Hauling Kayak in PickUp

Does anyone know of an INEXPENSIVE way to haul a kayak in the bed of a PickUp? I am looking to try a “do it yourself” system that wont damage the yak or the truck and will provide stability for highway travel. The PU bed is 8’ and the yak is 14’. It was all I could do to afford the yak and simply don’t have major cash for a factory type rack system. Any advice would be appreciated.


The cheapest way I can think of (and the pros will be screaming at this) is to set a couple of blocks of wood into the holes of the bed then drill 3/4" holes in these blocks and make a rack of 3/4-1" conduit.

You can get it cheep at a demolition place.

Then wrap a pool noodle over it and another around the bow of the kayak and tie the yak to the roof and frame.

Not preety but it will work.

I bought a truck bed extender from Harbor Freight on sale for $20. See photo. Look under Transporting Kayaks. http://community.webshots.com/user/redmond5099

I put a foam block on it, strapped my kayak to it and had no problems. My kayak was a WS Cape Lookout 155, 15.5’ long.

I have a Plastic 16’ tarpon that i just tie down in the bed of my S-10 from time to time using 4 tiedowns in a Crisscross fasion, two in the front and two rear. works great. a 14’ foot boat should be even easyer. now I DONT do this with my Glass boat.


– Last Updated: Feb-06-04 11:26 PM EST –

... looks much like the Harbor Freight extender, but cost a lot more. I wish I'd known about H.F. It works well if you already have a receiver hitch. I can carry a 14.5' solo canoe and a 9' rec kayak. Tiedown is minimal compared to a roof rack, and the lift is much easier. I have a Ranger with a 6' bed.

Check out this older thread about it.

cheapest way?
Buy 3 or 4 ratchet straps and hang a old red rag on the end. I put one around the coaming and secure one around a seat or a grab loop to positively lock it to your truck. Its how I haul my 13’6 boat in a 6 foot bed. I think it all depends on if your traveling on the interstate at high speeds. But if you tie it in good, it won’t come out.

In the bed
of my Nissan Frontier. In the front I have Harbor freight bed bar (don’t remember the name) which I tied rope with dog lease clips and I hook the clip to my carry handle rope. Use a peice of rope with a loop that fits around the back of boat, I hook the ends to the tiedown hooks at the back of truck. Used this at highway speeds from Florida to Maryland and Virginia. If you want to see what it looks like email me and I will take a few pictures of it for you and send them.

Kayak in a PU
I haul my Cape Lookout 145 in the bed of my Ranger (7’ bed), but only when going a short distance, and not on the interstate. I put it in diagonally (bow first) so the projecting end is canted toward the right. I loop a strap around it and secure both ends to the loops on the inside of the bed. It cinches against the cockpit rim very well. I also have a line from the left front bed loop to a U bolt that is just aft of the cockpit. In CT, anything that projects more than 4’ must have a red flag by day, and a red light at night.

wooden ladder rack
I’ve seen some pretty decent looking ladder racks made out of 3 or 4 8’-10’ 2X4’s (depends on the actual size of your truck) and some carriage bolts. Just need to cut the ends of the 2X4’s down so they will fit in the stake pockets, then using carrige bolts, bolt the whole thing together (four uprights, two cross bars, and two front to rear bars), paint or stain and varnish if you want a nice finish.

If you really want to get fancy, you could cut some saddles out of wood, that fit the contour of the boat, and line them with indoor/outdoor carpet scraps, to protect the boat. Attach these to the cross bars, and your boat should ride like it was part of the truck.

Since I like to work with steel, and can weld, I made my pick up rack out of 1 1/2" square steel tubing. A 24’ piece was just over $20, a few scrap pieces I had laying around, $5 worth of spray paint, a couple of hours or work, and I have a great rack.

Jeff in South Dakota

what he said
I made a rack out of 2x4 and 2x6 pressure treated wood. Cut down the 2x4’s to fit snugly into the stake pockets and cut them off so they are 3-4" higher than the cab of your truck. Bolt the 2x6’s to the 2x4’s for crossbeams. This rack is bombproof and cost about $20.00 to make.

I got a decent topper real cheap.then built a cheap(cost only) rack for it. maybe 100$ total and a sacure place for gear and a place to sleep.

simple answer and the best!
Check out the EXTEND A BED! I have an S-10 Pup. I can load up 2 kayaks and with the use of 2 ratchet ropes (ropes that are tightened through a self-locking pulley) one through the front loops of the kayaks and one across the back. Most p/u’s have eyelets welded in the bed that makes this very easy! and with a red flag on the back- you’re on your way in less than 2 minutes!!! Trust me - I have gotten 6 other to copy my tecnique! You can find the Extend a bed and a couple of ratchet ropes/red flag for less than 40$. That’s right, No joke!!!

Does it have to go up top?
An 8’ bed with a 14’ yak in it? Find a couple of old square boat cushions at a thrift store or a garage sale and get some rope. Rest the kayak on the cushions and tie it snuggly in place. Put a red rag/marker on the end that’s hanging out and take off…

I like to put it in with the stern right behind the driver and at an angle. The part that’s hanging out is on the passenger’s side and I hang out mostly in the right lane.

boat haul
I find that if I just drop my tail gate and slide the boat against the back of the bed that I can secure the boat by running a ratcher strap with the hooks attached to the bumper and wraped around the coaming on my 17.5 kayak. A insulate pad on the tailgate helps pad the hull and its a very easy lift to get the boat onto the truck.

Same as Kayakangler.
Made my rack from treated lumber. Takes 5 minutes to install and take off. Hauls 2 boats very securely. E-mail me a FAX # and I’ll send you a drawing. You need stake pockets.

Look at the classifieds
Here are a few links from the Paddling.net classified ads. One is only $100.00!