How Far Can a Kayak Hang Out?

Kayaking enthusiasts understand the importance of a convenient transportation method when moving their kayaks from one point to another. Most carry them using truck utility racks, roof racks, or on their truck beds. All three methods are deemed reliable and safe.

For truck owners, it is necessary to understand how hauling objects with overhangs might harm their trucks and other road users. In the case of kayak transporting, can a kayak hang out of the truck? Similarly, how far can a kayak hang out?

This article has looked into this in great detail and consulted the relevant agencies to determine the applicable regulations. Therefore, read this article comprehensively to answer these questions and more.

How Far Can a Kayak Hang Out of a Truck?

A kayak can hang out of a truck between 3 and 6 feet. This distance includes 3 feet in front of your truck or 4 feet off the back. Normally, the hanging lengths vary according to the truck bed size. The three truck bed sizes are short (5 feet), standard (6.5 feet), and long (8 feet).

Additionally, confirming that your truck’s bed will appropriately support the weight is essential. There is a need for some forethought because many feel-free kayaks are between 10′ and 12.5′ in length, making it possible that they won’t fit precisely into your truck bed. 70% of your kayak should be supported from the bottom by the hull.

Also see: Can overweight people kayak?

Nevertheless, how far any item you are hauling can hang out from the front or back of your truck, including a kayak, is governed by federal regulations in detail. These federal regulations may vary from one state to another. Therefore, you must understand and abide by these guidelines since they apply to everyone in the states.

Remember, you must utilize a safe tie-down to attach a kayak to hang out of your truck, lessening the impact (damage) on your vehicle. Additionally, you must attach a red flag when transporting a load that extends 4 feet or more beyond the bumper.

How Do You Carry a 12-Foot Kayak on a Truck?

To transport your 12-foot kayak in the truck bed, regardless of whether your truck has a camper shell installed or not, you must be familiar with this approach. This transporting method has a major drawback in that your kayak will be far longer than the bed of your truck. However, this article will provide a few practical pointers for properly transporting a 12-foot kayak in a truck bed.

  • Tailgate Up or Down

If you secure your 12-foot kayak properly, either option is practical and safe. If you transport it with your tailgate down, it may be simpler to slide your kayak out once you get to your destination. The risk of your kayak stretching too far into a nearby traffic lane is also eliminated because it is possible to maintain it parallel to your truck.

Transporting your kayak with the tailgate will still allow you to transfer other equipment in your vehicle’s bed securely.

  • Cockpit Up or Down

It will be simpler to slide your 12-foot kayak out of the bed of your truck if you load it with the cockpit facing up. On the other side, loading your kayak with the cockpit pointing down can help to reduce the likelihood that it will slide while you’re driving. Nevertheless, you will need to turn it over for loading and unloading.

In both cases, ensure to tie a bright red ribbon on the end of your 12-foot kayak. It is a safety precaution that alerts other road users of your truck’s extended length.

How Far Can a Boat Stick Out?

Without a warning flag, a boat can stick out approximately 3 feet in front of your truck or 4 feet at the back. You must display an eye-catching orange or red flag at its end throughout the day. Similarly, a red light permanently connected to the kayak’s end is required at night. Nevertheless, these transportation regulations vary from one state to another.

You must determine if you can fit the boat in the back of a vehicle if you rely on the truck bed to transport it to and from the ocean. Even though I strongly advise getting a trailer, you might be able to get away with using a truck bed.

As long as the boat’s stern doesn’t extend too much, you can load it into the bed of a truck (usually less than 4 feet). Boats are usually 8 to 20 feet long, while truck beds typically range from 5 to 8 feet. Therefore, ensure that your truck’s dimensions are compatible enough to allow the boat to fit in.

What is the Maximum Overhang on a Truck?

You are permitted up to 4 feet of overhang on any items or anything hanging out the back of a vehicle. To prevent any problems transporting oversized items with a non-commercial truck, there is special legislation in many nations worldwide. Because the regulations might vary from one state to the next, you should absolutely verify your local laws first.

Overhanging cargo that exceeds 4 feet must be appropriately marked. A red side marker lamp indicating the load’s maximum overhang must be attached to its side. A marker lamp is a lamp that is installed on the side of a vehicle as close to the front and back as is reasonably possible. It provides side lighting to show the total length of the vehicle.

Additionally, the truck owner must use a luminous red or orange cautionary flag to indicate the load’s longest extremities on any commercial motor vehicle carrying a load that protrudes more than 4 inches over the sides or more than 4 feet over the back of the vehicle. The minimum square size for warning flags is 18 inches.

One caution flag is sufficient if the projecting load is 2 feet wide or smaller. Two flags are required if the load is wider than 2 feet. The flags need to indicate the projection’s maximum width and length.


So, how far can a kayak hang out? After reading this article, there is no doubt that you have more knowledge of the different transport regulations you ought to maintain when carrying a kayak or any other overhanging load.

Therefore, take note of these regulations to help protect yourself and other road users. In addition, you would want to observe the regulations to keep away from getting on the wrong side of the law.