Do you want to enjoy mother nature along with a nice little workout? Then kayaking is one of the best options for you. Get a kayak and start the ride.
That’s simple, right? Well, for the most part. However, there are a lot of small details that we don’t pay attention to until we find ourselves in a pickle. One such thing is tying down the kayak on the truck bed.
If you are living some distance away from the river or the water body you are choosing for kayaking, which I believe you are, then it is a must for you to carry the kayak to the spot, and a truck is the simplest way to do this.
However, if the kayak is not secure properly, it may end up damaging the kayak. But if you know the proper way to do it, then it becomes trivial, even to tie and carry multiple kayaks at a time. And it is really simple. All you need for the job is –
- Your kayak(s)
- Your truck (obviously)
- A rubber mat (optional)
- A set of cam buckle tie-down straps
Using cam buckle tie-down straps are highly recommended, because if you use bungee cords to tie down your kayak then it can stretch and cause the hook to come undone. With the preparations done, it is time to get to the action. Here is how to:
Tying Down A Single Kayak
Tying down a single kayak is a very simple process. Here’s how it goes –
- Loading The Kayak
First, clean out your truck bed if necessary. You need to make sure there is nothing there. Place a rubber mat if possible. Then lower the tailgate and carry your kayak the proper way to the truck.
After carrying the kayak, gently put it down and slide it into your truck bed. Make sure that the kayak is resting on a flat surface, preferably its underside.
- The Best Position
The best position to secure the kayak is to do it diagonally. Angle the stern of the kayak into a front corner (either left or right) of the truck bed and align the bow to the tailgate at the other corner. When you put the kayak along a diagonal like this, it will be the most stable.
- Securing The Fastening Straps
Securing the straps is arguably the most important part of these steps. First, use a couple of cam buckle straps and run them across the top of your kayak, one near the front end, one near the back end of the kayak. After that, attach them to the truck’s anchor points and tighten them.
Close the tailgate if possible. If you have a short kayak and a long truck, it will be possible. But most likely, you will end up having an overhanging issue. Be sure to take extra measures if an overhanging issue occurs. More on it later. That’s pretty much it for tying down a single kayak.
Tying Down Multiple Kayaks
You can take multiple kayaks like fishing kayak and regular kayak or same type of multiple kayaks you can take that too. Securing multiple kayaks is almost the same but a little more complicated compared to securing a single kayak.
If you use an angled position for multiple kayaks, it will be pretty dangerous even if you strap it well. So, your best option is to let it rest on the bed flat with the tailgate open. You probably need to install a wide truck bed extender with the appropriate size. Or you can get a set of kayak carts.
But a smarter option is to use racks on the truck top/bed. Just install two, four, or more racks or saddles on your truck. You can simply tie down the kayaks on each side rack with cam straps. Follow those above steps to secure and tie down multiple kayaks properly.
Frequently Occurring Issues
There are some issues you may face during the process. Such as –
It is more likely to be that your kayak(s) is longer than the length of your truck’s bed than not. If your kayak is longer, and you want to secure it flat on the surface, then tie a red flag at the end of your boat to alert the other drivers.
Otherwise, you may break the overhang law and pose a threat to other drivers. If you want to avoid the overhanging issue completely, then use roof racks.
- Unstable Positioning/Locking
Trust me; it is a common mistake that many people make. Honestly, it is such a simple thing that is often overlooked and sometimes ignored.
Be sure to position your kayak stably and tighten it like there is no tomorrow. The kayak is often heavy, and if the road is somewhat bumpy or you need to take sharp turns, it is not impossible for the kayak to stretch the straps and loosen it.
Even if the kayak does not fall off, it will scratch or potentially damage the truck or itself. Thus, use a rubber mat in between. If not possible, then use a thick layer of soft clothing. And if the kayak does fall off, I don’t have much more to say than it’s awkward and horrible.
If you followed properly, the kayak should be secured properly. But there are smaller details that will lessen the risks and improve the quality of the tour. Such as-
- Give enough time and attention. Don’t rush when tightened down the kayak on the truck bed. Always remember haste makes waste. Use the right gear and equipment to make sure your kayak won’t budge at the time of driving.
- Use a red flag at the end of your kayak if overhanging is unavoidable. Use a red light if you are driving at night. It will help you abide by the overhanging law and unwanted accidents.
- Use a cover on the kayak. Can you imagine just how much air your kayak will drag at the time of driving? It will be pretty dangerous if it loosens the rope and your kayak floats and scratches over the bed. It will badly damage your kayak, and it may cause unwanted accidents. So, it will be best to use a cockpit cover.
- Always remember to drive at a reasonable speed. Don’t forget, you are carrying a kayak in your truck bed. Excess speeding may bring trouble even if the kayak is secured properly.
- Take a peek at the kayak from time to time and see if they are shifting or sliding. Your kayak should be tightly secured at the time of driving. If you hear any noises from friction between your kayak and truck bed, immediately stop your car and check it.
Overall, it is not a brain-racking task. It is simple, even the first time, and later on, it becomes generic. However, if you are still confused, then it’s best to get help from an experienced person. He can share first-hand experiences and give you advice far better than anyone.
Kayak is relatively lightweight, unlike lumber or other cargo. So, securing it properly is vital. In case any mishaps happen, you will see your kayak flying off from the truck bed. Granted, it will look spectacular, but it will damage the kayak and ruin your fun and possibly others’ as well.
However, that will not be the case if you take your time and plan properly. I hope you learned something today, have a sweet vacation.