Canoe and Roof Rack

I’m looking at getting a Thule roof rack. What should I use to secure my canoe to it?

Should I get something like this?

or is this better?

What does everyone use?

Is there a way to get a canoe and rec kayak on top of a sedan?

Second Choice is First Choice For Me
Actually, you don’t need either of them. All they do is provide a stop so your load doesn’t shift a lot while motoring down the highway. With your tie-down straps looped around the crossbar, you might get a little wiggle, but the the boat should not come off, provided the loop is inside your towers, not outside.

That said, the second set is a pretty good little gizmo. It protects the gunwales from chafing on the crossbar and eliminates boat wiggle.

For carrying both canoe & kayak on a sedan, you could get a longer crossbar or stack the yak on top of the canoe with a small rug or piece of foam between them.

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, “rack systems” were unheard of. Still, primitive man was able to load 3 or more canoes on the family Ford Fairlane using only a blanket & a few pieces of rope. You can still do it, but you gotta know how to tie a truckers hitch.

In troop 707
we called the truckers hitch a canoe cinch and taught the scouts how to make it. Iat was manditory for the leaders to know it …

I ahve gone thousand of miles at interstate speeds with just two x fours and ropes. Never lost a boat but came close to killing a scout once…

I have the 579 kit.
It pretty much makes the canoe slip proof. Once you secure the canoe with the provided tie downs the boat aint gonna go anyplace. This system will also hold anything else in place that’s square like plywood. hth.

the 579 does look nice
The 579 seems to pad the gunwales where the other one probably doesn’t. I suppose the crossbars could scratch the gunwales if they weren’t padded. Also includes the straps.

Is this the best solution? Can I get a kayak up there too on 50 inch bars?

Another Vote for the 579…
thousands of miles at highway speeds and solid as a rock. Check out the ratcheting bow and stern lines, too- quick and super secure!


579 is a good system but
I ran into a problem with it.

I tried a Thule rack and the 579 canoe rack, and found a problem that caused me to return the whole system.

Measure the distance beteen the gunwales where the canoe will fit over the crossbars. Then measure the distance between the brackets that connect the crossbars to the roof rails. If the distance is the same, the gunwale cradles won’t fit over the crossbars properly, with your boat centered over the roof. You could make it fit by hanging the boat more to one side, or by forcing the opening at the botton of the gunwale cradles. I didn’t want to do either.


so what do you use now?
So what do you use since you returned the system?

Depends on the boat that I am transport
For my 6 year old Penobscot 16 - royalex with aluminun gunwales, I had been using an old towel cut into four pieces. I wrap each of the four pieces around the factory crossbar on my Subaru Forester, securing with an elastic velco strap. Then I just place canoe on top and secure with web straps. I have traveled trips of over hundreds of miles with this technique and have had no problems - except for very high wind situation - tornado warning day.

For new boat with wood gunwales, I picked up a set of universal foam blocks with double slots, one for the gunwales and one for the roof rack cross bars. For $20 bucks, this system is simpler, easier, and faster.


I have those blocks but it seems like a pain to lift my 75lb. canoe on them and get everything right. You can’t slide the canoe on them either.

It depends
on your vehicle & your boats.

What works for me may not work for you.

Does you vehicle have a factory rack?

If it doesn’t you are somewhat limited, unless you use blocks on the roof, or but an aftermarket rack. But if you do have one, there’s a lot of options that are possible before going with Thule/ Yakima.

In my case, it just wasn’t worth the extra cost, because I could get the factory rack to work with a few minor extras. If you don’t have a rack on you vehicle, you are limited to blocks or aftermarket racks like Thule/Yakima.