I’m shopping for a canoe to go duck hunting in. Half the time I will be going alone so a roof top rack on a truck is impractical. How long of a canoe can you safely carry in the bed of a pickup? My truck’s bed, with the tailgate down,is 7-1/2 feet.
Mine is 17 ft and I carried it on a S-10
pickup with no problem. Just ran it up over the cab (padded the top of the cab with a blanket) and laid it on the top rail of the tail gate, gate in the up position. Tied it down in the middle, stern, and bow and off I went. Or, you could get a bed extender at Harbor Freight or Northern Tools that fits into the receiver hitch, if you have one. Cost is about $40 and they put them on sale for half that pretty often.
Boy did I come to the right place. The perfect solution in less than 1/2 hour. I checked out the bed extenders (I’ve been a pickup ownwer all my life but never knew about them … how did that happen) and they look like just what I need. Thank you.
Or, along the same line of logic,…
go one step better, buy or build something like a commercial ladder rack or name-brand boat/bike rack (one crossbar right behind the cab and one at the rear of the box, at the same height) and carry the whole boat up above cab level. The fact that you paddle alone need not be an issue for boat loading, particularly with a pickup truck. Just lift one end of the boat up onto the rear crossbar, grab the end that's still on the ground and slide it right up there. Presto. If you do without a forward cross bar, you will eventually cave-in the roof of your cab if the canoe rests on the roof, no matter how much padding you use. But if that doesn't matter, what the heck - keep things cheap.
One big advantage of using two crossbars, is that the canoe is tied down directly to what it is resting upon, and thus, it can't slide around. Longer ropes anchoring the canoe to something more distant than the direct contact points will let the boat move around quite a bit more easily.
For local, lower speed trips to the…
…water for my 14.5 WNN Vagabond, I just put it in the back of my Ranger extended cab. It sticks out a few feet (red flag), but it’s tied forward securely and I’ve never had a problem. We’re going further afield tomorrow on the freeway, so I’ll use my extender, which is rock-solid from Extend-a-Truck. I
think Harbor Frt is much cheaper.
Can depend on length of the gal you’re
The bed extenders are great, but a word
of caution, in some states, it required that you put a light at the end of the load if it sticks out, I believe, 4 ft. At the least, attach a red flag. Also, bed extenders will drag if yours is a regular 2wd when you back out of the drive if the drive is higher than the road, or on dips sometimes. The best bed extender I ever saw was a custon, Instead of the extender being level with the reciever hitch, it angled up at a slant and put the rack at the level of the tail gate. Had a slotted piece that slid onto the tail gate and the rack portion was wide enough for two kayaks or canoes. The guy’s son was a welder, so…
You can make a swivel mount
It consist of a swivel T-bar that fits in the receiver hitch that is as tall as the cab. You place one end of the canoe on the t-bar and bungee it down. You then pick up the other end and simply walk it around and place on the cabin top bar.
Strap it down and you are ready to go. With a setup like that, length isn’t an issue and you never lift more than half the canoe at a time.
I made my crossbar for my old truck out of black iron pipe. The top was thinner pipe than the bottom so they slipped together and the top would swivel.