Catopping advice needed-Quickly

OK, please bear with me.

The Facts: Mrs. Riverstrider and I leave this Saturday for the Adirondacks and a week of camping and paddling. We could either take the truck (Ford Ranger) or the car (Toyota Prius). Either one can handle multiple boats and the camping gear.

Ideally, the Mrs. would like to bring along the canoe, so that if we go on a longer day trip and she gets tired, I can handle the bulk of the paddling, which I am happy to do. On shorter day trips, or days I take the canoe for a longer trip, she’d like the kayak available.

The Dilemma: she really wants to take the Prius, both for better gas mileage, comfort and the fact that it has AC. But, if we take that car, we can take EITHER both kayaks OR the canoe…I do not believe the racks will handle both a canoe and even one of the kayaks (the bars are about as long as the car is wide…when the canoe is on them, there is literally a couple inches of exposed bar on either side of it). The truck, of course, can handle both kayaks AND the canoe and, in a pinch, even my whitewater boat (78-inch long bars).

The Question: Am I wrong? Is there a way to cartop both the canoe (MR Explorer, semi-V hull) and one of the kayaks (Sun Flight…multi-keeled hull, and a deck that will not mate up easily at all with the canoe hull)? The only way I can picture it is topping the canoe gunnels-down with the kayak on top of it, each individually strapped. On a semi-V shaped hull with no other support, this doesn’t seem safe to me (or very good for the hull, even tho its Rlx), but if anyone knows how to do it, let me know!

The Need for Speed: And I need to know ASAP, because we start packing one vehicle or the other late tomorrow (Friday 8-3) morning.



temporary wide bars
If you really really want to take the Prius, you could probably add temporary wider bars. This is what I do when I need wider bars. Decide how wide you need to fit canoe + kayak. Go to hardware store and buy 2 galvanized steel pipes that length. If you are in a rush, you might want to skip this part, but you can also buy hosing that will fit over the galvanized pipe that will give them a softer, rubberized surface (although when I did this project, it was the hosing that cost way more than anything else). Also get hose clamps large enough that you’ll be able to use them to secure your new wider bars to your existing bars. Pick up 4 tennis balls, too, to prevent head injury when entering/exiting the car (just cut “x” and push on end of pipes).

Voila - you now have a temporary wider rack that you can put on and remove as needed. This should work on an existing Thule or Yakima rack…if you have factory rack on the Prius I would be less certain about doing something like this.

I have used this set up for road trips at highway speeds with no problems. It allows this kayaker who is occasionally a canoer to be set up to carry 2 canoes side by side on my occasional canoe camping trips.

Good luck

Pyramid w/kayaks below, canoe
centered on top of them? Or all 3 on their sides?

Or can you rent a canoe where you are going?


Probably not
Good idea, but I don’t think there’s enough of the bar (Thule) extending beyond the bracket to securely attach an extension. We’re talking only a couple inches. Shoulda got longer bars.

But thanks for the thought.


Could you rent?
Take both kayaks and rent a canoe locally if you want to do a long day trip?

doesn’t sound too stable to me, or good for the boats…and a canoe on it’s side is unwise…but I like the idea of possibly renting a canoe if we need it. Thanks for that idea.


Might do that
a previous poster suggested that too. Might work well!

Thanks, Bob.


multi boats on too narrow bars
You can lay a 2/3 on top of the bars, extending the functional bar length and lash it on or use hose clamps.

I drove from WI to CT with bars extended that way to hold a Canadian all wood canoe (80+lbs) that I bought as well as the MR Explorer I came with.

With Prius be sure to use tie downs at both ends as the bar spacing is so close. I would use the Ranger.


Catopping has been declared illegal…
…although dogopping is still legal in Korea.

I was kidding about the pyramid…
but renting a canoe is a good option if they are available for rent…just look at it like a test paddle for a new canoe…LOL!


Mrs. Riverstrider needs to choose
Air conditioning, or the ideal boat assortment.

Maybe you can do a Mick Jagger imitation and sing to her "You can’t always get what you want . . "

will cost money
but you could get longer Thule bars, put the canoe in the center, and put the kayaks in J cradles on the sides.

yes longer bars, and one set o’ stackers
will handle two kayaks.

Will the Prius be ok re: the load capacity?

take the Ranger. The Prius milage will
drop significantly with kayaks and/or canoe. There have been reports of 30% drop in milage with just a bike rack. The Prius is very dependent on keeping the low windage slip through the air to maintain the wonderful high milage. Add some drag and you will use the internal combustion engine all most all the time.

fyi - you don’t need to put the clamps outside the brackets, you can put then inside. Or to be even more failsafe, you could use 4 clamps per bar, so that you have 1 clamp just outside the bracket and 1 clamp just inside the bracket (on either side). I have about 4 inches of bar on the outside of my brackets, so I attach mine with just 2 clamps per bar (outside the brackets), but the clamp is only about a 1/4" wide, so you don’t need a lot of real estate.

The truck or renting might be the easier solution though…


Yup…the car can handle it
But I ain’t got the time to get longer bars on it for a kayak and a canoe…nor do I feel handy or competent enough to jerry-rig some extensions, aside from not having time to do that either.


Alas, I can’t top my cat!

DAmn keyboaradfrfe!


tic, toc, tic, toc
do do do do do do do(theme song to Jeopardy)

Crunch time is nearing, what are you going to do?

Drive with A/C, Rent Canoe
Depending where in the ADK’s you are going, but there are many paddle shops that rent canoes…in Old Forge, Blue Mountain Lake, Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

And you might as well be comfortable during the drive.

Maybe too late,
but I’d take a look into a trailer.