Seeking advice on the best truck rack

I’m new to this forum so I apologize if I’m bringing up something that’s been discussed before. I’m going to be hauling two 12’ kayaks and me destination is 500 miles away. I’m wanting to utilize the bed of my truck for gear and family baggage, so I’m looking for a rack that can carry two kayaks. Which one should I get? What should I stay away from? I’ve looked at so many different brands and styles and I’m not sure which one will work best for me. I have a full size quad cab truck with a short bed. I’d really appreciate any advice. Thanks

As you said…
As you said, there are many options available.

Many people have their favorites, and many different reasons why what they have is their favorite. Multiple different brands will serve your purpose quite well.

I personally like Yakima & Thule; both of which are quite expensive setups.

You might consider another option; build your own.

Racks that I made is what I used for about 10 years Never a problem.

They were still usable when I bought my first new rack system.

They were CHEAP. All the lumber I used came from scrap 2x4s I found in giant burn pile at a construction site.

I even got permission to take them. My only expense was the bolts, washers, and nuts I used to attach the legs of the rack to the crossbars, and some “retired” carpeting to pad the crossbars(also free). Plus sweat equity. I ripped out the 2x4s into 2x3s. Hauled a 17 foot tandem, or 2 solo canoes on the racks.

When finished I could loosen the nuts on the bolts I used to attach legs to crossbars, fold the rack legs up into the cross bars, and stack the whole outfit in a corner of my garage.

I’m sure many pnet paddlers have photo examples of rack systems they built & used.


ut several will most certainly serve your purpose

yeah get an

– Last Updated: Jul-05-15 5:31 PM EST –

armful of tuba4's and screw nails with associated bit. Layout a horizontal tuba4 wall for the bed n strap the yaks to it, make or buy a red flag, check with the State Patrol on regs. Build 2-3 short height vertical stub walls, connect with a 3 tuba4, place n screw nail a 3/8'ths sheet of plywood on the walls, pile everything else on that n go.

If you lay 2 sides, head and side, of a tarp under the load as you start...under the tuba4 or 2 tarps both sides then lap win.

the tail gate down should pay for the tuba in increased gas mileage

remeber ! when tripping change the oil with Valvo Synthetic or similar.

one transverse tuba midbed, one end bed. solid tuba.

the bolts are inboard the perimeter bow/stern tuba. bolt thru tuba and bed using body washers and nylocks…5/16th’s rod…see Mcmaster Carr

the extra 4’ holds only kayaks

once the rig is BOLTED in then AFAIK you’re legal but here:

everyone with a dual cab short bed has the tools right ?

All sorts of ladder racks …
are available and can be utilized. The folks I paddle with that have pickup trucks without caps usually build their own. It’s as easy as constructing a couple of “Goal posts” out of the materials you have on hand. One made his out of angle iron, one made his from pvc pipe. The neatest one is made from parts taken from aluminum step ladders. He’s engineered it to load the boats at waist height at the rear of the truck, sliding them up a ramp. When they’re strapped down he lifts the rear end up and locks it in so the boats travel horizontally.

Years ago, I made one out of 2x4’s, but I wasn’t living in Florida then. I wouldn’t use wood down here.

Usually these racks are held in place with ratchet straps and taken out when not in use.

Have fun with it!


I made mine out of PVC
2" schedule 80 and spray painted to protect from sun.

Picture a skeleton of a slide in, bed over cab, camper. Goal posts at each end.

I always admire the Thule pickup crossbars but I don’t like the idea of my 17’ boats in my short bed truck riding up there.

visual comparisons

more stylish on top, more effective in bed

Rack Options

– Last Updated: Jul-06-15 9:59 AM EST –

Here's the solution that I came up with last week, just to throw ideas out there.

We've been into white water paddling for a while and last week decided to pick up some SOT kayaks to be able to enjoy all the flat water that surrounds us.

Since I already had the bed of my truck set up with a Thule rack and Hull-A-Port cradles I wanted to be able to add to that so we could still carry our WW boats and also these new 12' SOT's.......with a 5' Tacoma bed.

We purchased a Lund hitch rack extender from Amazon. I used the bottom portion of the hitch extender and fabricated the top "Tee" portion, using some scrap steel tubing, Thule load bars and a spare set of folding mounts I had. All joints are bolted with Grade 8 bolts and also welded (I like to overdo things...)

We tested the rack out yesterday by driving 120 miles round trip to a paddling destination. The rack did really good, it also allows me full vision out the rear window and left my entire bed accessible for storage. I did add three additional straps to the boats from what's pictured, just to make me feel a little safer.

(Please let me know if you can't view the pictures's been a while since I posted on here and I've forgotten how I used to post pictures on this board).

This is what
my husband bought for us a few years ago. We use it to haul a kayak and a canoe. It is called TracRac - you can install it and remove it if need be fairly easily. We leave it on the truck all summer and then usually remove it for the winter once everything freezes up. It has 800 lb load capacity, and it has been everything we need.

I think the actual rack we own is the ‘TracONE’:

I think he bought it at a big box store - maybe Home Depot or Canadian Tire or something?