How to Transport Two Kayaks in a Truck (Detailed Guide & Expert Tips)

Remove Everything From the Truck Bed

Kayaking is absolutely an interesting outdoor activity on weekends or vacations, and it has become a prevalent sport in recent times.

However, as you probably know, one of the most challenging things about kayaking is not paddling them in the water but getting them to and from the water. Hence, transporting one kayak is already challenging, let alone two.

In this article, we will cover how to transport two kayaks in a truck. So, without wasting much time, let’s get into the details!

How To Transport Two Kayaks In A Truck (Detailed Instructions)

Your task is to find a way to fit Kayaks into your truck. But, of course, in some cases, that’s not possible because your truck is too narrow while your Kayaks are too broad. In these cases, you will need to find another way, and we will cover that at the end of the article.

Gather Necessary Materials

Sometimes you will need some equipment that will allow you to strap your kayak in your truck, such as straps (ratchet straps, cam straps, etc.) or ropes.

Make sure you get enough tie-downs to secure your boats. You would not want them flying off your truck on the way to the water, would you?

Other things you may need for this project are red flags and a bed extender. We will discuss them shortly.

Remove Everything From the Truck Bed

Remove Everything From the Truck Bed

First of all, you need to make sure your truck’s bed is completely clean. This includes removing debris or heavy accessories, such as a fifth-wheel hitch before loading your boat.

Don’t forget to remove garbage and other items. Thanks to that, you will have more space for your kayaks and prevent them from compromising, denting, or scratching.

If your truck bed is a mess, it is wise to use a piece of plywood or some cardboard. This helps protect your kayaks from oil or other dirt.

Then, if you use foam blocks to help support your kayak when loaded into the truck bed, now is the time to put those in place. 

Tailgate up or Down?

Once you have ensured that your truck bed is spotlessly clean, it is time to lower the tailgate. You should get help from a friend to transport your kayaks. That’s not difficult at all, and it is possible to transport both kayaks in one go.

However, the problem here is that you have to decide whether tailgate up or down.

Nowadays, trucks are available in many sizes and shapes. So, whether you have the tailgate up or down may depend on some factors. For example, many newer trucks have shorter beds than older models.

In the past, truck bed sizes were pretty standard, 8 feet long for a full-size model. These days, truck beds tend to be a lot shorter. So it depends on whether your truck has a short, standard, or long bed.

On the other hand, another critical factor is whether you own a smaller van or a full-size pickup. Smaller models often come with narrower and shorter beds. It is true to say that the truck bed length significantly affects whether you have the tailgate up or down.

Whether you leave the tailgate up or down depends on the size of your boats. For instance, if you own a 14-foot boat, leaving the tailgate down is wise as the tailgate will give more support. On the other hand, if you have “average” recreational kayaks that are 10 feet long, we recommend leaving the tailgate up and tying your kayaks down.

Utilize a Bed Extender

Utilize a Bed Extender

If you leave the tailgate down, using a truck bed extender that provides more support for your kayaks is wise.

Many bed extenders can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically, allowing you to get the proper support to transport two kayaks in your truck.

Load Your Vessels

Loading two kayaks onto the truck is pretty straightforward, and you just need to make sure they fit snugly together. 

How to load the kayak is up to you. Some boat owners decide to put their hull side up while others prefer hull side down.

Depending on the size and weight of the kayak, you may need the help of others to lift them into the back of the truck. It is wise to put down a blanket, towel, pieces of cardboard over the tailgate to protect your boat from scratches.

If you go with the tailgate up, it is a good idea to cover the top of the tailgate using a  towel or pool noodle to protect the deck and hull of the kayaks.

If you keep the tailgate down, it is possible to lift one end of the kayak onto the tailgate and slide your kayak into the bed.  Then repeat this with your second kayak.

Go slow, be careful, and attempt not to scratch, dent, or otherwise damage the kayaks when loading them in your truck.

Strap the Kayaks Down

You’ll need to tie your kayaks securely to secure them to the truck bed before hitting the road. As a result, you won’t have any trouble whether you’re traveling on a quiet country road or the highway.

You can use ratchet straps, straps, rope, or bungees for this. Bungees and ratchet straps often have hooks at the ends, making them a good choice for attaching to the truck cleats.

But, if you are using ratchet straps,  do not tighten too much. Otherwise, they can damage your kayak. You can also lock the kayak if needed.

You do not need to be a pro to tie down a kayak in your truck bed. In fact, the process becomes much simpler by using high-quality cam straps and the anchor points available in most truck beds.

Start by hooking the cam strap to one of these anchor points, usually located at either the cab or the tailgate side of your truck bed. After that, run your cam strap over the top of the kayaks and down to the other side of your truck bed. You’ll find another anchor point there. Do this at the bow and stern of your kayak.

Tighten the cam straps, so your kayaks are secure and snug. Again, do not over-tighten the straps when you tie your kayak. This can cause your boat to distort.

Attach a Red Flag

Attach a Red Flag

If your kayak is overhanging the back of the truck, it is essential to attach a red flag to the end of the kayak for safety reasons. There is no denying that it is a good idea for other drivers to spot your cargo.

A red flag can warn other drivers that you have some bulky cargo sticking out from the back, and they should pay a little more attention. As a result, other drivers should move further away when following you.

Every kayak hauling method will need to use the red flag, except if the tailgate is up and your kayaks are leaning against the cab of the truck.

Other Options Of Transporting 2 Kayaks In A Truck

Transporting kayaks by the truck bed isn’t right for you? Don’t worry! There are other ways to get things done. Here are some other ways to transport two kayaks on one truck.

Truck Rack

Using a kayak stand is one of the good ways to go. It doesn’t require drilling in most care, and you can use C clamps to attach the rack to the truck bed.


Using a trailer is a perfect solution for transporting multiple kayaks and other equipment. As a result, your truck bed space will be freed up. On the downside, you’ll probably have trouble with parking.

Inflatable Kayak

Consider inflatable kayaks if you don’t want to face the hassle of loading, transporting, and unloading your kayak. They are easy to store and transport compared to their hard-shell counterparts. That is why they have become prevalent in recent years.

The Bottom Line

So, you have received the answer to, “How to transport two kayaks in a truck?” Now you should be ready to join your family or friends for a kayaking adventure. But, before driving your truck, make sure that everything is done perfectly.

When you try to transport two Kayaks by truck, remember that safety comes first. If something doesn’t feel right about this, it is best to consider other options, such as renting a storage space near your kayak destination. Another option is to ask a friend to transport a boat for you.

Last but not least, check the tie-downs periodically while on the go to make sure your kayaks are secure.

As long as your kayaks are loaded and secured properly, getting multiple kayaks to your destination should not be an issue.

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