Yakima rack for truck/topper

Just bought the canoe and need to figure out a good rack system for my F-150 supercrew truck with camper top. I am kind of split between mounting permanent landing pads on the truck and the camper, or using a Q-tower (clamp on) on the front, and fake rain gutters with the 1A towers on the camper. Wouldn’t mind going permanent all around, but looking to see if anyone has recommendations against this or not. I am concerned with the possibility of a roof leak. Any inputs on the best way to transport would be great. Need to be able to use my hitch so the reciever mounts won’t work. Thanks

Is your topper glass or aluminum?
The former is a bit easier to get a good seal against water leakage. I’ve seen some permanent racks that mount to the sides, minimizing the leak problems. The nice thing about the fake gutters is you can take the racks off when not needed. Check with a local outfitter about seeling the rack connection from water leaks. You might also check with a dealer for camper covers, especially one that sells your particular model/brand.

Top is glass
The top is fiberglass. From the Yakima materials it looks like I can put either landing pads, or the bolt on gutters and get the same effect. Just trying to figure out the better option. For the truck part I was thinking about putting the landing pads on, but I was concerned about leakage. Just looking to see whether most people do it with clamps or if anyone has gone down the permanent install road.

I have the same truck and fiberglass
cap and installed the Yakama landing pads and matching towers three years ago.

Right after installing them I did a four month fifteen thousand mile round trip to Alaska and back, with two heavy 17 foot plastic yaks on them, and have not had a problem yet.

I love them and since they are part of the vehicle there is no need for front or rear tiedowns.

On my last truck I used there false rain gutters, but I have much more faith in the landing pads.

I just finished installing them on my daughters fiberglass cap Sunday.

The first hole hurts the worst !

Good luck



Agree with Jack
The landing pads are much easier to mount and dismount the racks.I have used the toploader brackets on an Astro van and they are secure and leakproof if you follow the instructions. The Astro is now 13 years old and has 250,000 miles, still no leaks. It has hauled canoes over 500 miles of Canadian log roads with no bow or stern lines without a problem.

My VUE has the control towers and landing pads, and it has no leaks either. Only 25,000 miles on this rig, so i will make no long term prediction. Once you set the distance between towers, the simple lever lock of the control tower is faster than the knob on the rain gutter towers.

The sideloader brackets do leave the roof clean and clear with the racks off. And that may make a difference to you in carwashes or passing under trees. And some camper tops are better suited to taking the load on the sidewall vs the flat top of the roof.

If you mount both racks on the camper top the canoe will hang out over the back of the truck more, but the trade-off is that it will not be twisted from side to side over rough roads when the truck cab and bed go in different directions. And with a crewcab you can get the racks so far apart that the canoe sits on the racks very near the ends where its narrow width does not give a solid tie down. Six to seven feet between bars seems the best compromise.

If you do drill the cab, make sure you paint the edges of the holes where the metal will be bared by the drilling. And use a drill stop or tape wrapped around the drill bit to keep from going thru the headliner when the drill breaks thru the metal. Its amazing how much of the soundproofing material and headliner can wrap up around the drill bit before you stop it.


Plaidpaddler, please tell me more…
…about the rack system on your Vue. I have a 12 year old Ranger w/ a topper and artificial raingutters which has served me well all these years (front bar mounted over the cab), but she’s gettin’ old and needs to retire from the 1000+ mile trips. I like the Vue w/ the Honda powerplant, but according to Yakima’s website there is no aftermarket rack system available for it. Saturn has gunwhale brackets available for the factory crossbars, but that only handles one canoe. Gotta be able to carry at least two to be worth a hoot on shuttles. Any information you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks!

Racks on a VUE
This is a custom system and not for the faint of heart or those without metric allen wrenches and metric allen head cap screws.

You are correct about the Saturn rack only handling one boat. With any factory roof rack you are stuck with the stock width crossbars. So we don’t use them! My VUE came less rack, it only had the factory rails running for and aft. The factory towers mount on the siderails and screw down thru into the threaded mounts for the siderails.

You need a couple of Yakima tracks for the landing pads. I cut two in half yielding 4 pieces; one piece of track for each landing pad.

The holes in the Yakima track are on almost the same centers as the bolts in the Saturn siderails. The Yakima track will be mounted on top of the Saturn rail(or track depending on how you view it). You remove the Saturn allen head bolts and replace them with longer bolts. I was able to get two holes in each track piece to line up with the Saturn bolt holes and drilled a third to match the Saturn bolt location. Then i mounted the Yakima Track sections to the top of the Saturn rails with the longer allen head capscrews/bolts. I put silicone RTV on the threads to keep the roof sealed.

Then the landing pads mount to the Yakima Rails. The Control Towers mount to the Landing Pads, the Cross Bars mount to the Control Towers, the Load Stops (actually the original gunwale brackets, which were replaced by the new and more expensive multi-mount gunwale brackets and renamed Load Stops) mount to the Cross Bars, and the Canoe mounts to the Load Stops, the Head Bone mounts on the Neck Bone, etc, etc.

The Yakima Tracks and all the assorted Yakima hardware are available thru fine paddlesports shops like Oak Orchard Canoe (have to plug my friendly source and sourcely friends). The longer metric allen headed capscrews from good hardware stores and from foreign motorcycle shops. Most Japanese bikes have their sidecovers and accessories fastened with allen headed metric capscrews and the shops stock them in all sorts of lengths, and in chrome and stainless steel.

The black Yakima tracks hardly show on top of the VUE when even with the landing pads in place.

I mounted at the extreme ends of the factory rails. Just stayed far enough forward with the back one to let the spoiler on the rear hatch clear the bar when it opens.

The VUE I bought used last summer is a 2002. Its the first year version with the German/English GM 3 liter V-6 AWD. It runs well, has plenty of power and gives me 25mpg overall.

The new ones with the Honda3.5 liter V-6 should launch like a 70’s GTO, that motor has 70 more ponies than mine. The AWD system got the usual GM product bad press from Consumers Reports. Anything they test from GM starts with a zero score and they add a few points for really good features. Toyotas and Hondas start with a 100 score and they subtract a few points if it has the slowest times or the poorest gas mileage. Up here on the North Coast where it snows much more than around NYC, the VUE does fine in the snow, slush and mud. Played with it in a foot of fresh snow in the local mall lot before the plows got there and could not get it to spin or slide, it just honkered down and dug in. I did get real snow treaded tires mounted on it at the dealers when i bought it.

This got real long,but i have never been accused of being short on words.


Hey Thanks!
That’s great information and much appreciated. I kind of figured it was a custom installation, and you confirmed that.

I test drove an '05 Vue and it definitely hauls butt. I’ve had 3 Saturn SL2s and have had mostly positive experiences w/ Saturn, but the SL2’s aren’t good boat haulers. I was looking at the VUE to replace my old red Ranger. I printed out your email instructions in case I do go that route, 'cause any truck I own has to carry multiple boats.

Thanks again, and I wish good paddling to ya!