Gear Racks

I just got a 2004 toyota tacoma 4x4 extra cab. So I’m getting a camper shell, or topper if you will. I wondered if I should put one gear rack towards the back of the topper and one on the cab of the truck, or should I just put both racks on the topper. I’ll be hauling a 15 canoe. I’m concerned that if I put both racks on the topper, the canoe will overlap on to the cab and scratch the cab. Any practical experience would help. Thanks.

I hate racks
They’re just another failure point. Foam blocks! Get some real contact, some real friction working for you.

Put them both on the bed cap.
One of my many daughters has the same truck as yours.

Put the rear one as far back as you can get it, and the front one as far forwards as possible.

I have a Ford F-150 and also have done it that way.

You will get a flexing between the cab and the truck, so don’t put one on each.



your either trolling, or haven’t been…
carrying boats around too long!



I’ve got that truck also and…
I’ve been looking at the cab itself. It is about 4 1/2 feet from where the windshield meets the roof to where the rear window meets the back side of the roof. Is that a far enough span to put two racks on, or will they be too close together?

I carry two eighteen foot kayaks, and
a 17 foot canoe on a set of Yakima racks that are 3 feet eight inches apart on my Ford Escape.



2001 Toyota Tacoma

– Last Updated: Jan-13-06 11:33 PM EST –

I had an extended cab 2001 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 until recently.
I used a Yakima bar, mounted on towers, on the cab. On the camper(Jason/fiberglass) shell/topper, I mounted fake rain gutters from Yakima, and used Quik & Easy towers mounted on a 2"x4". Of the 95,000 miles I drove that truck with that set up, I would guesstimate that at least half of the mileage was with at least one & usually two 50 to 60 pound canoes on board. On occasion, it hauled 3 canoes(probably 160-170 pounds) for short(shuttle run) distances. Made numerous 700 mile, (one way) runs to N. Carolina at 65 to 75 mph.

The cab didn't get scratched.
The topper didn't crack.
Nothing ever came loose.
Never lost a boat.
Easy on & easy off.
Wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail; it did it all.

We am using the same system right now on my wife's 2004 Ford Ranger. As soon as my 2006 Ranger gets a topper, it will have the same setup.


To the original poster.
You can put the rack either on the topper or the truck. I have a standard truck with a long bed, and I have my rack mounted completely to a high rise topper, and it works great, however the one thing you might want to consider is that with the extra-cab, and you attach to the topper, if your boats aren’t extremely long it will push your boats back the point it can be difficult to keep an eye on them during tranport. Since my truck is a regular cab instead of extra cab, my kayaks are a bit over 16’ and they barely stick far enough ahead of the cab that I can keep an eye on them, thus knowing if they become loose, etc…while going down the road.

If you want a high rise topper and would like to see my set-up, e-mail me and I’ll be glad to send you a photo. It is not easy to find a rack that will compensate that height, but I know of one. Good luck!

BMW,…I saw a guy out in California that had a VW beetle with a kayak that was nearly 21 feet long on top. He told me that he could ride like that at 80 mph all day long. If you have a good rack that is attached properly and have sufficient bow, and stern tie downs you should have no problems at all with your width.


rack placement
I have a small Izusu pickup and my rack is mounted on the camper shell (the top of the shell is level with the cab - not the high-rise type shell). I use foam blocks on the part of the canoe that extends over the cab to prevent contact with the cab. My front tie downs are to webbing straps mounted under the hood of the truck. In the rear I tie off to the bumper.

Gear rack
I used to have a Ford Ranger 7’ bed with a cap on it and I hauled a 16’ MR explorer. I had 2 Thule racks mounted on the cap. The were the rain gutter mount style. The cap had Thule artificial rain cutters mounted on it. The system worked very well. If you are concerned about the canoe hitting the cab roof you can use high rise rack towers.

Dakota Ext. Cab 4x4 with cap
I have the above with a cap that is flush to the cab. I use Yakima Q towers on the front about 3" from end of windshield and 1A towers mounted in the Yakima fake rain gutters on the cap. This is my second Dakata and I’ve been doing this since 1991, except that my first Dakota’s cap was above the cab by about 6". I’m set up to carry three kayaks cockpit up or a combination of canoe and kayaks. My smallest kayak is 14’ and I wouldn’t want to go much shorter because of the rack span. My canoes are all 16’. I use rollers on the back to load the kayaks, but the canoes are loaded from the side by setting the bow on the front rack, then lifting the stern up to the rear rack. I also have a second set of rain gutters on the front of the cap and could carry that way as well, but I fear this would cause quite a lot of overhang off the rear. I friend got a ticket last summer because his kayak had a more than 3’ overhang from his car and he did not have a red flag attached to the boat.