Can You Put A Kayak In A Ford Bronco? [Transportation Options Plus..]

The Ford Bronco is a popular SUV among outdoor enthusiasts. It makes it easy to maneuver outdoor trails, spacious interior, and available option upgrades like 4 wheel drive. But can you put a kayak in a Ford Bronco?

Can A Kayak Fit In A Ford Bronco?

No, a full-sized kayak won’t fit comfortably in the back of a Ford Bronco. The interior cargo space for the Bronco ranges from 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats, and 52.3 cubic feet (space varies between models) with the rear seats folded. The smallest adult kayak measures about 373.3333 cubic feet making it too long to fit inside the back.

That said the cargo space varies greatly among models, which we’ll take a closer look at below. Regardless of the model, a full-size adult kayak won’t fit in the back without having an overhang.

However, the Bronco is a great SUV for transporting your kayak gear, cooler and other equipment. It can also carry an inflatable or foldable kayak with ease.

Ford Bronco owners have a few options for transporting their kayak, which we’ll discuss below, but first, let’s take a closer look at this SUV.

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How Much Cargo Space Does A Ford Bronco Have?

Ford launched the newest Bronco in the summer of 2021. The 2-door models offer up to 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat and 52.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. 4-door models offer 35.6 cubic feet with the seats up and 77.6 cubic feet of space with the seats folded down.

If you have an older model, then you likely have less cargo space as the older models were smaller than the newest models.

So how do you transport your kayak in a Ford Bronco? After all, most people with older models may not want to or can’t afford to buy a new model. Those with a new model don’t want to scratch up the interior trying to get the kayak to fit.

Can You Haul a Kayak In A Bronco?

Yes, but you’ll have to change the hard-shelled kayak to an inflatable kayak. If that isn’t an option, you’ll have to let the kayak hang out the back window. The downside is you risk the window being damaged or the kayaking blocking your view while driving.

How Do You Transport a Kayak With A Ford?

The best way to transport a kayak with a Ford Bronco is to pull a lightweight trailer or install a roof rack. Let’s take a closer look at the options to see which one suits you best.

Utility Trailer

Kayak or utility trailers are extremely popular and make it easy to transport a kayak, canoe, etc regardless of how much interior cargo space you have. The downside is these trailers can weigh between 100 to 400 before it’s loaded.

So it’s important to understand the towing capacity of your vehicle, to ensure you don’t pull too heavy of a trailer. Exceeding the towing capacity of the vehicle can strain your engine and transmission, leading to costly repairs.

Engine Choices

In the past, consumers had two types of engines to choose from, and they were 4 cylinders or 6 cylinders. Both had sufficient power to tow a small lightweight kayak or utility trailer.

Towing Capacities

  • 4 cylinder: 1,000-2,000 pounds
  • 6-cylinder: 3,500

Today’s model vehicles have been redesigned and offer various options with different towing capacities. Here are the towing capacities I found for the different engine models.

Body StyleEngine TypeTransmissionTowing Capacity
2-Door2.3L EcoBoost®Manual3,500 lbs (Max Weight)
2-Door2.3L EcoBoost®Automatic3,500 lbs (Max Weight)
2-Door2.7L EcoBoost®Automatic3,500 lbs (Max Weight)
4-Door2.3L EcoBoost®Manual3,500 lbs (Max Weight)
4-Door2.3L EcoBoost®Automatic3,500 lbs (Max Weight)
4-Door2.7L EcoBoost®Automatic3,500 lbs (Max Weight)

EcoBoost® is the name of the Fords line of turbocharged, direct injection, and petrol engines designed to deliver more torque and horsepower while providing better fuel efficiency.

The newer models won’t have any issues pulling a lightweight kayak or utility trailer. Older models that are maintained properly and in good working condition will also be fine towing a small trailer.

That said, you may have to invest in a towing package so you’ll need to consult with a professional. Another thing to consider is the fuel consumption difference when pulling a trailer.

The added weight lowers your miles per gallon, and here’s how to calculate the gas mileage of towing a trailer. This is important as this can make the difference between towing vs installing a roof rack.

If you’re not sure whether your Bronco can pull a trailer, you can take it to your local mechanic and ask them if they recommend it.

Otherwise, you can use the next option to transport your kayak.

Roof Rack

Does the Bronco have a roof rack? The new hardtop Broncos come with roof rails with crossbars, making it easy to attach any type of regular cross rails, carriers, and etc. Installing a roof rack means you no longer have to worry about exceeding the towing capacity of the vehicle.

Can I Put A Roof Rack On A Ford Bronco?

Yes, brands such as Rhino, Thule, Swagman, Reese Explore, etc. make it easy to add an after-market carrier for outdoor equipment such as; skis, kayaks, paddleboards and etc.

Depending on how much exterior space the top of the Bronco has and what you’re carrying, you can choose from single top carriers, double carriers, or more. The type of carrier you choose will depend on how many kayaks you’ll be transporting at once.

Best Roof Racks for Broncos

With so many different models available, it can be confusing to choose which one works best. Here’s what I found after spending some time trying to find some with the highest reviews and lowest prices.

These Roof Rack Cross Bars are compatible with the Ford Bronco Sport 2020-2021 models. The aluminum top rails make it easy to carry kayaks, bikes, snowboards, and luggage.

They feature a waterdrop shape design that reduces noise and is wind resistant which will help improve fuel capacity. The installation process is easy and doesn’t require any cutting or drilling.

If you’re like me, you like the look and security of J-style carriers. Yakima offers Foldable Rooftop Kayak Carriers with a 2 kayak capacity. This carrier comes with all the hardware, heavy-duty straps you’ll need to secure the kayak securely, locks sold separately.

The versatile carriers make it easy to adjust the position of the carriers and fold down when not in use.

How to Install A Roof Rack On A Bronco?

The installation process will depend on the type of carrier you get. However, the steps for installing one on an SUV are similar no matter which type of vehicle you own. The video below will walk you through the installation process of installing an OEM roof rack on your SUV.

How to Load A Kayak on a Bronco?

Loading a kayak on an SUV can be challenging with two people, but even more complicated with one person. Here are the steps to load a kayak for anyone, regardless of gender and number of people.

  • Empty out the kayak ( you want it empty so nothing falls on you.
  • Lift the kayak from either the front or rear and lean it lenghtwise against the vehicle.
  • Walk the stern around so the kayak is sitting perpendicular.
  • Using your legs, slide the kayak (from the bottom) until it is sitting on top of the vehicle. If you’re short, you may need a ladder.
  • Reach under the bow and spin it sideways.
  • Slide the stern until it is sitting on the kayak rack.
  • Ensure both sides of the kayak are sitting securely in the rack.
  • Strap the kayak down with the attached straps, rope or tiedowns to prevent it from moving during transport.

Can You Carry a Kayak on the Roof of a Bronco Without A Roof Rack?

As mentioned above, the hardtops come pre-installed with crossbars. While it has been done before, and you’ve likely seen someone driving their SUV with a kayak strapped to the crossbars.

The downside is the crossbars are not meant to carry kayaks, canoes, etc. They are meant to provide an attachment point for other devices that secure loads properly.

If you do decide to carry the kayak on the manufacture rails, ensure it is properly secure from all sides. Otherwise, you risk the chance of it falling to the sides or sliding to the front or rear while driving.

Kayaking Equipment That Fits Inside a Ford Bronco?

The wet bags, inflatables, foldable kayaks, life jackets, paddles, and other small gear will fit comfortably inside the interior cargo space. Most paddles come apart for easy transport.

If the paddles won’t come apart, secure them tightly inside the kayak, so they don’t fall out.

Final Word

Hardshell recreational, fishing, sea, etc kayaks won’t fit inside the Bronco without having to overhang the back and risking damage to the rear window and interior.

The spacious interior makes it a great vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts because it will hold all your other must-have gear such as coolers, first aid kit, camera, sunscreen, water shoes, etc.

The best option for transporting a kayak, canoe, etc is to tow a lightweight trailer or install an aftermarket roof rack.

Otherwise, consider renting kayaks for your next adventure!

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