How To Transport Two Kayaks in a Truck

Kayaking is a great way to explore nature by descending mountain rivers or going fishing. It has also become a prevalent sport in recent years. One of the problems of owning kayaks is transporting them to and from the water. Transporting one kayak can be quite a complicated process, but what if there are two? In this article, we will try to give practical advice on how to transport two kayaks in a truck at the same time.

How To Transport Two Kayaks in a Truck

Transporting a kayak by car using a trunk is the best and easiest way to transport kayaks to the water, especially if it’s not the longest trip you need to take. Many people own a car or SUV with a roof rack. But trust me, there are times when kayaks are very heavy and it is very inconvenient to lift them overhead. So lifting them onto the roof of a vehicle is not easy for everyone, so you definitely need to use additional means that are designed to do that.

If you have a pickup truck, there’s plenty of room in the back of the truck for a kayak. What about two kayaks? Transporting two kayaks in the back of a truck requires careful planning. Don’t worry; we’ll help you figure out all the details as you head to your favorite paddling spot.

How to transport two kayaks in a truck – the main steps

First, you need to make preparations to prepare for transport kayaks in a pickup truck. First and foremost, you must have the proper accessories to secure your kayak:

  • rope;
  • straps with a ratchet mechanism;
  • cam straps.

Secondly, you need to prepare the back of the truck so that nothing gets in the way of securing the kayaks (remove debris, unwanted items, cans, etc.)

Once the above is done you can proceed to the next steps.

Gather your materials

There are several items you will need, and some of them depend on your setup. You will need a way to tie the kayaks in the truck, such as with straps (cam straps, ratchet straps, etc.) or ropes.

How to transport two kayaks in a truck-3

Make sure you have enough fasteners to secure the kayaks. This is an important step as the quality of the attachment of your watercraft to the vehicle will depend on it. The more secure the mount is, the more certain you are that your kayak won’t get lost on the way to the water.

For some vehicles, it will be appropriate to purchase a cargo platform extension for your kayak. Such items are popular with people who transport oversized cargo. Cargo that protrudes from the back of the car or trailer should be marked with a red flag measuring at least 50 x 50 cm, placed at the most protruding edge of the load.

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Preparing the truck bed

It’s important to make sure your pickup truck platform is clear of debris before you start loading your kayaks. If you have any heavy accessories, such as a fifth wheel, those should also be removed.

Removing debris or other items makes room for your boats and helps eliminate the risk of scratches, dents, or damage to the integrity of your kayaks.

If the body of your truck is really dirty and won’t wash out, you can put linoleum, cardboard, or a scrap of plywood over it. This can help protect against oil or other dirty substances that you don’t want to get on your kayak.

Rear door up or down?

The variety of vehicles today is astounding. Trucks come in all different shapes and sizes and it’s impossible to give advice on every model. So when loading a kayak, the tailgate may be up or down, it all depends on several factors. Many newer pickup trucks have shorter bodies than older trucks. And that’s not surprising.

Rear door up or down

Truck bodies used to be pretty standard, 8 feet long for a full-size pickup truck. Nowadays, truck bodies tend to be much shorter. It depends on whether your vehicle has a long, standard, or short platform.

Another factor is whether you own a smaller truck or a full-size pickup truck. Smaller trucks usually have shorter and narrower bodies. The length of your bed affects whether your tailgate is up or down.

If you have a 14-foot kayak, it makes sense to leave the back door open because the back door gives you more support.  For an “average” 10-foot recreational kayak, many people prefer to leave the back door up and tie the kayaks to spikes inside the back of the truck.

Whether you leave the back door open or closed depends on the size of the kayaks you are transporting and the size of your truck bed.

When the tailgate is up, it’s easier to tie the kayaks to the lever. This gives the kayaks room to lean when you strap them down.

Use a truck bed extension

If you go with the tailgate down, you can use a truck bed extension that provides more support beyond the tailgate. The extension fits over your existing hitch receiver.

Many truck body extensions are adjustable in length (how far they protrude from the truck) and width (can be adjusted to hold one or two kayaks), allowing you to get a proper fit.

The truck body extension is great for long and sea kayaks.

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Load your kayaks

Loading one kayak into the truck is fairly easy. Loading two kayaks into the back of the truck is pretty much the same; just make sure both kayaks fit well together (but not necessarily).

Depending on the size and weight of your kayaks, you may need help lifting them into the back of the truck. You can put a towel, blanket, or piece of cardboard on the back door to protect the kayaks from scratches.

How To Transport Two Kayaks in a Truck

How you load the kayaks is up to you. Some people put them hull side up. Others prefer hull down. If you have a narrow truck platform, you may need to slide the kayaks sideways.

If you keep the back door up, you might consider covering the top of the back door with pool noodles or a towel to protect the hull or deck of your kayak (depending on how you load your boats).

Be careful to move slowly and be careful not to crumple, scratch or damage your kayaks as you load them into the truck.

If you have the back door down, you can lift one end of the kayak onto the back door and simply slide the kayak into the bed. Then repeat with the second kayak.

Strap your kayaks in

Your kayaks should be securely strapped in before you head out. You want your kayaks to stay in the back of your truck. Whether you’re driving on the freeway or on a quiet country road.

You can use cam straps, ratchet straps, rope, or even rubber bungee straps. Ratchet and bungee straps usually have hooks on the ends that are great for attaching to your truck’s cleats.

Make sure that ratchet straps are not over-tightened. They are great for securing but can damage your kayak if you go too far.

There are different ways to tie your kayak.

  • Raise or lower the back door, and put the straps through the handles of the kayak. Tie the bow and stern to the brackets that go around the bottom corners of the body of your truck.
  • You can also use the holes in the bed rails to tie your kayaks.
  • Use the hitch to tie your kayaks to the back of the truck.
  • You can tie the bow and stern for proper measure and then use another strap in the middle of your kayaks, using the ducks or bed rail as an anchor point.

There are many ways to tie the kayak. The straps should be tight and the buckles should be positioned or secured so that they will not damage the kayak. The most important thing is to keep them secure.

You can also strap the kayak to the truck, if necessary if you have a long layover en route.

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What not to do: Don’t overtighten the straps when you tie your kayaks. This can cause dents to form on the boat. You want the straps to be nice and secure, but not too tight.

Use of the red flag

Adding a red flag to the end of your kayak is a must when transporting oversized cargo. It is also recommended that you familiarize yourself with the local transportation regulations in your area. Using the flag helps alert other drivers to increase their distance when they are following you.

Other Options

If hauling kayaks in the back of a truck isn’t the best option for you, there are other ways to get the job done. Maybe you have a work truck that is always full of gear, or you have a camper on your truck. Here are a few more ways to haul two kayaks on a truck.

Truck rack

A kayak rack is a great way to transport kayaks on a truck. Many of them don’t require drilling either. You can use C-clamps to attach the rack to the truck bed.

A rack is a great way to get kayaks out of the way so you can fill the truck bed with other gear.  Click here for more information on kayak truck racks.


A trailer gives you more flexibility to haul multiple kayaks and frees up the back of your truck for other gear. One disadvantage of using a trailer to transport kayaks is parking. It can be harder to find launch points in the middle of nowhere when you need to park the trailer.

Inflatable Kayak

If you don’t have the space or don’t want to mess around with loading and unloading kayaks, you can use an inflatable kayak. Inflatable boats are very easy to transport compared to their rigid counterparts, which is one of the reasons they are popular. They are compact and easy to transport.


There are many ways to transport two kayaks in a truck. And all of these ways are individual. Before the trip, make sure the kayaks are securely strapped in and not wobbly. Try raising and lowering the back door to see which option works best for you.

Be sure to use a truck bed extension if you need extra support or have a long kayak.

If you follow our tips, properly loaded and secured kayaks, you’ll have no trouble transporting them, and you’ll arrive at your destination.

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