The F150 isn’t just your run-of-the-mill pick-up; it’s a beast, a mule, a companion for the wanderlust-stricken souls craving adventure on the vast, open water. This rugged, robust and versatile road companion not only holds its ground on challenging terrains but also serves as a reliable vessel to haul your kayaking gear.
So you’re intrigued, but you’re also thinking, ‘How does one secure a kayak on an F150?’. Well, strap in, my friend! Let’s embark on this instructional journey and navigate through the specifics.
Transport with Bed Racks
Bed racks for kayaks are like the Swiss Army Knife in the world of adventure gear: multi-functional, practical, and efficient. They offer you an effortless method to secure your kayak without the heavy-lifting ordeal onto the roof. This section will take you on a deep-dive into the world of bed racks and how you can tap into their full potential.
The foundation of any good setup is a solid installation. Bed racks are no different. Installing your bed rack correctly is paramount to the stability and security of your kayak during transportation. Notable manufacturers such as Yakima, Thule, and ADARAC provide comprehensive instructions with their racks, making the installation process accessible even for the non-mechanically inclined.
For example, the Yakima OverHaul HD bed rack system boasts a simple, no-drill installation. By clamping onto the sides of your truck bed, it minimizes any potential damage to your F150. Always ensure the rack is mounted firmly and securely to your truck for maximum kayak stability.
The next step is loading your kayak onto your rack – a task best performed with an assistant for ease and safety. Aim to place the kayak centrally on the bed rack. A central placement ensures an equal distribution of weight, contributing to better balance and reducing any strain on one side of your truck.
When hoisting the kayak, lift from your knees rather than your back to avoid injury. And remember, the kayak should rest on its flat bottom on the rack. If your kayak has a keel, ensure that it fits comfortably in any notches or grooves designed for this purpose on the rack.
Now that your kayak is in place, it’s time to create a stronghold. The gear to trust here is a set of sturdy cam straps. These straps are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy loads, making them perfect for this task.
Start by threading the cam straps over and under the kayak and the rack, creating a loop that encompasses both. Tighten the straps until the kayak is snugly secure. However, be cautious not to overtighten the straps as this can cause damage to the kayak.
Double-check your work. Try wiggling the kayak to see if it moves. If it does, you might need to adjust your straps for a more secure fit.
Transport with Use J-Rack
With their clever design and efficient space utilization, J racks have emerged as a go-to solution for kayak transportation. Designed to hold the kayak on its side, they offer a secure cradle that provides stability while making the best use of your vehicle’s roof space. Let’s explore how to capitalize on their innovative design.
To get started, you’ll need to fix the J racks onto your F150’s existing roof rack system. Several trusted brands manufacture J racks, including Thule, Yakima, and Malone Auto Racks, each of them providing detailed installation instructions to ensure a safe and secure setup.
For instance, the Thule Hull-a-Port XT is a versatile J rack that can be installed without any tools, thanks to its easy-to-use mounting hardware. While installing the J racks, ensure that they’re spaced adequately apart according to the length of your kayak. This will provide a balanced support system for your vessel during transit.
Loading your kayak onto J racks is a little different from conventional flat racks. In this scenario, the kayak rests on its side, nestled securely in the curve of the J rack. This design aims to distribute the kayak’s weight evenly, thereby minimizing strain on any single part of the vessel.
As with most heavy lifting, it’s safest to have a second pair of hands to help hoist the kayak onto the J racks. Use the lift-from-your-knees technique to avoid back injuries, and position the kayak so that its cockpit faces outwards. This will ensure the best fit within the J racks.
Now comes the critical part—securing your kayak to the J racks. This involves the use of cam straps, the kayak transporter’s best friend. Thread the straps through the J racks and around the kayak, taking care to avoid any loose ends that might flap around during your drive.
To fasten the kayak, pull the cam straps snug, but be careful not to over-tighten them. This could potentially deform your kayak’s hull. Once you’re satisfied, double-check the straps’ secureness. There should be no significant movement of the kayak when you apply force.
Transport With A Tonneau Cover
Having a tonneau cover installed on your F150 and wishing to transport a kayak might seem like a conundrum. However, don’t be disheartened! It’s entirely feasible to master the art of coexistence between these two elements. Here’s your game plan:
Adopting a Compatible Approach
First, recognize that not all is lost if you have a tonneau cover installed. In fact, several manufacturers understand the need for flexibility and have created products that are compatible with tonneau covers. This means you can simultaneously enjoy the benefits of a covered truck bed while also being able to carry your kayak when adventure calls.
An important part to note here is compatibility. You will need to ensure that whatever solution you choose – be it a bed rack, roof rack, or J rack – it must be compatible with your specific tonneau cover model. Brands such as TruXedo and Retrax have a range of products known to work well with certain rack systems.
Roof Racks and Tonneau Covers
One approach to tackle the tonneau cover-kayak transport challenge is to opt for a roof rack system. In this scenario, your tonneau cover remains undisturbed while the roof of your F150 takes on the task of transporting your kayak.
Roof rack manufacturers such as Thule, Yakima, and Rhino-Rack offer versatile systems that can be installed onto your F150’s roof. Once installed, these can be paired with J racks or other kayak-specific carriers, depending on your preference. This method leaves your truck bed free for other cargo while your kayak sits comfortably up top.
Bed Racks and Tonneau Covers: A Balanced Act
Another alternative is to use a bed rack that works with your tonneau cover. Certain bed racks are designed to be installed with tonneau covers, offering the best of both worlds. The key to this setup is to ensure the bed rack is mounted correctly over the tonneau cover, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Brands like ADARAC offer bed racks that work harmoniously with certain tonneau cover models. For instance, the ADARAC Aluminum Pro Series bed rack is compatible with several Access tonneau covers. Always ensure you check the compatibility of your specific tonneau cover with the bed rack you choose.
With these methods at your disposal, transporting your kayak using an F150 should no longer be a daunting task. Whether you’re using a bed rack, J rack, or roof rack, or even if you have a tonneau cover, you can confidently transport your kayak safely and securely. Enjoy your kayaking adventures!