Cartopping a canoe with foam

gunnel racks.

I may be taking a canoe to Raystown and want to use my wife’s Camry which does not and will not have regular racks.

Do I have to worry about scratching the roof if I use foam gunnel racks, assuming racks and car are clean?

How do you use the cross straps? Through the windows?

They won’t scratch if clean
Best place for the straps is through the open doors.

What are" foam gunnel racks" ???
Jack L

through the window
then get in and out of the car like on the Dukes of Hazard. You’ll need an air horn that plays Dixie.

That’s how I did it…
My suv was missing the cross bars so I just set the foam on the roof. Try to put them near the ends where there is more support. I ran my center strap through the open back doors and just closed them when tight. I had no problems.

I transport my canoes on a Camry using foam gunnel blocks and have never had any roof damage. I run the straps through the open doors.

They’re foam blocks that rest between your canoe or kayak and the roof rack.

Open the doors before you run the straps
through or you won’t be able to open the doors.

If my wife lets me get away with this.
She is real sensitive about her car.

He was pointing out that foam
gunwale racks do not exist.

Foam blocks need to be set on top of reinforced areas of the roof and cinched fairly tight . Otherwise they will blow out.The penalty for placing blocks just anywhere on the roof can be a dented roof.

It probably need not be said that double bow and stern lines are mandatory.

If it rains,
the straps will get wet and drip water inside your wife’s nice car that she is sensitive about.

I learned this when shuttling in a heavy rain last month with someone who had that foam block with straps through the door system. I don’t know if there is a way to prevent this.

Also, straps through the door are not good if her car has side curtain air bags.

And if you are going 70, you can …
expect to stop about every five miles to readjust all your tiedowns and reposition the canoe.

good luck !

jack L

shelf liner

– Last Updated: Sep-23-11 8:45 AM EST –

go to home depot or check out at grocery stores, hardware stores, etc, and find a soft rubbery woven looking material shelf liner. its a bit "sticky" and will help a lot to keep the foam blocks from shifting - its a much softer material than the foam blocks and won't scratch at all. - just cut four pieces a bit bigger than the base of the block - I've used foam blocks for long distance canoe hauling - the shelf liner definitely makes a big difference.

edit: I'd also put a bit of the shelf liner between the car and the straps to keep the straps from chafing where they bend around the roof thru the windows.

And if it rains the straps if nylon base
will stretch. Ergo you get out and tighten them. Then it stops raining the straps dry and tighten and you get out and loosen them.(Or dent the roof and risk wife wrath)

But don’t do as I have seen once this long week on the road. Canoe with v bow and stern lines and NO belly straps.

I have a set of those foam blocks.
I’ve used them exactly thrice on an Accord and, I gotta say, they are not ideal for highway driving. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, though. As K said, front and rear inverted “V” tie-downs are essential. Use four seperate lines for this. Don’t run one line up through the grab-loop and then back down. Try to get them to the farthest corners of the car as you can and try to locate the blocks as close to the A and C pillars as possible (windshield and rear window). It helps to have two people when tightening straps through the doors so you don’t tear the door gaskets. Do a dry-run on the closest caffeinated-trucker route in traffic to see how it goes.

Once you make it to Raystown, you’ll get plenty of good advice on how to better truss that baby up for a safe ride home!

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. I thought you might be coming up my way this autumn?

Thanks tktoo. We put the NE trip on
hold. My wife’s brother and his wife were coming ,but she is having serious health problems.

We’ll try to make it next year.

Looks like the truck is going to RT.

Good choice.

– Last Updated: Sep-23-11 10:52 AM EST –

Especially since it was hers! I don't blame her for not wanting your smelly camping stuff in her car.

Sorry to hear about your in-law's wife. Maybe next year.

For future reference
if you do decide to use foam blocks, it is imperative that the front and rear tie-downs sre installed in opposing directions. this is the only positive way to make sure that the boat does not launch itself during a panic stop. Not quite as critical when there are fixed gunwale brackets on bars to preclude the fore and aft movement. That security is simply not present with the foam blocks.

Snotter lines to prevent fore/aft shifts
I’ve carried canoes on rental cars with foam blocks from Florida and Georgia to NY at least three times. No problems.

To prevent forward slides of the canoe while braking, you can tie a snotter line from from the the front of the canoe to something near the back of the car. Through the rear doors or windows will work. You can also tie a reverse snotter line to prevent a rearward slide during accelerations.

tell your wife it’s just a camry
Honestly, though, just make sure the roof and blocks are clean and try to find the more rigid points in your roof. Near the top of front and rear windows is pretty rigid.

Straps thru the windows, and inverted front/rear tie downs, keep your speed down and you should be ok.