January 22

Inflatable Boat In Truck Bed – Is 16ft Just Too Much Boat Without A Trailer?

If you've ever faced the challenge of transporting an inflatable boat without using a trailer, you know how tricky it can be.

In this article, we'll explore some alternative ideas and methods to get your boat to the water without the hassles of a trailer. 

As someone who enjoys fishing, it's essential to find budget-friendly and practical ways to make the process more seamless.

Maybe you never thought about renting a vehicle to transport your inflatable boat. In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of using a rented truck to get your boat to the water.

We'll also compare different vehicle types and their potential issues while transporting your boat. And finally, we'll go through some practical tips on preparing your boat for transportation.

Key Takeaways

  • Renting a vehicle can save you money and hassle when transporting your inflatable boat without a trailer
  • Considering the dimensions and features of your boat is necessary before choosing a suitable vehicle type for transportation
  • Properly preparing and measuring your truck bed will ensure safe and effective transportation of your inflatable boat.

Renting a Vehicle for Transportation

When it comes to transporting an inflatable boat without a trailer, renting a vehicle with enough space can be a cost-effective solution. Here's some information on finding the right vehicle for your boat transportation needs:

  • Renting from a dealer: Not everyone realizes that car dealerships often rent vehicles at competitive prices, usually under $100 for a day. Look for a local dealership where you can rent a truck with a long bed, such as the F-150 extended cab with a six-and-a-half-foot bed.
  • Considering bed size: Measure the length and width of your boat's aluminum floorboards to ensure they'll fit inside the truck bed. Keep in mind, a six-and-a-half-foot bed may not accommodate all of the floorboards, so you may need to use a bed extender or consider other options.
  • Inflating and deflating: You may need to deflate the tubes of your inflatable boat to around 30% or less to fit the boat in the vehicle. This will require more pumping once you arrive at your destination, but it's a good trade-off if a trailer isn't an option for you.
  • Alternative vehicle options: While a Jeep Gladiator may be a dream vehicle for some, its smaller truck bed might not work for this purpose. Its dimensions (40 inches between wheel wells) are too narrow to accommodate the width of the floorboard, which means using a trailer may be the only option with this vehicle.

Keep these factors in mind while planning your next fishing trip or outing on the water, and you'll be able to find a suitable and affordable transportation option for your inflatable boat.

Challenges of Having a Trailer

If you have a trailer for your inflatable boat, there are a few challenges that you might face:

  • Limited parking space: Living in a tight neighborhood with limited space, including uphill driveways, electrical poles, or parallel parking, can make maneuvering a trailer difficult.
  • Yacht club expenses: Although you could store your boat at a yacht club, the costs could be steep and not in line with your budget for fishing on the cheap.
  • Vehicle compatibility: If your dream vehicle is a Jeep Gladiator, the measurements might not work well with a 16-foot inflatable boat and a trailer.

Despite these challenges, you might be able to overcome them with some creative solutions:

  • Truck bed extension: If you have a pickup truck with a six and a half feet long bed, you can use a bed extender or straps to secure your boat in place.
  • Inflatable boat size: A 12-foot boat might be a better fit for you if you don't need a larger inflatable.
  • Extra effort in assembling: Be prepared to spend additional time in inflating and assembling the boat if you decide not to use a trailer, especially if you need to deflate the tubes to fit it into your vehicle.

In conclusion, although there are some challenges with having a trailer for your inflatable boat, it's worth exploring alternative solutions to make your fishing adventures more enjoyable.

Alternative Ideas for Transporting the Boat

If you're struggling with transporting a 16-foot inflatable boat without using a trailer, don't worry! There are a couple of alternative options you can consider:

  1. Rent a pickup truck: As mentioned in the video, renting an F-150 extended cab with a six and a half foot bed can be an affordable and convenient option. Check with local car dealerships or rental agencies for the best prices and availability.

  2. Deflate the tubes partially: If your pickup truck bed isn't quite long enough for the fully inflated boat, you could deflate the tubes to around 30% or less. This will require additional pumping once you arrive at your destination, but your aluminum floorboards will already be in place, which can save you time and effort.

  3. Use a bed extender: Adding a bed extender to your pickup truck can help bridge the gap between the truck bed and the tailgate, allowing you to transport the boat more securely. This may not work in smaller trucks, like the Jeep Gladiator, which has only 40 inches between the wheel wells.

Remember, it's essential to think creatively and consider your individual needs when choosing the best transportation method for your boat.

By experimenting with these different options, you'll find the most efficient and convenient way to get your boat to your favorite fishing spot!

Condition and Features of the Boat

As a fishing enthusiast, you've chosen a 16-foot inflatable boat with aluminum floorboards that provides ample space and reliable performance for your fishing trips.

Your boat is powered by a 9.9 horsepower motor that's been upgraded to 15 horsepower, ensuring a smooth and efficient ride on the water.

Boat Dimensions and Storage Solutions

Your inflatable boat has the following dimensions:

  • Length: 16 feet
  • Aluminum floorboards: 99 inches (combined length)

To transport your boat without using a trailer, you've opted for an F-150 extended cab with a 6.5-foot bed.

While the length of the bed isn't sufficient for all the floorboards without bending, a bed extender or some straps can provide a practical solution for transporting your boat.

Truck Bed6.5 feet
Wheel Wells50 inches

Remember that storing your boat in the truck bed requires a tonneau cover or hardtop cover to keep it safe from the elements and to prevent mold from developing.

Portable and Convenient

Your inflatable boat is a versatile choice for fishing adventures without the need for a trailer or expensive yacht club membership. With a manageable setup process, it's ideal for anglers seeking both flexibility and convenience.

However, be prepared to pump up your boat to about 30% or less inflated when fitting it into the truck bed for transportation.

When it comes to enjoying your fishing trips, make sure you have the right equipment and transportation solutions that suit your needs.

Remember to properly secure and protect your boat during transit, ensuring it remains in excellent condition for many voyages to come.

Measuring the Truck Bed

Hello! I'm Dwight Norris of Fishing At Work. Today, we're going to discuss measuring your truck bed to find out if it can accommodate an inflatable boat without using a trailer.

In this case, I'm using an F-150 extended cab with a six and a half foot bed.

Truck Bed Dimensions

Measuring your truck bed is essential to determine if it can fit an inflatable boat. Here's what we found with the F-150:

  • Between wheel wells: 50 inches
  • Outside wheel wells: 64 inches
  • Truck bed length: 76.5 inches

Boat Dimensions

The inflatable boat in question is a 16-foot Saturn SD 488. The aluminum floor consists of four sections, the largest being 25 inches long. Altogether, they measure 99 inches in length.

Fitting the Boat in the Truck Bed

With a truck bed length of 76.5 inches, it's evident that not all four sections of the boat floor can fit fully inside the bed. In this case, you can either:

  1. Deflate the tubes: Reducing the air in the tubes might allow the boat to fit snugly in the bed. However, this requires some extra effort to inflate the tubes once you reach your destination.
  2. Use a bed extender: A bed extender can help accommodate the full length of the boat. Some straps can also help secure the boat in place.

Keep in mind that the Jeep Gladiator, another popular option, has a smaller truck bed width with only 40 inches between the wheel wells. This would likely require a trailer instead.


When it comes to fitting an inflatable boat in a truck bed, careful measurements of both the truck and the boat are required.

A bed extender or deflating the tubes are potential solutions if your boat doesn't fit perfectly inside. Ultimately, it's up to you to determine the best solution for your needs. Happy fishing!

Comparing With Other Vehicle Types

When transporting your inflatable boat to your fishing destination, it's important to consider the vehicle you're using.

In this section, we'll compare using a pickup truck with a six and a half-foot bed (like the F-150 Extended Cab) to a Jeep Gladiator in terms of their ability to accommodate a 16-foot inflatable boat.

F-150 Extended Cab:

  • Overall bed length: 76.5 inches (6.5 feet)
  • Wheel well width: 50 inches
  • Can fit three of the four aluminum floorboards with some difficulty
  • Requires bed extender or straps to utilize the lowered tailgate

Jeep Gladiator:

  • Bed length: about 60 inches (5 feet)
  • Wheel well width: 40 inches
  • Insufficient space to fit all aluminum floorboards
  • Requires a trailer for transport

Based on these measurements, the F-150 Extended Cab can accommodate a 16-foot inflatable boat with some adjustments, such as deflating the tubes, folding down the tailgate, and using a bed extender or straps.

However, the Jeep Gladiator would not be able to fit the boat's aluminum floorboards, making a trailer necessary for transport.

Potential Issues of Transporting in a Truck Bed

  • Limited Space: A 16-foot inflatable boat might not fit easily in a 6.5-foot truck bed, even with some deflation. You'll likely need to deflate the tubes to around 30% or less, resulting in extra pumping when you arrive.

  • Bed Extender Required: To securely transport the boat, a bed extender is highly recommended. It could be a bit challenging to transport the boat without one.

  • Floorboards: A 6.5-foot truck bed may not accommodate all four aluminium floorboards unbent. You might need to strap them down above the bed or consider alternate arrangements.

  • Truck Bed Dimensions: For trucks like the Jeep Gladiator, with a shorter truck bed and smaller distance between the wheel wells, you'll likely need to use a trailer instead.

  • Setup Time: Installing the aluminium floorboards often takes up most of the effort and time (30 to 40 minutes) when setting up an inflatable boat. If you need to deflate and inflate the boat each time you transport it, this could add up to the overall time spent preparing for your fishing trip.

  • Possible Damage to the Boat: Regular deflation, inflation, and handling may increase the risk of wear and tear or potential damage to the boat.

Remember to carefully consider your truck bed dimensions and the inflatable boat size when planning to transport the boat in the truck bed to ensure a safe and efficient method of transportation.

Practical Testing

In this section, we'll discuss the practical testing of getting a 16-foot inflatable boat into a six-and-a-half-foot truck bed, which could be a great solution for those who aren't able to use a trailer.

Before diving into this experiment, let's take a look at some measurements and possible challenges.

Measurements and Challenges

  • Truck Bed Dimensions: The truck bed in question is 6.5 feet long with 50 inches between the wheel wells and 64 inches outside of that.
  • Boat Floorboard Dimensions: The inflatable boat has four aluminum floorboards which, when combined, measure approximately 99 inches in length. This exceeds the length of the truck bed.

Based on these measurements, you might be able to fit only three of the four floorboards in the truck bed when they are tightly locked in place.

This could be a viable option for those with shorter boats or those willing to use a bed extender. However, if you have a 16-foot inflatable, be prepared for some challenges:

  1. You may need to deflate the tubes to around 30% or even less for the boat to fit, adding significant pumping time once you reach your destination.
  2. Since the floorboards take up over half the time during assembly, having them in place could save you some effort despite the additional pumping required.
  3. The Jeep Gladiator, often considered the dream vehicle for such transportation, may not be suitable for this purpose due to its limited dimensions between the wheel wells.


A 16-foot inflatable boat may fit into a 6.5-foot truck bed, but only with some adjustments and possible difficulties. If you're willing to deflate the tubes, spend extra time pumping, or invest in a bed extender, this option may be for you.

However, it's a good idea to evaluate your specific situation, vehicle, and requirements before proceeding with this method.

Preparing the Boat for Transportation

To prepare your inflatable boat for transportation without using a trailer, follow these steps:

  1. Deflate the tubes to around 30% or less. This will make it easier to fit the boat into the truck bed, especially if you're trying to fit a 16-foot boat. Remember, you'll need to do some additional pumping once you arrive at the destination.

  2. Assemble the aluminum floorboards before placing the boat in the truck bed. Putting in the floorboards can take up a significant amount of time, so having them assembled beforehand will save you some effort at the destination.

  3. Measure the truck bed to determine if your boat will fit. A standard 6.5-foot truck bed works well, but you may need a bed extender or straps to secure the boat if it's too long.

  4. Consider the space between wheel wells. For example, a Jeep Gladiator has around 40 inches between the wheel wells, which may be too tight for the floorboards. In this case, a trailer may be a better option.

  5. Secure the boat in the truck bed, ensuring it is safely placed and won't shift during transport. Don't forget to close the tailgate or use straps to keep everything in place.

Follow these steps, and you'll have your boat prepared for transport without needing a trailer. Remember to take your time and make sure everything is secure before hitting the road.


As you can see, using a pickup truck like the F-150 extended cab can be a great solution to transport an inflatable boat without needing a trailer. But remember, it's essential to measure your boat and truck bed dimensions properly to ensure a perfect fit.

Although a bed extender might come to your rescue, if you plan on having a larger boat, it's always best to confirm if your dream vehicle, like the Jeep Gladiator, will be suitable for your transportation needs.

Keep in mind that some compromises, like deflating the tubes and more pumping once you arrive, may be required for larger boats.

Always think about your specific situation and needs when trying to figure out the best way to transport your inflatable boat. Stay safe, have fun, and enjoy your time out on the water!

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