Best mileage hauling kayaks

OK folks - here’s the ultimate mileage question:

I want to get 30+ MPG while hauling 2 hard-bodied sea kayaks, 2 not so hard-bodied adults, and our assorted paddling and camping gear. My Outback averages around 24 MPG doing this with boats on the roof.

What’s the magic high-mileage vehicle and kayak hauling setup? Anyone hauling boats on a hybrid Camry?


Hauling Kayaks
Stick with the Outback. You might do better than 24mpg but i don’t think you will find a more dependable car than the Outback. Good Luck. VF

interesting how mileage questions
start to appear recently on discussion boards.

While the average American did not used to give a sh*t until recently while the gas prices are soaring.

And I don’t believe it is because most of us have suddenly become environmentally conscious… it’s the pocket that’s hurting.

Somehow it’s cynical to say that I hope that the price of gas will reach $20 a gallon to finally have the consumer refuse to subscribe to the Detroit oppression.

Alternative fuels and cars have been developed but promptly shelved to avoid a decrease in profits for the few oil companies that are screwing us and the world without mercy.

The market might finally put enough pressure on car manufacturers to rid ourselves from oil dependency.

What do you propose as alternative fuels
that would actually be better for the environment and wouldn’t consume more energy to produce than they would provide and would be available / sustainable for decades to come?

Which better option alternative fuels do you beleive that “Detroit” and the big oil companies are supressing?

Car-buying is still …
…the most expensive aspect of driving. At current prices, a vehicle that gets 30 mpg uses about the same cost in fuel over 200,000 miles as the cost of an average car. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but have you stopped to think about how much more driving would cost with alternative fuels right now? It’s not “Detroit Oppression” that keeps people buying the cars they do as much as their pocketbook. Even now, the extra cost of a hybrid car exceeds the value in fuel savings, as similarly-sized cars with conventional engines are significantly cheaper to operate over the lifetime of the vehicle. Alternative fuels will find their way into the market when the technology becomes cheaper than what is already available. I don’t dispute that lots of people are driving “more car” and using more fuel than they need, but to imply that truely environmentally concerned people would spend what’s necessary to get into alternative fuels is silly. The bottom line is that people can only be as environmentally friendly as what they can afford.

here’s one
good sized wagon, 50 mpg (should be well above 30 mpg with a full load)

Keep the Outback
Change your driving habits. Start off slowly, keep your speed under 60 mph, plan braking carefully and slow down early, coast downhills as much as possible, use your cruise control except in mountainous or extremely hilly areas. Fill you tank in the early AM, you get a real full tank then.

Vaughn, you can find a more
dependable car than MY Outback. Repeated clutch problems, AC that refuses to stay fixed, a burned valve, a radio/CD that conked out… all in spite of sticking to all recommended maintenance.

Our Accords have been much more reliable, and also quieter, with better gas mileage. We’ve seen over 30 mpg with a canoe on top on occasion, though it takes calm wind to get it.

Coast downhills? Stay under 60?
Coasting downhills is usually dangerous, and saves very little fuel. Most of us have to drive the interstates, and driving 60 when everyone else is doing 70 or over can pose some safety problems. What I do is to set the cruise so that I am doing about 69 in a 70 zone. Almost everyone else is going faster, so I can relax in the right lane, and leave them to make their passing decisions. But 60 in the same conditons? I don’t think so.

somewhere else on somebody recently mentioned cars propelled by air. Funny enough that was not a joke. Those cars exist and were in production. Orders were taken for large scale manufacturing but somehow (yes, interestingly “somehow”) the production was stopped. Detroit was certainly not interested in having competition from somebody that could propel the car by air. Admittedly the air had to be compressed but that was possible by a home compressor that yes would still use electric energy to pump but in minute scale compare to fossil fuel used for internal combustion engines.

And what about Hydrogen?

I know that at the moment producing Hydrogen seems not that viable but mainly because there is absolutely no push for the research for cheap Hydrogen production. Even if there was, again it would be shelved by the oil companies.

Would they be fool enough to let something like cheap hydrogen happen?

Honda, Toyota and BMW have PRODUCTION cars that run on hydrogen. Having the “government” and corporations allowing such cars is something else.

Now, please bend over and…


Honda FIT

I’ve had this auto Honda Fit for 2 years, zero defects. On a 580 mile round trip to DelMarVa from LI NY with 2 people, 2 sof’s, paddling and camping gear and 2 hours of NYC traffic it averaged 33 MPG. Try it you might like it.


– Last Updated: May-08-08 10:26 AM EST –

You won't be run over, not even here in Texas. If you can't stand 60, 65 will save over 69. By coasting, I don't mean putting it in neutral, just don't add the juice like you probably do most of the time. If you are scared to slow down on the interstate, find another route.

My Audi A4
manages => 35 mpg unloaded and about 30 with a kayak. As for alternatives, there aren’t any viable ones at this time. The energy density of gas is very high. The only source for hydrogen that is currently practicle is natural gas and production in North America is in decline… not to mention that the infrastructure for hydrogen just does not cut it. The stuff leaks outta nearly every thing, ya gotta liquidfy it to transport it, you need a high pressure system to load it into your car’s storage tank, the range of the vechicles suck… basically you would have to switch your gas tank for your trunk.

While I might go for another Audi, the next gen Fit just might be the ticket.

Toyota Matrix
I’ve been very happy with my 2007 Toyota Matrix with 5-spd manual.

For everyday running (no roof rack or boats) I routinely get 33mpg cruising at 70. Adding the rack cuts that to 30. Surprisingly, adding two full-size sea kayaks, three passengers, and camping gear does not cut it further, and I still get a pretty solid 30mpg.

The back seat folds completely flat and offers a hard plastic surface that’s easy to clean and to slide gear around on. Add a pad and you can stretch out and sleep in it.

Let’s be honest: even among we avid paddling enthusiasts, 90% of our driving is not paddling-related but rather commuting and grocery-getting. So driving a large, inefficient SUV makes little sense for all but the remaining ten percent of our driving. I move to a new house every decade or so but I don’t drive a U-Haul every day.

There are several compact wagons and hatchbacks that make good boat-haulers, and will save you gas money year-round.

Good Luck!


Economical hydrogen seems a long way off
It currently requires a lot of energy to produce hydrogen. Don’t fool yourself if you don’t think many people are working on developing hydrogen as an econimical fuel source - they are.

As for using compressed air, I wonder how much travel range you could get out of compressed air in the size cars that we Americans are partial to?

Mine gets around 31 while hauling…
I have a Chevy HHR, and I love it. I get 31mpg average while towing my 8’ trailer with 4 boats on board.

It has great room inside and the seats fold easily for carrying gear. Four of us just got back from a 4 day trip to Crooked River in Georgia, hauling all of our camping gear and four boats and still averaged over 30mpg.

The only downside is if you do not have a factory rack you cannot get one from Thule or Yakima due to the door construction. I just added a hidden hitch and trailer and have been good to go ever since.


You need a lesson in energy equivalence

– Last Updated: May-08-08 12:27 PM EST –

You say

"Admittedly the air had to be compressed but that was possible by a home compressor that yes would still use electric energy to pump but in minute scale compare to fossil fuel used for internal combustion engines."

It's true that electrical energy can be produced fairly efficiently, but to say you use much less energy in the process is crap. Also, to say it won't catch on because Detroit isn't interested is wrong. Detroit is not the major power it used to be, but if there's money to be made off a new kind of car, they will build it. Building a product that will sell is the only thing that matters to them, and I would bet that a car which takes much longer to refuel than it takes to expend that fuel while driving just wouldn't sell right now. Maybe it will someday, but not right now. Don't forget that if you could speed up the re-fueling process by tapping into a huge source of compressed air, or by using an enormous compressor (rather than something powered by normal household electrical current), you aren't saving any energy, you're just using energy more quickly.

BMW with Trailex trailer
I recently got 30 mpg in my 3 series BMW (with the 2.5 liter engine) pulling a trailer with one kayak on it over 700 miles. (I averaged 70 MPH.)

I routinely get 29 mpg with a mix of highway (~70%) and city (~30%) driving, without the trailer.

I’m too smart to call that coasting, and
too smart to crawl the interstates with idiots veering off to miss me, or tailgating and flashing lights. YMMV.

It’s called the CAT, made in India, 120
120 mile range, top speed of 70, sells for $7,000 and is licenced to TATA Motors…all according to CNN.