Transporting a kayak ...

I’m looking for some advice that might help prevent me from being “that idiot on the Interstate” who sent a kayak flying through some innocent bystander’s windshield.

After weighing options, I purchased and Extend-A-Truck for my Ford F150 crewcab, which has a pretty short bed. I’m wanting to run down to Florida, about a 10 hour drive, and I put the kayak (a QCC500 that weights about 50 pounds) on there today just to check it out. I’m using the Extend-A-Truck configuration that puts the kayak in the bed of the truck rather than on the roof …

I’m not really happy with the way I have it tied down, and I was wondering if y’all have any thoughts on the best way to keep the boat so it won’t bounce around, etc. I’m thinking part of the problem here is that they kayak really is relatively light, which allows the bar to bounce around. Any thoughts appreciated, even if you basically think I’m nuts and should just rent a kayak once I get to the Ocala area.

I’ve posted a few photos on my Flickr account to give you an idea of where I am now. I’m not happy enough with it as is to even try a test drive yet.

Here’s what I do
I have the same extender as you do.

I use a ratchet rope tie from each end of the extension, back to the outer ends of the receiver hitch, to dampen some of the motion.

After loading kayaks, I use one of those ratcheting load bars, across the bed opening where the tailgate would close, down tight on top of the kayaks. That helps keep them (and the tailgate) from bouncing up.

It works OK, although I have an 8’ bed, so there’s less sticking out. My rear tie down to the extender is usually aft of the rear hatch of the kayak, not just behind the coaming, as in your pictures.

I wouldn’t do it

– Last Updated: Dec-15-08 5:48 PM EST –

I have never seen a sea kayak transported in such a manner – and probably for good reason. Sorry, but I just don’t see that as a safe way to carry an 18 foot long kayak – way too many possibilities of a major mishap, the least of which, is with that much kayak hanging off the end unsupported is that there’s a good chance of the boat flexing hard when you go over a bump in the road that could could result in cracking the fiberglass. And I really, really don’t think it’s safe to drive around in traffic with something that long hanging off the back of your truck. I’d certainly be nervous with that setup.

I don’t think carrying something in the back of a pickup truck with that much overhang is even legal here in western Canada.

Might I ask why you choose to carry your boat this way when hauling it on top of the vehicle is easier and much safer?


Go to the junkyard
and get yourself a lumber or contractor’s rack. Cheaper than the Yakima/Thule route and more secure too.

I get your points
Dan and wouldn’t have posted the note if I weren’t having misgivings …

It is possible to transport it on the roof. But that creates a much more difficult load/unload, even for a guy my size (6-4, 260). For some reason, it just seemed as if it would be easier to be able to set it in the bed. The Extend A Truck can be configured to stick upright directly off the hitch to create a ledge so the kayak rests on the roof and the ledge, but that just seemed as if it would be pretty wobbly, even with the tie-downs they recommend to stabilize it.

I’ll try it configured for the roof tomorrow to see how that compares …


Loading on top of truck not too hard
A friend made it look very easy. First load it flat into the bed from the ground. Climb up into the bed and lift the front end up to the bar over the cab (or rest against the cab. Walk to rear of bed while holding kayak to prevent it slipping off roof. Slide kayak up onto front bar and slide forward until stern is in front of rear bar. Raise stern above rear bar (while standing in bed) and slide rearward to proper position on rear bar.

Padding on the bar and/or towel on cab edge and tailgate end can be used for extra protection for the yak and truck when sliding.

He did it so fast that I was always amazed.


I used a homemade rack for years
with my F150,6’ bed.I used treated lumber to make the 4 uprights and cross bars. Cut the lumber to fit in the stake pockets;connected front and back with a 2x4 and strapped the racks down with rachet straps.Cost

just looked up the price of a new
QCC 500 online–kevlar is 2800, fg is 2400—you might want to spend an extra 250 to buy a Thule or Yakima system to transport it properly—be a real shame to see your expensive boat smashed on the highway because you were too cheap to get a proper rack.

second the homemade rack
Of course I have a beater truck so I used scrap lumber. My cost is in the nails and rope used. So maybe the rack is worth $4.

Can you really
get a Yakima system for this truck for $250? When I priced it out, was closer to $500. Did I miss something? Maybe I “overarchitected” it? This is what I was looking at a few months ago in the Yakima …

66" long bar, $65

Outdoorsman 300, one set , $189

Dry Dock (hitch) $180

Boat locker $55

Mako Aero Saddles, $85 (include bow/stern tie down)

Why the dry dock hitch?
I used the S300 with the bar,then 2 Q towers and a bar over the cab. Saddles are nice , but get a pair of stackers with a couple of snap-on minicell pads and you are good to go.

bought a new yakima for my sedan

– Last Updated: Dec-15-08 9:53 PM EST –

in July I bought two bars--66 inches and the four clips to hold them to the roof---already had the J cradles and the mako cradles---total cost was 250---I'm not familar with the other items you've mentioned--I would suggest you don't need the boat locker and the dry dock hitch--also if you feel the need to use bow and stearn tie downs simple rope will do the trick just fine---tie it around your bumper with a slipp knot to tighten it ( but not too tight--you don't want to warp your boat--

change the rear strap
I am with the others - I’d rather see it on the roof. Maybe use the extend a truck straight up so you can do that (and add a bow and stern line while you are at it).

But if not (or even if so), I don’t like how wide the straps are going. They go over the boat, and then way out to the sides. I would feel much better if they came straight down. I think you may be able to work something out on the rear one, rather than hooking on those loops way out on the side of the extend a truck.

Or maybe loop the strap all the way around the boat before tying it down.

I agree. You have way too much
space between the hull and attachment points. Room for back and forth movement.Get some real straps if those are ratcheting straps. You can easily crush a hull.

As a fellow truck owner
just don’t do it.

It’d be different if that were a $500 plastic boat in the 12 foot range, but get your nice fancy boat up higher than the bumper of the guy behind you. The T-Rac system is very nice for kayaks and other uses.

This setup is destined for a very bad ending.


All you need is a front rack
Use your Extend-A-Truck upright for the rear and either build or buy a rack for the cab. Try for good prices on new Yakima or Thule parts, or look for used rack on eBay and Craigslist.

For instance, new Yakima 66" bars = $63 (you get two bars), a pair of Q-towers (for use on a single bar) = $76.50, Q clips (pair) = $31.50, then buy a piece of minicell foam or two pre-cut kayak foam blocks ~ $24. Use rope with a trucker’s hitch to tie everything down. With shipping this should cost about $200 and you get a solid rack system.

If you can find a used one for considerably less, even better.

If you buy new you might consider getting the 78" bars. Then, when you add to your fleet, you’ll be ready to carry the additional boats. I think they cost the same as the 66" bars.

That plastic bedliner
is slicker than eel shit, even worse when it is cold.

I was hauling some 18’ 2x6’s many moons ago and a lady merged in behind me, well, tried to. Even with the red flag I got the ticket and my insurance paid for her car. The 2x6’s were fine, your fiberglass wouldn’t.

I have the Yakima truck racks, expensive, well built, easy to use.

Holy crap !

– Last Updated: Dec-16-08 6:51 AM EST –

I would use that set up to go a mile or two on back roads at 20MPH, but that would be it.
I have the same truck and I don't know if you know it or not, but Yakama sells some towers that are called "Landing Pad #7". and they attach to your cab roof with a gizmo that looks and operates like a toggle bolt.
It penetrates the outer roof, but does not come through to the inner side. In other words the "toggle" part is hidden between the inner and outer roof.
I have had mine on for several years, and they are rock solid. The installation is just like a factory one.
I carry two QCC's and a canoe on mine back and forth to Florida each year on the interstates.
I don't know if there is enough space on the cab roof to get the proper space for two bars, but you could get a least one and then have the option of using a T either in the rear or on the front.
I have a cap on my truck with a couple of bars on it, so I have several options.

another thing: Get rid of those ratchet straps: They are a no-no and you are liable to damage your boat.
Use cam lock buckle straps.
Also never use bungees

Here is a picture just to show you the towers.
Don't try to copy what I have. The front outriggers are not for support. They are just stabilizers, (for wind) for a 23 foot long kayak, and there is one other set of bars on the back of the cap.
You could install a second set of bars as far toward the rear of the truck roof as possible, and I am quite sure you would have a decent enough spread for you 500.
I carry mine on another vehicle with a spread about like that.


PS: the first hole you drill hurts the worst ! After that the rest are easy


Tried that same rig with an
18.5’ kayak. I realized that, with that much boat stuck out behind the truck, if I made a sharp right turn, it could actually swing out into the next lane. I did put a 15.5’ on the back like that and it worked very well, but I wouldn’t go any longer than that.

Get a trailer. They work great!

Kayak sticking way out??
I too agree with everyone else. I drive an F250 crewcab (cab top is a bit bigger than the F150 though) shortbed. About a year ago I went down to Okeechobee FL from NC to pick up a CurrrentDesign Solstice FG and bring it back home to NC. I have on top of my cab, Q-towers and 66" bars that I got off of e-bay (seperate auctions) I also got maco saddles off e-bay (another auction) Bought straps from my local kayak store (about $5 each) Used regular rope to tie down the front and rear. Boat rode great from FL to NC, no problems. I would not use your way with the boat sticking out that far off the rear of the tailgate. It just looks like an accident waiting to happen, either someone running into your boat or the boat flexing and cracking. At the very least, put something on your roof and get your boat up there and tied down. Even if you only put one rack on the cab and use that thingy you have in the hitch, extended up to match the height of the cab rack (make sure your not over-extending the distance between supports). As for getting your boat ontop of your truck, I’m 5’1", I always have to ask for help and then direct them on how to load it (just like the other guy discribed) or I will hold the rear end while the front person (the tall guy I got to help me) lifts the front end up to the rear saddle, he’s standing on the side of my truck. I then push the boat (while my feet are climbing up the rear of the truck) towards the front of the cab and into the front saddle. Tie boat to racks and tie off front and rear.