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To transport a paddle board, you can use various methods depending on your equipment and destination. The most common method is using a car roof, where you place foam pads or a soft rack system on the vehicle’s roof, position the board on top, and secure it with cam straps. Other methods include carrying it in the trunk, especially for inflatable boards, using a bike trailer, carrying in a backpack, using a carry strap, a paddleboard cart, or a backpack with wheels. For long-distance travel, check regulations for boards on trains and planes. Each method ensures the board is secure and protected during transit.

Embarking on a paddle boarding adventure?

Transporting your paddle board is the first step to an unforgettable journey.

Discover the secrets to hassle-free paddle board transportation.

Whether it’s a car roof, trunk, or bike trailer, we’ve got you covered.

Learn the art of safely and efficiently moving your paddle board.

Your next paddle boarding experience begins with perfect transportation!

  • Select a transportation method that matches your equipment and destination needs.
  • Ensure the board is secure and protected during transit to prevent damage.
  • If traveling long distances, check transportation regulations for boards on trains and planes.

#1 Car Roof

Transporting a paddle board on a car roof can be done effectively even without traditional roof racks.

To ensure you can transport your paddle board safely, follow these steps:

Materials Needed:

  • Paddle Board
  • Two Foam Pads or Soft Rack System
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  • Cam Straps (2-4)

Loading Your Paddle Board:

  1. Position the foam pads: Place two foam blocks or a soft rack system across the width of your vehicle’s roof. Space them out to provide balanced support for the board.
  2. Prepare your board: Place your paddle board on top of the pads, fin up or removed and in the rear, ensuring it’s centered on the foam blocks for stability.
  3. Strap it down: Lay the straps over the center of the board, making sure they’re lying flat without twists. Run the straps through your car doors (not the windows) and loop them back over the board. Buckle and tighten the straps, applying sufficient tension to secure the board but not so much as to damage it.
  4. Safety check: Give your paddle board a firm wiggle to make sure it’s securely attached. The board should not move side to side or front to back.

Unloading Your Paddle Board:

  • Carefully unbuckle and remove the cam straps.
  • Lift the board off the foam pads and clear of your vehicle.
  • Store straps and pads in your vehicle for the return trip.

Remember, when securing the paddle board without a roof rack, the primary goal is to protect your board and car from damage while ensuring the board does not move during transport.

Always double-check your work for secure fastening before hitting the road.

#2 In the Trunk

Transporting your paddle board in the trunk of your car is a practical option, particularly if you have an inflatable board or a large vehicle.

First, ensure your board is deflated and rolled up tight if it’s inflatable.

Hard boards may also fit into the trunk of some larger vehicles if the seats can fold down to allow for more space.

Follow these steps:

  • Clear your trunk of any objects that could damage the board.
  • If your board is inflatable, place it in its carrying bag. For a hard board, consider wrapping it in a protective cover.
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  • Position the board so that it either fits entirely within the trunk or protrudes safely through the folded seats into the passenger area.
  • Close the trunk carefully, making sure not to apply pressure or force it shut.

Remember, if the board extends into the passenger area:

  • Secure the board with bungee cords or straps to prevent it from shifting while driving.
  • Double-check visibility. Ensure the board does not obstruct your view through the rearview mirror.

If your board does not fit within the trunk or through the interior of your vehicle, you may need to consider other transportation methods.

Keep in mind that proper padding and secure transportation are crucial to avoid damage to your paddle board or vehicle.

#3 With a Bike Trailer

Transporting your paddle board using a bike trailer is a smart and eco-friendly option if you have a fair distance to travel from your home to the water.

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This method is especially beneficial for inflatable paddle boards, but with the right trailer, you can also move hard boards effectively.

  • Preparation:
    • Ensure the trailer is compatible with the size and weight of your paddle board.
    • Inflate your paddle board (if applicable) before loading it onto the trailer.
    • Use bungee cords or straps to securely fasten the board to the trailer.
  • Advantages:
    • You get to enjoy exercise during your commute.
    • It’s a cost-effective method since no fuel is involved.
    • Storage of the trailer is usually easier compared to car racks.

Remember to check your local laws regarding the transportation of equipment using a bike trailer, as regulations can vary.

Paddle board trailers often come equipped with wide wheels and a sturdy frame, allowing for a smooth journey.

Some trailers, like the reacha models, can carry multiple boards and offer different configurations to suit your needs.

When on the move, remain mindful of the trailer’s width and how it affects your maneuverability.

Always use bike lanes where available and consider the safety of others on the road.

With a little practice, you’ll find this method of transportation to be straightforward and enjoyable.

#4 Carry in a Backpack

Transporting your paddle board in a backpack is an excellent option, especially if you own an inflatable paddle board.

You can easily roll up your board and stow it in a backpack that is typically included with your purchase.

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This method offers convenience and portability, allowing you to transport your paddle board to remote locations or through areas with limited vehicle access.

Here’s how to properly pack and carry your paddle board in a backpack:

  1. Deflate your paddle board completely, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Fold or roll the board neatly, ensuring that it fits into the backpack without forcing it.
  3. Secure any accessories, such as fins, pumps, or paddles, in the designated compartments or attach them to the board.
  4. Adjust the backpack straps to fit your body comfortably before lifting it onto your back. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed to avoid strain.
  5. Check for any additional features in your backpack, such as wheels, that can make transportation even easier.

By using a backpack designed for paddle boards, you’re making good use of ergonomic features that are meant to ease the burden of transportation.

You’ll appreciate the padded straps and back panel, which enhance comfort during longer walks.

This method not only protects your board but also frees up your hands, giving you greater mobility and versatility on your paddle boarding adventures.

Remember to always handle your board with care to prevent any damage and extend its lifespan.

Keep the bag clean and inspect it regularly for any wear or tear to ensure it remains a reliable carrying solution.

#5 Use a Carry Strap

When transporting your paddle board, utilizing a carry strap can significantly ease the process, especially if you have a longer walk to your destination.

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These straps are designed to balance the weight of the board across your body, reducing strain and providing a practical method for solo transport.

Here’s what you need to know about using a carry strap:

  • Purchase a Quality Strap: Look for a durable strap with features like padded shoulder pads and sturdy buckles. For instance, the Jinvun Paddle Board SUP Strap provides comfortable carrying with an adjustable design.
  • Attachment Points: Ensure that the strap is securely fastened to your board at two points, usually around the nose and tail, to keep the board stable.
  • Balance the Board: Position the board against your body with the deck facing you. The strap should allow you to carry the board on your shoulder comfortably while keeping your hands free.
  • Safety First: When walking, be mindful of your surroundings to avoid knocking into obstacles or people. A partially inflated board can be harder to manage, so fully inflated or rigid boards are easier to transport with a strap.

By following these simple steps, you can transport your paddle board to and from the shore with ease, even if you have to cross some distance.

With the correct carry strap, moving your board becomes less of a chore and more part of the paddle boarding experience.

#6 With a Paddleboard Cart

Using a paddleboard cart is an efficient way to transport your stand up paddleboard (SUP).

Stand Up Paddleboard Cart | SUP
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It’s especially useful if you’re dealing with long distances between your vehicle and the water or traversing through areas where carrying the board isn’t feasible.

How it Works:

  • Align your SUP flat on the ground.
  • Position the cart roughly in the center of the board—that’s typically the balance point. In the case of long paddleboards, the cart must be positioned slightly farther back towards the fin.
  • Secure the board to the cart using the provided straps or bungee cords.
  • Once the board is stable, tilt it and the cart onto their wheels.
  • Use the handle to pull or push your SUP to your destination.


  • Ease of Use: The cart takes the weight off your arms, making transportation less physically taxing.
  • Convenience: Ideal for single paddlers who need to manage their gear independently.
  • Protection: Helps avoid damage to your SUP from dragging or dropping it.


  • Ensure the cart is designed for the size and weight of your paddleboard.
  • Practice installing and removing the cart to become proficient before heading out.
  • Check the tire inflation (if applicable) regularly to guarantee smooth transportation.

For a selection of quality carts, consider Free Shipping on Orders $50+ which may suit your SUP transport needs.

Always ensure that your equipment is appropriately secured to prevent any accidents or damages during transit.

#7 Use a Backpack with Wheels

When you have an inflatable paddle board, consider a backpack with wheels for transportation.

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Paddling locations aren’t always close to parking areas, and carrying your gear can be cumbersome.

A wheeled backpack can be a game-changer, providing both convenience and ease.

  • Comfort: Dragging your board instead of carrying it relieves your shoulders and back from strain.
  • Convenience: Wheel your board right from your vehicle to the water’s edge without the need for multiple trips.

Ensure your backpack is designed specifically for paddle boards; it should have sturdy wheels capable of handling different terrains, from pavements to sandy beaches.

For example, the backpack included in some inflatable paddle board packages is often equipped with this feature for exactly that purpose.

What to Look for:

  • Durable wheels: Check for large, wide wheels that can manage rough terrain.
  • Adjustable Straps: Ensure they are padded and adjustable for times you have to carry the backpack.
  • Sturdy Construction: Pick a bag made from robust material to withstand frequent use.

When using the backpack:

  1. Roll up your deflated board tightly.
  2. Pack the board, paddle, pump, and any other gear into the backpack.
  3. Fasten all straps securely.
  4. Pull the backpack using the handle, rolling it behind you.

Remember, a backpack with wheels might not be suitable for long distances or very rugged landscapes, but for typical paths, it offers a practical solution to transport your paddle board with minimal effort.

#8 Paddleboards on Trains

Transporting your paddleboard by train requires planning, as regulations can vary widely depending on the train operator.

First, check with the railway company for their specific policies regarding sports equipment.

Some operators may have size restrictions that could affect whether you can bring your board on board.

When you’re ready to travel, it’s advisable to pack your paddleboard in a bag that covers the entire board.

This not only protects your board but also makes it easier to carry and less likely to cause inconvenience to other passengers.

Here’s a quick checklist for train travel with your paddleboard:

  • Contact the train company to ensure paddleboards are allowed and understand any associated fees.
  • Measure your board and compare it with the allowed dimensions provided by the train company.
  • Use a board bag to protect and transport your paddleboard. Make sure it’s secure and has no loose straps.
  • Arrive early at the station, giving yourself ample time to navigate through the terminal and board the train without rushing.
  • Be prepared to store your board in a designated luggage area, which may not be immediately adjacent to your seat.

If your paddleboard is inflatable, deflating it and packing it into a backpack can sometimes be a more practical option.

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This makes the board more compact and manageable, and often more acceptable to train operators.

Remember that peak travel times can be particularly challenging for transporting larger items, so if possible, travel during off-peak hours when trains are less crowded.

This reduces the stress on both you and fellow travelers and ensures a smoother journey with your paddleboard.

#9 Paddleboards on Planes

When you plan to fly with your paddle board, check the airline’s regulations because size and weight limits may vary.

Typically, a paddle board can be checked as sports equipment.

Packing Your Paddle Board:

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  • For hard boards, ensure it’s under 9’6″ to avoid extra fees and use a padded board bag for protection.

At The Airport:

  • Arrive early as sports equipment can take longer to process.
  • Attach a fragile label to your paddleboard bag.

Additional Tips:

  • Inflation: If you must inflate on arrival, know the nearest location to do so. Most boards can be inflated with a hand or electric pump.
  • Transport: Rent a car with sufficient space if your destination requires a drive from the airport.

Keep in mind that some airlines have specific carrier restrictions, so reviewing these before flying will help you avoid any surprises.

Always contact the airline ahead of time to confirm their requirements for traveling with a paddle board.


What is the safest method to secure a paddle board to a rooftop carrier?

To ensure your paddle board stays in place on a rooftop carrier, use a reliable rack system and secure the board with straps that are tightened adequately but not excessively to prevent damage. Protective padding is advised to safeguard the board from scratches or dents during transport.

Can I transport an inflatable paddle board deflated and what are the best practices?

Yes, you can transport an inflatable paddle board deflated. The best practice is to completely deflate it, roll it up tightly, and store it in a protective bag to prevent any punctures or abrasions. Make sure it’s dry before packing to prevent mold and mildew.

What considerations should be taken when fitting a paddle board in an SUV?

When fitting a paddle board in an SUV, ensure that the board is placed diagonally if it’s not too long, with the tailgate securely closed or slightly ajar if necessary. Use padding to protect the board’s edges and the SUV’s interior. Also, secure the board to prevent it from shifting during the drive. Safety is paramount; never obstruct your view through the mirrors.

Are there effective solutions for hauling multiple paddle boards on a vehicle?

For hauling multiple paddle boards, use stacker bars on your roof rack or a dedicated multi-board carrier. Strap the boards together and to the rack with the fins removed or facing up to prevent damage. Balance the stack to avoid excess pressure on the boards or vehicle. Consider additional attachment points for stability during transit.

What are the best practices for carrying both a kayak and paddle board on a car?

When carrying both a kayak and paddle board, use a J-cradle for the kayak, and stack the paddle board on top or beside it, depending on the width of your roof rack. Secure both with their respective straps and check for any movement. If possible, use a rack divider for better separation and stability. Balance and careful placement are key to prevent damage to your car or gear.

How can a paddle board be safely transported using a pickup truck?

For pickup trucks, place the paddle board flat or on its side in the bed, with the tailgate up if it fits, or down and properly supported if the board extends out. Use tie-down straps connected to the truck’s built-in anchor points to secure the board. Consider a tailgate pad to protect the board and additional red flags or lights for longer boards extending beyond the tailgate.

Since 2016, Max has dedicated himself to reviewing SUP boards and accessories. What began as a humble blog has now grown into the premier German website for Stand Up Paddling enthusiasts.

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