bringing it home for the first time

Today if everything goes right I’ll be buying a used canoe (our first canoe). I have a Honda Pilot and the canoe is about 60 lbs. I’ve never put one on a car before. Lifting it should not be a problem as even though I’m a not too strong female I’ll have the help of the seller and my teen sons, but what will I need to bring with me? I can stop at the sporting goods store on the way. This is all very new to me.

Pick up a set of foam blocks

– Last Updated: Jul-29-08 8:39 AM EST –

Many stores sell a bundled set of blocks (that fit onto the gunwales and rest on the roof) complete with tie-down straps and bow & stern lines. Package has instructions with it.

Of course, if you hace factory crossbars tou can probably forgo the blocks and just buy a set of cam straps. Don't buy "ratchet" straps - they are overkill. You will need straps at least 15' long.

If you do not buy a bundled carrier kit make sure to buy some 1/4" nylon line for the bow & stern lines - enough to make a "V" front and back.

Oh, yeah - you might take along some carpet scraps or cardboard to pad teh gunwales against the factory crossbars if you use that approach.


I will update this response with a link to a good tutorial on cartopping - as soon as I remember where it is!

Here ya go:

yes, we have factory crossbars
Thanks for the guide, it’s very helpful!

check factory bar for strength…
Make sure your factory bars are strong(burly) enough. Very often the factory ones are simply window dressing, and then some are fine.

For highway travel though it’s safer to go with the specialized racks…Thule or Yakima…imho.


Even the cheapest factory rack
should handle a 60 lb. canoe. But for peace of mind, I agree with big spencer…upgrade to either a Yakima or Thule rack system, especially if you’ll be travelling highway speeds often.