Gunwale brackets for cross-country trip?

they can go either way
if you have a boat with a shoulder just put them on the inside. That solves the “too tall” problem. We’ve occasionally reversed them that way to secure cockpit down kayaks that.

You’ll bet lots of use out of the LoadStops if that’s what you get.

We will be off for another 12000 mile paddling trip soon and have so far this year been to FL twice ( for 7000 miles) with the Loadstops… and that’s just one year. Wouldn’t leave home ( so to speak ) without them

I want zero play
I don’t understand why any one would want a little play.

I want my canoes to be rock solid with no movement.

jack L

The gunwale brackets also help in an
emergency stop. I once had to stomp the brakes to avoid hitting a guy in the rear, and the canoe did not budge.

It couldn’t be explained by rope triangulation, because that wasn’t all it could be. But when you hit the brakes and the canoe tries to go forward or pivot around the front bar, the little bracket platform bites its teeth against the gunwale and holds the boat in place.

Good roping is important, but when a boat is riding bare Yakima crossbars, rope doesn’t do enough.

I always cut about half of the vertical rise off my gunwale brackets, just to make loading and unloading a spec easier. For some reason, this strikes certain p-netters as the equivalent of mutilation.

2nd GBG’s Back-centered load rec.
Gunwale stops or no, Guideboat Guy’s recommendation to load the boats with the center a little to the rear makes a huge difference in how much the boat wants to shake on the rack, especially in the wind eddy of big trucks.

The center of the boat should be loaded a little behind the center of the racks. This may result in a funny-looking rig, with a lot of the boat hanging out behind the car, but it really makes a big difference in how the boats behave on the rack.


I think some states have
rear hang restrictions.

But for 16 years I have mounted the racks on the cap of the pickup (extended or four door p/u) and mounting the boat symmetrically with respect to the racks usually results in a five foot rear overhang with 18.5 foot boats. This makes parking at rest areas and motels potentially interesting.

You just have to be aware also of traffic behind you and to put plenty of red flag area on the stern of the canoe.

I’ve thought I have had some close calls especially with buses.

But mounting the boat so that the bow is further forward does result in way too much bow shake so I will continue to be rearward vigilant.

Based on past experience car-topping
a 27’ racing scull, I think most states will be OK if you put a red flag on the stern to call attention to it.

We won a court dispute when a trucker failed to flag his long load and while turning, caused it to pivot through the headlight of our car and into the engine compartment.

Gunwale brackets are the best invention since the hole in the toilet seat!

And another thing:
If you want to keep nicely finished wooden gunnels or carbon ones from scratching if you slide your canoe on just glue small pieces of indoor-outdoor carpet on them.

jack L

My DIY brackets

– Last Updated: Apr-18-14 1:52 AM EST –

Shown on Thule bars.

Nice job
Jack L

I like the wood jhb!
Nice job…very useful and wood is very soft on gunwales…

I totally agree. I only wish I had learned this much earlier in my canoes hauling lifetime. I had been doing the routine of putting the center of the canoe exactly in between the bars for many years until I learned what a huge advantage it is to move it back about one foot.

Helpful but not necessary for me
First, let me make clear I don’t disagree with anything that’s been said in favor of gunwale brackets or load stops.

I simply will factually report that I have traveled all over North America for more than 30 years with one or more canoe without brackets or stops – much of the time in a high, full sized van, which is very subject to side winds.

The reason I don’t use them is threefold.

First, the width between the brackets/stops has to be adjusted for different canoes, and it’s very difficult to get up on top of a high van to do the adjustment for my many different canoes. If you just have one canoe on a low car that wouldn’t be an issue.

Second, I wrap the straps around my towers to produce a sideways pull. This prevents the canoe from yawing in the wind. I’ve never had a problem even in high winds except for some minor movement. If you don’t have towers solidly bolted to the roof, or don’t know this strapping technique, this may not work for you.

Third, I don’t like the brackets or load stops on my vehicle when I’m not boating, though my bars stay on all the time. They make noise. It’s just a pain to me to keep taking the brackets off and on, especially on my high van. It may not be a problem for others.

For kayaks and outrigger canoe I use easily removable foam-over-bar cradles with the same strapping technique. No sideways movement even without bow and stern V-lines on my outrigger.

Holy crap! You are asking for it now !
“even without bow and stern V-lines on my outrigger” :

The bow and stern V-line police will call you every nasty name they can think of.

And you will be the cause of many horrible highway deaths !

Jack L

Definitely get gunwale brackets
Supporting those who agree with me, yes, you should absolutely, definitely get the Yakima gunwale brackets. They can be placed inside or outside the gunwales. If you’re concerned about fore-and-aft slippage, get some expanded rubber sheeting that’s used for glassware cabinets, or else some other high-friction material, and place that between the gunwale brackets and the gunwales.

CENTER THE BOAT ON THE RACK BARS. Do NOT move the boat backwards much behind center, certainly no more than a foot. The more boat you have behind you, the longer your bow tie-downs will be and the less lateral stability you’ll have in front. Also, more boat behind will increase the chance of the wind lifting the stern of the boat. Do it right, and do it once.

This comes from someone who’s done a couple dozen 500-mile trips with one, sometimes two, boats on a Yakima rack with not a single mishap.

Wind doesn’t lift the tail
I’ll agree with those who say moving the boat rearward of center by about one foot is generally enough to make a huge improvement, and I myself have never moved it three feet as I suggested might be done in extreme conditions, but I have moved it rearward as much as two feet on terribly windy days and the benefit has been enormous.

Don’t forget that those of us who do recommend moving the boat rearward have done many long trips “without an issue”, and that all have pointed out that it makes a huge improvement in now the boat rides in crosswinds and truck turbulence. You’ll generally be fine, and never have an “issue” if you keep the boat centered on the rack, but in very windy conditions or in the turbulent air behind big rigs, setting it a bit to the rear really makes everything “settle down” so nicely compared to what’s otherwise the case.

Also, the tail of the boat will not lift. I routinely hang a surveyor’s flag from the tip of the stern, and the only thing it ever does, as far as waving in the breeze goes, is twirl around hanging straight down. That shows that there is NOT a stream of air rapidly flowing past the boat on its underside. Instead, there’s just a bubble of turbulent air steadily following behind your car. It’s the front part of the boat that’s exposed to the strongest air stream, and reducing the surface area exposed to that flow, and reducing the leverage available for pushing on the boat is where the benefit comes from. I’m sure the upper part of the boat sees strong air flow at the rear, but in that case, a rearward shift surely helps the boat become more stable like a weather vane. Maybe one could argue that there’s a lifting effect due to rapid air flow across the top and virtually zero air flow underneath (as per Bernoulli), but I’ve never seen an indication that it’s something to worry about, or that an extra foot or two of length in the back will matter (have you seen evidence for what you said here, or are you speculating?).

As far as the bowline being too long

– Last Updated: Apr-21-14 7:30 AM EST –

if you move the boat back, there is nothing that says the bowline has to or even should go over the front of the hood.

Under hood loops are best. When you move the boat back move the attachment loops back to near the windshield. If there is no convenient spot make something like the Thule portable loops.

This keeps force on the bow down rather than the weaker rather obtuse angle.

I never have noticed stern lifting.. that tail just goes around in circles at interstate speed.