Canoe on Pickup Rack

I am looking for your advice about putting a canoe on a pickup truck for transport. I am purchasing a 15 ft canoe and I want to transport it on my 2003 f150 supercrew (4 dr) pickup. From a utility standpoint, I would like to put it on a standard rack system (like TracRac) such that I could also use the rack for other purposes. That type of system would support only above the truck bed (6.5 ft length). So a portion of the canoe (~4ft) would extend over the cab and another portion beyond the back of the truck. I anticipate that I could slide more forward to minimize the amount hanging off the back.

The other alternative would be a single over the cab bar and a hitch mounted T-bar.

I am not looking for advice on systems/or brands…just looking for advice on supporting/transporting a canoe on a short span associated with the truck bed rack system. Is it OK to support less than half of the canoe length? What is the danger in doing so? I understand the concepts behind tie-downs.

Majority of the time, transport distance will be short (less than 15 minute drive), but each year the family does a vacation that involves a 4 hour drive on the highway.

Many thanks for your thoughts.

Here is my set up
Given it is on a cap, but the support it’s self is similar. I store it on here all summer so I am ready to go at any time. I have had it in high winds, hwy speeds and have never had an issue. I use 2 ratchet straps over the top and no bow or stern straps. I can rock the truck when I grab the stern and shake it. The boat doesn’t move on the rack.

Plenty of people do it, including me. My setup is is a Yakima hitch mounted boat loader, and right behind the cab of the truck I have a Yakima Sportsman bed rack. I just throw the boat up there with a little more of the canoe hanging over the front cab and then lash it down. The bow of the boat is too far back for me to use a tie down off the bow to the bumper so to get around that I have a 3rd strap I usefrom the yoke to a tie down hook in the bed, just as extra security so in the event the 2 top straps fail the canoe couldn’t fly forward during an accident or something. It sounds like you might already have your bed rack so you’re ready to roll.

No problem. I have done it with a
rack made of 2x6 in the stake pockets and a rack like you are looking at. I have also carried 16’ boats on a compact car with 4’ between the bars.

works fine
I use a TracRack with the cantilever add-on. I’ve been using it for several years and it has worked great. The first truck I used it on had a regular cab and used it without the cantilever. My current truck has an extended cab and the cantilever section keeps the canoe decks from hitting the top of the cab.

Cantilever a good idea, if you can do it

– Last Updated: Mar-20-11 4:28 PM EST –

Lots of people are tempted to tie the canoe on pickup racks with the boat quite a bit forward of center so there's less overhang at the back (especially with the new four-door pickups which have a micro box instead of a normal cargo bed). I've found that the degree to which a canoe gets 'torqued' by crosswinds or the turbulence behind semi-trailers on the highway gets greatly amplified if the canoe is mounted that way, but is fantastically reduced if the canoe is mounted rearward of center on the racks. With a cantilevered front rack, you can easily position the boat so that it acts like a weather vane instead of getting yanked and slammed by the wind, without making it overhang the rear of the vehicle too much. At the very least, you won't need to bind the canoe so tightly to keep it in place, but on windy days you'll feel the difference in any case.

I used a single over the cab,
and a 2" x 4" bolted into and across the rear of a cap.

Again, the cap is serving a double purpose, and the 5/16" bolts of the 2" x 4" need to go through the main aluminum support square tubing at the rear of the cap. Worked great for the few years that I had it.

Good luck!

i have the same setup
i love the rack. You will not get a better value. The 6ft spread is more than 90% of rigs out there allow. Your boat will be sufficiently supported. Dont worry about whats hanging out the back. The boat will be over 6 ft off the ground, so it is not really a hazard. If you are really worried just get a red rag with a grommet to attach to the rear of the boat. The only thing that is bad is parking. I have a 17ft kayak and it has been a problem when there is only parking spots that face each other because you cant back in.

Just a heads up. yakima stuff will fit the rack with a little modification of the the hardware.

Ryan L.

I use the Yakima Q-Tower and bar …

– Last Updated: Mar-21-11 1:08 AM EST –

...... on top the cab , and a vertical T bar (Reese) from the hitch at rear . Also a 9" hitch extension so I can open the gate and cap completely w/o interfering with the vertical bar (ours is a Dakota , your F150 might need different length extension to do the same ??) .

I put a cab height cap on the truck because I like to have a place to haul my gear and such that's out of the weather and can be locked inside , plus it makes a great place for a sleeping bag sometimes .

It all comes off and put away in 10 mins. when not hauling the canoe . The rotating T bar makes for real easy loading too (one handed even) .

Want a pic. , send a mail . I personally don't like the idea of a short spread between mounts .

But then again , this system isn't meant to haul heavier loads like piles of lumber like on an open pickup truck rack ... on an open pickup rack I wouldn't use any kind except an over cab cantilever type .

Many thanks
Many thanks to everyone who responded with ideas and photos. Your comments have been very helpful.