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How To Haul A Kayak In A Truck

How to Haul a Kayak in a Truck

Got a kayak that needs to be moved and a truck? Consider yourself lucky! Moving a kayak on a truck is super simple, provided you know what to do.

Keep reading for a quick guide on how to haul a kayak in a truck as easy as possible.

Roof Rack

Moving a kayak is super simple when you have the correct roof rack installed. It is also the go-to option if you have other equipment that needs to be moved as your truck bed is completely free,

Roof racks are easy, non-permanent, and the safest way to move multiple kayaks at one time. There is no need to drill holes or to install tie-down hooks with a roof rack.

Racks also come in a vast range of shapes and sizes, so you are guaranteed to find a set that fits your kayak and your truck.

If you choose to use a roof rack, be sure to secure the bow and stern of your kayak. These are essential as they will help your truck and kayak overcome intense wind forces as you drive and keep your vehicle safe.

We also recommend that you invest in some straps to tie it down to the rack as this will make doubly sure that it won’t shift or fall off while you drive.


  • Your truck bed is free, so you can transport other cargo or equipment – ideal for camping or other vacations.
  • There is no need to remove the tonneau cover, so your truck is as aerodynamic as possible.


  • Unfortunately, roof racks are not always compatible with a single cab or front-seat-only trucks.
  • Even with securing the kayak and using the tonneau cover, your fuel economy is going to be badly impacted.

Truck Bed

Not in the mood for fuss? Just pack your kayak into your truck bed. It is quick, simple, convenient, and for many is the perfect solution to kayak-transport woes.

You do need a truck bed liner, a rubber mat so your cargo is safe, and some foam blocks for a bit of padding to protect your kayak, but in the end, you just put your kayak in and tie it down.

We recommend that you grab some cable locks to keep you safe from thieves if you use this method. Loop them through the kayak’s handle and the anchor point and it is just about impossible for someone to take your kayak without your knowledge. 

Cable loops can also be a key safety feature. Should your kayak become unstuck from your truck bed because a tie-down has broken, it won’t go flying down the highway.

This is an added safety bonus for you, your kayak, and any other drivers on the road,


  • No need for specialist equipment or to add features to your truck.
  • Very affordable and cost-effective.
  • Very convenient, very straightforward, and ideal for shorter driving distances.


  • You do need some anti-theft equipment to keep your kayak secure.7
How to Haul a Kayak in a Truck

Truck Bed Extension

As a general rule, your truck’s bed should be able to support a minimum of 70% of the kayak. If your truck bed is too short for just over two-thirds of your kayak to comfortably sit, you need to invest in a truck bed extender.

These attach to the hitch receiver on the back of your truck and will add roughly 2 feet or more to your truck’s bed.

This is a great option for those with long kayaks and short trucks, or for those who lug around a lot of equipment.

These are not permanent and easy to install when needed. 


  • Easy to use and setup
  • No need for permanent modification to your truck – install when you need them and take off when you don’t 
  • Very cost-effective and ideal for those with shorter truck beds


  • You need to check the traffic laws in your area as too much overhang may be illegal
  • If you are unfortunate enough to be rear-ended, your kayak will take pretty much all the force of the crash. Great for your safety and your truck, less good for your kayak.

Utility Rack

If you want to move more than one kayak in one go, we think that you should check out a utility rack for your truck. It adds a frame to your truck bed that you can strap a kayak on top of.

These are a great option as once your kayak is lifted and secured in place, you still have the whole of your truck bed for either another kayak or other pieces of equipment.


  • Combines the best things about a truck bed and a roof rack but with a bit more storage
  • Great for long car journeys or camping trips
  • Many come with optional extras like crossbar attachments, so you can carry other large items


  • They will vibrate as you are driving – anything over 50 mph, and you are going to hear a high-pitched whine as the frame vibrates
  • Assembly and loading is generally a two-person job.

Kayak Truck Rack

Last and by no means least, we have the kayak truck rack. These are a great option if you can’t find a compatible roof rack for your truck or if you have a single cab vehicle.

All you need to do to load up is position the kayak hull-side down in the center of the rack.

Next, make sure it is properly secured, and ideally, you would now add the bow and stern lines for more security. You are now all set – it is as easy as that!


  • The rack sits over the truck bed, not the roof, making it more accessible and easier to load
  • Mainly, the load of a truck rack is much higher than the roof rack – perfect for large kayaks.


  • Most are semi-permanent or permanent so may require some truck modifications
  • While the truck rack is in place, you can’t use the tonneau cover so you may collect debris

Final Thoughts

There are several pieces of equipment that you can purchase to make it easy to transport your kayak using your truck. From racks to extenders, hauling your kayak has never been easier!

We recommend that you check up on your local traffic rules whenever you haul your kayak.

Be aware that some kayak transportation systems – like the extender – may not be legal in your state as it goes over the maximum overhang threshold.

Keep in mind that it is essential that you properly secure your kayak, no matter which pieces of gear you are using.

The AAA Foundation has found that road debris from unsecured loads is a significant cause of traffic collisions.

It is hardly surprising that dropping things from a moving vehicle is considered illegal throughout the US. Make sure your kayak is properly in place before setting off to stay on the right side of the law!

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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