2 Kayaks & a Pickup Truck

Disclaimer: I am brand new to kayaking and brand new to trucks and not particularly mechanical, but I am trying! I need some help and I know you are the guys to ask!

I have two kayaks…one is 10’6" and the other other is 10’11." I bought 2 sets of Malone Sea Wings for my Hyudai SUV to transport the kayaks. I found that for two short women, this was STILL an extremely laborious process! I was NOT a fan! Furthermore, the wings would need to be uninstalled after every use to protect them from rain, sun and theft. Nope. No thanks.

So, I got impulsive and bought a pickup truck! It’s a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 6 foot bed. I love it! With the tailgate down, it’s about 8 feet of support with 2-3 feet of overhang. So, I thought I needed a truck bed extender and I bought a Boonedox. However, when I looped my cam straps through the cleats of my truck’s bed and through the carry handles of the stern, there was no way to wrap the cam straps around the actual boat, thus relying entirely on the bungee carry handles of the kayaks. Then, when when we went to support the overhang of the bow-end of the boats, they barely reached the “cross bar” of the extender, as it the extender extends just a bit too far out from the back of my truck with such short kayaks. I couldn’t wrap the cam straps around the kayaks here either, so I ended up threading the cam straps through the carry handles of the kayaks, looping them around the boone-dox “cross bar” and then threading them through the actual rear tow hooks that are built into my truck to either side of the hitch receiver. With this method, we did get the kayaks strapped down TIGHT and they did not shift or anything on our short journey. However, I was not loving that the cam straps aren’t actually tightened around the body of the kayak…just going through the carry handles…and I wasn’t loving that very little of the kayak actually rested on the extender!

Before anyone asks, yes, we used red flags and the bungees you see encircling the kayaks are for the cockpit covers.

My question is…do I need the extender at all? AND…if I forego the extender, how the heck do I strap these guys down? I am including a pic, though, you can’t see at all how they are secured…just to show the length of my truck bed in relation to the extender and the kayaks!

I appreciate any and all help.

P.S: I don’t want a trailer and I don’t want racks where we have to lift them…that was the whole point of a pickup for us…two short ladies who want to just scoot them up and strap them down (safely)!

I not familiar with the Sea Wings, but could you attach them to the extender and perhaps a 2x4 anchored in the bed?

Check your local regulations before following any advice but I would think you would be better off with the kayaks all the way forward in the bed and loose the extender. Tie them in at the front of the box and secure them gently with a strap or rope at the back so they don’t slide around. Just don’t tighten them too much. I use these so I don’t crush the boats especially when it is hot.

There should brackets in the truck bed for securing cargo. (each corner at least)
Minimizing anything sticking out of the back of your truck is ideal.

I carry 2 boats in my pickup every week. The major difference is mine are 14’ long. I strap them to the extender and the bed.
On my truck there are steel brackets that hold the tailgate shut. They make great attachment points when the gate is open.
I run a strap through them and the carry handles on the boats.

Thank you for making the attempt to secure your load.

Though you might be overkilling it a bit.
If your boat is secured from the fwd handle to both of the tie down points in the front of the bed, it wont slide forward so going around the boat in front of the cockpit is a bit much.
If you want to secure around aft of the cockpit, from your pic, you could; take a cam buckle around the boat, from the cam buckle strap run 2 lines to the tie down points right and left, in the rear of the bed. Or tie it off forward, and go from the rear handle to the receiver and call it good. Then you could lose the extender. OR, go around the extender and the boat, same effect as behind the cockpit just farther back, and run a line from the handle to the receiver just like you have it.

First off you don’t need that extender you have enough of the boats in the bed. The idea of putting a red flag on the tip of the longest boat is good. Also I might add it is easy to forget the boats are in there and back up into something so stay aware of that.

I agree with the above you are over complicating securing the load.

Most people would just tie off from the ends of the boat sticking out to the hitch receiver. If you are going highway speeds maybe a hook cam strap between the stake pockets to prevent lifting. Or just a loop cam strap around both boats and the tailgate.

Not on older trucks

No, but that is not an older truck in the photo so I am betting they are there.

I agree that you are overthinking it. Assuming the bed of the pickup has tiedown loops in the corners of the bed, just use camlock straps to fasten the bow carry handles to the front truck tiedown loops. For the stern, use the same type of camlock straps from the stern carry handles to the truck hitch receiver. The straps only have to be snug, do not overtighten. The risk of overtightening is why I do not recommend ratchet straps. It’s too easy to overtighten them deforming the boats.

If the front truck tiedown loops are halfway up from the bottom of the truck bed instead of near the bottom, it is advisable to add a couple near or on the bottom of the bed. This is easily done. Stainless is preferred if adding them.

The kayaks tied down in this fashion can’t go anywhere. Flag the overhanging stern and keep the boat in mind when backing.

You guys are the best… Truly!

I guess if I forgo the extender, my 2 concerns are using the bungee-like carry cords as my anchoring points and the stability of the kayaks when using the truck’s cleat loops to thread the cam straps through. This is what the inside of my truck looks like for anchor points… Not much to work with!

The front truck tiedowns look like they will work just fine. If they are too narrow to put a camlock strap through maybe a carabiner would fit. If you have similar cleats in the rear run the straps to these instead of the receiver and then the boats will be held securely to the sides of the truck bed. You could also run straps to both for even more security.

I didn’t realize your boats have those bungee type carry cords. More boats seem to be using them and I’ve never seen the point. They seem much more likely to fail than traditional carry handles. Is there any hardware associated with the carry handles that would accommodate a carabiner or a loop of strong cord to run the straps through?

Hello, I am able to thread the cam straps through both sets of cleats (front and rear), but they are so near the front and back, respectively that I cannot put the camstraps around the body of the boat, only through those carry handles. Our kayaks do not have any kind of carrying hardware on them.

Both of the kayaks are similar…

In the front of the box you can run the strap from one cleat to the other through the carry handles on the bow. That will be enough to keep the kayaks from sliding back. I load mine right side up to make this easier.
In the back run a strap over both using the back cleats and secure it without crushing the boats. Use a pool noodle to pad the strap and make sure the ratchet does not rub on the kayak.
You can then tie a line from the rear carry handle to the back cleat on each side to keep the kayaks from sliding side to side.
The trick is to secure the kayaks well enough to prevent them sliding or bouncing without reefing on them. There will be very little pressure on the from the wind while driving when they are in the box.

I geared this up last year. The blue and yellow straps go through the carry handles and are fastened with a carabiner. It will not allow the kayaks to fall out if the rear straps fail.

I briefly had an extender I thought I would use with my short Mazda CX5 (it has a trailer hitch) to support my 16’ to 18’ kayaks better on the roof rack. I ended up giving it to my brother to use with his pickup truck to carry long lumber loads. But as I recall it slips into the hitch receiver and has a bolt and cotter pin lock into the hole drilled through it. If that is the case with yours it should be possible to have a local fabrication shop or anyone you know who has power tools and builds stuff to shorter the shaft of the extender to the length you need and drill another hole in it.

Those are pretty cool!

With a plastic boat it should be a simple task to add a couple of pad eyes or something similar to the bow and stern. These would also give you the ability to add ridged perimeter lines if the hardware that is holding the bungees will accommodate another line.

I’d keep the tailgate up and just use a strap on the rear. Slide the yaks all the way forward, let gravity be your friend, and having the back of the yaks elevated lets those behind you in traffic see them easier. Tie a line from the back of the yak to the bed eyes, bumper, or strap if needed, like a spring line on a docked boat.