A couple of rack tips for canoes

I recently found that my 65" Yakima bars are OK for two solo canoes but just a little to close for comfort when loading two big tandem canoes putting them very close to the end of the bars. My solution seemed to easy to believe when I went down to the local shop and found that they had one 78" bar. Someone had bought just one bar for the back of a pickup rack so I haggled them out of the lonely leftover at a greatly reduced price. I cut the 78" bar down to 72" and put it on the front. This gives a much better comfort zone when loading two of the wide trippers since the wider part of the canoes sits on the front bar.

The other product is fantastic for protecting wood gunwales and eliminates the need for any special clamps, cradels, or gizmos. The product is called 3/4 flexable rubber “J” channel and is used for siding homes, commonly used around Bay and Bow windows it looks like this http://www.atlantisplastics.com/ProductPages/PG02G02.html if you know someone who does siding you can get a piece free or if you ask nicely the guys at the supply houses usually have hunks of this stuff that has been damaged and will be glad to give it up. I ask the guys at my local siding supply to save me a piece and when I went back they had 10-20 foot pieces for me that was nothing more than dirty or fadded. I cut them into 4 inch pieces, I now have a huge box of the stuff and I will hand them out at every gathering to anyone who wants some. If you clip it on the gunwales and tie the boat down good with 1 inch straps it keeps it from sliding around on the racks and completly protects the wood. It’s a great help when loading the canoe on a windy day too.

I was wondering…
When you were a young man, did an older and wiser man lean close and say…“Plastics!”? You seem to ahve an affinity for finding alternative uses for stock items.


That is a good idea. If I ever get my
wooden canoe built, I’ll do it. I wondered how I could prevent the gunnels from rubbing.

Question on extending Yakima bars

– Last Updated: Mar-29-05 9:14 AM EST –

Thanks for the tips.

I have also been wondering about extending Yakima bars to accommodate a couple of large tandems.

Over the weekend I finally installed a Yakima system on my Honda Odyssey minivan that did not have factory racks. Yakima's fit guide showed a 42" track system. However, I did not like the bar spread on the 42" track, nor did I like that the Yakima directions would have had it much closer to the rear of the car instead of centered. After studying it for a while and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to custom cut and divide the tracks in order to place them in two sections where I wanted them. I had to be careful to miss the air conditioner lines and the internal roof supports. It took me an entire day but I am 10 out of 10 pleased with the results.

When it comes to the cross bars, someone gave me a set of 55" bars. But they are not long enough to handle 2 big tandems. I really don't want to have a 66" or larger bar on all the time. Does anyone have a slick way to extend Yakima bars on an "as needed" basis?

Yakima extensions…
I bought some galvanized pipe at Lowes that telescopes into Yakima bars. It is a perfect fit. I slide one long bar all the way through the Yakima bar and drilled a 1/8 hole and insert a clevis pin through both to secure them. You could use shorter pieces on one or both sides and store them inside the Yakima racks. The only drawback is wind noise when no plugs are in the bars. I use small angle brackets clamped to the bar with hose clamps for gunnel brackets. Cover them with a piece of hose or similar to prevent scratching the gunnel.

Pat #2

Heater hose
1" rubber heater hose from the auto parts store works good, too. Cut it into 9" lengths, split it lengthwise down one side so that it forms a “C”, and slide it onto either your racks (Which is what I do), or onto your gunwhales. It clips itself into place.

Total cost is about $3 to save your racks and gunwhales from damage.


Actually, it’s 1 1/2"
My mistake — get any size that works for you.

1/2 inch diameter rigid galvanized…
pipe fits just nice and snug in the Yakima bars.

Slide through the desired length you want, and then use two strap clamps (like what you use on flexible pipe).

Slip each over an end of the 1/2 inch pipe and when it is snug up against the Yakima bars tighten the screw. this prevnts the pipe from moving either left or right.

If you want, you can use duct tape to build up to the thickness to accept the Yakima fittings.

I just returned from a two thousand mile trip using this type of extenders for two kayaks and a canoe.

It works like a charm and is dirt cheap.

Just don’t wipe out too many stret signs if you have them sticking way out!



Heater hose
Wow great idea. Why didn’t Mr. Goodwrench (my brother in law) come up with that when we were talking about how to protect my new canoe from my truck rack? Twenty five feet of that and some zip ties and I’m set.

I love this site, so many good ideas.