The Only Comprehensive Guide to Transporting Kayak

Kristian Ole



Kayaking is a great sport for many, and a loved activity for anglers. While it is super enjoyable, carrying a kayak around is a real challenge.

So, if you are thinking, ‘can a kayak fit in a truck bed?’ you are at the right place.

In this article, we will answer all your questions related to this topic. We will also share a detailed guide for transporting your kayak safely. In the end, we have answered some common questions that many beginners ask about transporting the kayak.

How to transport a kayak in different cars

Pickup Trucks

If you have a pickup truck, you can easily transport your kayak without any worries. All you have to do is to secure the kayak with a few tie-downs with a red flag at the end.

This way of carrying your kayak is a simple option as you don’t have to go for a roof rack system.


Most SUVs will offer racks on the roof for luggage. If the rack has crossbars installed, you can easily transport your kayak.

Your kayak weight a lot and you will probably be traveling long distances with it on the roof of your car. So, make sure that you get your roof checked before mounting the kayak on it.

If you’re not sure about the load rating of your SUV roof, make sure that you check it first.

So, if you have a Subaru Outback, you can easily mount your kayak on it and get going. A Honda CR-V is another car that is good for transporting kayaks.

4-Door Cars

kayak tied to roof of car

Most four-door cars offer a removable rack system. You can attach it to the vehicle by setting the tubes on the rear window and windshield. Then, you will set the kayak upside down on the tubes and secure it with straps.

This system is quite simple and economical. You can also remove the rack when you don’t need it. So, if you have a Honda Civic, minivan, or even a Jeep Wrangler, you can easily transport your kayak.

Related article: kayaking near me

How to tie down two kayaks in a truck bed?

Many people ask how they can transport two kayaks in the same truck.

  1. Prepare the truck bed

Make sure that there aren’t any objects in the truck bed so that you have plenty of space. Also, objects may scratch your kayak or damage the hull.

Moreover, make sure that the trunk is clean of any dirt as well.

Otherwise, the boat will get dirty and molds may grow on it.

You can also place a rubber mat on your truck bed to prevent the kayak from slipping or getting scratched.

  1. Lower the tailgate

Now that you have cleaned the truck bed, lower the tailgate. You can carry your kayaks on a kayak cart or just get someone to help you.

  1. Load the kayaks

If you have a wide truck, it will be quite easy to load both the kayaks side-by-side. Otherwise, the kayaks will stick out of your truck. In such a case, you can get a truck utility rack. Another idea is to go for truck extensions.

Also, place the kayak on the corner of the truck bed rather than the middle so that you can tie it down easily.

  1. Strap the boats

Now that the kayaks are in place, you need to strap them down with cam straps. Make sure that the straps are not too tight. Otherwise, you might damage the kayak.

  1. Red flag

If your kayak is sticking out of your truck, make sure that you attach a red flag to it. This will warn other drivers that they should be careful.

What is a kayak truck bed extender?

A kayak truck extender will increase the space of your truck bed by at least two to four feet. So, you will be able to extend the space for your kayak.
You can also use the kayak truck bed extender for transporting luggage or furniture.

What is a kayak rack for a truck?

A kayak rack is a permanent solution for your car. You should go for a kayak rack instead of an extender if you transport your kayak (or other luggage) quite often.
It is a durable option as you can also carry more than one kayaks without any worries. The other two ways of transporting your kayak are to use a trailer or truck bed extender.

How to lock kayak in the truck bed?

You must lock your kayak firmly when you are driving. There are many tips and tricks to do this. For example, you should place a rubber mat on the floor of the truck bed. This will prevent the kayak from slipping as you are driving. Make sure that you are not using bungee cords to tie the kayak as they can stretch and break. Instead, go for cam buckle tie-down straps that will keep the kayak in place.
First, run a buckle strap across the top of your kayak. Then, attach the buckle to the anchor points of your truck bed.
Next, you should run down a second strap from the forward side to the rear side.

How far can a kayak hang out of a truck?

The numbers vary according to different places. It is a good idea to add a red flag if the kayak is hanging out of the truck for more than four inches. Also, if it a foggy winter day, you should use a brake light with the kayak.

Will a kayak fit inside a car?

This depends on the size of your kayak and truck bed. It is a good idea to measure the sizes of both before you purchase your kayak.
If you plan to transport your kayak frequently, you should have a permanent kayak roof on the car. The kayak roof will also be useful for transporting other heavy luggage.

How to haul three kayaks in a truck?

When you are loading three kayaks in the same tuck, you should keep the tailgate down. It is also a good idea to install a wide truck extender to avoid any issues.
Another option is to place one of the kayaks on the rack. You can also install four kayak racks on the roof of your car and tie-down each kayak with cam straps.

Transporting Kayak—Last Words

Kayaks are expensive, and you can never be too careful when transporting one. We hope this article answered all your questions about transporting a kayak.

Did we miss something? Share your questions, and we will answer them next time!

Till then…

Enjoy Kayaking.


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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