Anyone carry a canoe on a Camry?

It is a 4 banger and I’m wondering what the boat does to the mileage and handling.

I used to carry a Jon boat on a Subaru,

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 10:13 AM EST –

...and that car had a 1600 cc engine that put out only about 60 H.P. I also carried a Grumman canoe at times. Neither boat presented any problem at all. I could notice the extra wind drag, but it was pretty minor. A Camry is bigger than my old Subaru, and a lot more powerful. I'm sure the fuel economy will be affected, but so what. You'll still get better mileage than you would with a larger car who's fuel economy is less-affected by the boat on top, so go for it.

As far as handling goes, I used to notice that the car felt a little top-heavy on turns, but that wasn't a problem since I'm no Mario Andretti. Most newer cars have much stiffer anti-sway bars than my old Subaru, so the top-heaviness will be less noticeable.

my 95 camry i 4 wagon
no problem. i lose maybe 2 mpg, down to 28 instead of 30. handling remains great. i must add, i do not speed.

Used to…
I had a V6 1992 Camry and frequently carried a kayak or canoe…sometimes both. I had Yakima Racks. I couldn’t detect any differences with the handling of the vehicle when the boats were loaded and I never had any problems, but mine was a V-6 and I can’t address your situation with the V-4.

I don’t know what it did to mileage because I never checked it.

I bought a 2002 Toyota Sienna to replace it, and love the mini-van, but I wouldn’t hesitate to load up boats on a Camry again.

Our 4 cyl Accord got 31 mpg from
Atlanta to Sylva with a WW canoe on top.

I have carried open canoes on a Renault 16, a VW Dasher wagon, a (5 cyl) VW Quantum Wagon, a '90 Accord, on a Ford Escort wagon, a Subaru Outback, a 2000 Accord, and I am just fitting our 2008 Honda Accord 4 cyl with racks. As long as the boat is roped on tight, it is not much of an issue. Small drop in mpg and performance, small increase in sidewind sensitivity, a bit of buffeting from trucks, and the car leans a bit more in turns.

If I can cartop a 16-foot canoe
on my Toyota Prius with no issues (other than some hit on the gas milage, which you will get on just about any car), I’m sure cartopping on a Camry will be no problem.


Camry canoeing
I but many thousands of miles on my 91 Camry with a 17.5 ft Bluehole Canoe on it (and 4 peple inside). My shiny new 2000 Camry never saw the war canoe but has lugged my solo and a kayak or two many places. It is a 4 banger stick and I do not see any effect on handling or as best I can tell mileage at normal 2 laner speeds. When I push it at 70 to 75 on an interstate for a few hours it does seem to cost me an mpg or two but I do not see the handling change. I now use a Yakima rack but have used others in the past.


Carrying canoe on Camry
Is this your canoe? It might be a problem on the Camry.



Carrying canoe on Camry.
Here are Dirigo 120 and Carolina 13.5 on 4 cyl. Camry. No handling problems driving from Virginia to Hudson Valley, NY and back but no big cross winds either. Used Thule racks,with glide and sets, Thule straps around boats and top-ties bow and stern.Hope this helps.



2000 Camry, 4 cylinder
Carrying one WW canoe on roof rack drops highway mileage from about the range of 32-34 mpg to about 25 mpg.

to save gas
make sure your canoe has long water line and less rocker.

The other vehicle is a 15 mpg Tacoma.
A couple of moderate trips would pay for the racks.

which rack?
What year is your Camry and which rack are you considering?

That’s a big drop, gremmie. Have
seen about 27 mpg in our Accords >at worst< when crossing the plains to Colorado. As noted above, we have seen as high as 31 mpg going from Atlanta to Sylva, NC, but we did have a tailwind.

We carry a 15’ Mad River Synergy. It has short 30" end bags and a triple saddle.

I tried a fairing, but it seemed to make mileage worse when the canoe was on the car, probably because it deflected air up into the canoe. I went back to a couple of windjammers on the Yakima bars to quiet wind hum. This allows air to pass more easily under the canoe.

You may be paying more for gas than necessary. If you have long (48-60") bags, maybe you could put a bungee from the front end of the boat down to the attachmet D-ring. Then let a little air out of the bag. This might allow air to pass up into the canoe, over the car roof, and then exit more easily.

Incidentally, one indication that the fairing was not helping was that if the front bag wasn’t full-tight, it would hammer and flop up and down. When I ditched the fairing and went back to Windjammers, the front bag would lie quiet on the laces.

If I am traveling more than a couple hours I almost always take out the bags. I heard from more experienced paddlers that leaving bags in on long trips risks damage from wind working on creases that will over time abrade small holes in them.

But 25 mpg is still better than the 15 - 17 that my pickup would get.

It is a 2000. I am looking at Yakima
since I have them on the truck and like them.I know Malone makes good racks also.

That’s really bad.

I bought my Wenonah Aurora from the p-net boards and drove 4 hours each way to pick it up. I carried it on the roof of an 07 Honda Fit. 109HP and I’ve maxed fuel economy at 37mpg with an empty rack on the roof. With the canoe on that trip, it was getting 35mpg and I was driving over small mtns in SW PA and W MD.

I have a four door Corolla and have no problem carrying several canoes on a Yak rack. I sized the bars wider than recommended and sawed them off plumb with the door. I can carry a couple of canoes. A ton of kayaks. Or a canoe/kayak and a bike. You can see a picture of my Corolla from way back with three canoes and one kayak at This shows the older shorter bars that have been replaced so two canoes sit level across the top.

I lose 3-4 miles per gallon carrying a canoe or kayak.

16 ft canoe & 16 ft kayak on Focus
I regularly carry both on my lil’ Focus and don’t notice a big difference in mileage.

Some of us “experienced” paddlers
NEVER take the end bags out, because it is too much trouble. My Voyageur lightweight nylon bags each took over 5 years before developing leaks. It is important to keep enough air (or bungee pressure) on the bags so that they do not flop in the wind while driving.