Truck Cover and Boat too?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Russ Kaiser, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Russ Kaiser
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Location: Winston-Salem, NC

    Russ Kaiser Exuberant Amateur

    I have an old beater truck, a short bed 1989 Dodge. We take this truck camping as a 2nd vehicle because with my large family we can't get all our camping junk and our butts in our minivan. I don't have a camper top, I normally just put our gear in the back and throw a tarp over it. I have looked at camper tops and bed covers and I just don't want to spend that much money.

    So today I started thinking that I might make a lift off cover using some plywood I have laying around. I started sketching it out on a scrap of paper and my proposal looked like a piece of a boat bull turned upside down. So I was wondering if the truck cover couldn't be the back of a two piece boat.

    I don't think I want a folding design, but maybe something that goes together with a few bolts, washers and wing nuts. The 2nd piece would be the bow and I would want it to fit in the bed of the truck under the first piece. So if my bed is 70 inches wide and 80 inches long, the total length of the boat would be a tad over 10 feet. The bow would add a little less than 4 feet in length so the bow piece could fit in between the fender wells cross-ways across the bed.

    Has anyone seen anything like this? I don't want to reinvent the wheel if there are some good plans or photos I can work from out there. The more I think about it, the more the idea appeals to me. A boat that's 10 x 6 with say a 15 inch depth could have quite a bit of displacement and could make a good little fishing platform.
     
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  2. GTS225
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    GTS225 Junior Member

    You're describing what's called a "nesting dinghy". You can do a google image search and find some pics, and there are plans available, but I suspect you'll have a hard time finding anything utilizing the dimensions you've described.

    It may be that you'll have to "eyeball engineer" your boat based on the dimensions of your "bed cover".

    Roger
     
  3. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Ought to be able to do something like that and come out with something like a Chugger.
    The biggest problem is a capper sized boat will be quite a bit heavier that a capper. But if 10.5 foot by 70" maybe 250 pounds unless you are quite careful. It should probably weigh about a quarter of the max possible load. There already exists a gadget that will pick up your boat by the transom and flip it up and over your truck. The ones I've seen worked as part of a ladder rack system. Allows folks to carry bikes or quads and a boat as well.
     
  4. Russ Kaiser
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Russ Kaiser Exuberant Amateur

    Here is a picture of what I am thinking about.

    Here is a simple concept drawing. I am not trying to win any awards for style. The red portion would be the bow end. I would probably use the back half as a bed cover quite a bit, but I would hope I could keep it fairly light.

    It would have to have a bit of dead rise to keep the rain from pooling on it. The bow would easily fit under the cover in the back of the pickup.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Why have a truck bed cover, when the best you can do is cover the other half, of a little boat under it and a 6 pack or two beer? What's the point? I understand compact, but compact for compact sake just doesn't make a lot of sense. A boat this size is easily car topable, so a bed rack saves the truck bed for other stuff, while just above is a boat waiting to get splashed.
     
  6. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    certainly not a new idea, but one that didn't catch on ......
    I like the idea of a regular camper top, then car top a real boat on the roof.
    back in the day, as a kid with my dad, that's what we did with the ol' station wagon. We still got the device to put it up there, a pipe on a 2" receiver hitch with a big ol' clamp that the transom would fit into , then just swing bow around and on to the roof. gas milage was most likely horrible though and a trailer would have been better but we were already towing the travel trailer. We had it all packed in there for a whole summer, including 6 kids!
     

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  7. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Love it, when I was 10 my Dad bought a box trailer, fitted some raised racks & dinghy to em & tarped the lot as a kind of camper trailer, we went on a trip from Sydney to Cairns & return & missed a month of school too;), swimming, camping, fishing, day charters in the Witsundays & had a great time!
    I read in a magazine(Practicle Boat Owner) once about a bloke that built a pair of 8' punts/jon boats out of ply that set on a trailer(one upside down over the other), there was a longtitudinal box seat to port & starboard & he held the halves together with wires & turnbuckle inside the boxes, the whole thing was set up for camp cruising on canals etc & he had done European vacations on it & even used a windsurfer rig on it sometimes. Jeff.
     
  8. Russ Kaiser
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    Russ Kaiser Exuberant Amateur

    Yep it was a big bad idea

    Par,

    I have thought about this a little more and I think you and some of the others are right. This is just a bad idea. The cover would be a compromise, no lift door and no windows and it would be have to be built pretty heavy to stand the stress of the mating with the bow. The resin alone would probably cost me more than a used aluminum cover and some of those have top racks that would be good for a small boat or a canoe or two.

    At least I didn't' start cutting.

    Russ
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  9. spidennis
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    Russ, I don't think it was big or bad, just one of many, and some are better than others. And you never know, something you thought of for this project maybe become that important piece of the puzzle for something else later, and without going thru the thought process on this one, you'd never had come up and used this one small part of an idea. Besides, now you can move on to the next idea for your camping outfit and feel good about it!

    btw, I too just shelved a project. I put it in a box and stuck it on the shelf. As it turned out it was a timing issue so it's gonna sit and wait.
     
  10. rasorinc
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    Location: OREGON

    rasorinc Senior Member

  11. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: south padre island, texas

    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    that is pretty slick.
    but that just seems wrong though .......
    what? no lifting?
    of course you have to get the boat into position first ....
     
  12. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    there was boat as camper van's roof too. On TV ads in 1970s.

    I don't think it was legally able to be sold as boat, but they showed a guy floating in it, sort a 'hint, hint' on the extra use.

    However, for you solution I would recommend finding an aluminum boat with little trailer and fill the boat with extra gear and tarp the boat.

    Or....find or make some lumber racks for the truck and make either plywood or tarp sides and roof with racks as frame, and carry an empty boat on top.

    Thats if you don't want new major project....but if you do want to make your boat-top.....


    1)I would leave it as one piece and let the bow overhang. Have a deck from tip of bow to just past the top of tail gate. (your call on whether the boat locks the gate closed or if gate can be accessed with boat in down position. You want storage, so just store light bulky items in bow section.

    2)Put enough angle on transom to allow the apparatus to hinge at top of transom/front of bed so you have headroom under bow, and couple of sticks that wont fall out and bring it all crashing down.

    3)consider left AND right hinging possibility in addition. Access from either left or right. Really not hard to do if starting from scratch. Both sides have door style hinges with cotter pins. Just pull the pins on sides you want to open and lift. You could have easy 3 way opening for 'hardware store' price. The hinge halfs would stay on the bed and boat respectively. Might help to screw down a 1"x3" piece of L-steel (or alum) around the sides and back of the bed to work off to allow hinge half to lie flat and still have easy access to pin.


    Consider making a capper/boat without the bow, more like a John boat.

    I had a lifting cover on back of my Toyota for years and it was wonderful. Parked in all sorts of crappy neighborhoods with thousand$ of dollars in tools and they never touched it, just broke window and took the $50 radio out the dash.

    If I didn't like my flat cover so much I would've built a more raised 'jonboat' combo similar to your idea.

    Put a nice big raised lifting cover on the truck and you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

    Make it out of 1/4 plywood and a coat of epoxy inside and out and call it good. If even that is too much $$$ I think you could get away with little bondo and few coats of whatever water proof paint comes you way.





    PS- why don't they show the EASY LOADER dropping and picking the boat directly from the water at your typical boat launch ramp?? So no dolly or portage required
     

  13. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    On the site I posted re: boat loader check out all the wheels etc. with bow trailer hitch for pulling or pushing the boat where ever you want it. The wheels all retrack. Lots of good info on the site.
     
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