Rack for a pickup truck

I am looking for suggestions on the best way to carry my kayak in a pickup truck.Ive seen 2 types for P/U trucks. One style that is like a ladder rack that bolts to the bed and the other a tailgate extender. Any suggestions are appreciated. I will have to install a hitch reciever for the tailgate extender. They will both be in the same price range so the cost isnt a variable.Thanks.

I went through the same problem, I just tie it down to my bed for local trips. I bought a ladder rack that I put on for long distances, so my canoe/kayak is not hanging out the back so far. I prefer the ladder rack though.

truck rack
i have the utility rack from us rack on my frontier. very happy with it. the only problem with using the tailgate extenders (in my opinion) is that you now have a lot of boat hanging out the back of the truck and is vulnerable to backing up trauma. guess the same could be said of pulling under low clearance object trauma for the overbed racks, but for me less so. at any rate, the overbed rack works for me and leaves the bed of my truck available for camping equipment, etc.

towers and crossbar on the cab, one pair of Yakima “Outdoorman” on the bed. It’s been bullet proof for 1000’s of miles.

Yakima Outdoorsman
I have two pair, both bolted to the truck bed. Very sturdy, well made, and ***** ratings.

I looked at everything and settled on these and have never been more pleased & happy.

Good luck in your selection!

Second the Outdoorsman. Solid as a

I love my tracrac, solid and durable. My tracrac is on it’s second truck.

I just c clamp my ladder rack to the bed rails and it stays put and never has given me an issue. Plus I tie down kayak to bed so that holds the rack down also. I keep rack on all Sumer without issue and remove in winter and if I carry something tall in bed. A winner.

“Third” the Yakima Outdoorsman
I’ve been using a very old set of these on my P/U truck for years, and they’re absolutely solid. I recommend them without hesitation.


how tall?
The Yakima outdoorsman racks have always looked much taller than necessary when I see them on other trucks.

Do you users notice that? I worry I’d have clearance problems, and a harder time loading.

US Rack
I second the vote for a rack from US Rack (www.usrack.com). I have one of theirs that mounts to the factory accessory channels in the bed of my Tacoma; it’s very solid and can be removed pretty quickly if/when it’s in the way of other things. Quite a bit less expensive than the an equivalent Yakima rack!

US Rack also has Malone kayak and canoo carriers at very good prices when ordered with a rack - and they replace the standard Malone mounting brackets with custom brackets made to exactly fit the rack you order.

Clearance and loading…

– Last Updated: Feb-05-10 9:21 AM EST –

My truck is an old Nissan hardbody (D21), with larger wheels/tires than were on the truck originally, so it is a bit taller than one might expect. The Outdoorsman racks I have make the crossbars sit about 3-4 inches above the top of the cab. If I'm remembering correctly, there are two different heights of Outdoorsman towers you can choose from.

I have a milk crate that I stand on to load/unload the boat, and with it, I'm just barely tall enough to get the job done (and I'm pretty tall; 5'9"). I keep neglecting to take actual measurements with the boat(s) on the rack, but I do avoid going into low clearance parking garages.


TracRac is fantastic.
Very solid. I fabbed up a mounting sytem for my Thule Hullaports that utilizes the “T” track. I can put them on or remove them in under 5 minutes.

Height of Yakima
Well it has to be at least as tall as the cab plus a few inches, it will depend on the height of your truck.

When you say ladder rack are you speaking of something for a single ladder or a full width rack? I can’t see a single ladder rack as being viable.

The extender and hanging it in the wind is an accident waiting to happen. Damn the boat, you could kill someone.

I like the Yakima on my GMC Sierra but imagine the Thule or others will make most happy and be safe

Rated to hold 1000lbs, a few glass kayaks up there are no big deal.

One nice thing about the sliding tracrac is if you ever have to put an atv, riding lawn mower, big piece of furniture, etc… in your truck you can just slide the rack forward in a few seconds.

I had all sorts of adaptors for thule saddles and then the tracrac saddles, now I just use foam blocks.

Yakima height
Just walked outside and measured. On my Frontier the Outdoorsman crossbar is 69" above the ground. If that helps anybody…

I was wondering the height of the crossbar from the bed rails. When I’ve seen them on full size pickups they look like they’re much higher than the cab - more than a few inches. Unfortunately the yakima website doesn’t supply any dimensions. (???) Nor do any of the retailer websites I’ve looked at.

home-made one
I nailed a couple 2x4 into an I-beam shape,

Stuck it against the bed of a friend’s pick-up and used tie-down straps to hold it in place.

Then foam on the cab.

Then made certain that I had it secured to the sides of thebed with individual straps and it did freeway easily.

I’m fortunate to have a Harbor Freight at the end of my street.

I was able to buy a bed extender and a bolt onto bumper receiver hitch. Total cost was around $45 or so.

Easy to put on and take off and easy to use.

Height from the bed
is going to depend on the truck because some have higher walls in the bed area. On my GMC it is just a few inches higher and looks like my boat is going slightly down hill, not much though.