I have a 16’6" royalex bell canoe @ 63lbs, question is how to get it snug for longer trips on my 98 Toyota Avalon/with sunroof. I have the foam block set up, and many straps etc, and I have found some good place to hook my straps( this car is new to me)but I just don’t know about using foam blocks on the top of this car. They worked well, for shorter trips on my last car, but dented 4 nice spots on the roof. Thing is that I really like my canoe, and my car(nicest I’ve ever had)and want to keep both in good shape. Do the racks that clip on the internal rain gutters work well? Do they mess up your weather stripping, or dent the roof? I have been shopping them some, but just don’t know what to think. How do you take your boat lets say on a camping trip, and not loose it, while it sits on top of your car? Any and all help welcome. Thanks.
The car is very close to a camry, if that help, they didn’t make alot of avalons.
Man someone has had to have made this choice. I have found fit guides etc. Also found ?saris, I just need to get something soon. Next few weeks anyhow. anyone?
I found a decent set of racks for under $40 at the local Sears automotive. You can get clips for cars with rain gutters or without. Personaly, I run rope through the car windows to secure the sides. Make sure you tie your canoe down to two places in front and two in back for longer trips/speed (and across).
Securing the canoe to the car when out hiking - I’d buy some chain (plastic covered if you like) and padlocks and run the chain through a twart and around something on the car or take the canoe off the car and chain/lock it around a tree.
Personally, I don’t like foam blocks. You can’t load and unload alone very easily. And, they put the weight on the roof where the roof isn’t as supporeted and they could fly off (happened to me once. fortunatley, I had brought some foam with me just for that problem). Some people put a hole in the foam and tie it to twarts on the canoe.
I have been using Yakimas on various
sedans since 1990. The current setup on my Accord is really bulletproof. It does not dent the sheet metal and the clips do not cause the weatherstripping to leak.
The door setup on the Camry/Avalon is a little different, but if you get Yakima racks (Thule and Saris are also good), they provide VERY precise instructions in how to dimension the rack towers on the roof and crossbars. Spend an extra 60 bucks and get the gunwale brackets, which really make keeping the canoe in place very easy. Also easy on the boat.
Nobody likes the cost of these highly engineered rack systems. But few are dissatisfied with the result.
These racks work for me
I have used Saris racks on both ’92 and ’02 Camrys for several years and am quite pleased with them. No, the clips don’t damage the weather stripping and yes, they’re very secure. I use a pair of cam buckle straps over the hull, then rope the canoe down bow and stern to the tow loops beneath the car. The ropes serve mostly as insurance; I can’t imagine anything more de-pressing than losing a canoe at 70 mph.
No roof dents; the feet sit quite close to the edge of the roof, where it’s strongest. So far, I’ve just used the bare racks for the canoe, though Saris does make an expensive gunwale attach-ment. I also trust some expensive bikes to this rack, as well a lumber, plumbing materials, etc. It’s quite solid.
Now that I know of three good brands, time to try and find a deal on them. I don’t want to go the hardware store route, I want to go with either Thule, Yakima, or Saris. So far anyhow, but after looking, those seem to be the 3 most popular, and in that order to. I have been on several camping trips with th ekids since I got the bell, but have never taken it with me, I worry about getting it there in one piece, and getting it riped off while I sleep. Kinda stinks, because when I was there age, some of my best times were spent with dad and the canoe, while camping. When I think about it, its kinda wrong to let that poor boat just hang there, with only the local fishing pond to go play in, form time ot time. I really like my Northwind, I know its not the best boat, but I like her alot, and thank those of you on this site that helped me get her. Now I just need to make another choice, so here I am again, figured its about the best place to ask this kinda stuff. So thanks for the input, and I look forward to any other insight, now I will go get lists of what the fit guides say I need, and look on ebay and maybee I can get some of the parts for a song. LOL
Saris is great
very good, particularly for smaller sedans. Super easy to take on and off too (self centering. Once you set it uup the first time, you can take the whole rack off in seconds - ad get it back on in 2 min.
Stronger, better looking, integrated locks…
The gunwale brackes are worth it. (They are also part of the watersport saddle - so anyone that buys those for kayaks gets a set of gunwale brackes “free”.) They also make it easier to carry ladders, lumber, luggage…
well so far I think I like the thule the best, but because of the cost, it looks like either Saris, or Yakima. I like the round bar idea of the Yakima, but also the built in locks on the Saris. I read a review of the Saris, that said they leave small dents on the roof, due to inward pressure, is this true? Also who online is trustworthy to buy from. So far Rack Attack seems to be the low price leader, with free shipping.
No roof dents here
I won’t say categorically that the Saris racks never dent roofs; there are a jillion possible roofs to fit and I suppose it’s possible for some mis-fit to dent the roof. But I can say that my Saris racks haven’t dented the roofs of either the ’92 or ’02 Camrys I own.
Another neat thing about them is that it’s easy to mount stuff to them by inserting a carriage bolt upside-down in the slot. That’s very secure, assuming you size it correctly, and makes for a very neat attachment. And no, I don’t sell Saris racks. I bought mine from a neighborhood bike shop that had a decent price.
When I feel rich I’ll try the Saris gunwale brackets. Until then, maybe I’ll just fabricate something out of carriage bolts and wood!
I bought a Yakima system last May from REI. At the time, the dealer said they have their Yakima systems on sale once each year. They were 20% off, so the sale was significant.
I just checked out the site, the pricing was just as high as everyone else though, www.rackwarehouse.com had a better price on yakima, but free shipping on thule. Still checking, looking at ebay too, who knows what I will find, but thanks for all the help thus far.
Thule, Yakima, Saris are all good racks if you can get a set up to fit your Avalon they should be fine.
However, given the pricing of all three, I’d recommend you check your local Toyota dealer to see if they have “after-market” racks designed for your Avalon. They’ll probably be pricey but not that much more so than the ones mentioned above.
I got a small Lexus (made by Toyota)last year and bought the after market rack from the dealer. They are substantial and well made, fit to the car perfectly and take a lot of accessories from other makers (I got Thule saddles for my 'yak). Another plus is they clear the roof line sufficiently to allow the sunroof to be tilted open - this could be a problem for racks with bars closer to the roof like Saris.
I just won an auction on a Yakima rack. And I won a auction on a set of clips. So the nect question is do I need to get the proper pads that go under the Q towers for my car?