Last updated on January 25th, 2024 at 08:04 pm
As an avid angler, you definitely consider boats an indispensable part of your fishing practice. You also know that transporting boats to and from a lake is always a pain.
Luckily, by picking a suitable boat for your truck bed, this process will become a breeze.
In this post, we’ll provide you with a list of the best portable boats to easily haul in your truck bed without needing a trailer.
Keep in mind that you may need to lower the tailgate of your truck and use an extender if necessary.
Make sure to follow the laws in your area for proper hauling of boats using a pickup truck as not all places have the same laws.
The 6 Boats That Fit Perfectly in Almost Any Standard Truck Bed
We’ve chosen our list based on the overall dimensions of each boat, prioritizing the boats with sizes that fit most standard truck beds.
Here are our top picks:
- West Marine WaterTender
Boat Dimensions: 112″ L x 55″ W
With its 112″ length and 55″ width, the West Marine WaterTender boat can fit perfectly into your standard truck bed.
It weighs only 106 pounds, making it easy for two or even one person to load it into a pickup.
Thanks to its tri-hull design, the boat resists winds effortlessly and stays significantly stable on the water.
This boat can work either with a 5-HP gas outboard or a trolling motor. In addition, the boat includes decent waterproof storage space for small personal items.
- Lowe Boats L1232 Jon
Boat Dimensions: 140″ L x 48″ W
The Lowe Boats L1232 Jon has a length that fits standard truck beds. Similarly, its width is perfect for different bed sizes.
You can even carry it in the narrowest beds with a slight tilt. One person can load and unload the boat effortlessly.
The Lowe L1232 Jon is versatile, and you can customize it to serve your different fishing needs.
It can work either with a 3.5-HP outboard or with a trolling motor. This boat can be slower than many other boats, but this isn’t an issue for catching fish.
- Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Fishing Kayak
Boat Dimensions: 115″ L x 29″ W
This fishing kayak is the lightest and most portable boat on our list. The Sun Dolphin 10-Foot Fishing Kayak fits almost any standard or even small truck bed you might imagine.
Indeed, it doesn’t provide you with the speed of engine-equipped boats unless you decide to install one. However, it offers incomparable stealth.
One of the best things about this boat is its low cost compared to most portable boats.
- Sun Dolphin Sportsman 10 Fishing Boat
Boat Dimensions: 120″ L x 48″ W
This Sun Dolphin boat can easily be loaded into a standard truck bed.
It weighs 138 pounds, which makes it a little heavy for one person to lift. However, two people will find it relatively easy to load it into the truck bed.
The boat offers impressive stability in the water in all fishing conditions thanks to its flat bottom shape.
For example, when one or even two anglers lean extremely toward one of the boat’s sides, it won’t tip.
The boat has two removable seats for the anglers. It also comes with a pre-wired stern and bow motor mount area so that you can install its trolling motor effortlessly.
Its robust trolling motor provides up to 40 pounds of thrust to enable you to move fast all around the water area.
- West Marine Classic Dinghy
Boat Dimensions: 117″ L x 55″ W
Still, for the most comfortable experience, we recommend that only one or two anglers use it. It has a semi-V bow design, which allows it to speed across choppy water.
- Classic Accessories Colorado XT Pontoon Boat
Boat Dimensions: 108″ L x 56″ W
The Classic Accessories Colorado XT boat is perfect for lone anglers because of its light weight, at only 77 pounds.
It’s also easy to load and unload from a truck bed. The transport wheel on the boat makes things even easier.
The boat will fit both standard and small truck beds, starting from 5 feet long, with no problems.
It contains a removable stripping basket and versatile cargo bags to facilitate the fishing mission.
You can spend comfortable long hours fishing in this boat. It has adjustable footrests and decent space for a person.
What Is the Standard Truck Bed Size?
Standard truck bed length usually ranges between 6.5 ft. and 7 ft. Its width, on the other hand, is generally between 4.7 ft. and 5.9 ft. Still, there are less common bigger and smaller truck beds.
For example, the GMC Sierra truck bed dimensions are 98.2″ long x 71.4″ wide. This is for a GMC with a long box.
As a general rule, measure your truck bed before choosing a boat. To do this accurately, measure the length from the tailgate down and the width between the wheel wells.
Some people might install an extender to the truck bed to add extra length. In fact, we recommend this for most anglers as it’s a worthy investment if you plan to transport long boats.
These accessories are pretty affordable and widely available online as well.
In addition to extenders, anglers also use some tricks to fit larger boats into their small truck beds.
The most important thing is stabilizing the boat and securely tying it to the truck bed. This is to prevent any potential sliding off from the truck.
What’s the Maximum Allowed Boat Length to Haul on a Truck Bed?
The maximum boat length you can carry on your truck depends mainly on the bed size.
Federal laws allow truckloads to extend only four feet behind and three feet at the front.
That way, the maximum boat length for a long truck bed of 8 ft. would be 12 ft. On the other hand, for a standard truck bed length of 6.5 ft., the maximum boat length to carry is 10.5 ft.
You can increase the maximum extended load for your truck by installing a lumber rack on the bed.
That said, transportation laws can differ slightly from one state to another. So, make sure to check your local rules.
How to Safely Carry Your Boat in the Truck Bed?
Remember the safety requirements when carrying a boat on your pickup. One of these requirements is securing your boat by placing the bow rearward.
You also need to tie down the boat securely with ratchet straps. This is to stabilize the boat in the truck bed and prevent sliding.
To do this properly, place one strap to pull the boat towards the bed and use another one to hold it down firmly to the truck. You can add some extra straps if your truck bed has an extender.
Moreover, you need to have a red flag on your load. Some states will require red lights if you carry the boat at night.
Can You Put a 12-Foot Jon Boat in a Truck Bed?
Yes, you can put a 12-foot boat in a truck bed. However, if your truck bed is less than 8 feet long, you’ll need to install an extender to achieve this.
You’ll also need some preparation to ensure the boat will stay stable on the bed while on the road.