Optimal Kayak Rack for a Tacoma - Mountain Buzz

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Old 11-15-2011   #1
Obey River Rat
Little Rock, Arkansas
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 13
Optimal Kayak Rack for a Tacoma

Not enough water to paddle and not enough snow to ski leaves one with too much time to think. I have acquired a double cab Tacoma with the 5 foot bed. I am looking for ideas as to the optimal way to carry a couple of kayaks, other than just stuffing them loose in the bed.

Toyota sells accessory roof racks that mount on the double cab, and then Yakima or Thule sell mounts to attach crossbars to the roof racks. Does anyone have experience or opinions about this rig?

Or should I look at a set of racks that mounts in the pick-up bed?

Looking for ideas and opinions of all kinds.

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Old 11-15-2011   #2
Paddle_like_Hell's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 113
I got the double cab long bed, 6 ft. I went with a camper shell with yakima cross bars. I can get 4 loaded creekers on top and 4 play boats in the back. Have even carried a 14 ft. canoe on top with no issue. Take the play boats out at camp and you got a place to sleep in the bed. It's been awesome.

Even with the 5 ft. bed, if you go with a camper shell you could handle much longer boats than just a cab rack plus, on a shell, you can add supports to hold more weight than the factory cab bars would allow.
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Old 11-15-2011   #3
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
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If you wanted to keep the bed open (no camper shell) you can get a ladder style rack that will allow you to still toss gear in the bed, but also let you tie multiple boats down on the rack. I have also seen a set up that pressure treated 2x6 mounted to the bed rails. This set up could carry about 5 large creekboats (big Nomads and Jefe Grandes).

Personally I have a camper shell on my Silverado with a Thule rack mounted to it, with a set of stackers on it. Which I have put 8 creekboats on and still have plenty of room in the bed for gear and more boats.
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Old 11-15-2011   #4
bobbuilds's Avatar
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I recomend a custom fabricated steel rack or aluminum if you can afford aluminum. You could make it at home if you can weld, it will be cheap to make and you can climb on top of it. put a shell under it and it all comes apart.

you could set a tent up on top of it if you built it w/a floor
haul lots of gear. hundreds of pounds VS 100-maybe 150lbs on a fiberglass topper/roof racks.
tie down lots of gear diff ways.
haul other shit later.

if you haul a lot of stuff, or do multi-sport trips with a lot of gear you can free up a lot of space in the cab

fiberglass topper w/ bars 150lbs

roof rack average w/ bars 100lbs

steel/alum. ladder type 800-1600lbs
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Old 11-15-2011   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I agree with the welding. That is a big if you can weld. I had a buddy make mine for the cost of steel and a 30 rack of pbr that fits over a topper, but is very easy to take off if need be. Just make sure you are sober when finishing it off or you will have crooked vertical bars like mine
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Old 11-16-2011   #6
Obey River Rat
Little Rock, Arkansas
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 13
I am beginning to see a camper shell with racks as the way to go. I don't weld, but have friend who does aluminum welding, and will look into that. He goes more for smoke than pbr, so the verticality warning is well taken. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
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Old 11-16-2011   #7
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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While it's not exactly the same, we tried a Yakima rack on a Tundra double cab. It torqued the doors/hinges and let air through the gasket. Returned! I didn't know Toyota makes something, I'll have to check that out. Our next step was to be a rack on the topper which isn't without potential problems too.
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 11-16-2011   #8
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,031
I would really talk to your buddy about the aluminum, I had a bad experience with it a while back. I do not weld and technology/methods may have improved by my understanding is that the welds for aluminum are superficial unlike steel. My rack broke 5 times at different welds, twice on critical welds before I finally got rid of it. It was a friend doing the work as a side job, but he was a welder and tried to make it work it just did not. Also the size of tubing I used was awesome because it was so damn light and would hold boats no issues, but would bend when you were walking around on top which sucked.

Camper with rack is the way to go, have a simple steel ladder rack now and it works great.
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Old 11-16-2011   #9
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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The right size aluminum will weld up fine. It'll be lighter which is key for that little truck. A good aluminum rack will NOT be cheap however. Lots of folks get away with just bars on the shell. If all you'll be carrying is yaks, its probably sufficient.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 11-16-2011   #10
Join Date: Jan 2004
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tons of racks here. These fit over a camper shell or look at the ones that just fit the bed. Not too pricey either..Atom..
Truck Racks Etc.
action is the enemy of thought
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