I have a Toyota Tacoma double cab and I’m wanting a rack so I can carry my cascade canoe. I really don’t know much about how the different racks mount up, or if I should go with one bar on the cab and a hitch mount riser at the rear. Any suggestions?
Racks for Pickup Trucks
The only advice I ever give about racks and pickup trucks is that it is best for both crossbars to attach to the bed of the truck, either with tall “ladder racks”, or more conventional racks mounted on a topper. All pickups flex quite a bit between the cab and box, and the amount of differential movement gets amplified at lot more up at roof-height than what you see looking at the side of the truck as it goes over bumps or rough terrain. If one cross bar is on the cab and the other on the box, the bars will move relative to each other. Ever hear all the banging and scratching noises that come from a bunch of ice that’s accumulated between the rear window of a pickup and the front edge of the topper? Ever watch that ice get squished and pushed around as you drive on rough ground or hit potholes at highway speed? The flexing that makes that happen is only half as much movement as what occurs between the two halves of the truck up at the roofline.
pickup truck advise
based on what guideboatguy says I’d go the Thule Xsporter or another type of bed rack. Didn’t know about the flex between the cab and bed and that would mean unwanted torque over time on your boats and rack parts.
I use the T-Rack on my Frontier, I modified my Thule Hull-O-Ports to fit the “T” slots. Very strong rack that you can use for more than just your boats.
I drive a Tacoma
I have a Tacoma with a topper and I have 1 bar across the cab and two across the topper. While there is flex, there is not enough to hurt boats. If there were, my carbonfiber canoe would be trashed and I do take this truck offroading. The only thing you do not want spanning a cab/bed is a rigid bike mount. Those I’ve seen distorted because of flex, but never on a Tacoma. I think full size trucks flex a lot more than Tacomas do.
The big question is what year is your Tacoma? Thule does not have a cab fit for the older generation Tacomas. You will have to go to Yakima or a permanent bolt solution if you want Thule.
If you have a doublecab, though
you probably have more than enough room to put two bars on the roof of the truck. That’s what I have on my Toyota Tundra. Plenty of bar spread. And with people talking about putting 18’ boats on Pontiac Vibes and other small cars in the other rack thread, I think you should have more than enough room on the roof of your Tacoma.
I had an XSporter and I got rid of it in favor of the roof option. The way the XSporter attaches to the truck leaves you not much more (if any) bar spread than putting it on the roof. Plus you can still put a tonneau on the bed if you want.
Any thoughts of getting a cap?
I have a Tacoma, with a fiberglass cap, and installed Yakima rails. It’s more than sufficient for hauling boats, and it requires no holes in the truck’s roof. Can send pics if interested.
roof vs. bed on access cab tacoma
I also have a Tacoma – 2006 Access Cab (little shorter roof length than Double Cab).
Would a Yakima rack on my roof be sufficient to transport a ~14’ kayak? Or should I invest in something different like a bed rack system?
Before I had my DC Tundra
I had an access cab - wider than the Tacoma, but not much longer - if at all. I still used the roof, alone, to haul my boats - both 16’5". I didn’t see any problems, especially when I used bow and stern tie-downs.
Again, people in the other threads seem to be putting bigger boats than that on smaller cars with no difficulty.
Don’t see why not…
But check with a local dealer. From memory, I believe the rails come in different lengths. Otherwise, you could cut to fit. When you install rails onto the cap, you're doing so with numerous holes drilled through the fiberglass cap. This provides a very sturdy connection. I use good size washers on the underside to exaggerate the force required to ever tear it off. The rails have a slight flex to them before being installed, so they can form fit to your cap if it's slightly bowed and not perfectly flat. I carry two sea kayaks easily, with plans to do so with 3 on occasion.
Thule or Yakima for Tacoma
I have a Thule x-Porter rack on my 1996 Tacoma short bed regular cab. It’s a bit pricey but sweet. I haul my 17.5 Eddyline and a smaller Wilderness on it. I also hauled a couple of 20-foot 2X6’s last week. The rack is easily removed if I want to load bark, topsoil or whatever. Versatile.