Full Size Truck Rack

-- Last Updated: Mar-04-08 12:26 PM EST --

I was looking for some inexpensive ideas for carry my kayaks on my full size Ford F-150 extended cab. It has an 8' bed which is alright if I am going short distances with the yaks, but we are planning a trip to North Carolina from Ohio so I need some way to get them on the roof and across the bed. I am fairly handy and ok with a welder but only have about 2 weeks to come up with something. One Yak is a 12FT Old Town Dirigo and the other is a 15FT Perception Search SOT. Any Ideas? Wood, Metal, Black ABS?

Any help would be great,

Ladder racks

– Last Updated: Mar-04-08 1:02 PM EST –

About a third the price of "sport racks," even in stainless steel. Pad with scraps of outdoor carpet and extend vertical with pressure treated deck rail. The one-sided ones go on or off in minutes and hold 2-3 boats. Pic:

tube steel
I was able to weld together a rack of half inch squared tube steel for 40 bucks. Don’t know if the steel and welder is as easy to come by for you as it was for me, but I couldn’t be happier with mine and the price vs what I ended up with was great!

I built and still have a rack for my old
F150 out of 2"x6" and 2"x4" treated lumber.Cut the 2x6 board ends to fit the stake pockets for the uprights and use 2x6 for the cross pieces. I cut the hull profiles in the cross pieces. The 2 ‘towers’ are held together with hurricane anchors . The 2x4 was used to stabilize the towers braced between them.I snugged the whole thing down with ratcheting straps.It carried 2 boats and more many miles without a problem.If you get to Greenville,SC , you can have the whole thing.

I just built a similar rack. For saddles, I just bolted a set of hull saddles from an old Yakima rack to the cross member. Took no time to build and I can put it on/take it off in seconds.

I think building your own is definitely the way to go. It’ll be custom fit to your truck and you can design it to use you truck’s stake pockets. Many of the off-the-shelf solutions required drilling and mounting points inside your bed.

If you have easy access to steel and welding equipment, that would be the way to go.

truck Racks
You all have really gave me some great ideas. Thank you. I would love to see some pictures of how people transport there yaks.



SB F150
A rack is not an option for me because I have a Leer camper shell.

I have a short bed F150 which is 2 feet shorter than yours, haul 12 - 15 foot boats 300-400 hundred miles tied in with the tail gate down and flagging on the kayaks.

Good luck and have a great trip.

Paddlin’ on


More photos of handmade racks?
I was just about to post the same question. I purchased a 1999 Nissan Frontier xtra cab pickup and I’m planning to build something as well. I have old Yakima bars from a van I used to drive, and the new saddles to carry the yaks, so I could build a frame to support the bars. I’m not a welder, but don’t mind cutting and working with metal using nuts and bolts. Or perhaps I could use 2 by 6s for the vertical supports, then 2 by 4s between them for horizontal support. Any more ideas or photos would be appreciated.

Actually, it is an option.
I have a short bed Chevy truck with a camper shell. At a lake nearby I met a guy with a rack attached to the camper shell. Took a lot of pictures and went to a welder. Aluminum bar stock and a few bolts.

low rider
I made my rack so it sits right on the sides of the bed of my truck, I c-clamp it down. You us way less mat. and time, don’t have to worry about bracing.It keeps the boats down out of the wind, but still have the whole bed for gear. I only have a 6.5’ bed so I had to let the rack hang off the back of the bed about 18". I carry up to 15’ boats on it with no problem.

I build my rack for an F150 from
EMT electrical conduit from Home Depot. Got the Depot to cut the uprights to length, put them in the stake holes, used 78" Yakima cross bars I’ve had since '84 and put the thing together by drilling the uprights to accept U bolts. The conduit is 1 1/2 tubing. I would have used either conduit or galvanized pipe for the cross bars had I not owned the Yakima’s. Even if I had bought the pipe for the cross bars, it would have cost less than $60. The rack has seen 15 650 mile round trips in 3 years with no problems. It does help to put angle bracing on it.

the do-it yourself wooden rack that goes into the stake rack pockets is good, and easily removeable.

A topper is a nicer solution, since it gives you the benefit of covered, lockable storage for your gear, and a “camper” to use for overnight at the put in. All you need then is to buy 4 of the “rain gutter” brackets to bolt to the topper shell, and add a Quick n’ Easy rack. If you make your own wooden cross bars, the whole rack will cost you about $100, plus whatever you spend on the topper. I have a simple cheap aluminum topper, and have bolted one set of the rain gutter brackets to it, bolting into a piece of 2"x6" that rests on the rails - the 2x6 carries all the weight that way.

To add to that, you can find
used toppers often for $100 or less. On one truck, I made my “gutters” from aluminum channel stock for the topper. My Yakima bars had the gutter type towers, so was able to use them. Damn the car makers for abandoning gutters.

I found myself in the same boat…
eerr sorry%& anyway I had to get rid an old dryer a the town transfer/ dump and saw a ton of barely used exercise equipment and walla a temporary rack…well I used it for a couple of years before buying a t-rack http://community.webshots.com/album/562695767qhGoiY

Bring back the rain gutters
I wish to protest!!! Bring back the rain gutters. Love the ideas everyone, keep them coming, this is great.


thule xsporter
this is the coolest accessory you can get for your rig. this rack lowers when you are not using it. break down, buy something nice.