For Minivan owners

I have a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan. There are currently no seats in it. This past year, it was great for transporting my 9.5 foot Otter completely inside. Now I am thinking about a longer boat. I’d like to avoid the roof rack thing if possible. Has anyone ever transported, say, a 12 foot boat with the end hanging out of the van? The manual says that you shouldn’t drive with the back open since fumes will get in. For a 25 minute trip, would that be so bad? Could I jury rig some sort of barrier to try to prevent the fumes from getting in the van?

SUV with the tailgate open
I have hauled boats in an SUV with tailgate open. It was a short haul through zero traffic, no lights and only two stops signs and we kept the windows down for positive ventilation. I think driving conditions would have more impact than distance. If you have to stop at a red light you’ll be killing brain cells.

If you tried to make a barrier you’d have to keep the windows up so you didn’t blow it out and it would suck to be the guy behind you when the barrier falls off.

Part of my run was on a dirt road. Took forever to clean the inside of the car. Guess that also shows how effective rolling the windows down was for keeping exhaust out.

I only did it the one time.

You will probably live
CO is not something to mess with though. Maybe you could stick part of the boat out the passenger window instead of leaving the tailgate open? If you don’t want a rack hook up a trailer to your caravan instead.


I Used To…
…do that occasionally on short trips with my old Honda Element. Never drove it over 20-25 minutes like this, but had no "Issues except noise:

Saw a man who was killed
Driving with a 2x4 out his passenger window. Clipped a mailbox, the other end hit him in the back of the head and kept on going

Harbor freight has trailers for under $200

Not a minivan owner, but yes…
I carry either my 12’ or 14’ kayak inside my Toyota Matrix. Not a van, but a tall sport wagon with four doors, a hatchback, and the seats drop down flat. I travel on local roads with a 55 MPH speed limit or lower. Twenty minutes to a bit over an hour, depending on my paddling destination.

The kayak is very securely attached inside via D-rings and custom cam straps so there is no lateral or forward movement. I jury-rigged a foam “cap” that fits on the bow as it rests against my dash. The hatch is held down with cam straps - the bottom edge resting against thick foam padding protecting the stern. The hatch really isn’t open that much and I attach a bright red flag to the stern. If I ever had to travel at night, I’d attach a Luci Light to the stern.

I avoid exhaust intake by leaving the back passenger windows partially open and turning on the ventilation fan. I’ll get a whiff of exhaust when backing out, but once I’m moving forward, not a problem.

Does it look dorky? Probably. Do I care? Nope, because I can very easily load and go in less than five minutes.

about 8 years ago, rear van windows could be opened. People were not dying left and right.

Just tossing that out.

You will be fine
I have put Half a Million miles driving Dodge minivans since 1990 and as long as you blow your dash vents using Outside Air setting and crack (or open) your front door windows as well as opening your rear pop-out windows, you will be absolutely fine i have carried numerous lengthy loads requiring the tailgate to be partially open for thousands of miles. You will be totally fine

Open hatch
I friend of mine drove from WNY to the Ohio Freestyle Symposium in a Prius with the hatch open and a Flashfire sticking out. I told her to keep the air vents a fresh air fan on high to keep negative pressure from sucking exh in. She survived and is as sharp as ever.


sometimes I transport several kayaks in
my mini van. I Store them in there as well with the hatch closed. My xp10 will fit with at least one other shorter kayak. The xp10 is 10’3" and I have several inches to spare and still have seating for the driver and two others. The cheap factory rack on top of the chrysler minvan has started to cave in, so I make sure I strap through the sides of the rack and not just the crossbars.

Leaving the rear hatch open might result in a dinging sound, the dome light staying on, and a dash light showing the rear is open. You will also have to tie or wedge in your paddle or it could slide out. We lost some paddles out of the back of a pickup once, and spent quite a bit of time retracing our steps and only finding 1/2 of what we lost. So I like to tie stuff in or having it inside the vehicle.

You can beef up the factory rack temporarily by lashing 2x4s next to the crossbars and cutting them to a desired length. A good way to transport a lot of boats. Having been a boyscout helps with the lashing.

Hmmn, mixed bag of conclusions
Thanks for the perspectives. I’d consider a trailer but have no experience with them.

Seems a lot if us have done it
I have no experience doing it in traffic but it seems others have, just keep some windows down and the dash fan bringing in outside air and stay off the dirt roads. And don’t mess around with trying to jury rig a barrier.

Parking space
I’ve considered a trailer, but that would eliminate some of my favorite launch sites which are small public waterfront parks with limited parking for cars and none for boat trailers.

Plus, I think my kayak is safer hauled inside my vehicle than on top or on a trailer. I know that kayak is not going to move even an inch.

If I was given good reasons why a trailer or rooftop rack would be a better way to transport, I’d certainly reconsider.

Mini Van
Can you use foam blocks and straps? (not sure of the window arrangement) If you can that would be a better idea with minimal cost.

idea. A van vacuums carcinogens, pesticides, dog XXXX, dead insect parts, Staphylococcus aureus, dung fever…

off the road.

And Watch Out For That Staph…

– Last Updated: Jan-15-15 9:43 PM EST –

.....on your SKIN, better get some germicide! Maybe an Ebola suit and some bubble wrap too?

Location, location
Dengue fever from road debris?

According to the CDC, “Dengue is transmitted to people by the bite of an Aedes mosquito that is infected with a dengue virus.”

Living above the 45th parallel has its benefits.

but not just any bubble wrap
Only anti-microbial bubble wrap will do!

And a nose plug for that hantavirus-tainted mouse turd that the van vacuums up and spits out thru a vent towards your nostrils.

I’m staying inside forever.

Re: van exhaust

– Last Updated: Jan-26-15 10:43 AM EST –

Suggestion > U can get a muffler shop to make a extension from exhaust scrap or a new piece or maybe , find a exhaust extension @ a auto parts store and route the exhaust out to the nearest side or down closer to the pavement or extend the pipe rearward more to catch the flow by airstream going around the van. try and get the exhaust to flow outward before it has a chance to get sucked back into a open rear door. just a suggestion ..otherwise a drivers window to get fresh air and flow-thru. I have a Dodge minivan also .... not the most aerodynamic van going....I can see exhaust swirling and piling up behind the van during winter months i can relate to your air flow problem.( cant keep that back window cleaned either, no how way!! ) Also, be aware U can buy rollers that fit in the rear door / top seam (closed door!! ) that help a person load on top of a van with racks.

Looked at another vehicle
We stopped to look at a VW Jetta Sportwagon today. I liked it, but hubby felt too constricted in it. It would be my vehicle, but he’d have to be able to drive it now and then.