Building roof racks for a truck cap

By: Scott Taylor

This roof rack is designed for use on a pickup with a cap, it will require drilling through the cap and bolting the rack to it. I have used this rack for three years with no problems, I do not tie down the bow and stern, the only way the rack can come off is to rip out several square feet of fiberglass. This should work on aluminum caps, but may require additional reinforcement on the cap



1. Determine how wide of a rack is desired, I made mine 6 ½ feet, which is adequate for two standard tandem tripping canoes.

2. Roll the mounting plates to the contour of the side of the cap, if you have the capability, or can have it done, if not, place the mounting plates on the far outer edge of the roof, parallel to the sides.

3. Drill two 7/16" holes in the plates, one at each end.

4. Measure the distance between the plates.


5. Determine the needed height of the rack risers, I made mine 6", which is adequate for a Swift Winisk and Yukon, allow more height if your canoe has greater rocker.

6. Weld the 2" long flat stock to the ends of the crossbars, with the long end extending down.

7. Weld the risers to the mounting plates.

8. Weld the crossbar to the risers using the distance from step # 3.

9. Drill 7/16" holes in the center of each backer plate, one hole on each side of the angle iron.

10. Mount the rack on the cap, determine the spread desired, mine is about 6 ½ feet, drill 7/16" holes in the cap, place the gasket material between the mounting plate and the cap, install the backer plates, flat stock in the side bolts, angle iron on the top bolts, secure well.


11. Tie a rope in the extra holes in the angle iron and string it across the roofline. This can be used for tying paddles or fishing rods up out of the way.






Stainless steel is preferred for exterior parts, mild steel will work

2 x 6 1/2' - 1" square tubing = crossbars
4 x 6" - 1" square tubing = risers
8 x 2" - 1" x 1/8" flat stock = end plates
4 - ¼" plate 3" x 6" = mounting plates
4 - 11/2" angle iron, 8" long = backer plates
4 - 2" x 3/16" x 1' flat stock = backer plates
8 - 7/16" x 2" carriage bolts
rubber gasket material (old inner tube works well)

Scott Taylor is an Environmental Engineer from Burlington, WI.  A father of two who enjoys family camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing in Northern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario.



These instructions are general recommendations and should work with most similar truck caps.  It is your responsibility to determine whether your vehicle and cap is capable of working with this style of rack.


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