Got the canoe - car top mounting system?

Going to pick up a used 15’ Coleman this Sunday, woohoo! My plan is to get this sytem to transport it:

My question to you all - anyone had experience with these systems? Anything I should know, or any extra gear/straps etc I should have for it? I will probably have extra straps/bungees with me anyway. The person I’m buying the canoe from said that is what they used to use and it worked out great. Just looking for a little input on this, I can’t afford an entire Thule rack system right now :stuck_out_tongue: thanks!

Never use bungees…

– Last Updated: Apr-24-09 2:24 PM EST –

Blocks will work OK until yer git a rack. Jus' make sure ye use bow an' stern tiedowns along wit TWO (2) "belly" straps.


I think this system
comes with bow and stern tie down straps, so I should be all set! Will not use bungees if not recommended by folks hehe.

I’d have an extra strap or 2
"Just in case", get some cam buckle straps, like those that come with the blocks, I have a bucket full, and it makes things easier to have a bunch. Don’t be tempted by ratchet straps, You can apply way too much force, and damage the boat or your car. And leave the bungies home.

It will take a time or two to figure out the best/easiest way for you to put the boat on your car and secure it.

Enjoy the new(to you) boat.

I have that system…works great Do not
switch from the cam straps supplied to rachet straps. Rachet straps are just too strong.

Bungees stretch.
Seems good until the stretch allows enough slack for things to move.

riverside system
The riverside system will work well for one canoe on top of your vehicle. I used this on my Subaru Forester before I got a Yakima system to carry two boats at once. You didn’t say what you are driving. Remember to use two straps across the width of the canoe, through the car windows if necessary and absolutely you must use bow and stern lines. Do NOT use bungies to secure your canoe. It is not safe for a beginner (or anyone else) to attempt this. you could easily lose your boat and cause a serious accident.

Good Luck.

Thanks for all the replies!
I will try to get some extra cam buckle straps as recommended - I think the kit I’m getting comes with a bow, stern, and middle strap, so if I can get an extra for the middle I will. I’m driving a Camry, so hopefully the boat won’t be longer than the car, we’ll see :smiley: thanks again everyone!

2-bar “rack” is much better
A simple rack – just two bars – is a much easier, more convenient and more versatile system than the blocks. If you’re only looking at Thule racks as an alternative, then a rack can seem expensive (and the Thule’s ARE nice, don’t get me wrong). But you can get a basic, cheap, rain-gutter-attached-type set of bars for the same price or less than REI charges for that block set. For example, a quick google search turned up this set for $30 + $12 S&H:

Also, don’t use bungee cords for cartop tie-down, they’re dangerous and unreliable. Quality cargo straps are good, but costly, so if you’re scrimping on the rack there’s no need to blow money on straps, when you don’t have to. Just go the hardware store and buy 50 feet of 1/4-inch nylon rope for $6-7, and that will take the place of 4 cargo tie-downs for a full 4-point tiedown of your canoe, and leave enough left over probably for a second set.

Now, to use rope, you need to know how to maintain it and how to tie knots, both of which are easy. For maintaining, the main thing is not to let the ends fray, which for nylon rope means as soon as you cut it, burn the ends with a lighter. For tying, the main thing to know is to use figure-8 or “granny knots” until you learn other knots that suit you better. You also need to prepare special tiedown points on your car. I assume you know all this but if not, try the search function first and then post back and ask your question. Lots of people here can help you on all these things. Remember there are no dumb questions, only dumb acts that result from people being too scared to ask basic questions.

Thanks for the advice
…and the link, Memphis, I will check out a simple cheaper rack like that for the future. I didn’t use bungees, just used the straps I got with the foam block system, and it worked out fine!

Got it home safely and securely with the foam blocks and straps. We even had about an hour to drive home, and I felt very comfortable driving with it. This won’t be the permanent solution for carrying it, but for now it worked out great. Can’t wait to try it out this weekend!

Do yourself a favor and go get a Yakima rack for your vehicle. Those foam blocks work ok…but you cant beat the ease of use that a rack provides. They’re easier, more secure, and way safer for people around you…and for your boat. A rack is surprisingly inexpensive after your canoe slides off your vehicle and makes a few dents/ deep scratches…or in the worse scenario…hurts someone.

a good thing about the blocks…
is that you can still use everything after you go with a full Yakima or Thule system. The blocks compress when tightened and will secure better than resting on the bare crossbars. Be careful with the blocks on the bare roof, they can dent the roof permanently if placed in the same spots every time and can rub the paint if the canoe is not secure and moves (even very slightly) side to side.

Enjoy the canoe.