pickup truck with kayak
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This article was written by Connor, one of our founding editors. Connor is a full-time travel and lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the outdoors industry.

Best Way to Transport a Kayak on a Pickup Truck

Even before you make the leap to purchase a kayak, transportation should be one of your main considerations. After all, what’s the point in having a kayak if you can’t take it anywhere?

There are endless ways to transport your kayaks to your intended destination and there isn’t one way that trumps all. Much of it depends on your vehicle. Although you can pretty much transport a kayak on any vehicle, we’re focusing this guide on the pickup truck owners out there.


Generally, people choose to tie kayaks down using a roof rack. On an SUV or pick up truck, it’s actually a relatively simple deal to transport your kayak. We’ve scoured the web for ideas among fellow kayakers and here are a few of the best methods.

The Easiest Way

Yep, it seems stupidly simple, but sticking your kayaking into the back of your truck and leaving the tailgate down is one of the easiest ways to go about it. Angling the kayaking from one corner of the truck to the other will reduce the amount of over-hang. Of course, you’ll need to tie it down securely so that it doesn’t slide out.

Additionally, make sure that you place some form of a marker on the end of your kayak so that other road users are aware of the longer object. Typically, a brightly-colored flag will do the job.

Consider if you’ve got anything in the truck bed which could damage your kayak. Are there any large or heavy objects which might slide around? It’s best to remove these to minimize the risk.

A Safe Method

There are plenty of products on the market to help you carry a kayak on the back of your truck. One, for example, attaches to the hitch receiver and acts as additional support, reducing the risk of the kayak sliding around and out the back. This also makes it easier to load and unload the kayak.

Simply do a Google search for ‘Extend-A-Truck kayak carrier’ and you’ll see plenty of options for bed extenders listed, as well as other suggested products. Take your pick!

The Bog-Standard Roof Rack Method

We’re sure you’re well aware of this method, but you can always opt for carrying it on your roof rack. This is useful if you want to carry other items in the bed of your truck.

You can either choose to use specific attachments (j-cradle or saddle) that support kayaks on a roof rack or, alternatively, tie it down with secure ropes and cam-straps. The main downside is that roof racks can be more expensive than some of the other options.

Safety First!

There are lots of scary stories flying around of people not tying down their kayak properly for it to fly off as soon as they hit a relatively high speed. Make sure this isn’t you. Not only will you wreck a good kayak, but you could also potentially cause a serious accident.

You can avoid things like this, and damage to your kayak, by making sure to check all of your equipment prior to use. Further, continue to periodically check your kayak’s stability throughout your journey. It can be easy to forget it’s up there, but you’ll soon know about it if it comes flying off!