pick up bed for canoe?

I know this type of question has been asked before but specifcally I was wondering if any of you had any experience hauling a 16 foot canoe from a pickup bed.

I have an 8 foot bed with the tailgate down and a bed extender that increases the length to 10 and a half feet. I carry my 14 foot sit on top kayak with it no problem; do you think a 16 foot canoe will be too long with this set up?

Thanks, Jason

carried a 15 footer
in a 6.5’ bed, maybe 8’ w/ the gate down. Only issue was the canoe bouncing around on bumpy roads. I put packing sponge underneath to help. Rack was a big improvement, even with a third canoe in the bed, as I can tie the end of the canoe to the rack, holding the canoe up. I like rocker, and hated the thought of the canoe flattening out a it bounced ;-).

No problem if you are just going
to a local put-in.

I use my old Chevy with the eight foot bed and then with the tail gate down which makes it about a ten foot bed and only six feet sticking out for my sixteen foot Penobscot.

Make sure you tie one of the thwarts to both tail gate supports, and then put your gear in the part of the canoe that is up near the cap which will help keep the canoe from bouncing.



We had a lady carry her SpitFire in her pickup bed. When she backed into a CRV, she destroyed its rear door, bent her camper top, the rear od her cab and the front of the bed, and, because it was bent around the bed at the, tailgate broke the rails and side of her canoe.

Total expense over $ 5,000.

Get a single roof rack and a highboy pickup bed rack from Oak Orchard.

It will do fine.
My 13.8 foot Old Town Loon sits nicely in my F150 with the gate down. I’ve a big tool box, so it shortens the bed to about 6 foot. I set the kayak slightly at a diagonal. I’ve also carried my 17 foot tandem in the same truck bed. The caution about being rear ended or backing into something is worth heeding. It happens. As for how far, recently did a 125 mile round trip with the Loon, no problem.

For me, 15’ is the limit
But I’ve got a standard 8’ bed (with the gate up)–a short bed pickup. I carry my solo a couple of miles all the time in the bed.

But if I’m going any longer distance, I put it on the contractor’s rack I have on the pickup. For a short distance, however, lifting the canoe up on top is too much effort for me. Longer tandems I always put on the rack.

But maybe I’m a weenie.

Might not …
Might not be a bad idea to check with law enforcement in your state (noticed that all who responded live elsewhere) to be sure it is legal.

What “might” be necessary if the canoe extends out of the truck bed a certain distance? Some states require any cargo being hauled to be red flagged, if it extends past a certain point.

Or you could just “go for it”.

If a cop pulls you over, plead ignorance; he might just cut you loose. Then again, maybe not.


I’ve done a 15.5’ kayak in a Ridgeline.
Made me nervous, and it bounced a lot no matter how tight I cranked it down. Hanging out 6-8’, you also have to watch your turns and where the thing swings out into other lanes.

Bob gave good advice on checking w/ local LE. A flag, whether required or not, is darn near mandatory just out of common sense, but I’ve heard some states require extended lights at night or maybe even during the day.

The cost of a rack is way under appreciated, considering potential problems or dangers.


just do what I did…
Buy a small canoe trailer.

get the extender
For about $125 or less you can get the extender that fits in your trailer hitch. I put my OT Discovery 169 in the back with the Toneu cover on all the time. We require a red flag in PA for extended loads. Works great for any distance. Just remember when backing or driving that it is quite long. And… ahem… don’t forget to check the pin that attaches it to your hitch… the boat AND the extender will stay attached, just not to your truck… not that I would personnally know that… I am just saying… ahem…

Texas calls for a red flag
Red light at night if the load extends more than four feet beyond the bumper…that’s the bumper, not the tailgate.

BEST advice of the thread…
That was the first thing that I thought of, the red flag required to haul objucts extending from the rear of a vehical.

Paddle easy,


Harbor Freight, bed extender, $40
on sale, which they are most of the time, under $25.

What’s the Ridgeline have, a four foot
bed? Never had the bouncing problem, though it may be my canoe had enough stuff in it to weight down.

Go to Lowes buy a few 2x4s, make a roof/bed rack. Ask String about the one he had, it was ugly but apparently it worked pretty good. It’s easy if your truck has stake pockets. That way you don’t have to worry about scraping the end of your boat on steep uphill transitions. or backing into something or slapping something in a turn. however just dont drive into the garage!

A little more than that.
From Honda’s website (had to check myself):

Cargo Bed Length (in., tailgate up/down) 60.0 / 79.0

The Easy Loader for P.U. Trucks …

– Last Updated: Apr-23-08 9:23 AM EST –

...... check out Bass Pro Shop on line site ...... the Reese Easy Canoe Loader cost $80. bucks , and goes into a standard 2" hitch reciever ...... it stands up vertically and has a pivoting T at top ...... you put the nose of the canoe or kayak up onto the T , pick the back end up and just walk it around to the front and sit it over cab (remember the T pivots)...... would be good idea to have a cab rack rail but if not , standard foam blocks work too ........ take a long enough "Ratcheting" strap from truck chasis (frame) up and over canoe / kayak , hook to chasis on other side , ratchet tight !! ...... I say a cab rack rail because with blocks the squeeze of the ratchet strap pulls the vessel down so tight , it can make depressions in the cab top , but they aren't permenant and come back up when presure is released , depends on how nice your truck is if you care about that !! ........ will never move around and is a piece a cake to load up ........ remove the Reese Easy Canoe Loader with a pull of the pin and retainer clip from the 2" reciever and store it until used again ......... you will also have to get a standard 2" x 2" hitch (the part that slips into the reciever and the tow ball mounts to), because the T package bolts to it .. leaves your bed open to carry other stuff ..

Back when we were young …
… we used to put a 16’ wooden row boat in the back of a P.U. truck (it wieghed 400 lbs., lol), I’ve got pitures of that and can’t believe we did it that way , it looks so funny and rediculuos , but we got it to the water , lol !!

Inna pinch once, when the…

– Last Updated: Apr-23-08 11:08 AM EST –

...Misses made off with the van and its roofracks, I found a picnic table in the bed of my Ford Ranger worked quite nicely for a jaunt over the mountains on I-70 to the Yough. And, if you tie one of those rainbow coalition flags to the stern, verses one of those, "Toro, Toro, Dodge Ram come hither" red numbers, most folks just as soon keep a safe distance from your back end.

Hell, with one of those chicanerous-friend magnetic sticker numbers applied, unbenounced to you, on the tailgate, one that reads, "Poor White Trash Canoe Club," why, folks will be swervin' wide berths into the median lane as they guffaw and point their passage around ya!

But, with a little time-n-effort and a few hardware dimes expended, I've seen a few understated but functional pvc piping and/or 2X4 rack systems slingin' kayaks and canoes above full-size pickup beds and cabs. Back in my F-150 days, I was known to even tote an 80-lb. Uberbot Canoe with foam-wedged gunnels on tilt over rim of tailgate and top of cab. Took some fancy cordage work to make both boat and my piece-of-mind secure, but she travelled rock-steady down the Interstate. Granted, there was some peculiar underhull symphonies play'n into the cab, and I probably decreased m.p.g.'s by about 5 to 8.

Good luck, and happy peaceful paddles to ya,

Oh yeah! When I first saw how you phrased your query, in light of some recent hull-packing puzzles, you hade me thinkin' as to how to weld that bed on the stern of a Malecite.

trialer prob. best option
thanks for the responces,

from your opinions I have decided that a trailer may be the best option. I have a short bed and do need to travel some distances to get to paddling destinations. Using my bed extender might be allright for short distances and getting a rack for my truck would be a viable option; but I plan on getting a more fuel effecient vehicle with in the next year or two and buying an expensive rack may not be the best investment. Now I’ll have to research trailers.

thanks again, Jason