Free Info on Fishing From a Canoe, Canoe Camping, & Wilderness
Choose: Pad System
or Roof Rack
The Pad System
I used this system until just
recently when I finally broke down and bought a new car and
didn't wish to scratch up the top with pads. I have used pads
for transport on 7 different (older) vehicles, and the system
was slightly different for each vehicle yet all systems had
similarities. Here is a picture of the system I used for
my latest new vehicle before deciding to get a roof rack:
There are 4 basic components:
The Biggest Headache: The Pads Don't Stay Put!
You are trying to put the canoe on top of
the car and one or more of the pads falls off! You can
either start over or slide the canoe on without the pad(s). A
solution for this problem is shown here:
Drill 2 holes in each pad to accommodate 2
dowels - The pads won't move on you! Make sure the dowels
clear the roof however.
It's a Short Car!
For a short car (like pictured above), I
used rear tie-downs that go over the rear seat instead of
through the end of the canoe. Why? If I centered the
canoe, too much was in front, making everything off balance. I
used a bungee cord with rope attached to two rings below each
side of the rear bumper. This is shown below:
Make Use of Useless Hand Rails
In order to quickly secure the canoe in the
middle, I attached bungees to the very useless interior hand
rails found in many cars as shown below. For long trips
or high speed travel, you should probably place a safety strap
as shown below as well.
Bottom Line - Safety and Ease of Use!
You should have a pad system that will
not lose your canoe (and possibly result in highway
fatalities!) if one of the straps or tie-downs comes loose
or breaks. Test your system at highway speeds on a
deserted road - pick a windy day to test!
Take some time making a system that
allows you to easily secure your canoe. Install eye-bolts if
your car does not have them, and purchase quick-connect
links for your tie-down ropes. Rig up your pads with dowels
or some other system to keep them in place. A good system
will allow you to secure the canoe in 5 minutes or less. You
will want to use your canoe more if it doesn't take 1/2 hour
each time to secure it to the vehicle.
Roof Rack System
OK, I got the fancy-shmancy roof rack that
secures my canoe nicely, allows me to quickly load the canoe,
and doesn't scratch my car and you are probably thinking -
"Now he is going to try and sell me one!" Well, the
answer is no. If you have an older vehicle that you
don't mind having a few more scratches on your roof, I would
probably recommend the pad system if you're thrifty (like me)
and don't like worrying about expensive items (like me).
Here are things to consider:
The roof rack will cost about $300 plus
another $40 (see below).
You need locking cores! ($40)
Without the locking cores, these racks may be taken off
without tools in a matter of a minute or two even if the car
Even with the locking cores, I would not
leave the rack on in a parking lot (especially one known for
canoe tripping) for an extended period (more than a day)
since with an inexpensive tool (which I won't mention), the
rack could still be taken although it would take a bit more
time and effort. You can remove the rack and place it back
on without tools.
If you are still going to get the roof rack
after my fantastic sales job, here are the components you will
need along with links to pictures and descriptions for a
Yakima Q Towers (4) - About $125 -
Info & Pic
Yakima Q Clips (4) - About $50 -
Info & Pic
Yakima 48-inch Crossbars (2) - About $47
- Info & Pic
Yakima Gunwale Brackets & Tie Down Straps
(4) - About $65 - Info & Pic
Yakima Locking Cores (4) - About $40 -
Info & Pic
Note: The Q-clips are custom fit to
your car. You need to consult with a sales rep for the correct
clips. The rep at
was able to find the correct clips (and all the other
components) for me.
Note: You will fasten the towers to
the crossbars at specified distances according to your car
make and model. For my front crossbar, I had to place
the towers about 1/2 inch closer to each other than specified
in order for the clips to properly seat.
Note: The rack may make a howling
wind noise at 50MPH or more without the canoe on top (It does
for my car). I was, however, able to turn the "howl" into a
barely noticeable wind noise by covering the bars with foam
plumbing pipe insulation (See
This Picture). The pipe wrap almost looks like it
belongs there and only cost me $1.59!
Note: Your antenna may rattle against the
rack (and rattle your nerves!). To solve this problem, tie the
antenna up against the rack
as shown here.
Subtle Note: Make SURE the rack is
wide enough for your canoe! My canoe is 36" wide and I have
about 1" to spare!
has similar components and is priced comparably.
Here's the canoe on the rack! Notice I
used a bungee on the front and I also used one on the back.
The straps secure the canoe to the rack. I keep the rack on
the car for the summer but take it off in the fall.