Inexpensive truck racks

I just bought an older pickup with cap and I need to put some racks on it to carry my canoes. I didn’t pay a lot for it so I don’t really want to put high-priced Yakima or Thule racks on it. I can fit a gutter-mount rack over the cab but need some setup to attach the rear rack to the fiberglass cap which has no gutters. I’ve seen the Quick-n-Easy racks descibed on some sites but they seem to require gutters. I can’t find an adapter plate, etc. to put on the cap. Any suggestions?

Bolt Thru Plates
I have plates bolted onto my camper shell, but they wee installed by the dealer. Maybe Yakima would have them

both Yakima and Thule
have "artificial rain gutters that can be bolted on. I saw them on their site a few days ago. Can’t remember what they are really called but they are there.

both Yakima and Thule
have "artificial rain gutters that can be bolted on. I saw them on their site a few days ago. Can’t remember what they are really called but they are there.

Think cheap
I went with 6’2X4’s sitting on pieces of aluminum channel. Bolted the aluminum thru the camper top and then bolted the 2X4’s to the aluminum. Looks kind of silly but it works!And the 2X4’s don’t tear up the gunnels of my wooden boats. Think I’ve got 12 bucks invested. May have to change out the 2X4’s once a year but so what at that price. Can take pictures if I’m not explaining well enough.

Ladder Rack
Have a permanent “ladder rack” put on your truck. About $300, lasts forever, absolutely stable.

And if you lose your job, you’re all set up to work as a painter.

Why pay yakima or thule for what you can
make yourself. Get some angle aluminum, they sell it at the hardware section in Lowe’s and Home Depot, easier to find in Lowe’s. Cut to size and bolt it together in a U shape, bolt it to the camper shell and you’ve got your gutters. Be sure to use either stop nuts or lock washers with all bolts and fender washers on the inside of the camper shell to keep the bolts from pulling through. Total cost, $10 and time. And, it works. On my little GMC Sonoma (think S10), I used the system for yakima gutter racks that had the gutter towers and carried an Old Town Loon 138, as well as a Necky Sky. Probably 120 lbs of kayak.

i second the ladder rack …
Got mine used for $50 plus a few cans of spray paint.

An alternative for cheaper rack system but still getting the quality is to look on eBay for used rack systems. I was able to find used Thule products for half of what they cost new and the wear/tear on them was minimal. They are built to last.

Some interesting ideas, but not sure I envision the angle iron U-shape thing.

Be careful buying used racks from eBay…
My friend did this and the rack, even though it was the correct size and length for her vehicle wouldnt tighten on the rails properly so one day as she was driving on the interstate one of the bars detached from the rails and off it sailed in the air and it got scrunched under a big transfer truck. Thank god her 'yak wasnt on it. Cheap yes, but was it worth it no. If you cant build one, I highly suggest buying one from U.S. Rack or going to your local paddling shop and getting one from them. A friend did buy “plans” to build his own rack from eBay and was able to build one using 2 X 4’s. I’ve seen his and it didnt look too difficult to make.

angle iron rusts unless you paint it,
and you have to keep doing it. Aluminum angle doesn’t, though will get eaten up if you take it to the coast much. What you do is take two pieces cut longer than the gutter clamps for your rack system. Bolt them together in the shape of a U, actually a U with squared cornere, or a channel if you want to ge techniclal. Drill two bolt holes in the new U shaped chanell, line the “gutter” up where you want it, and drill holes to accept the bolts in the cover top. Bolt the U channel on, using fender washers on the inxice of the sover. I’d suggest using lock washers or stop nuts to keep the thing from vibibrating loose.

I made a “temporary” rack

– Last Updated: Aug-16-06 2:32 PM EST –

I'm planning on buying a new truck this fall. I needed to move a rowing shell and canoe. Since I wasn't sure what my next vehicle would be, I constructed a temp rack out of PVC pipe. With tiedowns and other hardware, the entire rig cost me about $50

Works well enough that I feel confident in carrying a $3500 rowing shell 20 miles

System One
I searched for many a month for a good PU rack system and finally settled on the “System One” by Christensen Mfg. Corp. When you consider design and flexibility of expanding from a “Utility Rig” to a full “Contractor Rig” there is nothing out there that can beat it. It is competitive with the others out there but is solid, good looking and IMHO, the best system for the buck you can find. They have many options and the built in ratchet tie downs are excellent and no boat, canoe or kayak is going to go sailing from this rack…