situations. It’s also feasible to cover your foam with carpet or a fabric that has less friction than foam to make the sliding procedure on the kayak a little simpler and smoother.

With the wheel in the keel, you have it easier than others. Simply roll your kayak over to the side of the loading area. 

Because loading the kayak with the wheel in the keel in the back is the simplest, the front meaning bow of the kayak should be against the cab of the vehicle. 

If you have a rudder, you should load it in the same way to avoid harming the mechanism. If you don’t have a rudder, though, loading it from the back is OK; just make sure you don’t drag the front (bow) of your kayak on the concrete or asphalt. 

You must first stop the wheel in the keel from moving freely before elevating the front of your kayak. 

You don’t want to load the front and then have the back roll away. To hold the wheel in place, some individuals use a towel or a doorstop. 

Others carry a flag on the rear of their kayak for transporting and use the wheel in the keel to stop by rolling it back over the flag. You can also enlist the help of someone to keep the kayak in position. 

The goal is to keep the wheel from spinning freely during loading, no matter how you freeze it. Lift the front of the kayak onto the tailgate or bed extension after the wheel in the keel is secured into position. 

Make sure your kayak is balanced before heading to the back. You don’t want it to topple over and spill all of your belongings. Simply hoist your kayak and slide it into your truck bed when you reach the back of it. 

Both your kayak and your truck will be protected if you place a piece of padding between the truck cab and the front of your kayak.

Step 5: Beaver tail and overdrive have special instructions

If you have an overdrive on your kayak, make sure to remove it before loading it into the truck bed. The overdrive should not be used to carry your kayak since it will put unnecessary stress on the hull. 

If your kayak has a beaver tail rudder, it is advised that you use a cart to load and unload it from your vehicle. 

The beaver tail will drag on the ground without a cart during loading and unloading, putting unnecessary stress on the rudder, rudder cables, and kayak hull.

Step 6: Place the kayak in the appropriate position

Once the kayak is inside, make sure it is properly positioned. One end should be facing the cab’s corner, while the other should be towards the tailgate’s opposite corner. 

Do not attempt to close the tailgate if the kayak does not fit the length of the vehicle. Instead, place the kayak’s bow over it. 

This is risky since it raises the height of your truck, making it more vulnerable to harm from the wind.

Step 7: Secure the kayak with its straps

It’s time to strap the kayak down once it’s within the truck bed. Fortunately, most trucks have anchor points on the bed wall, so this isn’t a difficult process. If yours doesn’t, you’ll have to buy and instal some. 

Two cam straps are required: one for the bow and one for the stern. Thread them through the grab handles, draw them taut, and attach them to the anchor points on the wall. 

Then double-check that your kayak doesn’t move significantly.

Step 8: A red flag should be attached

Most states require you to attach a flag to anything sticking out more than a couple of feet from your truck’s bed. 

Check your local laws, but remember that a flag isn’t going to damage you. 

Even a simple red caution flag tied to your kayak, which is available at most local kayak stores, increases your kayak’s visibility to other vehicles on the streets.

Step 9: Double-check everything

After a period of driving, it’s a good idea to pull over and double-check that your kayak is still secure and the straps are snug.

Step 10: The kayak is being unloaded

When you’re ready to unload your kayak, attempt to park somewhere flat, that is, not sloping and clear of huge pebbles. 

A boat ramp may appear to be ideal at first, but it frequently means that your kayak may roll away from you while unloading. If not using a cart, remove the straps and brake the wheel in the keel. 

Rear out of the truck bed and bed extender until the kayak hits its tipping point, then lower the back end to the ground or onto the cart. Return to the front end of the vehicle and pull the nose out, allowing it to rest on the ground. 

Wheel your kayak to the water using either the wheel in the keel or your cart. If you have an overdrive, connect it after the kayak’s hull is in the water.

You can read our blog on how to build a kayak

Pros & Cons of transporting a kayak by truck

Loading your kayak onto the back of your vehicle and tying it down doesn’t get much easier. 

There’s a little more to it than that – you’ll also need a truck bed liner, a sturdy rubber mat to protect your goods, and foam blocks for cushioning – but you get the idea. 

Cable locks are an excellent technique to keep burglars out of your kayak. They may be wrapped around each kayak handle and an anchor point, making it nearly hard for anyone to use or steal without permission. 

If your tie downs or rope come free or break, they also serve as a safety line, stopping your kayak from flying down the roadway.

Pros Cons
✅ Your truck does not require any extra equipment or aftermarket modifications.To keep your kayak from being stolen, you’ll need a cable lock or lockable straps instead of ordinary ones.
✅ If you have a limited kayaking budget, this is an economical option for carrying your kayak.
✅ A simple and convenient approach that works well for shorter journeys.


You’ve made a list of everything you’ll need to move your kayak: Check that the kayak is in the pickup truck and that it is properly secured. 

But before you can cross anything off your to-do list, you need to know how to do it correctly. It’s crucial to think about transportation when purchasing a kayak. 

Your pickup may be the perfect tool for the task, so we’ve put up a checklist to assist you properly secure your kayak in the bed of your truck.

Try it for yourself now that you know how to carry your yak in your vehicle. The most crucial aspect is that it is properly fastened to prevent it from becoming loose and triggering a traffic disaster.

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