If you have a fireplace or wood stove, a steady supply of wood is essential for those cold winter nights. Because many individuals buy wood by the cord, knowing if it will fit in a pickup truck is integral.
What Is a Cord of Wood?
Before answering the title question, we need to explore what a cord of wood is and how much it weighs. The term ‘cord of wood’ most likely arose from the cord used to tie the wood.
A cord is a unit of measurement for wood. To measure wood properly, the pieces must be stacked as tightly and neatly as possible. Wood is measured by volume and not weight.
A standard full cord of wood is 128 cubic feet, which is measured as an 8-feet-long pile that is 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. A full cord of wood can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds.
It is important to note that each country has its own regulations for the dimensions of a cord of wood. The above is for the United States.
Other Measurements for Wood
When buying wood for the winter, you may hear about other measurements, including face cord or rick cord. These terms often refer to a stack of wood that is 4 feet high, 8 feet long, and 16 inches wide. Face and rick cords are smaller than full cords of wood.
You may also hear people call a stack of wood a Sheldon cord. Sheldon cords vary in size but are often larger than a full cord.
Will a Cord of Wood Fit in a Pickup Truck?
You may be able to fit an entire cord of wood in the back of a pickup truck, depending on the size of the truck and its hauling ability. When hauling wood, consider the following truck sizes and their ability to haul heavy loads.
Small Pickup Trucks 1/4 Ton
Whether the small pickup truck has racks or not, it is going to hold 1/2 a cord of wood. To haul this amount of wood, you will need two load tickets in the United States.
Short Bed Pickup Trucks 1/2 Ton
Like a small pickup truck, with or without a rack, a short bed pickup is going to haul a 1/2 cord of wood. The US requires two load tickets for this haul.
Long Bed Pickup Trucks 1/2 and 3/4 Ton
Without the racks, this pickup truck will haul 1/2 cord of wood. With racks, this truck should hold a full cord of wood. For this load, you will be required to obtain four load tickets.
The Ford F-150 is an example of a 1/2 ton truck that can fit 1/2 cord of wood. With bed rails, it can hold more but not a full cord. The video below shows the loading of a cord of wood into a Ford F150 pickup truck.
Standard Truck 1 Ton
A standard one-ton truck with high racks is going to hold approximately 1 1/2 cords of wood. This load requires six load tickets.
Check Your Owner’s Manual
Keep in mind that hauling a cord of wood in a pickup truck is not only a space concern, but it’s a weight issue as well. Most pickup trucks will not be able to handle the weight even if a full cord of wood could fit.
The above information should only be used as a guide. You should refer to your owner’s manual before hauling any wood, even a 1/2 cord. You should also ensure your truck is licensed for the amount of weight you will be carrying.
Prepare the Wood For Storage
Unless the purchased wood is already dried, up to 50% of its weight can be from water. Drying the wood offers optimal burning and helps prevent insect infestations.
If you try to burn wet wood in a fire, the energy released is going to go towards drying the wood, resulting in a cold fire that does little to warm a room. You will also notice wet wood leads to smoldering and creosote buildup in your fireplace.
Wood is not considered dry until it contains 25% or less moisture. To ensure optimal drying times, split the wood to allow for more surface area exposure.
As a word of caution, you should never bring firewood in for seasoning long term. Your home likely cannot handle the 1400 pounds of water that can be found in a cord of wood, such as red oak.
To season the wood, create a pile that is elevated off the ground and protected against precipitation. It will take a full year to season a cord of wood and get it down below 25% moisture.
Here is a hint. Old pallets make the perfect platform to get wood off the ground during the seasoning process. You should cover the wood pile with a loose tarp to keep rain and other precipitation out.
What Is the Best Wood For Your Fireplace or Woodstove?
Although all wood burns, not all burn the same way. Some wood smokes a lot, some burn hotter, and some have sap that will contaminate your chimney. Now that you know if a cord of wood will fit in a pickup truck, you need to know what type of wood to purchase.
If you want a fire that burns hot and long, choose hardwoods like birch, oak, maple, and ash. These hardwoods have the least amount of sap. Unfortunately, hardwoods are the most expensive.
Softwood is the least expensive wood you can purchase. Of the softwoods, fir is the top choice, but you also have other options. Pine, balsam, spruce, and cedar are all good choices for a fireplace or woodstove.
Load Your Wood Carefully
After choosing your wood, load it into your truck carefully, and make sure you have the proper load tickets as required by your country and state. Stack the wood efficiently to maximize space, and make sure to tie down the load to avoid problems. Do not exceed your truck’s weight limit to avoid serious risks of accidents.