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Old 11-07-2015, 04:45 PM   #1
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Can I put a 17' kayak on my roof?

I am an expedition sea kayaker that is waiting for my new 19' Flying Cloud to arrive. I drive a Toyota Tundra with a Crew Cab and currently mount my sea kayaks atop bed mounted TracRac rack system. The problem I am facing is my kayaks stick out too far beyond the rear of my truck and will hit the Airstream. I can move it forward by 32" by adding a Cantilever extender over my cab but still fear I will need more clearance in back as the kayaks will still extend 3 feet beyond the tailgate. Has anyone ever installed any type of rack system with cross bars on top of their Airstream? Could the Airstream roof even support a pair of 55 pound sea kayaks? Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.Doug
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:13 PM   #2
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Best bet would be to add a roof rack at the front of the truck cab and move the kayaks forward. I wouldn't even consider adding anything to the airstream roof other than solar panels.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:14 PM   #3
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I would have to say, I don't think it would be wise.
We carry a 19 ft canoe on top of our canopy with no issues as I have a roof mounted Yakima rack that clamps on the roof above the pillar on my extended cab GMC as well as the rear rack on the track system on the canopy.


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Old 11-07-2015, 05:17 PM   #4
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Maybe a hitch installed on the front of truck with a T bar. This would allow you to move kayaks forward.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:19 PM   #5
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I am at my limit of posting pictures or I would show you.
I load my 17' tandem on my truck rack. With it centered side to side I put 6" between the kayak and the front of the AS. Because it is centered actually gets further away from the AS in a turn.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:26 PM   #6
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I also had the same dilemma. I went through a hardtop tonneau cover first -- didn't work. I just had a A.R.E. MX series installed on my Tundra including the rack option when I ordered the A.R.E. Next, I installed the Thule Hullavator Pro kayak rack.... It works great!
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:42 PM   #7
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We have had no trouble carrying 15' and 17' sea kayaks on our Dodge Dakota Quad cab. One thing we did was ad a bed cap that allowed us to 'push' the kayaks forward over the hood. These pictures show two 15 1/2' boats, but have used a 17+' here too.
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Old 11-07-2015, 05:47 PM   #8
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Here is the same set up with the racks a little closer together on the roof of the truck before the cap. They rode fine. I hope these help.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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I've had a part time paddlesport business since 1992, sea kayaks (up to 21') for the first 10 years, and paddleboards (up to 18') for the last 15 years. I have a shell on my truck with a track mounted rack, and another track mounted on my cab (F150 Super Crew), which allows me to carry anything w/o interference with my trailer. The track on the cab allowing for fore/aft movement is the most versatile setup you can find! Even w/o the trailer I prefer not to have a lot of overhang at the rear.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:25 PM   #10
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mojo nailed it. Just get a new rack that extends over your cab.
You also don't want to make any more holes in the top of AS. Also pretty high up there gettin' up and down.
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Old 11-08-2015, 12:34 PM   #11
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We have had 2 trucks so far - Ram 2500 and now a Ford F250 (both crew and mega cabs respectively). We put caps on the beds of both. We have 2, 17+ft. kayaks. We put one cross bar over the front part of the trucks cab (over the front seat area) The next bar goes toward the front of the cap. (I have a gutter attachment on the cap.) I add a 3rd bar (empty - no rack parts) at the back of the cap, so that the kayaks can go up smoothly without scratching the cap.
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Old 11-08-2015, 03:50 PM   #12
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Getting the kayaks forward enough to completely clear the AS is the way to go. Also on weight distribution and side wind force it is better to get the kayak forward as much as possible, just don't overhang the windshield itself or you won't be able to see the traffic lights at intersections.
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Old 11-08-2015, 05:35 PM   #13
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Thule Goal Post

When we towed with our Jeep Grand Cherokee, our Hobie trimaran was 2 feet longer than the vehicle (Jeep 16.5 ft, Hobie 18.5 ft). Paul installed a front receiver on the Jeep and attached the Goal Post. Therefore, the length was pushed forward and gave more than enough clearance for the Airstream. We now tow with a pick-up, but we still keep the length as forward as possible. I hope these images help.
#1 Jeep with Thule Goal Post
#2 Truck in the bowels of a ferry (next to a logging truck. Eek!)

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Old 11-09-2015, 10:00 AM   #14
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Something that none of the other fine posters mentioned was that even if you get a stellar rack system on top of your Airstream, you'll be faced with two dilemmas: getting those big kayaks up and down without damaging the trailer or yourself, and then getting the kayaks to the launch after you make camp. Wow that's a lot of work!

I've attached pics of my rig- I haul up to 4 kayaks at a time with my Airstream hooked up. I've got a pretty extensive Thule system that works great for solo kayak loading. You should see me preen when I get compliments on my rack!

With the extra-wide bars, I load from the side when I can draft some (tall) assistance. Going solo, the kayaks go up and down from the back over the rollers. The boat on the driver's side is a Tarpon 160, 16 feet long. I bring along a 3-step stool ladder that I got from Home Depot for $30.

Oddly enough, the back of the truck still gets filled up with gear even though I have that big Airstream with me. Keeping the quad cab empty is good for stuffing paddlers into when running shuttles.

Better go get those boats down from yesterday's jaunt in the Everglades...

PS: Maybe you should bring your new rig down to Florida this winter and check out what paddling in paradise is like! I'm tired of being the one required to class-up the campgrounds all by myself! PM me for details...
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