If you have a truck with an open truck bed and no roof rack to transport your kayak, you might be wondering how to transport your kayak down to the water.
Are you looking at the length of your truck bed and the length of your kayak, thinking how far can a kayak hang out of a truck? Can a kayak stick out of a truck at all?
These are all good questions and ones that this article will answer for you.
We’ve done extensive research into this and looked at the proper authorities for regulations around this.
In fact, you can access a comprehensive information source covering all states in the US in this article.
- How far can a kayak hang out of a truck?
- How far can something hang out the back of a truck?
- How far can something hang out the back of a truck without a flag?
- What is the maximum overhang on a truck?
- Can a kayak stick out of a truck?
- How far can a kayak stick out of a truck?
- How do you haul a kayak in a truck?
- How far can a canoe stick out of a truck?
- How do you carry a kayak in a short bed truck?
- How far can a kayak hang out of a truck? Summary
How far can a kayak hang out of a truck?
Before we answer the question of how far a kayak can hang out of a truck, there are some very important regulations to keep in mind that apply across the US.
Then there is information that relates to each state – because these differ a little.
Let’s have a quick look at this important information to answer your questions quickly.
How far can something hang out the back of a truck?
There are specific rules at a federal level about how far an object you are transporting can extend either off the front or back of your truck.
These rules apply to everyone across the states, so it’s important you follow these wherever you are.
For objects hanging off the back of your truck the rules are as follows in terms of the distance something can extend off the back:
3ft off the front of your vehicle
4 ft off the back /rear of your vehicle
How far can something hang out the back of a truck without a flag?
If you are planning on hauling an object that extends beyond the legal lengths stated above, like a long kayak (some can reach up to around 20ft long!), you’ll need to consider using something to warn other drivers that there is something sticking out the back of your truck.
The federal rules state that in the daytime, you need to have a brightly colored flag attached to the end of the object.
Typically the color of the flag needs to be bright orange or red.
A nice bright ‘warning, pointy end incoming’ kind of color.
And in the night, you need a light to do the same job the flag does in the daytime – attract attention and warn other drivers about the extended object out of your truck bed.
So if you have a kayak that sticks out the back of your truck, you’ll want to follow these rules.
What is the maximum overhang on a truck?
On doing some research, it seems that there are different regulations state by state
Each state seems to have slightly different rules about how long something can stick out of a vehicle, either at the front, the back, or to the sides.
I found this website pretty informative, but the authors also mention checking with the Department of Transport, for up-to-date rules, in case something changes.
So if you’re asking, how far can something stick out of a truck in Texas, or how far can something hang out of a truck in PA or Florida, this resource should help you answer that.
Can a kayak stick out of a truck?
A kayak can stick out of a truck, either over the front or back. If you are over 3ft at the front and 4ft at the back, you must hang a brightly colored orange or red flag on the end during the day. At night you must have a red light attached to the end of the kayak.
This warns other drivers of the potential hazard your kayak presents on the road if they drive too close.
How far can a kayak stick out of a truck?
A kayak can stick out the back of a truck up to 4ft without a warning flag. If you have a flag then the distance you can have something sticking out the back varies by state.
For example, in Alabama, you can only have 4ft sticking out the back, whereas in Washington you can have up to 15ft hanging out the back with a flag, measured from the back axle.
How do you haul a kayak in a truck?
There are a few options for how to haul a kayak in a truck.
Haul your kayak in your truck bed
If your kayak is small enough, you can just place it in the truck bed and attach it securely with some padding between your truck and the kayak to avoid dents.
Haul your kayak on a truck bed extender
You could purchase a truck bed extender. This creates a stable platform to place your kayak onto it
You just drop the tailgate and attach the extender and there you have it.
Be sure to check the distance your kayak can extend off the back of your vehicle though.
Haul your kayak on a roof rack
You can invest in pretty decent roof racks for trucks these days.
Some tinder racks can work but there is often a big gap between the rails which may not be the right support for your kayak.
Worth investing in a roof rack that’s designed for kayaks if you’re planning on using it a lot, or over long-distance trips.
How far can a canoe stick out of a truck?
If you have a canoe, the same general rules that apply to kayaks also apply to how far a canoe can hang out the back of your truck. A canoe can stick out of a truck up to 3ft on the front and 4ft off the back of the truck.
How do you carry a kayak in a short bed truck?
If you have a short bed truck, then it is likely that even shorter kayaks (7-8ft) will still poke and stick out the back of your truck bed.
In this case, a truck bed extender might be a great option for you to get the extra haulage length you need to safely transport your kayak.
The other option as mentioned above would be a roof rack designed for trucks and kayaks, where you store the kayak above the bed of the truck. This means you can also access the truck bed for additional storage of other items.
Does your truck bed have a tonneau cover though?
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you sorted with a review of the best kayak racks for roofs with tonneau covers (CLICK HERE).
How far can a kayak hang out of a truck? Summary
This article covered all the important considerations around how far a kayak can hang out of a truck.
If you’ve got a kayak that extends further than your truck bed and you’re wondering how far something like a kayak can stick out the back of your truck, pay attention to the federal rules…
3ft off the front
4ft off the back
… and also check your state’s local legislation around this.
Now you know how far a kayak can stick out the back of a truck, you’ll be all the safer in the knowledge.