How to Transport A Canoe With a Pickup? Useful Methods In 2022

If you’re like most kayakers, you use your pickup truck to transport your canoe. You might think that just throwing the canoe in the back of your truck is the easiest way to go, but there are a few things you can do to make transporting your canoe easier and safer.

Most of the kayakers ask how to transport a canoe with a pickup? so if you are one of them then this article is for you. You can use a canoe rack or a kayak/canoe trailer to transport your canoe. 

Without further delay, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to transport your canoe.

What Do I Need To Transport a Canoe?

If you’re transporting a canoe on top of a car, all you need is a set of roof racks. The same goes for your truck, but you will need to make sure that your truck has a clearance between the cab and the bed. If not, you can buy a short truck rack or custom-made canoe rack for this type of truck.

Moreover, you also need straps to secure the canoe to your car or truck. You can buy these easily at an outdoor store or just use a ratchet strap and some rope.

Things To Keep In Mind When Transporting Kayak

Canoes are very large, so it’s important that you take certain precautions when transporting them:

  • When you drive, you need to make sure that your canoe doesn’t move from side to side or up and down. If it does, use more straps to secure it.
  • You want to drive carefully when transporting kayaks of any sort, but especially an Inflatable Kayak. It’s best if you limit your speed to less than 30 miles per hour.
  • You also want to avoid potholes or other deep dents in the road that might cause your canoe to shift on the roof of your car, truck, etc.

You don’t need fancy equipment to transport your kayak. Just make sure you use four straps for it and take some precautions.

How To Transport a Canoe With a Pickup? Top Methods

If you want to transport a canoe on a car or truck, you have a few options or methods mentioned below:

Method 1: Straps and Rope

This is the cheapest and most common way to transport a canoe. If you don’t want to spend money buying a canoe rack, this is an option for you.

  1. You’ll need two pairs of strong straps and one ratchet strap that’s at least 5 inches long. You can buy all three at any outdoor store or online retailer.
  2. You’ll need some rope. You can use cheap mason twine if you like, but the heavier the rope, the easier it will be to transport your canoe.
  3. Set up your straps on your roof racks; using two pairs of straps is more stable than using one pair. 
  4. Tie a sturdy knot at the end of your rope and feed it through your ratchet strap. The knot should be large enough so that the rope won’t slip back through the ratchet.
  5. Once you have everything in place, lower down your canoe and pull up on the straps and ratchet to tighten them. (Use a partner if you’re alone.) Make sure they’re tight enough that your kayak or canoe can’t slide around when you drive.
  6. Drive very carefully; don’t speed and avoid potholes in the road if possible.

Method 2: Ladder Rack And Straps

This is an alternative (and much cheaper method than using a pickup rack). While this method will work without hurting your truck, it’s not good for more than one kayak.

  1. Set up two sets of ladder racks on your truck like you would normally do. Make sure they’re secure, especially if you plan to drive long distances or at high speeds with them on. You can secure them with rope if necessary; just make sure the ropes are strong and tied very tightly around the truck bed.
  2. Place one ratchet strap in between both sets of ladder racks (lower set over the top set). This strap will hold your canoe or kayak in place while you drive. 
  3. Drive carefully; avoid potholes, speed bumps, etc., since these things will all shake the kayak around inside the ratchet strap. It’s best to drive slower than 30 miles per hour.

Method 3: Roof Rack And Straps

This is the best method if you have a truck with a low cab height and can’t use a ladder rack.

  1. Set up two sets of roof racks on your car, being careful that they’re stable enough to hold your canoe or kayak. You don’t want to lose your cargo at 70 mph! If need be, use ropes to secure them tightly against your car’s body. Make sure you tie very secure knots in the rope so that they won’t slip back through the bars of the racks while you drive. 
  2. Use two pairs of straps (one pair for each set of racks); make sure one end securely attaches to the rack’s bar, and the other securely attaches to your canoe or kayak.
  3. Ladder straps work best for this method, but you can use ratchet straps if you need to. Drive slowly, especially if you’re hauling more than one kayak!

These are some of the best ways to transport a canoe or kayak with a pickup truck. If you use the right equipment, take it slow, and drive carefully, you can get your boat from point A to point B without hurting yourself or your kayak.

What’s The Best Way To Transport a Canoe?

There are multiple ways to transport a canoe, but the best way is with either roof racks or ladder racks. You can also use straps

If you don’t want to buy equipment, you can tie the boat right onto your pickup truck bed using rope and some basic knots.

Tips for Driving with a Canoe On the Truck

Here are some of the important tips that you can follow to savely transfer the kayak using truck without any damage.

Tip 1.

Don’t go too fast. It’s much safer to drive at lower speeds since the sudden movements of the kayak will cause your canoe to hit you through the truck bed.

Tip 2.

Keep it in sight at all times, especially during turns and stops. You don’t want your canoe flying out behind you or underneath another car if you have to slam on the brakes.

Tip 3.

Ask for help if you’re driving alone. Driving with a canoe can be tricky, and it’s even harder to do if you’re alone. If you have any questions at all while transporting your kayak or canoe, try not to hesitate in calling a friend or family member. You’ll definitely need two people (at least) to transport most kayaks safely.

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong While Transporting Canoe?

If you drive too fast, if your kayak or canoe slides around inside the ropes, or if something else goes wrong during transport, it’s very likely that your boat will hit you. This is why it’s best to tie your canoe or kayak down either to a roof rack or ladder rack–it gives you somewhere safe to hold onto your boat while it’s moving.

When transporting your canoe, make sure you take it slow and keep a secure grip on the kayak or canoe at all times. If you do this, you should be able to transport your boat without any problems.


In the end, we hope that you’ve learned how to transport a canoe with a pickup by using both ladder racks and roof racks. With the right equipment, you should be able to get your boat from one place to another without any hesitation.


Q1: Is it difficult to transport a canoe by yourself?

A1: Yes it can be very difficult to transport a canoe by yourself. It is best to have someone help you in order to successfully transport your kayak or canoe.

Q2: Should I tie the boat down with rope?

A2: Ropes are one of the most effective ways to secure your canoe while transporting it, but you could also use ratchet straps if you need to.

Q3: How can I secure my canoe while driving?

A3: There are multiple ways you can secure your boat during transport. One of the best ways is by using both ladder racks and roof racks to strap the kayak or canoe down securely at all times.

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