15' canoe on a small 5-door hatchback?

I want to get a canoe, however my vehicle is a small hatchback (pontiac wave 5 door). Is it feasible to carry a small canoe on the roof or should I forget about it and look for a kayak? I’m thinking of something like a 15’ like this one:


Any other canoe suggestions would be okay too. I’m looking for a general use canoe that’s moderately stable, handles well solo, has a large payload capacity (I’m 6’2, 250 lbs, and I would probably go tandem from time to time with friends of varying weights), and is usable in both still water and rivers (not so much white water, moderate current and reasonably deep).

I will not attempt to suggest a canoe model for you, as many others with more ideas will surely weight in with their opinions.

As for teh spectre of cartopping a canoe on a hatchback, boaters do it all of the time. 15, 16, 17, 18 feet and longer. Learn to live with the rear overhang, and attach an orange flag so others will see it (and so you will not walk into it or back into a stationary object).


…your car can handle anything!..

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Walter, my granddad's 18' wood/canvas went on his VW Beetle back in the early 60s just fine... Of course, we didn't go 70mph...but still...handled fine. As mentioned, the setup is as good as the connection.
Canoe..imho you could go 17'+ (tandem).
*Take a look at Wenonah's Rendevous(sp?)in Royalex(flexcore kevlar as well)...a great boat.
Mohawk, Evergreen, Clipper have a few to look at as well.......


Had to go see what a Pontiac Wave
was. Its sold as the Chevy Aveo here. There are Yakima and Thule racks available for it. Because of the short roofline you will probably want to tie it down to the bars and use a bow and stern line to secure it to the car, but it should do just fine.

Canoe will car top fine.
Canoes will do fine on your car. Be sure to use good bow and stern tie downs.

But I would question a 15’ canoe for a man of 250# that will be tandem paddling with friends at times. You probably want a 16’ or 16.5’ for the load, but not 17’ or bigger as normally too long to solo even for experianced paddlers.



Bob’s Special 15’
Well, I’m not set on a 15’ canoe by any means - it’s just that this particular one is rated with a pretty good payload capacity (800 to 850 lbs) and is listed as being pretty good for both solo & tandem.

It seems that you have done your

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 8:09 PM EST –

home work and know what you want and need then. Remember that in the whitewater you mentioned, the rating will be different as the air in the water makes the boat less capible of carrying a full load. You will need a larger safety margine in WW.

It will work out fine on your little car as well.

Get to it and go paddling!



caring canoe
Trust me on this. I am a season vet on this subject. Find a roof mount you are OK with and install it. Load the boat with the center of the boat center of the car. Tie a cross over and put in an X pattern. Now get a line at the bow and stern an Tye this into an X pattern to the front bumper or a safe Tye point. Doe the same for the Stern. Make sure the boat is straight on the car for aerodynamics. Do a test drive and do not have a pull the car to either side. If this location is OK then you did good. I carried an 18’ canoe with me all the time on a Volkswagen bug in the late 60’s and 70’s. If the Tye on was correct I could let go the steering wheel and the canoe would steer until cross winds. I had no problems with trucks either. There is an angle to break the air off the trucks nose you will get accustomed to. The “X” patterns on Tye down will keep the boat from twisting.NOW here is the route I ran; leaving North Charleston, Sc and run the 441 hwy to Knoxville,Tn to home. The 441 route is across the Smoke-mountains. This was done at night and no traffic to speak of. I did this with a 1968 Bug then traded for the VW square wagon when it came out.

2-15 footers on VW Golf hatchback
I know a guy that regularly transports both his 14/15 ft canoe as well as another that belongs to a friend of his anywhere from 50 to 200 miles on trips. It seems to handle it with no problems whatsoever.

Small Car!
My friend carries 2 kayaks on her Mini-Cooper and my lazy ass inside. Go for it. Vaughn Fulton

Yesterday… I had
two long kayaks and two long canoes on top of a Ford Escape. Drove at 70 without any problem.

I normally do it with three boats.

It is all in your rack system and the use of cam-lock buckle type straps.



Bob’s Special
While I’m not familiar w/the Evergreen Bob, if it is essentially the same as the Nova Craft model (which you might look at, too) it is an excellent choice for what you describe. I’m about your size and use a Bob for trips on smaller rivers, 60% solo, 40 % tandem. It’ll take a good load, handles nicely and tracks well. It isn’t a tandem tripper (though fine for a weekender) but paddled solo it could probably give you two weeks or more of space. It is a great little SUV of a boat and certainly easy to fit on your roof with a good rack.

I do it all the time…
I carry my 14 solo canoe and a 11 foot kayak (at the same time) on my Pontiac Vibe with no problem. I’ll carry my 16 foot tandem soon and I have no worries about that either.

Start with a solid rack (Yakima in my case) and use a pair of straps to secure the hull. I believe the key however, is good bow and stern tie downs. Not only are they essential for safety, but they allow you to carry a long boat without worrying about windflow lifting the bow and ripping the rack off your car. Use the rack to support weight, not resist wind.