transporting canoe w/truck

I have a 99 Dodge Dakota and am looking to transport a canoe this weekend. I want to get an rack that extens out from my hitch. But I will not have it in time for this trip. What would be the best way to transport the canoe, cheaply, for this paticular trip?

Will foam blocks and 3 tie downs work off the roof? Or is that two unstable? Any suggestions would be appreaciated. Thanks in advance.

If the rack you are talking about is a
bed extender that hooks into a receiver type hitch, Harbor Frieght sells them for about $40, but runs them on sale for as low as in the low $20’s from time to time. The will work with kayaks and canoes up to about 15 ft, but don’t know about longer boats. And, if your Dakota is a quad cab with the short bed, don’t think they’ll work.

If you aren’t going far, just put the canoe in the bed, tied ropes from the bow or stern, whichever is at the rear, and run them to the tie downs in the truck. I’ve done that for up to 20 miles at speeds under 50. You can also put a pad on the cab of the truck, some type of cushion on the tailgate top, and run the canoe up over the cab. Tie it down tight bow, stern, and in the middle and boogie. It’ll catch a lot of wind, but you can get to the water.

You should also have 1 more
I do this on occassion as I get lazy and don’t want to put my home made rack in the back. I throw the canoe on top of my standard cab truck and tie down the bow/stern but also tie down across the middle. For some short trips not exceeding 45-50MPH I have also put it across the tail gate and lean on the cab and tied it down like that so I could get down some tight narrow trails. I’ve also just put it in the truck bed for when again I’m to lazy to install rack and the area I’m going has a lot of parking room for it sticking out the back.

You don’t say the length of the canoe…
but I have many times thrown a long kayak or canoe in the back of the bed with a good portion hanging out over the tailgate.

Just tie down the bow to the front of the bed real good, and throw all your gear in the bow up near the front of the bed to keep it weighted down.

I normally frown on the use of bungees, but this is a case where I use them opposing each other from the middle of the canoe to the tailgate hinged brackets to keep the canoe from sliding back and forth. I also use a pair of them on the front from the bow to each drain hole in the front of the bed.



I miss my truck
I’ll add my .02$ and join up with the crowd that places the canoe on the cab of the truck with the rear of the canoe resting on the tailgate in the up position. It is (was) secured with tie down going to the front frame, a tie down around the middle of the canoe and another holding the rear on the tailgate. It looks pretty sad but gets the job done. I used to add some padding between the cab and canoe, but as the truck aged (is no longer with us now)I would put it right against the cab.

Good Luck!!

I’m with jackl.
Transported my 15’ dagger for 4 years in the back if my '01 dakota extra cab(6’bed) in much the same manner. Get a big hunk of sponge for the tailgate. Having a big hollow hull scooping up air is not for me.When I bought my 16’4" Swift I realized it was time for racks, but if it’s a one shot deal, I’d still put the canoe in the bed, out of the airstream.

pickup transport
to answer your question, foam blocks and tie downs will work quite well. be sure to bring one tie down around the boat and through the doors of your truck. “y” the front and rear tie downs, check your knots (or straps), and you should be set. i’ve carried my canoe this way on trips of up to 300 miles without problems. always check your straps whenever you stop for a break. good luck. -harry

Thanks for the replys
Thanks. I do have to drive a few hundred miles each way. So I don’t think I want to use the tailgate/cab method. I think that would work just fine locally, but not on the longer trips. I think I’ll try the tie down with foam blocks right on the cab. I’m just concerned about balance and how strudy it will hold because there is not that much surface area compared to a car or an extended cab. I do have a small “extended” with a normal size box in the back.

I’m still just worried that I’m going to get going and it just isn’t going to work. Hopefully I can still find what I’m looking for before I leave.

Thanks again one and all!

Along the lines of the sawhorse
Before I got the camper shell on my ranger I built a 2x4 rack that was cab high and wedged securely in the bed, up against the tailgate. I used four pieces of wood. Top & bottom the same length, as well as the two sides cut to the correct length for front rack (foam block) height. I did use a yakima rack on the cab but foam blocks should work too. If you have a slide in bedliner there may be issues with getting a tight fit. I do not have a bedliner and was able to use holes in the side of the bed to secure the rack. This setup worked well for me and with the canoe riding “flat” I didn’t have worry about it catching to much air. 70 mph+ at times with no issues. good luck!

Lots of people also build truck racks
out of pvc. Check out or Both sites have plenty of threads on pvc pipe racks. Basically, most are square frames built out of 1 1/4" pvc. The 2006 Dakota I drove for a rental had bed tie downs. The pvc racks were anchored to the bed with straps or ropes.

I carry a 14’ Voyager in the bed of…
…a crewcab Ranger, so it sticks beyond the downed tailgate 3-4’. Tie it forward, put a milkjug of water in the front end. You may need a light rather than a flag for a long trip.

Better solution= more $$
Ok, so this is not going to be 40 dollars… but I have a Ford F250 super duty with a long bed, a MUCH bigger space… and I HATE hanging canoes off the back. Get a rack that clamps to your rails, one on the front of the bed, one on the back, and you can tie the canoe down with the stern over the window and the bow over the tail gate, suspended over the roof of the truck. SOLID. And you can fill the bed with all the CRAP you do NOT want in your truck cab, like sandy wet stinky things, or camping equipment. Just google “truck bed racks” and look at any of the links, there are racks with very low weight limits (say 200-300 lbs) that are relatively cheap and racks that will hold up to 700 lbs, meaning you can put lumber or whatever you want (ok, so they cost double the cheap ones but you get what you pay for). The clamp style racks come off VERY quickly and do NOT require you to mess with the truck. Probably could outfit for 220.00 or perhaps less. I have a slightly more costly system called T-Rac pro, which holds a LOT more weight… otherwise they are basically all the same. By the way…spend some time looking for good deals when you find the one you want. I found a 150.00 price range for the SAME item !!! Thats like 25% differences and the same can be said for most of these items. My $0.02