It’s crucial to know the proper techniques to transport a canoe on your vehicle in order to prevent any damage to your canoe, your vehicle, or other vehicles on the road. Let’s explore some safe methods for securing your canoe onto your vehicle.
Lift the Canoe onto Your Vehicle’s Roof
To transport a canoe, place it upside down with the hull facing up. Take care not to bang it against your vehicle or slide it across the paint to avoid any scratches.
If you’re able to lift the canoe alone, make sure to carry it using the center yoke, as you would during portaging. However, if you have someone to assist you, each person can take an end and lift the canoe together.
Rope or Cam Straps: Which Should You Use?
When it comes to securing your canoe, you have the option of using either rope or cam straps. The choice ultimately depends on your budget and personal preference.
Rope has been the go-to option for canoeists over the years. If you are familiar with the right knots to use, rope can be an effective method. It’s recommended to use rope no wider than 3/16-inch, made of a material that won’t stretch when it gets wet.
On the other hand, cam straps are incredibly convenient to use. Unlike ratchet straps, cam straps won’t cause any scratches on your canoe as the buckle is protected by rubber fittings. If you plan on transporting your canoe frequently, investing in cam straps is worthwhile.
For securing the bow and stern, rope with well-tied knots will suffice. Alternatively, you can opt for bow and stern cam straps that come with hooks. In case your vehicle lacks appropriate tie-down points at the front and back, Quickie Hood Loops are an excellent solution.
Transporting a Canoe on a Vehicle with a Roof Rack
If your vehicle is equipped with a roof rack, it’s important to ensure that the rack is in good condition and firmly attached to the roof. If your rack does not have crossbars, you’ll need to install them. Center your canoe on the rack’s crossbars both from side to side and front to back. The center yoke of the canoe should align with the two crossbars for a secure fit.
Loop the middle of the strap around one end of the crossbar and toss both ends back over to the other side of the vehicle. Pass the loose end of the strap under the crossbar on that side and secure it to the cam. Repeat the same process with the other strap. Tighten each strap to ensure that the canoe is firmly tied down and won’t move during transport.
For shorter distances, these two straps should be sufficient. However, if you’re embarking on a longer journey, it’s recommended to secure the bow and stern of the canoe to your vehicle as well. You can watch a helpful video from Frontenac Outfitters that provides a visual guide to this entire process.
If you own a pickup truck, there are various types of canoe racks available for purchase, ranging from $20 to over $400. Paddling.com offers some useful suggestions.
Transporting a Canoe on a Vehicle without a Roof Rack
Even if your vehicle doesn’t have a roof rack, you can still transport your canoe safely. Foam blocks designed specifically for this purpose are available for purchase to ensure that your vehicle’s roof remains scratch-free. Alternatively, you can use pool noodles as a cost-effective solution.
If you choose to use foam blocks, attach them to the canoe’s gunnels before lifting it onto the vehicle’s roof. Pool noodles require assistance from another person. Once the canoe is properly positioned on top of your vehicle, secure it by running the cam straps or rope through your vehicle’s windows or doors. Take care not to damage the weather stripping. If you’re using flat cam straps, your doors or windows should be able to close firmly without any issues. Additionally, secure the bow and stern of the canoe for extra stability if you’ll be traveling long distances.
Survival on Purpose and Rugged Outdoors Guide have provided video demonstrations of transporting a canoe without a roof rack if you’d like to learn more.
Transporting Two Canoes
If your vehicle has sufficient roof rack space, you can easily transport two canoes. Make sure your crossbars can accommodate both canoes by ensuring they are long enough or can be extended.
For a secure fit, tie down each canoe to the center and outside end of the crossbars. This requires four lengths of rope or four cam straps, with two for each canoe. Additionally, secure the bow and stern of each canoe to the front and back of your vehicle.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that your canoe is securely tied down to avoid causing any damage or injury while driving. You don’t want to risk harming your own gear or jeopardizing the safety of others on the road.
For any questions you may have regarding paddling, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Customer Service Team at 715-755-3405 or [email protected]
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