7 Portable Fishing Boats That Fit In Your Truck Bed

Without a doubt, a boat is on every serious angler’s wish list.  You can find more fishing hotspots and truly boost your catch rate.  The only issue is that not every angler wants the expense and hassle of towing, storing and licensing a boat with a trailer.  

Whether you’re an avid angler or only fish two or three times each season, a boat is an essential tool to take your fishing skills to the next level.  But don’t feel left out.  As long as you have a pickup truck with a cargo bed, you too can have a portable fishing boat.

For those of you looking to get a boat without needing a trailer, we’ve compiled a list of 7 awesome boats that are small enough to fit in the bed of a truck.  Take a look and maybe you will be cruising around the lake sooner than you think.

Here is a quick peek at the 7 best portable fishing boats that will fit in your truck bed:

  • Sun Dolphin Sportsman Fishing Boat
  • Sun Dolphin American 12 Jon Boat
  • West Marine WaterTender
  • West Marine Classic Dinghy
  • Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat
  • Lowes Boats L1232 Aluminum Jon Boat
  • Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 Sit-In Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Sportsman 10 Fishing Boat

Dimensions
  • Length:  123” 
  • Width:  49.5” 
  • Height:  20.25”  
  • Weight:  138 lbs
  • Capacity:  525 lbs 
Key Features
  • Fits in standard or small truck beds
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Made of UV-resistant high density polyethylene
  • Grooved battery box location
  • Pre-wired electrical connectors for trolling motors
  • Bow and stern motor mounts
  • 2 adjustable and removable swivel seats for optimal comfort
  • Compatible with a 40 pound thrust trolling motor or 3.5 HP gas motor

This might be the only fishing boat you’ll ever need.  This 2-person boat has excellent stability and includes two removable swivel seats.  Bow and stern motor mounting locations come pre-wired for a trolling motor.  

The flat bottom shape provides ample stability for active fishing styles.  Both anglers can lean to one side without fear of tipping.  Combined with a trolling motor with up to 40 pounds of thrust, you can efficiently chase fish all over the lake.  Best suited for  calm waters.

At 138 pounds, it is a bit heavy for one angler to transport alone.  With two people, it can easily be loaded in the back of a pickup.  An 8 foot model is also available and weighs in at only 100 pounds.  

See Sportsman 10 on Amazon

Sun Dolphin American 12 Jon Boat

Dimensions
  • Length:  144” 
  • Width:  52”
  • Height:  21” 
  • Weight:  110 lbs
  • Capacity:  532 lbs
Key Features
  • Fits in a standard truck bed
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Made of UV-resistant High density polyethylene
  • 2 grooved battery box location
  • Pre-wired electrical connectors for trolling motors
  • Bow and stern motor mounts
  • 2 large bench style seats
  • Rod holders, oarlocks and storage trays
  • Compatible with a 40 pound thrust trolling motor or 6 HP gas motor

You will appreciate the extra space of this 12 foot Jon boat.  There is ample space for tackle and gear while providing plenty of comfort for a day of fishing on the water.  

The sleek hull design can handle moderate chop on larger lakes and proves to be maneuverable and fast when outfitted with a small gas motor up to 6 HP.   There are tons of features on this boat and you can go all out with customizations.  

To top it off, one person can slide this boat in and out of a standard sized truck bed without difficulty.  However, the boat may need to be tilted on edge in smaller truck beds.  The Sun Dolphin American 12 Jon boat is easily the most versatile boat on this list.

See American 12 on Amazon

West Marine WaterTender

Dimensions
  • Length:  112”
  • Width:   55” 
  • Weight:  106 lbs
  • Capacity:   480 lbs
Key Features
  • Fits in a standard truck bed
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • High density polyethylene two-piece hull 
  • Molded carry handles
  • Integrated oarlocks
  • Bench seats
  • Rated for three people
  • For use with up to 5 HP outboard or standard trolling motor

This little boat is ready to handle anything a day of fishing might throw your way.  The tri-hull design effortlessly cuts through wind chop and stays stable on the water.  

A single motor mount in the stern can handle a trolling motor or a 5 HP gas outboard.  The 55 inch width is nice to stretch out in but it does seem a bit slower on the water due to increased drag.  It includes waterproof storage for small personal items and built-in oarlocks.  

The WaterTender is plenty light for two people to load in a pickup.  Keep in mind that short bed trucks with narrow wheel wells may not haul this boat as easily as other boats on this list.

See the WaterTender at West Marine

West Marine Classic Dinghy

Dimensions
  • Length:  117”
  • Width:   55” 
  • Weight:  100 lbs
  • Capacity:   443 lbs
Key Features
  • Fits in a standard truck bed
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • High density polyethylene two-piece hull 
  • Sturdy carry handles
  • Integrated oarlocks
  • Bench seats
  • Rated for three people
  • For use with up to 6 HP outboard or standard trolling motor

The classic dinghy design is tried and true and offers anglers loads of comfort and space for fishing.  The semi-v bow speeds through choppy water and allows for excellent maneuverability in tight fishing spots.  

While it can handle up to three people, it is actually most comfortable with only one or two anglers.  The rear bench is located a little too close to the motor mount for my taste but this is a minor concern for most fishing situations.

It is roughly the same size as the WaterTender and will fit in any standard sized truck bed.  The semi-v hull rides nicely on top of the wheel wells in narrower beds as well.

See Classic Dinghy at West Marine

Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat

Dimensions
  • Length:  108”
  • Width:  56”
  • Height:  26”
  • Weight:  77 lbs
  • Capacity:  400 lbs
Key Features
  • Easily fits in all truck bed sizes when collapsed 
  • Limited 2 year warranty 
  • Transport wheel included for easy launching
  • Removable gear bags and dry storage
  • 6 position rod holder 
  • Includes 2, 7 foot aluminum oars with 3 position oar locks
  • 2 position trolling motor mount rated for up to 30 pounds of thrust
  • Anchor attachment
  • Steel tube construction
  • Heavy duty pontoons with abrasion resistant PVC bottom coating
  • Quick inflate valves for use with many air pumps

For the lone angler, it’s hard to beat the portability and fish catching capability of the Colorado XT.  From the versatile cargo bags to the removable stripping basket, everything is made with one purpose in mind, fishing.  And it’s not just for fly anglers.  Everyone can appreciate the benefits of this boat.

Most importantly, it fits easily into the bed of just about any pickup truck.  It can even fit in an SUV or van.  At only 77 pounds, most individuals will have no problem launching into a river or lake.  The included transport wheel makes the job even easier and it stows away when not in use.

While it is plenty comfortable for a full day of fishing, it can be tough to stretch out in.  You are generally stuck in one position until you get to shore for a break.  The foot rests are adjustable but let your feet dangle and they will get wet.  However, the fishing prowess of the Colorado XT out shines most of its faults and is ideal for anglers on calm waters.

See the Colorado XT on Amazon

Lowe Boats L1232 Aluminum Jon Boat

Dimensions
  • Length:  140”
  • Width:  48”
  • Height:  16”
  • Weight:  90 lbs
  • Capacity:  389 lbs
Key Features
  • Fits in most truck bed sizes
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty
  • Grab handles for easy carrying
  • Durable riveted aluminum construction
  • Built in oarlocks
  • 2 passenger bench seats with extra bow seat
  • Flat bottom for stability and optimum space management
  • Transom drain plug
  • 15 inch transom for up to 3.5 HP outboard

The dependability of the rugged aluminum Jon boat is hard to beat.  With its light weight durability, it’s no wonder the Lowe L1232 is a favorite among anglers on lakes and protected bays.  

This boat is perfect for two anglers and can be fully customized to meet your angling needs.  Whether you’re trolling for trout or top water casting for bass, you will appreciate the versatility of the L1232 on the water.  

At only 48 inches wide, it easily slides into most truck beds between the wheel wells or sits comfortably with a slight tilt in narrower beds.  One person can load and unload this boat but two people make the job effortless.  It also handles a trolling motor or 3.5 HP out board.  You won’t win any races but you will catch fish.   

See the L1232 Jon Boat at Lowe Boats

Sun Dolphin Excursion 10 Sit-In Fishing Kayak

Dimensions
  • Length:  115”
  • Width:  29”
  • Height:  14”
  • Cockpit size:  17” wide x 35” long
  • Weight:  41 lbs
  • Capacity:  250 lbs
Key Features
  • The most portable boat on the list; fits in all truck beds or on a roof rack
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • UV-resistant high density polyethylene hull
  • Nice balance for easy one person carry
  • 2 flush mount rod holders
  • 1 swivel rod holder
  • Roomy sit-in cockpit
  • Adjustable foot braces and padded seat
  • Watertight storage compartment and shock cord rigging
  • Comfortable thigh pads
  • Excellent stability

Let’s face it, no list of portable fishing boats is complete without a fishing kayak.  The Excursion 10 is the lightest and most portable entry on the list.  Virtually every truck has the capacity to carry this fishing machine.

You might not be able to speed around with a motor but you can’t beat the stealth of a kayak.  Whether trolling or fly fishing, the versatility of a fishing kayak is unmatched and the Excursion 10 is the most affordable way to begin a new chapter in your fishing adventures.

Most of our fishing has been done from a kayak and we can personally vouch for the advantages of fishing from one.  Want to learn why you should try kayak fishing? Check out our article discussing the 7 reasons you should fish from a kayak.

See the Excursion 10 on Amazon

What size truck bed do you need for a boat

Just about any pickup truck can haul a small portable boat.  On average, standard truck beds measure at least 48 inches between the wheel wells.  

Even small truck beds have an overall width to fit most of the boats on this list.  For narrow beds, the boat may need to tilt up and rest on one edge of the bed rail.  Just make sure you can secure it adequately.

Before you select a boat, measure the inside dimensions of your truck bed.  Measure the length with the tailgate down as well as the width between the wheel wells.  

Whether you have a short bed Toyota Tacoma or a full size RAM 1500, a bed extender is a worth while investment for carrying longer boats.  It’s cheap insurance and will give you peace of mind knowing your boat is properly secured.  The Tricam Bed Extender is the most popular choice and is available on Amazon.

Maximum boat length 

The maximum boat length allowed in a truck bed depends on the length of the bed.  The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Size Regulations law allows for loads to extend 3 feet in front, 4 feet behind and 4 inches on either side of the vehicle.

For most standard bed lengths of 8 feet, a 12 foot boat is the limit.  If you have a short bed truck we advise hauling a boat no longer than 10 feet.   

Of course, you can haul an even longer boat when using a lumber rack that mounts on the bed.  Although, the cost of a rack and the difficulty of loading a large, heavy boat on it makes a boat trailer more appealing.

State and local laws may differ from federal regulations so check for restrictions where you live. 

Safety and laws

Before you buy any boat to haul around in your pickup, you should be aware of local laws and safety requirements.  In most states, you are legal if you have a red flag on the end and the boat is properly secured to the bed.  Always tie the boat down with the bow pointed rearward. 

The tricky part is securing the boat.  The last thing you want is for the boat to come loose and cause an accident.  Not all truck beds are created equal and some have limited tie down spots.  However, most truck beds do have anchor spots on the rear bumper or hitch and also in the back of the bed.

The safest way to tie down a boat is with ratchet straps.  They hold strong and don’t slip or stretch like rope and bungee cords.  One strap should be placed to pull the boat towards the truck cab and another to hold down the boat tight to the bed.  Two straps are usually enough.  You can add additional straps if you have a bed extender.  

For day time travel, you should have a red flag on the end but some areas require red lights when hauling extended loads at night.   

Conclusion

Well, there you have it.  These are our top picks for portable fishing boats that can fit in the bed of a pickup truck.  Don’t limit yourself to bank fishing forever just because you want to avoid the hassle of a boat trailer.  Try out one of these boats and you’ll start taking your fishing game to the next level.