Kayak transporting in small pickup truck

Before I make the plunge and purchase a 10 to 12 ft. kayak, I need some advice on transporting it in my vehicle which is a Mazda 2500 pickup with an extended cab and 6ft. bed. I have a tonneau canvas cover over the bed so ther are rails covering the four corner holes. Any advice on the safest/easiest way to secure it?

Pickup transport
Last year I had a WS Cape Lookout 145, and occasionally carried it in the bed of my pickup.

I have a Ranger 7’ bed. With the tailgate down, it’s about 8’, more than half the length of the boat.

I did a wrap around strap at the eyes near the rear of the bed, and a line from the left front of the bed tiedown to the eye I installed just behind the cockpit of the kayak.

As you can probably visualize, the boat is cocked slightly to the left side of the bed at the front.

I would say that if you follow this formula, with at least half of the length of the kayak being supported in the bed, you should have no problems.

I did this only on a short haul.

For a long distance, I have Thule saddles on top of the cap.

You should check your state law regarding some kind of flag, or marker for loads extending beyond the bed of the PU.

In CT if it’s more than 4’, you need a red flag during the day, and a red light during the hours of darkness.

I went to my local PD, and they didn’t have a clue.

The CT State Police was a better source. They had to look it up.

I went to the statutes, looked it up, and carry a copy in the glovebox.

Good luck,


same hear
i do the same for 1 mile hauls works good but short only

trucks and kayaks
Frank…thanks for the info. My truck bed measures almost 7.5 ft. to edge of dropped tailgate. The kayaks I’m considering are 12.5 ft. Is your kayak 14.5 ft.? If so, that’s 6.5 ft. over the edge? Wow! I guess 5 ft. isn’t so bad, but I would like something for longer distance travel…The cap you mentioned…do you mean bed cap ( or cab?) I dont’ have a bed cap. Since I posted ?, I see that Thule has a t-T post to attatch to hitch ( which I don’t have) and a rack on cab roof. I didn’t price it out yet. My 500 $ limit… is already pushed to 600$ and I’m sure the Thule system will “finish me off”!!..any thoughts?..


for 4 years I have used the “extend-a-truck” support (they have a pop-up here on p-net) on my dodge ram. it works out fine as long as you have a receiver hitch on your truck. I carry my scupperpro & my QCC600 without any problems. I do attach a flag to my yaks. I recently bought a new “knock off” extend-a-truck from a hardware store called Harbor Freight. they had the same rack on sale for $29.99, not sure if you can locate this hardware store in your area, but it would be worth it.

make your own extension
here’s what I’ve done

My full size Supercrew only has a 5 foot bed, so when I bought my first kayak, (13 feet long), I found an old sheet of plywood, (not the chipboard stuff, but something a little firmer), and cut it into a 2.5 foot width X 8 foot length. Place in centre of truck bed with tailgate down. 3 feet of plywood hang over the edge of the tailgate…noooo problem. Place kayak on the board. Obviously most of the weight of the kayak remains on the board. From here there are two possibilities:

  1. Get a couple of plastic bags of sand from a landscaping place. (about $3.00) and put these in the cockpit, shove as far forward as possible. This will hold the kayak and the board down on the bed of the truck.
  2. Get one of those round telescopic truck bed bracing posts. Secure it over the tip of the kayak near the front of the truck bed. This will prevent the kayak from popping up and out of the bed.

    I also use tie-downs secured to the cockpit edges and the back rings on the side of the truck bed. Overkill but miles and miles of worry free driving.

    Now that I’m up to two kayaks, I cut a sheet of plywood to fit exactly into the truck bed, with tailgate up. I installed vertical 2x2’s at each corner which are higher than the truck cap. These are angle braced and have horizontal crossbars which i put the Yaks on. Gotta love those home made jobs. The whole deal cost me $100.00

Truck racks
I have this rack on my truck. I can’t say enough good things about it.


I echo the extend-a-truck from Harbor Freight. Its got two loops on it that you can use to tie down the kayak. I put a piece of foam on it to protect the boat. I used it with a Cape Lookout 155 (15’) on a 8’ bed (with tailgate down). All I did was strap it to the Extend-a-truck and nothing else. Took it all over the place with no problems at all.

Kayaks and Small Trucks
Well, when I had a small Nissan pickup, I had the same problem until I realized I had the solution sitting in front of me (literally).

I have a 4 x 8 flat bed utility trailer with stake sides which was sitting there begging for more use than just hauling trash to the dump. So, I made a kayak “saddle” I could put on and take off in a matter of seconds. (Bonus feature is that I can still use the bed of the trailer for camping gear, paddling gear, or a small recreational kayak if I take the back gate off the trailer.) Still works even after trading in the Nissan for a Tracker which has kayak racks.

Got a photo if you’re interested.

Stay safe on the water,

Vote: extend-a-truck more benefits
I use an extend a truck with tailgate down on my Tacoma Reg cab/cobra Triple (pushing 17’!!!). No problems just need a flag and a couple tie downs. Another huge bene… you can leave your yak fully rigged with seats, rod holders, etc. and back it up straight into the water, slides right in with almost no lifting

Use a long tie strap
I use a 20’ tie strap around the boat and tailgate.

That keeps the boat from bouncing around on bumpy roads. Another strap through the cockpit to some eye hooks behind the cab and it’s not going anywhere.

Truck Racks
I’d buy or make a rack. Elevating your kayak raises it away from danger. Someone could back into your boat or you might back into something. The drawback to having it on a rack is it’s higher profile reduces gas mileage and it’s harder to handle when hit by wind from the side.

If I had your complete email address, I could send you a couple of pics.

I have a glass cap that I guess you would call above the rails.

It’s the typical cap with a front slider, and two side slider windows with screens. Great for camping-no need for a tent.

At the present, I have Thule racks on top for my WS Tempest 165.

I did carry the WS CL 145 (14’6") in the bed, but the Tempest is a bit long for that.

I think you would be in good shape if you allowed at least 1/2 of the overall length to be suppported by the bed of your PU.

For the length your talking about, I don’t think you need the bed extension.

Bed carry fine…
…for my ext. cab Ranger and 14’ canoe. I tie from the front corners to a thwart, pulling it forward, and from the rear corners to the stern. Also put paddles & other weight in front end. Works fine for short hauls. Have an Extend-a-Truck which I’ve used with at 16’ tandem. I would buy the cheaper one at

Harbor Freight. Use a flag.

bed extender
I also use the extend-a-bed from Darby on the back end of my Nissan Frontier crew with a tonneau cover. The bed, with the tailgate down is about 6 foot and I put a 16 foot kayak in it.

I also drilled a couple holes and put a Marco Saddle on it. Didn’t bolt it in place, just stuck the studs in the holes so I can remove it easy. Sure makes it easier to slide the kayak in the bed.

The Harbor Freight model looks the same but doesn’t have the capacity as the Darby. For one kayak it should be fine but I also use mine to haul a lot more than just the kayak.

Raise the cross bar on it as high as it will go, that way any car that doesn’t stop in time will go under the kayak.