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Old 03-29-2010   #1
Rockingham, North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 54
Need ideas for carrying 14' raft on rental truck (F150)

I am taking a trip to Alaska and would like to carry my 14' Sotar in the back of, or on top of, the rental truck. Cost of renting a trailer would add up as I will be there for 2 weeks and the trailers are in short supply anyway. But even then are $25/day so that would put me back about $300. I am only driving 5-7 miles per day, floating the same section of river near where we are camping. Top speed of 45 mph. Wondering if I can do this safely. Any ideas?

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Old 03-29-2010   #2
Rockingham, North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 54
Figured it was worth mentioning, I could rent a minivan or midsize suv (trailblazer) for about the same cost as the truck. If one of those vehicles would be easier to carry the raft, the suggestion would be equally applicable. Thanks for any thoughts guys.

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Old 03-29-2010   #3
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1066
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 165
workable but not ideal.

The minivan might be better. I've tied an inflated 14' boat to the top of an Audi Station wagon. I usually go upside down (no frame) and tie off to four d-rings and a bow line. It gets weird at 45+ but 35 is OK. Make sure that whatever you rent has a roof rack or suitable tie down points
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Old 03-29-2010   #4
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Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Sounds like you are staying at the Eagle River Campground? I used to carry my 14 footer in the back of my short bed Dodge all the time. It works fine, and with a long bed, it'll be even easier. I put two 2x8's along the rails of the bed, long enough to support the flat part of the bottom of the raft as it hangs off the back of the truck. and 2 more 2x8's as crossbars, which I would place right where the tubes begin to kick upwards. Stap the boat to the frame of the truck, and your done. The cab cuts down on the wind, and you can easily do hiway speeds like this. Even without the 2x8, If your boat is inflated tightly, you can still carry the raft fully on the bed for the short distances you are talking about. Minivan (without the roof rack) would also be easy, as I still carry an inflated 14 footer on the roof of my Club Wagon from time to time, but leave it upright, so it doesnt rock from side to side, and attach a bow line to the front bumper. These 15- passenger vans are ideal for these kind of trips, leaving you TONS of space inside the van for your camping gear, or to sleep in. (seats removed.)
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Old 03-29-2010   #5
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Littleton, Colorado
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Old 03-29-2010   #6
yakrafter's Avatar
Whitewater Boater, Boating Whitewater
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 147
Once you are there, pick up the truck, go the the lumber yard, buy about $15-20 worth of 2x4s and lags and make a simple front rack that fits in the bed post holes.

Then you can run the boat from the tailgate up over the rack and not damage the roof.

For $25-30 you can make a full rack and still have easy access to all the gear space below in the bed.

Keep the truck, way more manly.

From home bring a tape measure and you likely already have a wrench in a your repair kit.
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Old 03-29-2010   #7
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
If you have a van or something with a flat roof you can just strap through the open doors. The shorter the vehicle the easier to get it up there. Just get the grit off the boat first so you don't scratch the roof up too bad.

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Old 03-29-2010   #8
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 7
Going From NC to AK? roll that raft up for the drive. Inflate it when you get there!
then you can drive 35 mph from put in to put out. a few straps and it doesn't matter what you strap it on top of at 35 mph, rent a donkey or something, but why drive across country with an inflated raft on top of your car?
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Old 03-29-2010   #9
Rockingham, North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 54
I hope you are kidding. Ha ha...

Thanks for the ideas so far guys. I greatly appreciate it. I will be flying to Anchorage of course. The 14' Sotar bucket weighs 94 lbs and that is why I bought that raft. Got it for remote floats in the arctic, my wife and I usually do a trip a year there. But this trip is just a fishing trip and to put back a few with some friends of mine. Had a custom breakdown frame made for it. 3 piece Sawyer Pole Cats.

I am heading south of Anch to the Upper Kenai. Two weeks of flyfishing for rainbows and dollies. First trip was there last year, but I had a flatbed trailer and passenger van to use from a friend up that way. Won't be using it this year, so need a plan B. As mentioned, I could rent a flatbed for about 300 bucks, but would prefer carrying the raft on the rental vehicle if I can do it responsibly. I like the ideas above and appreciate any other thoughts of course. Pretty new to rafting so I didn't want to do anything stupid (yet). Thanks guys.

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Old 05-03-2010   #10
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AK, Alaska
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 22
Rent the truck and strap it to the roof. We always carry our 14' rafts on our trucks inflated and if you strap it down good enough you won't have any problems, especially if you aren't going faster than 45. Don't bother buying lumber and making a rack or any other nonsense. Just rent the truck and strap it on, it will work fine.

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