Introduction: Kayak Truck Rack Works With Tonneau Cover

Picture of Kayak Truck Rack Works With Tonneau Cover

The problem with kayak/ladder racks that are commercially available, is that they don't leave room for the tonneau cover. This kayak rack works using the existing stake pockets and as long as the tonneau cover doesn't cover them up you can freely open and close the tonneau cover AND carry your stuff in the rack.

Step 1: The BOM.

Picture of The BOM.

Bill of Material.

2 ----- 10 foot sections of 1.5" steel conduit pipe.

4 ----- 90° elbow bends of 1.5" steel conduit piipe

4 ----- 1.5" connector pieces

4 ----- 4" 1/4-20 eyebolts.

4 ----- "Tee" brackets from the decking dept.

X ----- a bunch of 1/4-20 nuts and bolts, 2" long, shorter ones, bolts and washers, some nylon bolts as well

I was experimenting, and as a result, as usual, I bought a bunch of other stuff that I used or didn't, but the above I believe is the minimum necessary to get the job done. I think that list a home depot would cost about $70.

I also had my old kayak rack bars that I made from my old car to reuse. You'll see them later and I re-used them because I have 2 kayaks and they are big, you'll have to tailor your rack for your needs after the frame is up.

Step 2: Cutting the Pipe and the Big Trick

Picture of Cutting the Pipe and the Big Trick

So you are going to cut the 10' pipe sections so that you get two parts about 18-24" long to go into the stake holes of the the truck, and that leaves a 6-7' section to go horizontally across the bed. You'll have to measure for yourself with our truck. On mine, the depth of the stake hole was 6", and the curve of the elbow bend was about 12" (whatever) so I custom measured the length of the rise to be exactly what was necessary so the horizontal bar would come out about 2" above the roofline.

Now what you have probably have noticed is that the 1.5" pipe won't fit into the stake hole. Now comes the trick to fix that. Look at the pictures. First you put the end of the pipe that fits into the stake hold in the vise and squeeze it into an oval. Once the short diameter of the oval is small enough to fit in the short side of the stake hold, you then use a mallet to hammer the short turns of the oval flat. Keep the pipe in the vise so the short diameter doesn't open up, put a piece of lumber under the pipe so as you hammer it the pipe doesn't push out from the vise, and by hammering you will get a pretty good rectangular shape out of the end of the pipe.

Step 3: The Lock Down.

Picture of The Lock Down.

so my vertical pieces are a pretty tight fit, and that is probably all I really need, but at 70mph I still want this rack locked down so it won't fly away. I also wanted that assembly to be really easy to do. Now inside my bed there are already access holes cut into the stake holes, and I made use of them by drilling a hole through my vertical pieces such that the hole was 5/8"big, and lined up with the previous cut-outs. Now I was able to use the 4" eye hole bolt as sort of a cotter pin on the vertical pieces. This way the rack cannot come out of the stake holes. I don't use any nut on these eyehole bolts.

Step 4: Clean Up Work. (optional)

Picture of Clean Up Work. (optional)

so I also added the "tee" brackets: I don't think they are very necessary, but some of my rectangular pipe fits were a bit loose so these keep things a little squarer. I also painted things up, and put lock-tite (actually just nail polish) on the threads to keep the bolts from coming loose,

Step 5: Outriggers for 2 Kayaks. Plus Other Toys.

Picture of Outriggers for 2 Kayaks.  Plus Other Toys.

my kayaks were so wide, I needed extra width, so I took my old kayak rack bars and secured them to the horizontal bar with a pair of hose clamps. Actually I have 4 kayaks, and ironically, the short ones don't even need the kayak rack (DOH!!!

while I was at it, I also made tie downs for the truck, a great bungee cord rail from some chain, and also a soft top. More tutorials coming up!!! - Jon


jsawyer made it! (author)2017-07-30

I used 2-#12 self drilling screws to secure it, no-T required! Very solid, Thanks!

jleslie48 (author)jsawyer2017-07-30

Looks GREAT! Yes, realized quickly that the Tee was not required at all in the back or the front risers and took them off the back ones.
I left them on the front because they created mounting points for an axle rod that I used to make a pivoting platform. the platform bridges the two sides of the pickup cavity so that I can put my bicycles up there chain them to the front cross bar. (You don't have the front cross bar in the picture.)

Now when I want to bike instead of kayak, I can throw my bikes up on top over the tonneau without touching the tonneau cover.

jsawyer (author)jleslie482017-07-30

Thanks. I didn't build a front one since I don't mind my kayak on the roof... (Paint's fading anyway) I'll drop a foam block on the roof, and tie it down to hooks in the front stake pocket. Thanks again for the great idea! This thing is rock solid!

jleslie48 (author)jsawyer2017-07-30

the front one isn't so much for the roof but rather to give tie down spots so the kayak(s) can't slide side to side and also shear off the roof and fly backwards from the 65mph wind getting underneath them in the front.

jsawyer (author)jleslie482017-07-30

good point, but I figured I could tie them down to hooks I have in the stake pockets...

jleslie48 (author)jsawyer2017-07-30

I would double tie it: once over and down (an upside down letter "U" and then a second tie down that goes over the the top and then criss-crosses under the boat to make a letter "X" under the boat.

jleslie48 made it! (author)2016-10-17

It works!!!

Marbots (author)2016-06-04

I don't have a kayak, and I don't have a pickup. But I appreciate your work.
Goo job

jleslie48 (author)Marbots2016-06-05

glad you liked. it.

Marbots (author)Marbots2016-06-04

Goo = Good...
how the hell do we edit our comments? ?

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