Carry a canoe on full size truck

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to carry a canoe on a full size truck. I have a 15ft canoe and have been just loading it in the bed of the truck with the tailgate down for local farm pond fishing. I am looking to travel a great distance this time with my canoe and family so the bed of the truck has to be closed and will have luggage in it.

I have been looking at canoe loaders that would work for the rear of the canoe but the big question I have is what is some ideas to lay the front in the roof of the truck. I have thought about foam blocks and straps or a strap on roof bar. I have a Chevy Silverado crew cab, has anyone used the same kind of method?

Suggestions welcome

Thank you

foam blocks
are ok but the bow needs a V strap onto both sides hood using straps bolted to the inside under hood fender rail. And a loop around the hull fixing side to side movement atop the cab maybe above the mid door pillar.

I’m from the drill roof and add studs committee. Not a popular option.

Here in S. Florida we see 4 aluminum pillars sprouting from bed holding 2 transverse bars. The rig stands free on nicely cast aluminum pillars.

Other arrangements:

lets replace those alu bars

– Last Updated: Apr-16-16 9:36 AM EST –

with wood timbers. These are welded steel but the principle with wood is the same.

I cant believe I am playing DKs game

I would send you pix of my truck but I have a cap on it so its a totally different arrangement.


I always have my rack supported by the truck bed only. We live on a dirt road and use logging roads with big dips and the cab and the body does twist.

Canoe on full size
Thank you, that sure gives me some ideas to play with.

Yakima Outdoorsman
Had it on a few trucks now and have replaced bolts a few times as I live on BAD gravel roads. I also have friends with the same rack. Works well and is cheaper than some, but the most reasonable “Good” rack I’ve found. Get the 78" rack for 2 boats

Whatever rack
you use be certain to tie down bow and stern for highway travel!

Ladder rack
I would use a rack that attaches to the bed of the truck only. Since the bed of the truck and the cap are separate you can get some twisting between the bed and cap of the truck when going over uneven surfaces. This can be occur when pulling into driveways or parking lots, not just on uneven off road situations. If the canoe is secured to a rack in the bed and attached to the roof of the cap of the truck you risk putting a twisting force on the canoe. You can buy or make a bed rack. If you are lacking the tools or skills to weld your own rack and don’t want to spend the money on a purchased rack one can easily be made using iron pipe and fittings from the local home supply store. Just be aware that by the time you buy the pipe and fittings, a purchased rack may not cost much more.

Agree on the twisting.
I’m on my second pair of Thule X-sporters. I sold my first pair when I got a cap on my truck. I got another pair of X-sporters to use because I have to take the cap off once in while (and use the truck like a truck), and got frustrated because I couldn’t go boating. The X-sporters are pricey, very beefy, and have the virtue of installing quickly.

But before the X-sporters, I used a home made 2x4 rack that I straped into the bed of the truck. Worked great. I put drop-down wheels on it so I could roll it out of the bed with the boats still loaded.

On an older truck, I had a single bar on the roof of the cab, and a bar that rose up from the bed rails. I never had a problem with it but above poster is correct that trucks twist. You are better off to have both racks on the bed or both racks on the roof, but not one bar split between each.


bed vs frame

– Last Updated: Apr-17-16 9:26 AM EST –

in the images link see several hitch mounts for the stern....hitch mounts to frame. I'm not sure this answers the twisting problem.

The body of the E250 here is flexible on ? 6 bushings a side. Seen as moving door positions esp at cargo.

Assume the cab is more flexible than the bed...for noise n basic vibration. True ?

Or recall the empty 18 wheeler flatbed ?

The Navajo Bridge !

'But before the X-sporters, I used a home made 2x4 rack that I straped into the bed of the truck. Worked great. I put drop-down wheels on it so I could roll it out of the bed with the boats still loaded.'

wheels ? got a video ?

proof !

Bed covered how?
Tonneau cover, tarp, bed cap? I have two options for carrying my pack canoe (12’) on my Tacoma. Without a shell on the back I can lash it to the cab roof rack. The inverted ends do not contact the truck or block vision. I wanted to enclose the box to keep stuff and dogs out of the weather. I installed an extended height shell to cover the box. Then, I mounted racks on the shell. I measured carefully to ensure that I had enough height to clear the bow from contacting the cab roof. You could have similar proportions with a full size truck and a 15’ canoe. The fiberglass shell is a bit of an investment, but can be made to work with a 12’ - 15’ canoe.

heachache rack?
What I use to haul my kayak is a headache rack permanently mounted behind my cab, and a t bar in the hitch. For short trips around town I skip the T bar and just throw the boat in the bed handing off the headache rack. But for long distance I use both so the boat is flat and not acting like a huge sail.