truck rack question

I am looking for a sturdy rack for my Tundra, to carry multiple boats. However, aside from the TracRac, all the options I’ve seen have mounting clamps on the inside of the bed rails, and that won’t work with my tonneau cover (mounted between the rails, not on top of them).

The TracRac is about $800, compared to $500 for the very similar-looking Thule truck rack, and I’d love to not spend $800. Is there some cheaper solution that I’ve missed?


Thule Rack
I think you have seen what there is out there. I have the Thule set up on my Tacoma and it is great, I can carry 3 boats easily and my Greenland stick on the rack and put 2 bikes in the bed, look around on line you should be able to find the Thule for around 420 - 450. Good luck

looks nice, but
I don’t think I can give up my tonneau cover. Without it my bed is constantly full of snow in the winter, and stuff gets wet when it rains.

Take a look at US Rack
Its the only thing I found that looked like what you want. I have one on a Ram 1500 and it pretty much works as advertised.

Trac Rac
I’ve had a Trac Rac for 10+ years and I wouldn’t trade it for any other rack. I moved it from my old T-100 to my Tundra (bought new bed rails). I’ve had 4 fiberglass kayaks on the rack, that’s a lot of $ in kayaks, and I wasn’t worried at all.

Trac Rac also makes a cover but it’s pricey.

I just added a Thule car top box to the bed cross rails on my Trac Rac. The box was $100 used and the bed rails were maybe $150, now I have a lockable truck.

I wouldn’t want anything in the bed, I put to much crap (dirt, rocks, fire wood, etc…) in there and I bet I’d damage the racks.

us rack
i have the us rack adapted for the rail system on my nissan frontier. very satisfied with it. carries a load, sturdy, easy on and off. recommend it for pickups. good luck. -h

My System
I use Yakima Racks on my roof and have carried up to 4 boats. This left the back of my truck free for bikes, gear, etc. I do not have a cover on the back, but mostly load my boats while standing in the back end. I have loaded them from the side, but had help holding one end of boat.

I generally drive about an hour to paddle, using highway speeds up to 70 with no issues at all.

Hope this helps!


How about
a Yakima crossbar over the cab and their Dry Dock in your receiver hitch?

I have the TracRac on Kathy’s stepside Silverado, and I have to change out the racks for the tonneu cover every Fall, and put the racks back on in spring. Just took them off yesterday

Give up the tonneau cover and…
… install a topper. You are asking your truck to act and look like a sports car yet still do truck things. Get a topper and be done with it. You will have the same weather protection for your stuff as before, but access will be 10-times better and you will have twice as much storage room. Once you have a topper, it is such a simple matter to mount a rack on top that you can build yourself a really good-quality rack for little more than pocket change (there’s no need to buy any name-brand equipment at all - just a trip to the hardware store and lumber store).

And You Can Sleep In It
I prefer a camper shell with racks because you can also sleep in it, but one for Kathy’s step side would be weird

I don’t like those goalpost racks because they look rickety without a network of stabilizer straps, and you can’t open the tailgate with them on.

I also occasionally tow a trailer when my boat’s on top, so that wouldn’t work.

I like truck caps, but . . .
I had a cap on my last truck, and I really liked it. It’s the best car-topping solution, and storage is much better. However, I use my truck for bulk stuff (dumping gravel into it, blowing wood-chips into it, hauling firewood) just often enough that a cap would be in the way. I ended up taking my cap off the last truck for most of the summer, and putting it back on in the winter. Obviously that wouldn’t solve the boat-hauling problem for me.

Possible compromise
I have a Nissan Frontier with the US Rack.

I also got a Delta Packer bed box. Big, heavy-duty, lockable plastic box that I have bolted to the front of the truck bed (but comes out easily by removing a couple of wing nuts if I have to carry big stuff). Basically a toolbox that spans from rail to rail. Paddling gear stays relatively dry in the box and two-thirds of the bed is accessible for loading boats on top. Yes, I still get plenty of snow in the uncovered bed but the extra weight isn’t necessarily bad for traction in winter with a pick-up. It’s not ideal but it’s been a reasonable compromise for me for several years .

one idea
I’m considering mounting the thule or T-rac clamp-on racks using “Pocket-Loc” stake pocket anchors. I’d drill a hole in the rack base and bolt them to the anchors.

This would be close to ideal if it worked, and it looks like I can get the T-Rac used for about $200 around here.

I saw the coolest truck rack…
last weekend.

This fellow made a rack out of Aluminum ladder pieces from WallyEWord. He said they were small enough frames to fit in the stake pockets without cuttimg them down. I’d guess he used five or six ladders.

The neatest part was that the kayak supports hinged down for easy loading, then flipped up for horizontal carrying.

I’ll take my camera, and hopefully he’ll be paddling with us next Sunday.

Very clever fellow.


Go with the Thule.

bed extender
Get a bed extender from harbor freight. Easy on easy off.

Oak Orchard Canoe
makes a unit that they advertise works with bed covers for less than $300.

for my 17’ kayak?
I wouldn’t be comfortable with 10 feet of kayak hanging out behind me. I’d probably take out pedestrians every time I turned a corner. And I’d constantly worry about getting a $2000 nudge from behind.