Canoe Carrying Options

OK, here’s my situation:

I own a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado Ext. Cab (short box) and a 2000 Acura TL. And, I now own a 16’6", 65# canoe.

It appears I can get a Thule or Yakima roof rack system for either the car or the truck. My concern on these is the width between the carry bars (only 30" in the Yakima case, if they will even work with a sunroof).

There are also truck bed systems (like the Thule XSporter). Even ladder rack systems for the truck.

Lastly would be a trailer.

I would like the cost to be low, but I want a secure and safe system.

Which would be your suggestion (I don’t want to start a Thule vs Yakima battle). Need your opinions as to the best carry/transport method with my vehicle limitations.


I’d check out the options on the Acura
You will appreciate the much lower height. And the 30" spread will be fine, especially if you use stops on the bars at the gunnels. You can buy expensive ones made especially for this purpose. Or you can do what I do and just use the Yakima universal wrap-around stop thingy. They are about $12 for 4 of them.

second the car
can be tough loading a canoe on a truck, especially by yourself.

get as much base-length as possible
How much clearance will you ever want/need might factor into choice of vehicle. If a toss-up…a lower height won’t need as much tiedown rigidity…however if you’ll be on the open highway at times…truck turbulence demands a rigid tiedown, whatever height/vehicle you choose. 30" between bars can work but the bar footing should be pretty rugged cuz you wanna tie thwarts to the bars in addition to regular ties.


Darby Extend A Truck
You can purchase a Darby Extend A Truck at Northern Tools for $120.00. Got one yesterday for for truck & it works great.


Link for Northern Tool

Trailers Are Nice
I have a Silverado and have had 3 Silverados, all short-beds, over the years. I’ve carried a few 16’ boats and up to 16’6" Bell Northwind in the back of the short bed. Anything over 15, is pushing it, but it can be done. I’ve thought about those bed extenders myself, but never tried one. If you go this route, use some closed cell foam under the boat to protect the hull.

I now have a small 5x10 utility trailer and am SO glad I tried it. Rigged up a detachable boat rack and it’s great. At the end of a long, hot day of paddling it’s SO much easier to put the canoe on a trailer or in the bed of a truck than it is to lift it up onto a vehicle rack if you don’t own lightweight boats. Plus the trailer is good for a multitude of other uses. WW

Blocks and straps

– Last Updated: Aug-09-09 2:32 PM EST –

Four foam canoe blocks. Long strap over center of canoe, open doors and run through inside, tighten.

Add bow strap and rear strap and you're done.

Foam blocks, about $12 and about $10-$15 each for the straps. Inexpensive and more secure than many commercial racks. And you can use it on your Accura or Silverado.