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Truck in the bed rack

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Norm Hein, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    I am considering ways of transporting a heavy canoe other than on roof racks. The obvious choice is a boat trailer. I have one but its set up to carry up to six canoes upside down. Transporting one upside right would make things much easier. So I could buy/make a traditional boat trailer but then you have the common issues with pulling a trailer.
    Finally getting to my titled question, what about a in the bed rack? One that would allow the canoe to be transported upright like on a boat trailer but down in the bed. In my mind (you don't want to go there) it could be set up the same as a boat trailer would be, supports, tie downs and so on but it would be secured in the bed. For ease of loading on me and the canoe, the long, typically carpet covered runners/supports could tilt as to support the bottom of the canoe but as you load they would allow it to lay down flat and be secured. You could back right up to the water, slide the canoe on the runners and let it tilt down right into the water and the same to load. That way you would never have to carry the full weight of the canoe. I don't like the look of canoes hanging out of a truck bed, it has always bothered me to see it but that's mostly because they were not supported correctly. My truck has an 8' bed and a 14"+- tailgate so too keep my 17' OTCA well supported this rack would have to have to stick out a number of more feet to work properly. I would also have to figure out how to secure the rack to the truck.
    Someone has probably already done this or has thought about it more than I have so any input into theory or design would be appreciated.
    Fortunately we are still aloud to go canoeing during this strange, strange time so my wife and I are going paddling this afternoon. I guess that s what got me thinking about this again.

    Stay safe,
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  2. shelldrake

    shelldrake LOVES Wooden Canoes


    I have one of those racks. My bed is only 6 1/2'. I have transported canoes locally using the system and it works fine. I use two of those foam gunwale blocks on the cross piece as a "cradle". However, there is a lot of vulnerable boat sticking way out beyond the back of the truck. I don't think I would feel comfortable transporting one a long distance this way.

  3. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I've carried 16' canoes in my 8' box several times, no issues. Though a frame to better support the canoe would be much better.
    I have no concerns with it hanging out, if you do, add some "color" to the end of the frame to make it "pop".
  4. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    It should be an easy build. I will want to keep it light weight so I may make the frame of it out of aluminum. Light weight, won't rust and I get to try my hand at welding aluminum which I have wanted to try for a long time. Another project! Just what I need.
    Happy Easter everyone! We will never have another one like it. Hopefully
  5. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    A note of caution - Federal and state laws throughout the US limit how far a load can extend beyond the rear of a vehicle. In TN, for example, the limit is only 4' beyond the rear. And "rear" can be the rear of the bumber, the rear of the bed, or even the point of the rear axle. See here for a brief description by state:

    In addition to the possibility of a ticket, I worry about the safety of my canoes when they're sticking out behind the vehicle, especially when low. I always worried about this, and my fears were confirmed not long ago when a massive dump truck crept up behind me at a red light and eventially contacted my trailer, pushing the trailer and my truck forward and almost smashing me into the vehicle in front of me. I don't think he could see the end of my trailer below his front end. Fortunately there were no canoe on this trailer or I would have been both heartbroken and infuriated! The trailer was significantly damaged.
  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Kirk Wipper used to tell a funny story about the 15 foot extensions he had welded on each end of his truck to retrieve a canoe from the West coast that was over 53 feet long. See for more about the canoe and page five of the document at for an outline of the trip.

    He contacted a shipping company for a quote to deliver this canoe but the price was exorbitant. This led him have a rack built for his truck so he could go get it himself. It was on a island that required two small open ferry trips to reach it. He got it loaded and then planned the return trip carefully. His idea was to arrive early and be first in line for the ferry. The ferry came in but the toll collector wasn't sure that his rig would be allowed on the boat. Kirk explained that he could go on first and the canoe could hang out over the bow. The rack was high enough that the next car could pull right up to his bumper under the stern. The ferryman continued to resist until Kirk pointed out that his rig was too long to turn around in the loading area and it was blocking all of the other cars from getting on the ferry. Kirk was allowed on and only got charged for one vehicle.

    Kirk repeated this at the next ferry. It went more quickly because this ferryman asked where he had come from. Kirk gave him the name of the outermost island so the ferryman asked "Did they let you do this on the other ferry?' Kirk said yes, so the ferryman decided to let him do it again. The issues didn't end once he got back to the mainland. The roads through the Canadian Rockies have tunnels and curves that were too tight for anything this long. Kirk crossed into the United States and headed out on the interstate highway. He was soon pulled over by a policeman who wanted to know why he didn't have the required escort vehicles, warning lights, oversize load signs, flags, and permits. This is the point when you or I would be spread eagle on the ground as they got out the handcuffs but Kirk was a great talker. Not only did he avoid getting a ticket but he got a free police escort to the state border. They also called ahead so the police in the next state met him and his police escorts continued until he returned to Canada.

    It probably isn't a good idea to plan on having luck like Kirk as Michael has pointed out.

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  7. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    For sake of furthering the discussion- I would basically have the trailer frame from the bow of the canoe back in the bed of the truck. So the canoe would hang out (with support) as much as it would on the trailer. I think the canoe trailer would be legal. Kind of the same thing in my eyes except like in the story, my canoe would be higher than most car hoods.


    By the way I'm not sure what I was drinking when I titled this discussion.
    Proof read Norm, proof read.
  8. Floyd Reid

    Floyd Reid Keep paddling

    Another consideration with the canoe projecting out from the bed of the truck is difficulty turning with traffic in adjacent lanes or other nearby obstacles. Think for a moment about the arc the end of the canoe will make while turning sharply. For example if you're turning right with vehicles in the adjacent lane to your left the end of the canoe will project into their lane likely resulting in an accident. This same issue could be a problem while maneuvering at a put in point with trees, signs, etc. I would not even want to think about parking to get something to eat or stopping to get gas.
    With a trailer you at least have a point of articulation to help with maneuverability.
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

  10. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Floyd, MGC,
    I'm not a fan necessarily a fan ether- BUT- it really isn't any different than having it on a trailer. The canoe is "hanging" out the back of a trailer. The frame of the trailer doesn't go all the way back to the end of the canoe. There is no bumper and it is directly inline with most cars front bumper that would come up behind you. Maybe we don't like it because we think of the guy that tosses his plastic tub in the back and straps the front down with a bungee cord.
  11. Catawissa

    Catawissa New Member

    For Pennsylvania I’ve always been told that it’s 4 feet of overhang from the brake lights. How true that is versus construction guy rule of thumb I’m not sure. What I’ve done is mounted brake light extension kit -for towing a vehicle on dollies- onto a 2 x 4 that clamps onto the gunnels. They plug in to my vehicle and I have brake lights turn signals and marker lights that are flush with the end of the canoe.
    Norm Hein likes this.
  12. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have an extender that goes in the hitch with an adjustable T on it. Adds about four feet. So with the tailgate down on an 8 foot bed I still have another couple of feet for support past the tailgate. works great. I put the canoes on moving blankets for protection. Not sure about the laws for that but haven't got a ticket yet. I just worry about the other drivers behind me. I also have padded roof racks. It all depends on how far or where the delivery is. I also had to modify my trailer for war canoes. Probably not legal but it worked. IMG_3538.JPG
    Norm Hein likes this.
  13. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Great looking canoe David
  14. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

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