Pickup mounting w/ hi rise shell


I’m just starting to research various canoes as i’ve never owned a canoe before. I’m a big guy 6’1 290lbs and interested in a solo canoe for lakes & slow rivers as well as fishing. however, my first concern is how to mount it on my pickup. I have a 97 Nissan pickup with a hi rise shell which is 4" higher than my cab roof. I’ve found plenty of samples of pickups that have shells even with the cab but none with a hi rise. Any suggestions for mounting or can someone point me in the right direction.I prefer to be able to leave the shell on. Below is a side view of my truck. thanks


Check Thule and Yakima

– Last Updated: Jul-11-14 10:45 PM EST –

When you said hi-rise shell, I thought 'lucky you' because that would have made it a lot easier to carry a canoe without the taller front end of the boat bumping the roof of the cab. That shell is standard height, by my definition. But back to the question.

You probably need to do a "nicer" mounting job with a fiberglass shell than what people often do with aluminum ones. What I've seen used most often, which appears to be a really solid method, is a set of bolt-on "rain gutters", to which racks can be mounted. They aren't really rain gutters, but they are similar to the gutters that cars had back in the old days (and mounting racks back then was simple). You buy four of these "gutters" (each one is about six or eight inches long), and also the mounting brackets that clamp to them, and of course, cross bars. Thule and/or Yakima make these things. Maybe other companies too.

If you are handy, you could build and install your own "gutters", then buy a set of "Quick-n-Easy" rack towers, and use steel pipe or 2x4s for the cross bars. That would be the cheapest method of all, and probably the strongest. If you like that idea, here's what the clamping brackets you would use look like:


In fact, there's a good chance the Quick-n-Easy clamps would clamp to the ready-made "gutters". That would save you a bunch of money by not having to buy anything from Thule/Yakima except those "gutters".

By the way, it's best to mount both cross bars to your truck's shell, rather than one bar on the shell and the other bar on the cab. There's a lot more movement of the cab relative to the box than most people realize, and up at roof-top height, the movement is even greater. You don't want a tightly-strapped-down boat bridging that gap.

"By the way #2": If I were doing this, I'd put a larger plate between the bolt-on "rain gutter" and the shell, and another plate on the inside, so that the shell material gets clamped between those two plates. I don't know how strong that fiberglass really is, and I'd want to spread the connection stress over a larger area. Maybe that's overkill, and you may know better.

Check Oak Orchard canoe too
Dear Brian,

They have their own line of racks that are designed to work with and around trucks with caps.



Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Camper shell rack
I have a Leer fiberglass camper shell on my Ranger. It came with the factory installed Yakima Rain gutter clips. Get a set of Yakima Wide body or Landing Pads mounts. Go to E-bay and get a couple of sets of cross bars. I keep a set of crossbars with Hully Rollers/Saddles and a set with canoe gunnel clips. That way I can throw either on depending on where I’m headed.

Looking at the OP’s picture…
That probably won’t work.

He has a high rise camper top.

I have two different pickups, and both have caps that are flat from front two back.

One has tracks and the other just has four bolted through landing pads, but that would never work with the change in height like the OP’s .

Jack L


– Last Updated: Jul-14-14 3:38 PM EST –

I can see how putting rack mounts on the roof of the shell could be a problem, as the bars wouldn't both be at the same height. However, whenever I've seen rain-gutter clips on a pickup shell, they've been bolted to the side, near the top but not at roof-top height. In that case, both sets could just be attached at the same elevation. The higher rear part of the shell would simply have a bit less clearance between its roof and the cross bar. What's neat is that I actually saw a set up like that just 15 minutes ago.

Actually, refreshing my memory by looking at the photo again, I see that the whole roof of that shell is the same height from front to back, so even roof-mounted tracks would be fine as rack-attachment points. Side-mounted rain-gutter clips might not work so well in this case, as the slope of the shell sides isn't the same at the front and back, but that's not an insurmountable problem either.

I am not seeing any problem at all
The bed cap is level… Even if it were higher in the rear that would not be an issue.

Assuming you have sufficient spread in the front ( with that cutout), the bolt on raingutters will work.

I have had them since 1987 on three trucks and never had a problem. Leaking is a real fear but it’s unfounded.

I have never tried to mount the gutters on the side however.

The chief problem is that you may need to invest in a little stepladder.

Have a similar Yota truck with 6’ high
back cap and just bolted Yakima base plates through the top of the cap with 1/4" stainless screws, lock nuts & big fender washers and as wide apart as possible. Used some PVC trim wood (Lowes), shaped, drilled, stacked & silicone sealed to match the base plates & painted black, to make risers for the front bar set so they would be high enough for canoes to clear the cab (2 layers of 3/4" PVC for me). Haul 2 canoes flat & SOT yak on edge using Yakima verticals. Good bow and stern lines & many miles without any problems. Just thoughts, R