Transporting your kayak shouldn’t be a hassle. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just starting out, finding the most efficient and affordable way to transport your kayak is essential. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of transporting your kayak on a truck bed.
The Versatility of Truck Bed Transportation
If you’re fortunate enough to own a truck with a bed suitable for transporting a kayak, you’re in luck. Truck bed transportation is not only cost-effective but also provides an efficient way to get your kayak from point A to point B. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some best practices to ensure a safe and memorable journey.
Loading Your Kayak: A Step-by-Step Guide
Before you start loading your kayak onto your truck bed, it’s crucial to ensure it will be properly supported. The length of your kayak plays a significant role in determining the level of support required. Ideally, you want at least 70% of your kayak’s length to be supported from beneath the hull.
To achieve this, consider using a bed extender if you have a longer kayak or a short bed truck. Bed extenders are affordable and readily available, ensuring your kayak is properly secured. Once you’ve determined the level of support needed, it’s time to load your kayak.
Feelfree’s patented Wheel in the Keel makes it even easier. Simply roll your kayak to the side of your truck bed, with the front (bow) of the kayak against the cab. This positioning allows for a smooth and straightforward loading process, especially if you have a rudder system. However, loading the kayak rear end first is also an option, as long as you take precautions to avoid any damage.
To prevent the Wheel in the Keel from rolling freely, use a towel, doorstop, or even a flag mounted on the back of your kayak. This step ensures the kayak remains stable during the loading process. Once the wheel is secured, lift the front of the kayak onto the tailgate or bed extender. Remember to maintain balance and avoid any sudden shifts. A piece of padding between the truck cab and the front of your kayak provides added protection.
Special Considerations for Specific Kayak Types
If you own a kayak with an Overdrive, it’s important to remove it before loading the kayak onto the truck bed. The Overdrive can stress the hull, so it’s best to transport the kayak separately. Additionally, if your kayak is equipped with a Beaver Tail rudder, it’s recommended to use a cart during loading and unloading. This step helps prevent unnecessary stress on the rudder and cables, ensuring the longevity of your kayak.
Securing Your Kayak: Safety First
Securing your kayak on the truck bed is crucial to prevent any accidents during transportation. Three main factors should guide your efforts: redundancy, strap selection, and proper anchoring. Use at least three straps to ensure that even if one fails, your kayak remains securely in place. Ratchet straps and cam straps are the two primary types available. Cam straps are more user-friendly and less likely to cause hull deformation.
When tying down your kayak, it’s recommended to use one strap on each side and one through the rear. Connect the side straps to cleats or tie-downs in the bed of your truck. Run the strap through a molded handle or rail on the kayak and back to the anchor point. Cinch the strap using the cam mechanism. A third strap should be run from anchor points inside the truck bed or the bed extender through the rear of your kayak. Utilizing molded handles adds an extra layer of security.
Safety on the Road: Visibility Matters
It’s important to adhere to local regulations when transporting your kayak. In many states, attaching a flag to anything protruding beyond a certain distance from the truck bed is required. Even if not mandated, a flag adds an extra layer of visibility, ensuring other drivers can spot your kayak easily. A simple red caution flag, securely attached to your kayak, enhances safety while on the road.
Unloading Your Kayak: A Smooth Exit
When it’s time to unload your kayak, look for a flat and stable area, free of rocks and slopes. Avoid using boat ramps, as they increase the risk of your kayak rolling away during unloading. Remove the straps and secure the Wheel in the Keel if you’re not using a cart. Gently slide the kayak back out of the truck bed until it reaches its tipping point, then lower the back end to the ground or onto a cart. Lift the front end and place it on the ground. Use the Wheel in the Keel or your cart to wheel your kayak to the water. If you own an Overdrive, it’s best to attach it once the kayak is in the water.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to transport your kayak safely and efficiently using your truck bed. Enjoy every minute on the water, knowing your kayak is securely in place and ready for your next adventure.
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