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How To Tie Down A Kayak In A Truck Bed

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than taking your kayak out for a splash around your local river or lake.

Not only do you get to enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature, but you also get a decent workout done whilst you’re at it.

How To Tie Down A Kayak In A Truck Bed

Perhaps you find yourself out there almost everyday when the weather’s good, or maybe it’s more of a “once a season” kind of thing.

Whatever your habits are, it’s important to know how to safely move your kayak from the water’s edge back home, or back to storage. 

If you’re fortunate enough to both own a kayak and also have a truck big enough to transport it then you need to know how to secure a kayak into the bed of your truck safely so that there are no accidental damages done to your car, your kayak, or anybody else’s car. 

Before You Start

The best way to set yourself up for success is to already have the following things in mind before you start trying to pack your kayak up onto your truck bed. 

For instance, you want to have a rubber mat already laid down on the truck bed in order to prevent the kayak from slipping around.

You also want to avoid using bungee cords, as the excessive motion that will be felt as you drive will cause the bungee cords to stretch and potentially unhook themselves from each other which could be very dangerous whilst out on the road.  

Kayaking isn’t a cheap hobby by any means, so you’ll need to invest in a set of proper cam buckle tie-down straps so that you can secure your kayak into your truck bed and guarantee that it’s not going anywhere without your direct influence.

However, if you really can’t get a hold of cam buckle tie-downs and need to use black rubber tie-downs instead then you should still replace the standard hook ends with a specialized, load-rated carabiner to make sure that your kayak isn’t going to come loose.

Securing Your Kayak

Now that you have all of the equipment that’s going to make this process much smoother and more secure, then it’s time to start actually getting your kayak into your truck bed. 

Step One

First of all, you want to simply get your kayak into the truck. You might need to lower your tailgate in order to make the whole thing a lot easier. 

You’ll also want to clear out the truck bed, as anything that’s isn’t secured is going to rattle around and could end up causing some damage to your kayak.

How To Tie Down A Kayak In A Truck Bed

Then you should be able to just slide the kayak into the truck bed and close the tailgate. You’ll probably find that the tailgate raises the overhang up at a sharp angle,

meaning that the end of the kayak is hanging above the hood of any cars that could end up behind you.

However, if you find that the overhang is still sitting too low, then you’ll need to attach a flag to the end of the boat so that other drivers are altered to the hazard.

Honestly I think that you could do with adding a flag whether it’s raised enough or not, just to be safe. 

Step Two

The next step involves positioning the boat properly in the truck bed. The best way to do this is to angle the stern of the boat into the front left corner of the truck bed,

and move the bow to the tailgate on the right-hand side. This means that as much of the kayak as possible is secured into the truck bed and there isn’t going to be too much hanging out the back. 

If you have multiple kayaks that you’re transporting, then keep the boats straight instead of diagonal, and hope that the people driving behind you can be patient and sensible. 

Step Three

The final step to the process is actually securing the kayak into the truck bed, and is slightly more complicated than the other steps, so make sure you read this bit carefully. 

First of all you want to run the cam-lock buckle strap across the top of your kayak (or kayaks) so that it’s parallel to the truck’s tailgate. 

Attach the cam buckle to your truck’s anchor points and pull them so they’re as tight as they can be. 

Next, you want to run a second tie-down from the tow loop all the way back to the bed anchor. Then you need to tighten down the strap in order to pull the forward and into the rest bed wall. 

It should be noted that this method is best for kayaks under 11′ long. If they’re over that then you’ll need to acquire a rack system that will lift the kayak securely over the truck’s cab.

After It’s Home

If you leave your Kayak anywhere that is accessible by other people and are worried about theft, then you’ll need to make sure you use a locking cable run.

This cable can run through the tow loop of the boat, the seat, or even the grab handles in order to protect your kayak from theft. 

Bottom Line

Kayaking is a wonderful hobby, but can be expensive, especially if your boat gets damaged from being improperly secured to your truck.

Follow these steps, or watch tutorial videos to make sure that your kayak is totally safe when it’s tied down to your truck bed.

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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