How to transport kayaks in a truck

With the help of a couple of straps, a rubber mat, anchors, and a red flag, you can safely transport your kayak in a truck to any destination.

As exciting as kayaking can be, transporting a kayak isn’t as exciting. It’s one of the things you might sweat over, especially if you live away from any lakes or rivers.

The most popular types of kayaks on the market are hardshell ones and inflatable ones. And although hardshell kayaks are more durable than the inflatable ones, they’re not easy to transport. However, that’s not much of an issue when you have a truck, not for the biggest part.

Because it can be a little challenging to fit the kayak on the truck, we prepared some simple steps to help you get the job done. Also, we made sure to include some important tips to ensure a safe ride.

How Transport A Kayak In A Truck In 3 Simple Steps

1. Prepare The Trunk Bed

The first thing to do is to clear some space for the kayak. Remove the tonneau cover if you use one, and make sure that the bed is clean. If you haven’t used your truck for a while, it’s better to wash it in order to remove any dirt or debris from your previous trips.

One of the concerns kayakers have to deal with while transporting their vessels is scratching or damaging any of its parts, so we recommend using a rubber mat on the floor of the truck. This will prevent any friction and help keep both your trunk and kayak undamaged. Moreover, using a rubber mat protects the truck from the water that drips from the kayak on the way back. Even for those who use a spray-on lining, using a mat is way more efficient.

2. Load The Kayak On The Back Of The Truck

Moving the kayak to the truck can be a bit challenging. If you can't carry it on your own, you can buy a trolley and use it to move the kayak around. Of course, if you have someone around, then you can lift the kayak together.

Some trucks feature a bed extender that can help you load the kayak, but if yours doesn’t, you can try fitting your kayak between the corners of the truck. This will significantly reduce the chances of the kayak sliding out. However, if you keep the tailgate open, make sure to properly secure the kayak, or else you can end up breaking your vessel or even hurting someone if the kayak falls off the truck while driving.

Alternatively, you can avoid overhanging the kayak by tilting it to one side and keeping the tailgate up. In this case, you'll need to strap it to the bed. Make sure to use a non-stretchable material because it provides the appropriate pressure that can keep your kayak secure without breaking it. On the other hand, stretchable or ratchet straps are not preferred as the former isn't firm enough to secure the kayak, and the latter can damage your vessel.

Another thing to pay attention to is keeping the hull side down while sliding the kayak into the truck so that it's easier for you to get it out again, and so that the kayak is more stable during the ride. At last, always pick the kayak by its grabbing handles that are specifically built for transportation.

3. Attach A Red Flag

As mentioned earlier, there’s a chance that the kayak might fall out of the truck while driving, and even though we try to keep the risk as low as possible, you need to warn other drivers.

Using a red flag is only necessary if the vessel is hanging out of the kayak. Attach the red flag to the rear of the boat or on the back of the trunk near the tailgate.

Important Tips:

  • Covering the cockpit is essential, especially when driving at a higher speed. If you keep it uncovered, the air accumulates in the cockpit which can lead to one of two things; the first is that your kayak will fly out of the truck, and the second is that it’ll break because of the pressure of the tight straps against the strong air currents, which makes the weak point more vulnerable.
  • The best way to secure the kayak is to insert some anchor points and use nylon straps to tie the kayak down to the truck. The straps should go through the handles attached to the kayak then they should be tied down to the anchors. Additionally, you must keep the bow and the stern tied down to the truck bed to prevent the vessel from flapping.
  • If you want to transport more than one kayak at the same time, make sure to keep the tailgate up while loading them to avoid any accidents. Moreover, you can use a roof rack to help you accommodate longer kayaks.
  • Don’t rush or speed up with the kayak in the truck. It’s safer to drive at a moderate speed while keeping an eye on the kayak. The vessel should be balanced and secure. If you feel it flipping or shifting, stop the truck and make sure that it’s placed correctly, and the straps are tight enough to keep it fixed to the truck bed.

Final Thoughts

With the help of a couple of straps, a rubber mat, anchors, and a red flag, you can safely transport your kayak to any destination. At first, it might take you some time to load the kayak in the truck and then secure it, but the more often you do it, the less time it’ll take. Don’t rush; take your time to set it up and enjoy the ride.