Carrying Canoe on roof upright

I recently purchased a used Scanoe I would like to outfit for fishing. The one problem I have is taking al the accessories off to load on to my roof.

My question is- Can I load my Scanoe right side up on to my roof?

But if it rains hard it is going to put a lot of weight on your rack very quickly and the boat will become so heavy you may need to bail it out to unload it.

Also, if the canoe does get a lot of heavy water in it it may tend to deform the hull where it rests on the rails.

Just not in a gully washer !
Jack L

You can, but …
the other posters make an excellent point about the boat filling up in the rain. You’d be surprised how fast and how much water an upright canoe can accumulate.

You might want to put your canoe open end up in your front yard for a few rainstorms to see how much it really collects, try to lift it, and then make your decision.

Worst Case
Agree with all the above, but the worst case scenario is when you hit the brakes behind another car at a stop sign. Water surges forward, canoe surges forward damaging itself, breaking ropes, plows into back of the vehicle in front of you, damaging that entity too.

This is not a good idea.

stay out of rain or syphon often
When I carried my Pungo upright, I also carried a syphon.

However even about forty minutes of heavy rain can disform your hull at least temporarily.

The weight will come down on the roof of your vehicle and it could scratch up your roof or put a hole in it, depending on your set up.

I am speaking from experience.

so shorts trips on a sunny day should be no problem? Seems like rain is the only concern

There is another issue
Carrying a canoe guwales-down is really the only easy way to support well and keep it secure. To do it right-side up, you’d need saddles which conform to the hull. Without saddles, you will find that no matter what you do, the security of the canoe will be “squishy” as the hull bends this way and that in response to stress. On a good boat, you’d also worry about what damage might be done as the hull deforms, but on a Scanoe, if it’s like 99 percent of them, the hull is already warped beyond any resemblance to its intended shape, and the hull material is so incredibly flexible that it probably can’t be damaged no matter how it squishes around when conforming to uneven support. So yeah, on most canoes, car-topping them right-side up is a really bad idea, but I wouldn’t worry too much about a Scanoe. Still, you’ll be able to tie it down much more firmly up-side down.

make sure it can’t slide forward or back
Since the straps or ropes going over the boat will likely only contact the gunwales of the canoe they won’t have much purchase to prevent the boat from sliding forward or back. In addition to tie downs at bow and stern, I would run lines from the stems of the boat to the nearest cross rail of your rack. One will prevent the boat from sliding rearward and the other will prevent it from sliding forward.

Most stem tie downs to the bumpers or edges of the vehicle hood make such an angle that they will not prevent the boat from sliding forward or back a significant amount.

I have carried canoes hull side up on my vehicle quite a few times but only when shuttling for fairly short distances. At these times I have stacked boats in “layers”, the bottom layer gunwale side down and the top layer gunwales up.

So - with all those accessories that you don’t want to remove, how much heavier will it be? Have you considered a trailer? Even a modified cheap utility trailer may be easier than car-topping.

I actually pull a camper so getting another trailer is not an option. I think I will have to go back to the drawing board and think of some ways to make quick disconnects for the accessories.

Thanks for all your help

I think you can, and considering the Colemans I have paddled, deforming won’t be an issue because they are really tough, and nothing special in terms of design.

can or should
It can be done but I would suggest that it not be done on the roof of a car for many of the reasons already related. However, in the bed of a pickup or laying in a trailer…better to be safe and secure it the way folks have been doing for generations.

Gadget Guys
I’m a gadget guy at heart. OP must also be, hence all the above-gunwale attachments to the scanoe.

Well, let’s go a couple gadgets more.

  1. Drain plug for the transom, let that rain water not accumulate in your upside up scanoe.
  2. Attach two 1x6 boards between your racks. The purpose of these boards is to spread the weight of the boat over a large hull area. I recommend 1x6 because it provides a lot of area and because it is flexible and if you slot the connections point the board can bend to better take the shape of the hull. I think you’d have to work out some kind of slotted connection to allow at least one end of the board to slide a bit when it flexed. Should be no problem for a gadget guy.

    The surface area of the boards would also provide some friction to help prevent the boat from sliding around. I’d still tie off to the bars, and I think you’d be able to get the boat a tight ride.


Yeah, drill a drain hole
More pompously, this is called a venturi drain. I just use rubber stoppers in my outrigger drains, but you can also get ones with a sliding cover.

Have you tried…
lifting that thing up onto your roof? As I remember, Scanoes weigh over 100 pounds without the accessories. It’s going to take two people in good shape to lift it up there.

There’s no way I’d carry it right side up on the roof. I don’t see any way of getting it tied down so that it’s secure and won’t wobble around, unless you figure out some custom shaped saddles to set it on. And then it better be tied down across the racks, to the front and back ends of the vehicle, and a few extra tie down points as well!