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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m posting this because I got really frustrated trying to find a rack system that fit all my requirements for a good kayak rack on my Ridgeline.
i started off with the factory rails, added cross rails from Amazo. Was not happy with how little support that provides for a long kayak. So here my solution for a rear rack.

Started looking for a rear rack system that I could use to hold my 14-1/2 ft long Hobie Kayak. I really like the hitch mounted Rhino Rack T- Bar because it helps raise the kayak, but I hated the idea of losing the ability to open my tailgate/trunk.
Ended up making my own and it turned out easier than I expected. The end result is that I’ve got a rack that I can install / remove in about 5 minutes. The rack lowers to help me load the kayak, and best of all I can still use the bed cover, tailgate and trunk!

i made this out of 2x3 lumber using 3/8” bolting with tee nuts embedded in the lumber. I was originally only going to go up 6” above the bed rails for the bottom posts, but found that I liked the extra length to help guide the kayaks occasionally. The top section when lowered rests on top of the tailgate and hangs over about 2 feet. When lowered, this position makes it very easy to load/unload the kayak. I put foam under the carpet on the top rail to protect the kayak.
The bottom posts attach to the top and bottom tie-downs using bolts. I made wooden wedges for the lumber side of the mounting points and used store bought metal wedges on the side with no lumber.
Total cost was about $50.

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The rack lowers to help me load the kayak, and best of all I can still use the bed cover, tailgate and trunk!
I liked the extra length to help guide the kayaks occasionally. The top section when lowered rests on top of the tailgate and hangs over about 2 feet.
When lowered, this position makes it very easy to load/unload the kayak. I put foam under the carpet on the top rail to protect the kayak.
Did you ever consider hauling the kayak in the bed of the truck, with the use of a 'truck bed extender'?

It seems this approach has many benefits...
  • Far easier & less strenuous to load/unload the kayak
  • No climbing onto the door sills or into the bed to strap down the kayak
  • Less chance of scratching/damaging the truck
  • No need for roof rails and crossbars (expense, added wind noise, reduced MPG, ect)
  • Extender can be removed from the truck with just 1 pin

Here are a few of the ones I'm looking into...
https://www.autoanything.com/hitch-bed-accessories/erickson-big-bed-hitch-bed-extender
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/MaxxTow/MT70231.html
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/Erickson/EM07600.html
 

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If his issue is anything like mine, my ocean kayak is almost 16' long so its not really feasible with a bed extender. I believe the kayak he pictured is about 14.5' long. I am considering a bed extender with my shorter 11.5' kayak, from what I can tell the local law here says a load may only extend 4' from the end of the vehicle, so it would be pushing it.
 

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Did you ever consider hauling the kayak in the bed of the truck, with the use of a 'truck bed extender'?

It seems this approach has many benefits...
  • Far easier & less strenuous to load/unload the kayak
  • No climbing onto the door sills or into the bed to strap down the kayak
  • Less chance of scratching/damaging the truck
  • No need for roof rails and crossbars (expense, added wind noise, reduced MPG, ect)
  • Extender can be removed from the truck with just 1 pin
Here are a few of the ones I'm looking into...
https://www.autoanything.com/hitch-bed-accessories/erickson-big-bed-hitch-bed-extender
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/MaxxTow/MT70231.html
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/Erickson/EM07600.html
I'm pretty sure that in most states having something extend out more than a certain amount would technically be illegal.
 

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If his issue is anything like mine, my ocean kayak is almost 16' long so its not really feasible with a bed extender. I believe the kayak he pictured is about 14.5' long. I am considering a bed extender with my shorter 11.5' kayak, from what I can tell the local law here says a load may only extend 4' from the end of the vehicle, so it would be pushing it.
Are you saying the bed extender is not feasible because of the law, or because the length is too much?
With the tailgate down the bed is 7' long. Depending on which bed extender you get, it would give you another 2' - 4' of support.

Here is a pic of a Ridgeline with a kayak, though the reviewer doesn't mention how long the kayak was...
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I'm pretty sure that in most states having something extend out more than a certain amount would technically be illegal.
Interesting. What state do you live in?

In my state, the law only stipulates that you attach a red flag if the load extends more than 4 feet from the truck...
Whenever the load upon any vehicle extends to the rear four feet or more beyond the bed or body of such vehicle, there shall be displayed at the extreme rear end of the load, a red flag or cloth not less than sixteen inches square.
 

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Are you saying the bed extender is not feasible because of the law, or because the length is too much?
With the tailgate down the bed is 7' long. Depending on which bed extender you get, it would give you another 2' - 4' of support.

Here is a pic of a Ridgeline with a kayak, though the reviewer doesn't mention how long the kayak was...
View attachment 401328
It's not so much the support under the kayak but the hangover length from tailgate to end of load. With the way roads are here (Hawaii) and access to beach parking to unload, overall length would be an issue with the 16'. The hangover length in that picture is more than I am willing to accept. Having almost 10' of boat hanging off the back of the truck would bring too much unwanted attention. With the sub-12', I am more inclined to try it. I don't think the law is really an issue, in my expierience, Hawaii is hit or miss on enforcement of anything.
 

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I'm asking these question because I'm actively looking to purchase a canoe, and would transport it in the truck bet with a bed extended.
I've never done so before, so just looking for the pros and cons.

It seems like I have the pros covered, so wondering if the OP (or anyone else) can point out the cons.
I live in the Midwest and won't be taking the canoe to populated areas, so I'm not too worried about the hangover length.
But maybe there are other drawbacks to this approach.
 

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The length is really about the only major issue I can think of other than maybe stability in the bed for a canoe. Seems like it might want to tip to one side or the other. In the past I used a 4x8 utility trailer with an extended neck. It allowed me to keep the kayak and all the associated gear in one place and I just dropped it at the house when I was done, everything stayed with the trailer.
 

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I like the pivot functionality!!!
 

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I have the Erikson extender on order from Amazon. When it gets here (could be a couple weeks), I'll load both kayaks (12'/16') in both configs (in bed/over cab) and post some pictures.
 

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I have the Erikson extender on order from Amazon. When it gets here (could be a couple weeks), I'll load both kayaks (12'/16') in both configs (in bed/over cab) and post some pictures.
Seeing a picture of your 16' kayak on the bed extender would be much appreciated.

It will help me determine whether it will be feasible to transport a ~16.5' canoe in the bed.

Thanks
 

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I tried an 11' SUP in the back with an extender and even that made me feel uncomfortable on how much it hung out the back, no way I'd ever try driving around with my 14' race board like that.
 

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I tried an 11' SUP in the back with an extender and even that made me feel uncomfortable on how much it hung out the back, no way I'd ever try driving around with my 14' race board like that.
With the tailgate down, the Ridgeline bed is 7' long, so 4' of overhang.
With a bed extender, there would only be about 1' of overhang.
What about that made you uncomfortable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Did you ever consider hauling the kayak in the bed of the truck, with the use of a 'truck bed extender'?

It seems this approach has many benefits...
  • Far easier & less strenuous to load/unload the kayak
  • No climbing onto the door sills or into the bed to strap down the kayak
  • Less chance of scratching/damaging the truck
  • No need for roof rails and crossbars (expense, added wind noise, reduced MPG, ect)
  • Extender can be removed from the truck with just 1 pin
Here are a few of the ones I'm looking into...
https://www.autoanything.com/hitch-bed-accessories/erickson-big-bed-hitch-bed-extender
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/MaxxTow/MT70231.html
https://www.etrailer.com/Bed-Extender/Erickson/EM07600.html
I considered this, but I do’t like to drive with the extra 9 feet sticking out the back of the truck. Hard to find parking spaces; concerned about other drivers hitting it, had that happen before while toting a jon boat.
Pivoting the rack down provides just the right slope to make it easy to push up an on top. Also since the pivoting portion extends about a foot behind the tailgate, the chance of damaging the paint is less.
 

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With the tailgate down, the Ridgeline bed is 7' long, so 4' of overhang.
With a bed extender, there would only be about 1' of overhang.
What about that made you uncomfortable?
Not sure on your math there, it would stick out 4' past the end of the bed extender. Bed extender or not though it's still sticking out 6' past the end of the truck and if some dumb ass were to rear end you there's a good chance it's gonna go through their windshield.
If you have to parallel park that's a pain in the ass too - you leave plenty of room behind when you pull in then the guy behind you leaves and the new person leaves 2'...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Overhang can not be calculated from the bed extender. Some states don’t even include the tailgate down when specifying overhang.
A lot of this topic comes down to personal preferences. I’d put a 15’ kayak on my Harbor Freight folding trailer before I put it out the bed of a small truck. Just not comfortable with that.
This rear home-made rack with the factory roof rails and after market cross bars works best for me and I’m extremely happy with it which is why I wanted to share it with other Ridgeline owners. Very easy to use and meets all of my requirements. I hope y’all find what works best for you.
 

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Overhang can not be calculated from the bed extender. Some states don’t even include the tailgate down when specifying overhang.
My overhang was calculated from the bed extender, to emphasize how much unsupported load you have, which to me is the key issue with transporting canoes/kayaks.
There are no laws about overhang in my state, other than attaching a red flag to your load.
 
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