How To Transport A Canoe In A Truck? Must-Read Ways Of Transporting Your Canoe

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: November 28, 2022
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The best way to transport a canoe varies depending on the type of vehicle you have. You can choose to mount it on the roof of the car or the truck bed. You can also get a utility rack or a canoe trailer attached to your vehicle for easy hauling.

Key Takeaways

  • There are a lot of factors that come to play when determining how you will transport your canoe safely like the type of vehicle, type of kayak, weight of the kayak, distance, road conditions, etc.
  • You can attach your canoe to your vehicle’s roof rail and easily transport it
  • You can also consider installing a utility rack on the vehicle’s truck bed to carry your kayak or canoe
  • If you use a truck bed then it won’t require additional adjustment to your vehicle which is very convenient

Five Effective Ways Of Transporting Your Canoe In A Truck

This section takes you through some foolproof methods of transporting your canoe in a truck. Each method is best suited for different situations. Try them and find what works best for you.

1. Attach Your Canoe To Your Vehicle’s Roof Rail

Most trucks have rails attached to the roof. These rails can be used for securing your canoe if it’s not too big. For this method, you will need to attach crossbars to the roof rails. After attaching the crossbars, you can secure the canoe to the crossbars. You should ensure you use ropes or cam straps to keep your kayak well secured. If your truck doesn’t come with a roof rack already installed, you might need to attach an inflatable rack on the roof of the car. You can also use foam blocks to support the bow and stern of the kayak and ensure the kayak doesn’t come in direct contact with the roof. Whichever method you choose, be sure to secure the kayak firmly.


1. You won’t need to remove the tonneau cover if you have one already

2. You have more space on the truck bed for transporting other gear


1. Your vehicle won’t look appealing with the kayak attached to the roof

2. Install A Utility Rack On The Vehicle’s Truck Bed

If you want to transport your canoe and still have space for carrying luggage and other stuff, then a utility rack is the way to go. Utility racks are usually mounted high over the truck bed, leaving enough space for additional luggage. Utility racks are semi-permanent and can be removed if the need arises; they are attached to the truck bed using heavy-duty clamps or bolts. The only downside of utility racks is that they cannot be mounted on your truck if a camper shell or toolbox is already installed.


1. Ideal for longer kayaks

 2. It can be used for more than one boat

 3. Creates additional storage space


1. Installation requires a lot of time and effort

3. Use Your Truck Bed

Before you try out other capital-intensive and complicated solutions, try to see if your canoe can fit on your truck’s bed. Most canoes will be comfortably accommodated on the bed without making any adjustments. You will only need a truck bed liner for protecting your canoe from scratches, a rope, and cable locks to secure the canoe in place, then load the canoe to the truck bed. Just ensure you double-check that the ropes or tie-downs are tightly tied to keep your canoe from falling off the vehicle.


1. It doesn’t require additional adjustment to your vehicle

2. Ideal for short drives since it doesn’t take up much time


1. You might need extra lockable straps to keep your vessel safe

4. Use A Canoe Trailer To Pull The Kayak Behind The Truck

If your kayak is significantly larger than your vehicle, you might need to get a canoe trailer. Canoe trailers are mounted to the hitch of your truck and pulled as the vehicle moves. Trailers are ideal for areas with minimal traffic and are mainly used for large and heavy canoes. The best part about a canoe trailer is that you can haul the kayak from the parking to the water.


1. It can be used to haul the canoe to the water

2. Ideal for heavier and longer canoes


1. The trailer can get in the way of other vehicles on the road

5. Install A Truck Bed Extender

If your kayak is longer than your truck bed, you can use an extension to add length and transport your canoe with ease. A truck bed extender will make loading and unloading your kayak easier since the kayak will be sitting lower. Installing a truck bed extender is easy because most of them use the hitch receiver on your truck. If you are considering getting a truck bed extender, we recommend researching the best truck bed extenders that are compatible with your vehicle.


1. Can be installed and removed whenever needed

2. A straightforward and affordable solution


1. It might be illegal to transport your kayak this way in some states

Laws Regarding Transporting Your Kayak In A Truck

There are laws in different states that regulate how people transport their vessels. These laws vary by state, and it’s advisable to check with your local authorities before you can transport your boat. You don’t want to ruin your relaxing and adventurous day by being on the wrong side of the law. Below are some common rules and regulations that you should know and observe to transport your canoe safely.

1. If you have a long kayak that overhangs the back of your truck, you are required to have red flags to alert other drivers. These warning flags should be 18 inches and orange or red. During the night, you are needed to add lights and two reflectors.

2. In some states, roof racks are illegal since they are considered vehicle modifications that affect the vehicle’s braking performance.

3. It is illegal to transport your canoe unsecured since it might fall off the vehicle and cause accidents

4. Different states have overhang limits that you should check out and be aware of. 

Tips For Transporting Your Canoe In A Truck Safely

1. When transporting your kayak, consider getting non-slip foam blocks that will keep the kayak stable and free from vibrations. They will also provide additional cushioning to prevent damage to your kayak; use a truck bed mat if transporting the kayak in a truck bed.

2. Ensure that majority of the canoe’s length and weight is supported by the truck 

3. Use a kayak cover when transporting your vessel to protect it from sun damage and other elements.

4. Ensure your kayak is tightly secured to the vessel, and watch your speed as you drive.

If you observe all these tips, you are guaranteed a safe trip to and from the water. Your kayak will also be protected from damage, and you will be on the right side of the law.


As we’ve discussed, there are different ways of transporting your kayak, and each of them works best for a different situation. Choose a method that works for you and ensure you follow all the tips and laws in your area, and you can enjoy an exciting day in the water. We wish you a safe journey and happy kayaking!



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