How to Secure a Kayak in a Truck Bed

How to Secure Kayak in Truck Bed?Transporting a kayak in a truck bed can be challenging, but with the right techniques, you can ensure it stays secure throughout the journey. Securing your kayak properly is essential to avoid damage to the boat and your truck bed. In this section, we will discuss the best practices for securing your kayak in a truck bed.

When it comes to securing a kayak in a truck bed, experts recommend keeping the tailgate down. This provides stability and prevents the kayak from sliding. However, if your truck bed is not long enough, there are alternative methods you can use.

One option is to use cam straps through anchor points on the floor or bed rails. These straps provide a secure hold without putting excessive pressure on the kayak. It is important to avoid using ratchet straps as they can damage the boat.

To comply with legal requirements, it is essential to secure red flagging to your kayak if it extends more than four feet from your truck. This alert signal helps notify other drivers on the road.

By following these steps, you can safely transport your kayak in a truck bed, ensuring it remains secure and protected throughout the journey.

Other Kayak Transportation Options

In addition to securing your kayak in the truck bed, there are other transportation options to consider. These options provide convenience, security, and ease of use for transporting your kayak. Let’s explore some of these options:

Kayak Trailer

A kayak trailer is a great option for those who frequently transport their kayaks. These trailers are designed specifically for carrying kayaks and offer a convenient way to load and unload your boat. With a kayak trailer, you can easily transport multiple kayaks and have the flexibility to explore different waterways without the need for a pickup truck.

RS Tonneau System

If you’re looking for a versatile transportation solution, the RS Tonneau System from LINE-X® is worth considering. This rack system mounts above the pickup truck bed, providing a secure platform for transporting your kayak. With the RS Tonneau System, you can also transport other gear, such as bikes or camping equipment, making it a practical option for outdoor enthusiasts.

Kayak Rack

If your truck is equipped with a bed topper or crossbars, you can use a kayak rack to transport your boat. Similar to roof racks on SUVs, a kayak rack for trucks allows you to securely mount your kayak on top of the bed topper or crossbars. This option keeps your boat out of the way and frees up space in the truck bed for other gear.


Transportation Option Pros Cons
Kayak Trailer Easy loading and unloading, can transport multiple kayaks Requires additional storage space
RS Tonneau System Convenient and versatile, can transport other gear May limit truck bed space
Kayak Rack Keeps kayak out of the way, frees up truck bed space Requires bed topper or crossbars

Consider these other transportation options to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you choose a kayak trailer, RS Tonneau System, or kayak rack, these options provide secure and convenient ways to transport your kayak.

Making a DIY Rack for Short Bed Trucks

If you have a short bed truck and want a more permanent solution for transporting your kayak, you can build a DIY rack using 2x4s. The rack should sit inside the bed and be secured to prevent movement. This allows you to slide the rack in and out of the truck as needed. The DIY rack can be a cost-effective option and provide a secure and stable way to transport your kayak.

To build a DIY rack for a short bed truck, follow these simple steps:

  1. Measure the width and length of your truck bed to determine the appropriate dimensions for your rack.
  2. Cut four 2x4s to the length of your truck bed.
  3. Cut two additional 2x4s to the width of your truck bed minus the width of the two side 2x4s.
  4. Attach the two shorter 2x4s to the inside edges of the two longer 2x4s to create a rectangular frame.
  5. Secure the corners of the frame with wood screws or brackets to ensure stability.
  6. Place the DIY rack inside your truck bed and secure it to the bed using straps or bungee cords.

Once your DIY rack is properly secured, you can place your kayak on top of the rack, ensuring it is centered and balanced. Use additional straps or bungee cords to secure the kayak to the rack and prevent any movement during transportation. By building your own rack, you can customize it to fit your specific truck bed dimensions and transport your kayak with confidence.

Using Roof Racks for Longer Kayaks

When it comes to transporting longer kayaks that exceed the length of your truck bed, roof racks are the ideal solution. Roof racks provide a secure and convenient way to transport your kayak by mounting it on top of your truck cab or on top of a bed topper. Companies like Yakima offer a range of rack systems, including Q-Towers, Q-Clips, crossbars, and Aero Saddles, specifically designed to accommodate longer kayaks.

Utilizing roof racks for longer kayaks has several advantages. Firstly, it keeps the kayak out of the way, freeing up valuable space in the truck bed for other gear and equipment. This is particularly beneficial for those who need additional storage room or have larger items to transport. Secondly, roof racks provide a stable and secure platform for your kayak, ensuring it remains safe and secure during transportation.

When using roof racks, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and weight distribution. Ensure that the kayak is securely strapped to the roof racks using appropriate tie-down straps to prevent any movement or shifting during transit. Additionally, be mindful of the height clearance when driving under low obstacles such as bridges or parking decks to avoid any damage to the kayak or the roof of the truck.

Roof Rack System Key Features
Yakima Q-Towers Easy to install and remove, versatile fit for various vehicles
Yakima Q-Clips Custom fit for specific vehicle models, compatible with Q-Towers
Yakima Crossbars Durable aluminum construction, aerodynamic design for reduced wind noise
Yakima Aero Saddles Padded cradle system, easy loading and unloading of kayak

By utilizing roof racks specifically designed for longer kayaks, you can transport your kayak safely and conveniently without the limitations of your truck bed’s length. Whether you’re heading to the nearest lake for a day of paddling or embarking on a longer adventure, roof racks provide a practical solution for transporting longer kayaks.

Installing a Truck Bed Liner for Non-Slip Protection

If you want to ensure the safety of your kayak during transportation and prevent it from slipping in your truck bed, installing a truck bed liner is a recommended solution. A truck bed liner provides a non-slip surface that keeps your kayak in place, protecting both the boat and the truck bed from damage. One option to consider is the DualLiner truck bed liner, which features ZeroSkid® rubber bed mats. These rubber mats are designed to prevent slippage and offer a secure surface for your kayak.

The DualLiner truck bed liner stands out for its interlocking technology, which ensures a custom fit and complete protection without the need for drilling or expensive coatings. The bed liner is made from a durable material with tensile strength, making it capable of withstanding heavy use and providing long-lasting protection for your truck bed and kayak. With its non-slip properties, the bed liner eliminates the need for additional padding or securing devices, simplifying the process of securing your kayak.

The installation process for the DualLiner truck bed liner is straightforward and can be done without professional assistance. The bed liner is designed to be a perfect fit for your truck’s make and model, and it comes with clear instructions and all necessary hardware for installation. Simply follow the step-by-step guide provided by DualLiner, and you will have a secure and non-slip surface in your truck bed in no time.

By installing a truck bed liner with non-slip protection, you can have peace of mind knowing that your kayak will remain securely in place during transport. This not only prevents damage to your boat and truck bed but also ensures the safety of other drivers on the road. With a truck bed liner like the DualLiner, you can enjoy worry-free kayaking adventures, knowing that your equipment is well-protected.


Securing your kayak in a truck bed is essential to ensure safe and damage-free transportation. By following the recommended steps, such as using cam buckle tie-down straps, positioning the kayak diagonally in the bed, and adding red flagging if it extends beyond the bed, you can transport your kayak securely.

Consider other transportation options like RS Tonneau Systems, kayak trailers, and kayak racks for added convenience. These options provide alternative ways to transport your kayak and accommodate various truck bed sizes.

If you have a short bed truck, building a DIY rack can be a cost-effective solution. Constructing a rack using 2x4s and securing it inside the bed allows you to slide the rack in and out as needed, providing a stable and secure transport method.

For longer kayaks that exceed the length of your truck bed, using roof racks is the ideal solution. Roof racks, such as the Q-Towers, Q-Clips, crossbars, and Aero Saddles offered by companies like Yakima, provide a secure and convenient way to transport your kayak while freeing up space in the truck bed for other gear.

Furthermore, installing a truck bed liner with a non-slip surface can further enhance the security of your kayak during transportation. Bed liners like the DualLiner truck bed liners with ZeroSkid® rubber bed mats offer a custom fit and complete protection without drilling or expensive coatings, preventing your kayak from slipping and damaging both the boat and the truck bed.

Richard Dodds

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