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Kayak In Pickup Truck Bed – How To Tie Down And Transport

Mark Armstrong
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You’ve got your kayak transportation checklist: kayak in pickup truck – check; tied down correctly – check. But before you can check off everything on your list you need to know how exactly to do it.

Before you buy a kayak it can important to consider transportation. Your pickup can be just the tool for the job so we’ve put together a guide to help you tie your yak down safely in the bed of your truck.

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What Do I Need To Get From A to B?

  • Cam straps
  • Red colored flag
  • Locking Cable 
  • Truck bed extender (if your yak will stick out too much over the end of your tailgate)
  • Foam padding

How To Haul A Kayak In A Pickup

Step 1: Clear your truck bed

The first thing you’ll want to do is to make sure the bed of your truck is free of clutter. Clear it out and try to make sure it’s clean so your yak isn’t sitting on a gritty or dirty surface.

Step 2: Foam blocks/padding in your truck bed

The next step is to put your foam padding or kayak foam blocks into the bed of your truck. This will help to protect the hull of your yak so that it’s not sitting directly on the floor of the truck bed.

Step 3: Lift your yak into your truck

Lift up your kayak and load it into your truck stern first, so that the bow is facing you.

If you are using a truck bed extender, lift your yak onto the T bar of the extender and then simply slide your yak into the bed of your truck.

In both cases your vessel should now be resting on top of the foam blocks or foam padding. 

It’s possible to also cover your foam in carpet or a fabric with less friction than foam, in order to make the sliding process easier and a little smoother on the yak.

Video: How To Transport A Kayak Or Paddleboard In A Truck

Step 4: Secure with cam straps

After your kayak is in place, secure it so that it doesn’t move around during transit.

With your cam straps, secure your vessel using the tie down points inside the bed of your pickup. Two straps across either end of your yak will probably be sufficient. But if you’re using an extender you may also want to tie your craft down on the extender as well.

Make sure your straps are tight but not too tight as to damage your vessel. The straps should also be perpendicular to your yak and parallel to the tailgate.

Step 5: Lock it

For added security it can be a good idea to lock up your yak to prevent anyone from trying to steal it. This is where a locking cable will come in handy. 

Run the locking cable through your vessel somewhere that has a through-hole, such as a scupper hole or molded handle.

Secure the other end either to your truck bed or your bed extender.

Step 6: Red Flag

The final step is to attach a red flag to the end of the bow to alert other road users to your cargo.

Guide to kayak safety flags


Now that you know how to transport your yak in your truck, try it out for yourself. The most important thing is that it’s tied down securely to prevent it from coming loose and causing an accident on the road.

Was it easy to follow our guide? Leave us a comment and let us know. Remember, you can share this guide to help other paddlers learn the tricks.

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