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How to Haul a Kayak and a Fifth Wheel – My Setup

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Hey Paddling RV’ers,

I get a lot of lookie-loos checking out my rig when we stop on the road. They are usually looking UP at the big boat on top of the truck. Then they ask me “it rides ok up there with your fifth wheel?

Yes it does.

Truck fifth wheel and kayak

Our Prairie Schooner 😉

I’ve used this setup for over a year now and no problems!
The key is to make sure the straps are snug, not over-tight or the hull would be damaged.

I’ve swapped out the cord on the fore and aft tie-downs because of weathering. I may do this periodically just for peace of mind.

Yak Gear makes these neat tie-down anchors that I use, one under the hood on the front and the other in the truck bed: (click the image for more detail)

I’ve traveled at speeds up to 70mph with no ill-affects, but that is just to pass another vehicle. Normally I travel at 55-60 when the boat is up there.

My Boat: Old Town Predator 13. Its about 90+ pounds and a bit much for this system but as you read here, I’ve had no problems.
(click the image for more detail)

DISCLAIMER: the rack I use is rated for 75 pounds so I am not liable for your system if you follow my setup. Proceed at your own risk.

The rack system I use is Swedish company Thule {pronounced Tooley} products. I’ve stopped in a few kayak shops and they tend to like this brand better for whatever reason. There are many to choose from like Yakima, Malone and others, even homemade. None of them are cheap mind you.

But don’t ‘cheap-out’ in this area or you may mess up your boat and or your vehicle.
I’ve seen many videos on home-made racks. If you are so inclined, go for it, but you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself if it fails, but on the flip-side, could save you some cash. Your call.

My System:

I start with the roof rack that consists of 2 crossbars and 4 “feet” that clamp onto the roof based on my particular truck.

Find your particular “feet” at this THULE FIT GUIDE

The individual components for my system are:
(click the images for more detail)

4 Feet

2 50″ Load Crossbars (see the Fit Guide as you may need the shorter ones)

And the most important piece is the SlipStream Rack to carry the beast. It has a roller on the rear that helps in loading my deep-v hulled boat. With my boat, it flexes a bit in the middle when tied down.
(click the image for more detail)


How do I get the boat UP THERE?

It’s a 2 step process for me. I am on the short-side so I had to get creative 🙂

I’ve made a PVC ‘ramp’ that looks more like a ladder that I install under the back of the slipstream and bungied down to the fifth wheel hitch plate making a loading ramp.


Step 1. With the tailgate down and my trailer spare tire behind the fifth wheel hitch, I load the bow of the boat on the tailgate that has a rug of some kind to protect the bottom of the boat and help it slide.

Step 2. Then from behind I pick the aft end of the boat and push it up the ramp until the keel rests on the spare tire, allowing me to hop up on the tailgate and pick it back up and run it all the way up the ramp until it rests on the SlipStream.
Then I center it, put the ramp on the top and strap her down!
Ready to roll.

Hope I’ve shared some value with you, I’d love it if you share and comment to let me know!


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Kimberly Flores, Wagon Master

Capturing the heart of the Adventure even if it is still in Dream Mode!
"Lets Make a Point To Leave This Place Better Than When We Came, One Life at a Time."
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