Picture of Build Your Own Low Cost Pickup Truck Canoe Rack
It's prime canoeing weather and our Maker Space  "The Rabbit Hole" planned a canoe trip, awesome!
Problem is, I had one canoe of our own, and a truck, but no canoe rack (and didn't want to drive all the way to the river with a 15 foot canoe hanging out the back). Commercially made racks for a pickup trucks can fit in a trailer hitch (but this doesn't let you lower the tailgate or tow anything), they can fit in the post holes of a pickup sidewall (but I have Chrome gunnels on my truck) or they can be free standing. Free standing would work for me, but they are expensive, at least $200
Luckily we had a build night scheduled for the night before the epic trip (and we think we have the tools and skill to build something on our own!)

This Instructable documents the process we went through to build our rack so other canoeing hackers can save money too!

Materials Needed (things may differ depending on dimensions of your vehicle):
  • Car-Top Canoe Carrier Kit (already had one of these, similar to Attwood Car-Top Canoe Carrier Kit found on Amazon for $23, but they are called Riverside Car-top Carriers)
  • 1 - 2"x6"x65" Lumber (already had one of these, you could use a 2"x4")
  • 3 - 2"x4"x84" Lumber
  • 1 - 2"x4"x60" Lumber
  • 8 - 3/8" x 4" Carriage bolts, washers, lock washers and nuts
  • 2 - 3/8" x 5" Carriage bolts, washers, lock washers and nuts
  • 6 - 21/2" Deck screws
Tools Needed
  • Saw - Circular, Radial or good old fashioned "Voo-Ba, Voo-Ba" hand saw (It's a Bill Cosby Noah Reference :-) )
  • Drill with 3/8" bit and screwdriver attachment
  • 9/16" wrench
  • Tape measure
Let's get building!!

(This Instructable submitted by the Rabbit-Hole Maker Space as part of the Instructables Sponsorship Program.)
joeflips73 months ago

thanks for the plans! Made mine in about 20 mins so that we could cruise to the river. i will likely re-do it though in order to make sure it strong for a longer haul

mazzmn (author)  joeflips73 months ago

Awesome, thanks for letting me know. Have a great trip and I hope your Instructables name has nothing to do with your canoeing experience :-)

Cruiser16 mazzmn2 months ago

hey MAZZMN :your thoughts on this design for a Tacoma?

no vertical space for 2x6 but horizontal fore and aft of wheel wells.

thinking---2x6 horiz. legs to floor, braces fore and aft? ideas

appreciated-Paul d.(pickering,ont.canada)

mazzmn (author)  Cruiser162 months ago

Braces front and back should help, not exactly sure how you mean but I added a picture...seems like it should work

LarryF12 months ago

I'm assuming the 2x6 wedged in the liner slots and the brace going to the tailgate keep it from rolling backwards when you take off. No issues with sudden stops rolling the assembly forward?

mazzmn (author)  LarryF12 months ago

You are correct...it is wedged in pretty tight. We haven't seen any issues as long as everything is strapped down tight, but a brace to the front might not be a bad addition