I have a 2006 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab (5ft bed). I do not have the roof rack. I am looking to get a 16ft canoe and was wondering what everyone thinks of about using a utility rack (for example: www.usrack.com ). Are there certain parts of a canoe that must be tied down? Is there a guideline on how long a canoe is too long to be car topped?
The utility rack
should work. With a 5 foot bed you would have quite a bit of the canoe overhanging the cab and out the back of the rack but with proper strapping and tying it would work. The farther apart your rack bars are the more stable your canoe will be. I might suggest putting a Yakima or Thule rack and bar on the cab and then use just a rear utility type rack on the rear of the bed. This could get your bars about 7 feet apart and make a more stable carry system.
I have an ‘06 Frontier Crewcab also
Mine does have a factory rack on the cab but I bought the usrack utility rack and use just one of them in the bed. This gives me a span of about 5 feet between the bedrack and roofrack for a 14’ 6" kayak. I wouldn’t hesitate to put a longer kayak up there now or put both racks in the bed (as far apart as possible) and use them like that. If you’re concerned about excessive overhand in the rear using two racks in the bed, I would imagine that you might be able to put foam blocks on the cab roof and offset the canoe a bit, resting the end of the canoe on the roof and evening it up over the entire truck.
I use the
U.S. rack on my Dakota, spaced about 5' apart. Works fine. Join p-perks and more than get your money back on this rack.Picture with my 16'4" Swift Dumoine on the rack and my sons 15' Dagger Reflection in the bed.
If you have a receiver on your truck, this may be an option for you also.
Mounting Front Rack on Cab …
... can be trouble. There is lots of flex between the box of a pickup and the cab, and up at roof level, this flex is greatly amplified compared to what you see when you look at where the cab and box join. If you have a composite boat or wood gunwales, I'd say keep both racks mounted to the box so the racks don't move much in relation to each other.
At the roof line the degree to which the roof of the cab gets closer to the "roof-line" of the box can easily exceed one inch on bumps (if you have a topper, you can watch this happen out the back window), and the degree of off-center flex measured at the roof line as the frame twists when traveling off road or when angling up/down a steep driveway is usually around two inches (I've seen some full-size pickups in which the amount of twist between the box and cab, as seen at door level, was pretty close to six inches on really rough terrain, and it would be a lot worse at the roof line, but of course smaller trucks don't flex nearly this much).
Harbor Freight and Northern Tools
both sell bed extenders similar to that one for around $40, less on sale. With a 5 ft bed, 2 ft tail gate in the down position, there’s a bunch of canoe hanging off the back end. It’ll work, but its not ideal. I know in my state, anything extending 4 ft past the bumper has to have a light at night. Other states my differ.
Cheap, in fact, almost free way to carry the canoe is to use something soft to protect the cab and tail gate, run the canoe up on the back edge of the cab and on to the tailgate, tie the sucker down tight, and drive away. It catches a lot of wind, but works. Just a thought if you don’t have but a couple hundred miles to go to launch and don’t mind the gas mileage going down.
Some like home-made, some don’t. There was a lengthy thread on this topic recently. A search for “pvc diy rack” or something should turn it up.
Some people are recycling regular boat trailers and hauling a heavy canoe on it. A lot depends on storage space in your yard for trailer. It is a matter of safety. Hope you and your friend can lift boat up there without starining your self. If it is windy, you must hold unto the boat while you tie down.
I think you worry too much…
I carry a 14-6 MD orion on my Ford Focus with the bars 32 in apart with the Thule canoe kit and tied front and rear the only thin that sufffers is MPG. If I haul it on the Ranger I use foam blocks on top of the metal ARE cap with 6-1/2 ft hanging over the cab. Doing the limit 65 does not seem to move anything around just check your binders after 5-10 miles and at any stops if a long trip.