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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 00:00

Getting There and Back – Bed Extenders

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For those of you truck owners looking for a way to transport your kayak, there may be no simpler way to do it than with a bed extender. The handy bed extender has been my method of transportation for the last three years. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons.

Pros: Cheap, Little to no modification to your vehicle as long as you have a trailer hitch already installed, ease of loading/unloading.

Cons: Additional Risk of someone rear ending you

Let’s talk about how to transport your kayak safely when using one. First things first - get a long-load safety flag of some kind. This does not have to be anything fancy. Jackson Kayak gives you one when you purchase one of their boats, and I still use mine. I tie mine off to the front handle of my Native Watercraft “Slayer Propel 13” to give people behind me a little more warning. [Note: In most states, a warning flag is required when any object extends a certain distance past the rear of your vehicle, and/or at a certain angle. Make sure to check and comply with state laws where you travel. IR

Next, put some reflective tape on your bed extender. I am routinely on the road well before sunrise, and as with the long load flag I am trying to get others’ attention as much as possible.

Get some quality straps and use at least three for securing your boat. My setup is simple when I cinch down my boat: One strap on the front handle, putting pressure towards the front of my vehicle; another strap on the rear handle applying pressure to the rear; and one more strap across the middle. I say use three, because if one fails the other two will be able to handle the load and keep the boat from moving back and forth, or - God forbid- being launched onto the pavement.

Here is my step-by-step guide how I use my bed extender to load my kayak: Line your boat up centered with the middle of the bed extender. You can load bow or stern first. I load stern first due to the exposed rudder of the Slayer Propel 13.

Undo your strap on your cart (if you use one) and lift the kayak onto the bed extender. Do not try to get the boat fully into the bed at this point.

(Tip: I use an old cardboard box under the bow of my boat when I do this step. This lessens the wear and tear on the boat when you slide it on rough pavement or gravel.) Go to the opposite end of the boat. Using the bed extender as a pivot point, lift with your legs and push the boat fully into the bed.



Now that the boat is fully in the truck bed, begin strapping your kayak down using the three straps as mentioned above. Here are pics of how I strap my kayak down.



I hope this helps anyone looking to use a bed extender. This is a cheap and effective way to transport your kayak if you already own a truck.

Read 8283 times Last modified on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 22:13

Greg Sterley

Greg is an active duty Army Officer and AH-64D Apache Pilot. He started kayak fishing in the summer of 2011 with his father at his home away from home in Destin, Florida as a cheap way to get on the bay and out into the gulf of mexico. Greg loved kayak fishing so much that he soon forgot about buying a boat and has since owned four kayaks. Whenever he is not out fishing at his current duty station you can catch him working on his cars, shooting guns or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two dogs.  

Website: catchmeifyoupaddle.blogspot.com

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# sgvarn 2015-05-14 07:17
Great article and the photos are super. Thanks for the post.
One question...I didn't see any padding between the yak and the metal bar of the extender. Do you not use it or just didn't show it? Seems that would be a high risk area for wear.
Thanks again!
+1 # gssterl 2015-05-14 19:59
I don't use padding and i have not seen enough wear to change. Personal preference i guess.
# Kent 2015-05-22 19:00
I use a bed extender to haul a 13' 8" kayak
in a truck with a 5' 3" bed. I zip tied inexpensive magnetic tail lights to the bed extender for added visibility.
# CaseyG 2015-05-30 01:38
I have been looking around for a transport solution. This has made my decision easy. Thanks for the post.
# gssterl 2015-06-01 12:23
Glad to help!
# dmsurfish 2016-05-07 00:38
I hadn't thought about the reflective tape idea - great idea - thanks!
# joeyak 2016-06-21 22:20
I keep my yak cart attached to the kayak when I lift the boat onto the extender and push into the truck bed. That way, when I off-load, most of the kayak is already off the ground. Then, I load the kayak, double check pockets for keys and other essentials, and then, off to the water (after locking the truck, of course).
# MaryEllender 2016-10-21 08:59
Transporting your vehicles is our utmost priority always. Thanks for the transporting ideas. They would be very helpful. Me and my friend also follows the blogs of boat transport to gain knowledge about the new and innovative shipping techniques and services.

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