no roof rack, 2 boats to transport

Just got a pair of 12s for me and the misses, trying to figure out the best way to transport them with my Dodge Dakota 4-door. It a short bed due to the quad cab, so driving home from the store we had the tailgate down with both boats tied down in the bed, and about 4 feet hanging free off the tailgate. With the bed cover this made for easy transport, but I don’t like the idea of so much hanging off the back. Looking for some ideas for better method, since I don’t have a roof rack on the truck.

Was thinking if nothing else I could pad a couple 2x4s with something attached as brackets at the outer edges and the center, and strap the whole mess down the same way we move the canoe. Haven’t found anything online yet that works without roof rack or rails.


2x4’s work
better yet, build a frame with two cross boards, otherwise the 2x4s may slide around. Cushion them with standard canoe gunwale foam blocks if you have them.

Go to …
Go to

click on rack, on the top of the page, under thier name

great ideas and some are easy to make or adapt to your own uses.

I even found two things that I thought I invented ten years ago.

Great place to look

Short bed pick up hauler
I made a rack out of 3 inch pvc that slides in the bed and has an over the cab section, kind of like a skeleton of a slide in camper. I can get a 17’ canoe and 2 yaks (4 if I’m not getting on the highway) in a 6’ bed. Won’t work with a bed cover, my cover has been leaning against the back side of a shed for almost three years.

With my Dodge
I used a T-bar that plugged into the receiver and an inflatable Malone Smartrack on the cab. You had to put a pieve of foam between two boats to keep them from rubbing but it worked great at highway speeds.

good Luck


– Last Updated: May-28-12 11:39 PM EST –

showed a few options for T-bars used with one of the types of roof racks, the only thing I'm concerned about is the security of the T-bar while we're out paddling. We also hike in the mountains a lot and twice now we've had someone go looking in the bed for anything worth stealing. Luckily they haven't gotten anything more valuable than a set of jumper cables and some tie-downs (had spares locked inside) - I was glad they didn't decide to walk away with the Tonneau cover!

Am nervous about any kind of rack that someone could steal since we park at a lot of out of the way launch areas. Is there a way to lock them in place? Otherwise, maybe I'll look for ones that come apart and could be stored inside truck while we're on the water.

The Q towers look like a real secure option, and easy to take off and store inside while paddling, but they are a bit more expensive than the budget allows for now, especially since I need to find a more comfortable PFD than the one I'm using now (it's made for canoes and the back pad is real thick, not comfortable against the back of the seat)

Bed Extender

– Last Updated: May-29-12 10:32 AM EST –

Try one of these if you have a 2" hitch:

Buy locking pins and you should not have an issue. Remember to tie a (secure) red flag on the ends of the kayaks while traveling, I believe its law in most places?

If you have a hitch, this is easily the CHEAPEST way out!