Canoe Racks

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My last canoe rack left with my last truck (a 1974 Dodge D100). I now drive a 2000 GMC Sonoma (Chevy S10). What racks are suggested on a small pickup? Picts?
 
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2003 GMC Sonoma here. A cheep 3 door aluminum cap, artificial rain gutters atached to the side, and quick-n-easy brackets with 2 X 4 covered with carpet. Made my own artificial rain gutters. They must be attached on the side of the cap to lower the profile. Tried a few different rack systems and never found one that fits really good on the cab. Also the cab and bed twist at different times/amount. So have found it better to just connect canoe to the bed.

A Thule Xsporter is my dream but sadly it cost more than the above.
 
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I agree with cflcanoe, I waited to respond to see if anyone has a better idea. For a 14 year old truck, I wouldn't spend much money to custom fit anything. I use a cap from the late 90's on my 2013 Tacoma, not a great fit, but it didn't fit my 2001 Tacoma that well either. Caps are cheap and pretty easy to find on Craigslist and the junk yards. Take some measurements and be mindful of the slant of the caps front in relation to the slant on your cab. C clamps or bolts to hold it on, a couple of 2x4's across the top for the canoe with canvas or rug material for a scuff free ride. Maybe stack the 2x4's on shorter 2x4's to get some space.

Or you can build a cheap 2x4 rack, bolt the uprights front and back to the sides of the bed so you have a good base, that's where it will want to move. Buy some corner brackets for the corners, use sheet rock screws, a few braces here and there, maybe some floor pieces to give it a firm base, pretty cheap. A few test rides out on the big road to make sure it's solid and away you go.

Here's my 2013 Tacoma with the old cap and a 15' canoe. I also use fold away straps bolted under my hood near the grill for front tie down ropes and tie down the back to the bumper on long trips.
I have about about 1000 miles with this new truck carrying this canoe and have had no problems.

 
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Bird, You might want to check the DIY section on this site; I did a little report on the canoe racks I made. They didn't cost me much and now, several years later of use, I'm still happy with them.

Rob

PS: What ever you wind up with I'd really make sure it was secure; it would be awful to be going down the highway and have the canoe come off and go through someone's windshield.
 
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Best not to use sheetrock screws for this. They have a low shear strength and will corrode too fast. Deck screws would be better, but coated lag screws or bolts are the best way to go. Don't forget washers under the heads.
 
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My last canoe rack left with my last truck (a 1974 Dodge D100). I now drive a 2000 GMC Sonoma (Chevy S10). What racks are suggested on a small pickup? Picts?

Question first, does the Sonoma currently have a cap? You have a variety of manufactured and DIY options depending on whether it is an open or capped bed.

A cheep 3 door aluminum cap, artificial rain gutters atached to the side, and quick-n-easy brackets with 2 X 4 covered with carpet. Made my own artificial rain gutters. They must be attached on the side of the cap to lower the profile.

As Robin noted above that is a great, inexpensive solution if the truck has a cap, and if it doesn’t used aluminum truck caps can be found on the cheap. I’ve adapted a couple that didn’t quite match the bedrail dimensions.

Tried a few different rack systems and never found one that fits really good on the cab.

Thule and Yakima have systems that will fit on the truck cab, but even with a full-on four door crew cab the rack spread doesn’t come close to the 6 or 8 foot span provided over a truck’s bed.

Beyond the cab’s too-close crossbar spread I prefer having the rear crossbar as close as possible to the back of the truck, so I can slide boats up onto the racks. One caveat with that old-man loading technique – it helps if the crossbars are tall enough that a recurved bow doesn’t dig gouges in the cab roof while pushing the boat forward.

Newest ride



Oldest ride



Also the cab and bed twist at different times/amount. So have found it better to just connect canoe to the bed.

CFL, I am wondering about how much flex there is between the bed and cab on late model trucks. At least in terms of normal driving and not stupid off road tricks. The gap between the Tacoma cab and bed/cap is no more than one inch along its entire vertical span, which would seem to preclude much flex before truckbody parts started bashing together.

I’ll soon need to transport 3 boats on a crosscountry trip and don’t want to pyramid the third (I won’t have a baby, winch or spare gas can on this trip either).

I think I could safely accommodate 1” of flex with cradles or foam blocks and put a single Thule or Yakima bar in the forward cab roof position. That would give me 3 crossbars and allow for a narrow sea kayak nestled up the middle --=

Carrying three boats will likely kill the MPG, but can’t be helped.
 
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I agree flex would probably not be that bad on paved roads. Seems like we always want to get to that out of the way spot that no one else goes to. That's when I had problems.

As Oldie moldy says "PS: What ever you wind up with I'd really make sure it was secure; it would be awful to be going down the highway and have the canoe come off and go through someone's windshield." Every time I load up the canoe and it takes me twenty minutes or more to put the racks on then tie the the canoe down I think about friends who lost theirs on I-75. Still cringe when thinking of three Louts solos meeting a semi on the way to Juniper springs.
 
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Adding racks to truck caps

The cap on the 1984 Toyota above came off a friend’s defunct Datsun. The bedrail dimensions were close enough that retrofitting the cap was fairly easy and the price was right (free).

That cap did not have racks, but one of the local truck cap vendors had a set of inexpensive aluminum frame racks that fit. Knowing that I would be carrying two and sometimes three canoes I added a couple of extra L-brackets to beef up the supports of that aluminum frame.

Those manufactured racks were square aluminum stock that ran up the sides and over the roof of the cap, attached to the internal frame. They were strong enough to hold three boats when necessary.

Again, not a great photo.

 
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I have a 2003 Subaru Forester with a two-canoe-and-bike Yakima rack.
Scroll to the bottom here: http://codabone.net/canoeing/trips/flowage_camping.htm

I'm thinking of replacing the car, but it seems like all the good models have rooflines that slope downward toward the back. Yakima says it's no problem to have the leading end of the canoe angled upward, but I'm concerned about the added lift it would cause, and the resulting stresses on both the boat and the car.

Any thoughts about this?
 
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I'm thinking of replacing the car, but it seems like all the good models have rooflines that slope downward toward the back. Yakima says it's no problem to have the leading end of the canoe angled upward, but I'm concerned about the added lift it would cause, and the resulting stresses on both the boat and the car.

Any thoughts about this?

I think a number of cars have become less friendly for paddler boat toting on roof racks. The trend towards “euro-styling” sloped rooflines helps aerodynamics, but I’d not want that upwards angle for hauling a canoe down the inter-State. Aside from possible stresses on the rack the drag sucking aerodynamics into an open hull would kill the MPG

Some of the OEM roof rack systems have become essentially decorative, at least in terms of supporting a couple of RX tandems. The distance between crossbar positions had diminished as well; Honda sloped the roof and shortened the rack mounts on the CR-V, which previously had been a pretty good two-boat toter in the small SUV category. Some of the OEM Subaru racks have likewise been diminished in spread and strength.

I believe a lot of later model OEM racks are aimed towards carrying bikes, skis, snowboards and rocket boxes. Paddlers are an afterthought if that.

I don’t know about “all of the good models”. I was only focused on small trucks last vehicle purchase, and everyone’s criteria are different.

If the car is to be the daily driver to and from work, occasionally carrying a single canoe, the boat toting style and capacity would be less of a concern; I’d opt for the best MPG I can find and suffer the windage when hauling a canoe.

Beyond that I’d look for a vehicle for which easily removable racks are available. This was eye opening - Consumers Report magazine recently did measurements of MPG loss with roof racks and bikes on the racks (sadly not with boats)

Car: 2013 Honda Accord, with roof rack and wind deflector (not sure what type), 2 bikes. Speed: 65mph
No rack: 42mpg
empty rack: 37mpg
empty rack with wind deflector: 35mpg
rack with two bikes and air deflector: 27mpg

If your boat hauler is also your everyday commuter having a rack system that goes on and off easily will likely pay for itself over time.
 
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Racks for open truck bed

I was looking through the shop rack parts, seeing what I could re-use to put a single crossbar on the roof of the Tacoma and got to thinking about past truck rack solutions.

I’ve put a couple sets of rails on open truck beds. The best bang for buck has been construction type racks. Even the cheapest ones ($100) have a 500 lb capacity.

http://www.discountramps.com/pickup...4&cadevice=c&gclid=CLnf_ePu9rwCFfJ9OgodjXIAXw

The vertical posts that stick up above the crossbars are handy for dropping on an extension crossbar (a 2x6 hole sawed to fit over the posts) to carry two boats. In a pinch if you need to pyramid three canoes the 500 lb weight capacity is comforting.

The really cheap versions of construction racks will begin rust, but for a 14 year old vehicle I’d hit it with a wire brush and spray paint every few years.

For another $100 you can get that same design construction rack in better materials (and an even higher weight capacity), including ones designed to fit around a cap, so the weight of the load is carried by the bedrails, not the roof.

The cheapest DIY solution for open-bed truck racks I’ve used is a set of over-built sawhorses strapped securely to the bed via eyebolts positioned on the “crossbar”. Likewise strap the canoe’s belly lines to the bed. Grab the canoe and give the truck a shake. That’ll do.

Those are easy enough to custom make in the desired cab-roof-clearance height and two-canoe crossbar width. Gunwale stops are as simple as screwing in a couple of wood blocks. And when they come out of the bed you have another set of sawhorses.

Inelegant, if not downright rednecky, but when I needed a low-budget quick and easy open bed rack it worked.
 
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Flex between a truck cab box is real,but I have hauled all layups of canoes and kayaks thousands of miles on all sorts of roads 0n several ford rangers with no problems. I use either a high home made bar at the rear of the box or a home made bracket at the rear of a cap when it's on with a cab mounted front bar. I assume the degree of twist in within the canoe's tollerance. I tried using the front of my low cap to mount the front of my canoes to,but it was too low and boats hit the cab. I could have raised both bars for clearance,but already had bars for the cab. I really like longer bar spacing.
Just my experience,Turtle
 
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This is what I went with. Cheap. Very well made. Free two day delivery. Installed in less than an hour.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/650LB-TRUCK-LADDER-RACK-PICK-UP-UNIVERSAL-CONTRACTOR-PICK-UP-RACK-LUMBER-UTILITY-/400547123268?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item5d42781044&vxp=mtr [/QUOTE]

Hard to beat a bed rack with 650lb capacity for $80.

A couple of 2x6’s hole sawed for the posts that stick up above the crossbars and you’ve got an easily removable extension for hauling multiple boats. Simple wood gunwale blocks screwed into the crossbar extensions and the canoes go into the exact desired position fore and aft and side by side every time.

To make solo canoe loading easier I used two pairs of gunwale blocks on the front crossbar positioned to “capture” the bow of the canoes /^\. On the rear crossbar I paired the gunwale blocks a couple of inches apart to capture just the outboard gunwale / /.

With the rear crossbar relative unobstructed I slide the canoes on from the back until the bow fits into the front vee and then lift the stern and drop the outer gunwale into the \\ and // on either side.


Edit: If you DIY a 2-canoe hauler crossbar extension a couple of design features come in handy.

Gunwale blocks and a few strategically positioned eye bolts on the crossbar. I sized the extensions so that they did not stick out past the side view mirrors, thinking that was (hopefully) street legal and less likely to clip something on the side of the road or in tight spaces. That length also happened to fit diagonally in the bed of the truck when not in use.

If you are carrying two boats having wider crossbars allows for some air passage between them.

I’m convinced that this ^_^ presents less aerodynamic drag than carrying two boats inches apart _^^_
 
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