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Transporting two canoes

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by Lew's Canoes, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Lew's Canoes

    Lew's Canoes Canoe Builder

    Wondering if anyone can offer a suggestion on how to safely carry two w/c canoes on a Chevy Blazer? The vehicle has a manf. standard roof rack, which is fine for one canoe, using foam blocks and tie downs to the rack and to the frame at the bow and stern. Two canoes, side-by-side, will be substantially wider than the vehicle. I would appreciate hearing how others have approached this , hopefully without "launching" your canoe(s) across the highway at 55 mph. Or should I be thinking about a trailer........? Thanks.
  2. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    I just mount 2x4's of the needed length to carry 2 canoes.

    The current setup has 4 homemade "towers" that bolt to the factory rack grooves and then the 2x4's bolt to the towers. On the current car, a Windstar, the wheelbase is a bit short, so I never go far without ropes at the bow and stern to eye bolts on the corners of the car on the underside.

  3. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    I've carried two canoes across the country atop a GMC Suburban several times. I used a standard Yakima rack with 6-foot bars. You want a very sturdy rig, one which will resist cross-winds and truck wash, and prevents movement of the boats. The Yakima worked fine.
  4. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut

    How about three on the top using 2x4's.

    These three traveled more than 1,000 miles and through a major blizzard.

    All arrived intact.


    Attached Files:

  5. Paul Scheuer

    Paul Scheuer LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I always make it a practice to tie with three lines so that if any one of them goes AWOL, I've still got the load attached and alligned. I use real ropes, with eye spllices on one end. I prefer larger diameter lines, 1/2 or 3/4 that make the knots easier to see and do. Very nice when it's cold. I tie the knots, round turn - two half hitches, so that I can see them from the driver's seat.

    No problems - so far, (Knock on W&C) .

    My two-canoe rig was 2 x 4's with chocks added to fit the gunnels and the existing roof rack.

    Always remember to load the canoes with the bow forward - It's considered bad form to have bugs on your stern. :)
  6. charvey

    charvey Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    On my Toyota 4runner I have the Yakima 6 foot cross bar which two canoes can rest upon. Total cost of the Yakima rack will be a minimum of $175. If you go this way invest the extra $40 for the rack lock set. Thieves actively look for unlocked racks and they can have these racks off your vehicle in 30 seconds. I also have a utility trailer. A standard 5x8 trailer with homebuilt tower rack can easily transport one canoe rightside up and one upside down on the tower. I've had this utility trailer for 10 years now, and I can't begin to tell how much I value this trailer. I've made nearly 15 round trips from Atlanta to Michigan with as many as three boats on the trailer. All I've had to do maintenance wise is repack the bearings every two years. The added benefit of a trailer is that you can haul other things besides your canoes. The downside to owning a trailer is that you will become the go-to mover in your circle of friends. I've seen new trailers run as low as $300 (Harbor Freight and Northern Tool to name a few). If you have the space to store a trailer, I would highly recommend it.
  7. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy

    For what it's worth I'll add my two cents. I vote for the Yakima rack with the 6 foot bars and locks as suggested. I've used this system for years and can easily carry two canoes side by side. It's a rock solid system and well worth the investment. It's much better engineered than almost any factory rack system the manufacturers use.
  8. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    More Yakima thoughts

    For hold downs I use heavy duty straps w/ metal buckles (Northwest River Supplies, 1.5"), which give a stronger grip than ropes. I put two straps at the front to increase resistance to truck wash. Also, I use two front tie-down ropes (one to each side of the bumper), cinched tight with a trucker's hitch.

    Yakima offers gunwale brackets to prevent lateral movement of the canoe. They have worked very well for me over many years. That is until last month, when travelling through the Idaho mountains a huge wind gust actually collapsed the leeward brackets and allowed the canoe to slip over the top and onto the bar! It appears that the hollow construction, combined with rather feeble vertical bracing, doesn't provide quite enough rigidity to withstand extreme lateral stresses. I plan to fill my brackets with epoxy to beef them up.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  9. paulfredricks

    paulfredricks Too Many Hobbies

    I just went to the local ski/bike/skateboard shop to look at racks. Thule has a nice system that attaches to the factory rack on my suburban. It is about $120. The bars are extra. The clerk told me that CT state law prohibits bars that extend out past the sides of the vehicle, so the longest "legal" bar is 58". Too small for 2 canoes. They also have nice gunwale brakets at $65 per set.

    2x4's are souinding better all the time.

  10. paulfredricks

    paulfredricks Too Many Hobbies

    BTW, I'd love to see some of the systems for attaching the 2x4's to the factory roof rack.

  11. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

  12. paulfredricks

    paulfredricks Too Many Hobbies

    I don't have rain gutters, so that won't work. I'm thinking a large 2 hole galvanized conduit strap, bolted to the underside of the 2x4's. I'll look into it. Anyone else try this?

  13. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood



    You might check into the law yourself. I have the Thule 78 in. bars on my explorer and the bars do not extend beyond the mirrors on the vehicle, so what harm can they do?

    I guess the mirrors are probably made to break-away, but I figure if I'm not exceeding the total width of the vehicle than what the heck?? :rolleyes:

    PS. the 78 in. bars haul 2 canoes nicely.

    Actually, I just went and looked at mine again. The bars only extend an inch or two beyond the body, if that, and are inside the width of the mirrors - you might measure your Suburban again - I suspect that might be a wider vehicle.

    I did see a 96 in. max. width for DOT, but it was a reference for truckers.

    I guess, all that being said, the bars do "look" long, and I expect someone will take issue with the length someday.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  14. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    Paul - Yakima makes mini raingutter pieces that you can install on your truck/van. That allows attachment of Quick n Easy towers, as well as Yakima towers. Very solid. Of course that wouldn't be an option if your ride is a Mercedes Benz, but it's certainly OK on a Suburban or a pickup w/ camper shell.
  15. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    96" was the old DOT max width, it is now 102". Look at the Safari racks on jeeps & land rovers, it's around 1" - 2" wider than the body; at least the width of the supports that are bolted to the side of the windshield frame on a jeep. As long as it looks reasonable, you shouldn't be bothered.

    DOT enforcement inspectors won't waste their time on a non CMV unless it looks like the truck from the Beverly Hill Billys...

    Wide bars can be utilized when needed & removed before daily driving. If I needed to add 2x4's to my pickup; I'd C-clamp them to the ladder rack & pad the 2x4 w/ a couple pool noodles sliced in half & tied on w/ zip ties...
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2005

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