I carry a 14 and a 15 in the bed, nose first. Strap the nose down so it can't bounce up, and tie off from each corner of the truck bed back to the handle on the rear to keep it from sliding backwards or back&forth. Works pretty well and only costs a few feet of rope & strap. Also nice to only lift it to waist high, but puts the kayak in more danger of running into something (or being run into).
They make bed extenders that plug into a hitch receiver. Like a 4' receiver hitch with a 'T' that comes up from the hitch and adds another "shelf" a few feet behind the bed. The kayak specialty brands cost about $150, but Harbor Freight sells one as a ladder/lumber hauler for $40 (sometimes less).
Next option would be some kind of "goal post", either out of the hitch or up from the bed rails, to provide a rear support, with foam pads to let the front of the kayak sit on top of the cab. I haven't priced these out, but I suspect if you looked for truck/contractor versions you'd find something that works at a better price than looking for one of the name-brand kayak/canoe varieties (yakima, thule).
I should add that I'm in an extended cab short bed. 6' of bed, a couple inch gap then 18" of tailgate (though I've never actually measured it). That would be dicey with a 16' boat laying in the bed, unless it had a shape that gave it an obvious heavy end you could put in first and let the light end hang out the back.
Wow, Forrest, that's some homemade setup... What's the cradle at the top made from? I can't quite make it out... (and couldn't make it, anyway... I don't think that's a "JB-Weld" kinda job...)
A lot of folks have built frames for their truck beds out of 2x4's and other homebrew-compatible materials. They've also been known to yak-ify standard flatbed trailers. kayakfishingstuff.com has quite a few examples.
I put Thule rails on the roof of my Saturn sedan, but I'm only carrying a 12' boat. If you do look for the commercial gear, keep your eyes on craigslist and set a local-radius search on eBay. I found my rails on craigslist, paid $95 for about $30 worth of brand-name parts, then ordered the fit-kit specific for my car.
My cousin taught me this one. Cut some 2x4 uprights to fit the holes in the corners of your truck bed. Cut them a little taller than the cab. Drill holes in the top (above cab height) Run a stout metal bar through the holes from side to side. Drill small holes in the bar on the outside of the 2x4 holes and put in a bolt secured with a nut to keep the bar from sliding out. Then simply hoist your yak on top of the bars and secure with straps. The yak should overhang the cab without touching it.
lefty--- The cradle is constructed by using a 2''X 1/4'' piece of flat iron bent to form a Vee( covered with pipe insulation to prevent scratching) --welded to a 5/8'' rod which is inserted through the stand. I use this same setup for a short bed pickup.
I know a lot of people who use the bed extenders from Harbor Frieght. They work well. And they are less expensive than others. There are quite a few different options for more expensive rigs from Thule and Yakima.
I have seen other clever homemade rigs at tournaments, that go beyond my ability to explain them, a picture would be worth more than a thousand words. With a 16 foot boat, I would not recommend just putting it in the back of the pickup and hoping for the best. Get some sort of extender at least for the bed.
Thanks to everyone for some great ideas! I think the 2x4 boards or Harbor Freight seems to be more in line with my budget as a beginner. Lefty, I fish mostly in the southern coastal area, mainly Southport/Oak Island/Lockwood Folly creeks. I still love surf fishing @ OBX, but I will put a pin on the map. thanks to all.
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