Canoe racks?

Jeff Reardon

Well-known member
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I'm buying a new truck--probably a Ford Ranger, although I'll look at Tacomas, too if I can't find the right deal. Whatever I buy, it will be my first truck with a crew cab and a short bed. I'll be putting some kind of rack on it. I think I can recycle my existing clamp on rack, but am wondering about how well that will work with the short bed. Is anyone aware of manufacturers who sell a single roof rack bar? I can find then for sale as a set, but I'd only need one. I am thinking that a forward mounted bar on the roof of the cab with a single bar mounted at the back end of the bed would balance better. It would also help when I car top my Sport Boat, with has too much rise in the bow to be carried bow forward on the rack on my existing 6' bed, two seat cab Frontier.

Thoughts? I really don't like the idea of carrying 16-18' canoes on a rack with bars less than 5' apart.
 
Jeff

I don't know about a Ford Ranger but you can get a roof rack from the factory on a Tacoma. There are a ton fo aftermarket ones too. Paired with a hitch extender you should be in business. I welded my own last summer and have found it very useful for hauling lumber and my poke boat. There are a lot of different models on the market.


 
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The distance between cross members shouldn't be a problem if you secure the bow and stern to the bumper/hitch area of the vehicle. I wouldn't carry an 18' canoe on a rack with 10' between the rails without securing it at both ends.
 
The distance between cross members shouldn't be a problem if you secure the bow and stern to the bumper/hitch area of the vehicle. I wouldn't carry an 18' canoe on a rack with 10' between the rails without securing it at both ends.
Agreed Scott, and that was how I always transported them on my smaller cars--but those canoes were long enough and centered on the rack with the rack centered on the vehicle so I had the bow line and stern line pulling in opposite directions. On my current truck, the bow of the canoe ends up about even with my windshield, so the bow line to front tow hooks is pulling forward. And the stern of the canoe hangs out over the bumper had ~4-5', so that line is also pulling forward. I use bow and stern lines, but I don't find they offer a lot of extra stability.

The bigger issue for me is the new Sportboat. That high bow is a real pain in the ass on my current rack--no way to mount the boat bow forward without raising the rack by at least 4" to keep the bow off my roof. I'm thinking a roof rack farther forward would solve that by moving the mounting point far enough forward to be well into the sweep up to the bow.
 
Jeff

I don't know about a Ford Ranger but you can get a roof rack from the factory on a Tacoma. There are a ton fo aftermarket ones too. Paired with a hitch extender you should be in business. I welded my own last summer and have found it very useful for hauling lumber and my poke boat. There are a lot of different models on the market.


Yes, there were similar racks offered on my Frontier, and I've been in friends' trucks that have them. I really don't like how close those bars are to each other with both mounted on the roof. A cross wind on the highway at 70 mph always feels really dicey to me. I've checked, and I can use my existing rack on the Ranger, if I don't care about putting a scratched up old rack on a shiny new truck. I'm hoping to find a single roof bar so I only need to use one of the two bed-mounted bars and can lengthen the distance between the two bars by mounting a roof bar pretty far forward. As noted above, the advantage for that high bowed Sportboat is the biggest factor. I just hate driving 3 hours north with a big flat stern pointed forward to catch all the air at highway speeds. And I'm frugal Yankee enough to hate the idea of buying a pair of bars when I only need one--not that that difference matters in the overall equation of buying a new vehicle . . . . So far I've only seen roof bars sold in pairs. I'm adding it to my "things middle aged men rant about" list, which is growing longer. (I turn 57 today--Get off my lawn!)

And those bed extenders are neat--I love the idea. But my current rack is wide enough for my biggest canoe plus a kayak, or for two smaller canoes side by side. I haven't seen a bed-extender bar that wide. (Mine is 65".) Marital bliss demands that the kayak comes on any Maine woods trip where my wife joins me, and the ability to put two canoes on the rack really makes vehicle shuttling on downriver trips easier.

If only my old Frontier would last another 14 years and 210,000 miles the world would be a beautiful place.
 
The greater width was one of the reasons I welded my own. Plus I made it sit at two heights, one level with tailgate, and one level with the tops of the wheel wells. If you can weld now is the time to break that skill out. I did need to source telescoping steel, but that wasn't a big deal.
 
Agreed Scott, and that was how I always transported them on my smaller cars--but those canoes were long enough and centered on the rack with the rack centered on the vehicle so I had the bow line and stern line pulling in opposite directions. On my current truck, the bow of the canoe ends up about even with my windshield, so the bow line to front tow hooks is pulling forward. And the stern of the canoe hangs out over the bumper had ~4-5', so that line is also pulling forward. I use bow and stern lines, but I don't find they offer a lot of extra stability.

The bigger issue for me is the new Sportboat. That high bow is a real pain in the ass on my current rack--no way to mount the boat bow forward without raising the rack by at least 4" to keep the bow off my roof. I'm thinking a roof rack farther forward would solve that by moving the mounting point far enough forward to be well into the sweep up to the bow.
That is a bit of a conundrum. Perhaps Eric's suggestion of a canoe hitch extender would be of help. Probably would be easier to load the boat on without dinging the vehicle.
 
Hitch extender with rack is the way to go as I don,t think your going to find a single rack that mounts to bed sidewalls, only pairs. I used a pair of Ladder racks sold at lowes that adjust height wise to give plenty of clearance over cab for the hook of a canoe bow prior to putting a cap on my trk. My bed was 6'6". Wasn,t an issue hauling canoe strapped down tight as far as movement.
 
I'm buying a new truck--probably a Ford Ranger, although I'll look at Tacomas, too if I can't find the right deal. Whatever I buy, it will be my first truck with a crew cab and a short bed. I'll be putting some kind of rack on it. I think I can recycle my existing clamp on rack, but am wondering about how well that will work with the short bed. Is anyone aware of manufacturers who sell a single roof rack bar? I can find then for sale as a set, but I'd only need one. I am thinking that a forward mounted bar on the roof of the cab with a single bar mounted at the back end of the bed would balance better. It would also help when I car top my Sport Boat, with has too much rise in the bow to be carried bow forward on the rack on my existing 6' bed, two seat cab Frontier.

Thoughts? I really don't like the idea of carrying 16-18' canoes on a rack with bars less than 5' apart.
Jeff

25 years ago I had the same problem, and had not discovered this Internet thing but lucked out and found these guys in the back of a canoeing magazine.


I already had a set of 4 Yakima towers, but I believe they sell them in pairs, but I bought and was really happy with their bed corner towers. I had to drill into the bed but they had removable nutserts and the machined top pieces accepted the Yakima bars I already had as well as any accessories. I liked the stability of the bars maximum distance apart from the front of the cab to the back of the bed, took my woodstrip canoe from Michigan to the Everglades on that rack.

Best
Chuck
 
I use the rack on my topper, where the canoe extends over my cab I use 2 of those foam car top boat carrier blocks. This works well for me.
 
Thanks, Chuck and Josh. This hypothetical has become real--I pick up the new truck on Friday. Good thing, too, because the rust on my old Nissan is bad enough that I am literally seeing pieces of rusted metal drop of the bed in my mirror now! Thule and Yakima both have bars with mounts that will fit, but only sell them in pairs. Rhinorack will sell a pair of mounts and a single bar but does not yet have one that fits a 2024 Ranger.

If anyone out there has a similar problem and wants to split a pair of Thule or Yakima bars--send them my way and we can share.

In the meantime, I was able to pull the old rack off my rusting truck yesterday with the help of a lot of PB Blaster, the longest Allen wrench I could find, and a cheater bar made out of pipe. The bar might have been a little too long, or the PB Blaster not allowed to soak long enough, because I broke off one of the C-clamp bolts. Fortunately I had loosened it enough first that I could hammer the clamp loose. No such luck on my hitch ball mount, which might as well be welded into the receiver. Fourteen years of Maine road salt, saltwater boat launches, and 206,000 miles have done their damage.
 
I'm buying a new truck--probably a Ford Ranger, although I'll look at Tacomas, too if I can't find the right deal. Whatever I buy, it will be my first truck with a crew cab and a short bed. I'll be putting some kind of rack on it. I think I can recycle my existing clamp on rack, but am wondering about how well that will work with the short bed. Is anyone aware of manufacturers who sell a single roof rack bar? I can find then for sale as a set, but I'd only need one. I am thinking that a forward mounted bar on the roof of the cab with a single bar mounted at the back end of the bed would balance better. It would also help when I car top my Sport Boat, with has too much rise in the bow to be carried bow forward on the rack on my existing 6' bed, two seat cab Frontier.

Thoughts? I really don't like the idea of carrying 16-18' canoes on a rack with bars less than 5' apart.
I'm having the same problem trying to find a rack for my Tundra. A 5'-6" box makes it hard to carry a 17' Grumman canoe. No one sells just one roof rack and I'd like to find a bed rack that I can still use my tonneau cover but no such luck.
 
Thanks, Chuck and Josh. This hypothetical has become real--I pick up the new truck on Friday. Good thing, too, because the rust on my old Nissan is bad enough that I am literally seeing pieces of rusted metal drop of the bed in my mirror now! Thule and Yakima both have bars with mounts that will fit, but only sell them in pairs. Rhinorack will sell a pair of mounts and a single bar but does not yet have one that fits a 2024 Ranger.

If anyone out there has a similar problem and wants to split a pair of Thule or Yakima bars--send them my way and we can share.

In the meantime, I was able to pull the old rack off my rusting truck yesterday with the help of a lot of PB Blaster, the longest Allen wrench I could find, and a cheater bar made out of pipe. The bar might have been a little too long, or the PB Blaster not allowed to soak long enough, because I broke off one of the C-clamp bolts. Fortunately I had loosened it enough first that I could hammer the clamp loose. No such luck on my hitch ball mount, which might as well be welded into the receiver. Fourteen years of Maine road salt, saltwater boat launches, and 206,000 miles have done their damage.
Jeff

It appears Oak Orchard does sell a single pair of Q-towers. I suspect they spilt the pack of 4 as they are also trying to sell their back racks.

Chuck
 
I'm buying a new truck--probably a Ford Ranger, although I'll look at Tacomas, too if I can't find the right deal. Whatever I buy, it will be my first truck with a crew cab and a short bed. I'll be putting some kind of rack on it. I think I can recycle my existing clamp on rack, but am wondering about how well that will work with the short bed. Is anyone aware of manufacturers who sell a single roof rack bar? I can find then for sale as a set, but I'd only need one. I am thinking that a forward mounted bar on the roof of the cab with a single bar mounted at the back end of the bed would balance better. It would also help when I car top my Sport Boat, with has too much rise in the bow to be carried bow forward on the rack on my existing 6' bed, two seat cab Frontier.

Thoughts? I really don't like the idea of carrying 16-18' canoes on a rack with bars less than 5' apart.
I have turned a 2x4 on edge and U-bolted it to my rack to give added height before. Then run eye bolts to tie into. Has worked on all my truck racks. But I still would turn my square-stern canoes around. Those 4' beds can really be a challenge. I have often thought of a hitch extender even for my 5'6" bed that I have currently.dodge with canoes.jpg
 
Yes indeed, thank you, Chuck. I will definitely be looking at Oak Orchard. FWIW, I also sent an email to my local Rack Attack outlet store, and they offered a single bar from Yakima with towers and assorted mounting hardware for $350. Seems steep, but the Yakima and Thule racks are pricy everywhere.
 
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