The Best Way To Transport A Kayak Or Paddleboard In A Truck


Transporting your paddle craft seems like a simple thing to do, right?

Just load it up and strap it down….

Well, let’s think about this….

You wouldn’t want to just strap a boat down to a bare steel trailer now, would you?

If you own a pick-up truck, you are ahead of the game on being able to easily transport your paddle craft, however, a lot of kayaks and paddleboards are damaged during transportation due to lack of care.

There are a few reasons why damage to your kayak or paddleboard occurs and I want to explain how to avoid each:

Mistake #1 – Strapping Your Paddle Craft Down Too Tight

how to strap down a kayak in a struck
Here’s me strapping down my L2Fish paddleboard in the back of the truck

The biggest mistake that I see is when someone really cranks down the straps on a kayak or paddleboard and has it tied down as tight as humanly possible.

This puts a lot of pressure on the vessel and can lead to cracking and/or warping.

This is especially common when strapping them down to rooftop racks.

A lot of pressure is applied to the vessel in the very small area where it is resting on the crossbars.

Find the thickest pool noodle you can and zip tie them around your crossbars and this will fix that problem.

As for the straps, they only have to be snug.

With your vessel being in the bed of a truck, there is less wind hitting it, as opposed to being on the top of a vehicle, which requires more straps to secure it.

Avoid ratcheting straps as these are the biggest culprit in over tightening the straps.

Lashing straps (such as the one shown below) are your best option for securing your vessel.

how to transport a kayak
Latching straps I use for both my kayak and paddleboard

Mistake #2 – Strapping Your Paddle Craft Down To A Hard Surface

Even if you are using lashing straps and just keeping the vessel snug, there is still the risk of damaging it if you strap it down to a hard bare surface (such as a truck bed).

Plastics and fiberglass don’t get along with hard surfaces, such as steel.

If you are transporting your paddle craft during the heat of the day, plastics tend to soften as they heat up and this can cause the bottom of your kayak to warp if strapped down to a hard flat surface.

The best fix for this is to use foam pads, or a homemade support you can use to place under your vessel during transport.

You would also want to try to distribute the weight of your paddle craft evenly over the support.

What I mean by this is you do not want a lot of pressure applied to a small area of your kayak or paddle board when it is strapped down.

The more of the bottom of your vessel that is supported, the better.

how to transport a kayak or sup in a truck
My Home Made Support and Optional Foam Blocks for a Kayak or Paddleboard

how to transport a kayak in a truck

You may think to yourself, “Well, kayaks and paddleboards are light, so why do I need so much cushion underneath?

What many people overlook is the fact that when you strap it down, you have basically simulated adding a bunch of weight to the vessel.

Let’s review what I’ve found to work best…

The Truck Bed Extender

how to transport a kayak in a truck
This Truck Bed Extender I Use Called the “T-Bone” – Made By Boonedox USA

This accessory was initially used as a means of supporting long loads in the bed of a pick-up truck, such as wood, construction materials, etc.

Now, paddle craft users have adopted this device for use when transporting, loading, and unloading their vessels.

It makes it so much easier to load a heavy kayak into the bed of your truck with a bed extender on your vehicle.

You can place one end of your vessel on the support beam, and easily slide it right up into your truck bed.

It also gives extra support to the part of your vessel extending beyond the length of your truck bed.

Remember as I stated earlier, the more of your vessel that is supported, the better!

In the following video, I will be showing you the essential items I use to transport my kayak and paddleboard in the bed of my truck.

You will also see how I load them up and secure them.


How To Transport Your Kayak Or SUP Via Truck [VIDEO]

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Pretty cool way to transport your kayak or paddleboard, huh?

Sure, you could always just throw it in the bed of the truck, but that certainly won’t help it last a long time.

And let’s face it, these new fishing kayak and fishing paddleboards aren’t getting any cheaper…

What’s your best trick for transporting your paddle craft?

Let me know in the comments.

Fish On!

Related Post: Simple Trick To Loading A Kayak On Your SUV Without Help (see it here now)

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would like to see this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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Gary Brown
1 year ago

Tony would you recommend a bed extender in the $100 or below range? The t-bone appears to provide a little more security than some of the cheaper ones I have looked at.

3 years ago

Very nice,

Shawn Rooney
4 years ago

Might be a silly follow up question but how do you secure the paddle and anchor pin since the bed is now down?

Bill Zimmer
4 years ago

Thanks for the great ideas for securing the T-Bone. I’ll need one of those locks to secure it to my trailer hitch, can you tell me the brand of lock and where you purchased it? Also, I use some old car floor mats to protect the kayak and the bed of the truck while loading and unloading but I like the sled you built.

Ron Hoogenakker
4 years ago

Like the article on transporting kayaks. I have a Hobie Angler 12 and my wife has a 12′ Hoble Mirage. Looking for ways to transport both of them on a pickup bed.
Comments anyone?

Bill Zimmer
4 years ago

I transported two Hobie Outback kayaks by having them sit on their sides and strapping them together on one side of the truck bed of my Nissan Frontier. This left plenty of room to put all of my fishing equipment on the other side of the truck bed.

2 years ago
Reply to  Bill Zimmer

Hey Bill. I need to do the same thing man! If you have a pic to send that would be awesome. I have a Colorado.

Bill Zimmer
2 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Sorry Chuck, I’ve never taken a picture of them on the truck. I had them with the tops pushed together and then ran one strap through the drain holes attached to the tie-downs on the truck. I had another strap through and around the pedal drive holes also attached to the tie downs. Didn’t have any trouble driving down to the Keys from here in St. Augustine. The pre-2019 Outbacks balance very well on their sides.

4 years ago

Got my truck bed extender at Harbor Freight for $59.

Sam Petteway
4 years ago

Thank you – this video was quite helpful. I like the TBone extender and the carpeted support you made.

Steven Free
4 years ago

Great article yes I found a similar rack on my hitchs website drawtight it is shaped similar to yours only instead of curving it comes strait then the end is like yours shaped like a football goalie post and yes I wrapped a pool noodle around the ends for protection and it adjusts to different lengths it’s cost was very reasonàble around 115.00 plus the fact I like it better then any trailer that you have to register very convenient and economical as well


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