Canoe rack for BARE-ROOF, 200 GMC Safari

I have a 200 GMC Safari van with a bare roof - No rain gutters. No tracks installed. Nothin! I’m looking for rack ideas - I want something as bomb- proof as possible. Yakima & Thule don’t have anything I’d trust in hi-way turbulance or on windy two-track, washboard roads with 2(+) boats on top!

I NEED HELP - thanks.

Will need some drillin’, but…
Almost bombproof… much, much better than anythin’ fro’ Thule an’ Yakima.


Astro/Safari roof rack
Had a 1992 and hauled boats all over the east on top of it. Hauled a 20 Grumman War Canoe to the Adirondacks and back.

Used Yakima Top Loader brackets front and rear to create artificial rain gutters. Buy the version that comes with the PluzNuts. No need to remove the headliner to install them. Stay in front of the tailgate far enough so the gate won’t hit the rack when open. Its been a long time, but i remember Yakima having a diagram showing where to mount the brackets. Once the TopLoaders are mounted you can use any raingutter style rack. The Astro/Safari has a long roof so you get a lot of spread between the racks and that gives a lot of extra security. Less overhang and less twisting in sidewinds.

You could use the Landing Pads & Control Tower setup from Yakima. They are very secure and easy to get on and off. Drill and mount the Landing Pads in the same spots and they showed for the Top Loader brackets.


you would think a van with the name
safari would at least have a roof rack for going on a “safari” just like gm to under outfit their vehicles.

Safari Roof Rack
Thanks I’ll look into those - although I’m kinda nervous about trusting my boats to something that’s attatched with two bolts through the roof’s skin.

tie-downs will be important…

– Last Updated: May-24-10 9:47 AM EST –

The tie-down phase, whether straps, rope or combination of both....should carry some priority....can make even the foam blocks legitimate method. Use covers for any underside cavities/cockpits that'll produce potent drag and pull on your ties to the front.


2000 GMC Safari Roof Racks
Thanks. I’ve been tiein’ down canoes for 20 or 30 years…I’m comfortable with that end. What I’m havin’ trouble with is finding a good rock-solid platform, 2 boats wide.

Roof Rack for bare-roof GMC Safari

Astro/Safari Roof Integrity
At the corners of the roof its not just a skin, it is also the body frame of the van, much thicker. There are a lot of Astro/Safari work vans running around with ladder racks loaded with more weight than any two canoes.

After 250,000 miles on my old Astro nothing had come loose or even leaked water. The TopLoader brackets were still solid when i took them off the day the van went to be recycled. Its a lot more secure than any gutterless mount with just a clip hooked over a lip under a door gasket. Check out the post about the roof denting under a rack tower on a sedan. You won’t see the roof dent on that Safari.

And for the comment that GM omitted a rack on the Safari, not everyone wants a factory rack or needs it. It was an option for those who wanted it. Why have unneeded hardware in the way. The Astro, less roof rack fits in a standard single garage door.

Its not just the canoes you are trusting to that roof,

its your life in a roll-over.


Safari Roof Rack
Thank you for your in-put. I’ve pretty much decided against making something myself, and with your comment and the other reply I recieved I feel a little more comfortable with the idea of an after mkt. rack. Did you install yours yourself. AND was it called the “TOP LOADER”?. Was it the one with artificial rain gutters or the other? THANKS. Thule? Yakima?

custom footing…w/custom angles…
Think you can always have something made(bent) for the footing plant…made from heavier metal?..and perhaps longer in certain parts = the ultimate grip around something in your vehicle’s frame.


Safari rack
Yah…but I’m chicken.

Top Loader Brackets
They were a Yakima item and i did mount them myself. I have done two Astros with them with no problems.