Haul canoe on Pontiac Vibe?

Have been thinking of getting my wife a smaller car and like the Vibe. It has a roof rack and was wondering if anyone uses the Vibe to haul a canoe?




Don’t see why not
I’m sure it can be done. I’d start by looking at the foam pad’s designed to fit on existing racks. Possibly check some of the vendors via this site and see what they have to assist in this.

Hec, I just put a 17’6" Sea Kayak on an old Pontiac Sunbird tonight - no roof rack and a sun roof. A little creative use of foam sitting around along with some 1/2" thick left over packaging sheet strategically wrapped to create something like a foam V support.

Scary looking, but it works - - Guess the pickup didn’t want to haul it Saturday AM, so it decided to break down Thursday night. Gotta do with what’s left.

Vibe and Malone autoloader
I have been using the factory rack with a set of Malone autoloaders all season to transport my Dirigo 120 with no problems-I do tie the bow to the eye under the front bumper but no stern tie-off. Most of my trips are 30 miles or less round trip and its been fine. Last year I used foam pads on the factory bars but it caused too much oilcanning on the boat bottom so I purchased the Malones this spring.They mount directly to the factory crossbars,although I did have to order the shorter bolts so as not to punch a hole in the roof of the car.

Vibe and kayaks
We’ve had great success hauling 2 kayaks on our Vibe, a 17 1/2 ft. Pintail and an 18 foot Island Expedition. We’re using Q Towers on the factory rack set-up (rear) and the LowRiders in the front. Have used this set-up many times, including a 1000 mile round trip this summer. We also have a van, but if we’re only packing kayaking gear prefer to use the Vibe as it’s easier to load and unload the boats. We’re able to carry enough gear inside for 2 people on a 2 week long trip.


Several friends and family members have bought Vibes. It seems to be a great little car for the money. One thing that concerned me about hauling canoes or kayaks on them is the location of the antenna, which seems like it would be in the way.

To those of you who own a Vibe, has the antenna location been a problem?

Vibe attenna
One boat on either side of the antenna. Our bars are 60", which fits 2 kayaks with no problem. Canoes are wider…


You can unscrew the antenna and
then its not a problem

Or get an Accord, where the antenna
is the heater grid in the rear window. Very effective antenna. And if you shop smart, I’ll bet you can get a stick Accord for no more than a thousand bucks above the cost of a similarly equipped Vibe.

Pontiac Vibe
I have had a Vibe GT since 2003. I live in Atlanta, GA and have taken 6 trips to Michigan hauling either a Wenonah Prism or a P&H Baidarka Explorer. That’s 1400 miles round trip at least twice a year.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I am leaving Atlanta and dropping off the Explorer at my nephews house and picking up a Nigel Foster Legend.

Toyota Matrix 2004
This is the Japanese version of the Vibe (won’t go into why I think the Matrix is better built & designed, as that’s not what you asked. Pls. e-mail me if you would like that info).

Happily I can transport a kayak of 13.5 feet of 41 lbs no problem. Bow is about 3 feet from the tip of the front so up to 16.5 feet is the upper limit of what I think is safe. Stern protrudes about 2.5 feet, so I use 3 red rags tied together + red Kayak Flag on the stern just to be safe, as all vehicles in Michigan must flag projecting materials of 3 feet or over, over either end of vehicle.

Here is my system for a six way tie down:

Yes the antenna unscrews. It’s in the owner’s manual. The whip comes off and & the triangular base remains. I put a sponge over this before rooftopping the kayak.

Two tie-downs going crosswise under the lip of the front and rear of combing (I guess for canoes it’d be the gunwhales).

Two tie downs for the bow. I like Thules’ racheting tie downs. Very quick to use and adjust. Secure to the tow clips under the front.

Due to curvature at the front of the roof I pad under the boat with a wadded chamois cloth. Or you could use an upholstery cushion filler. I do this before completing tie down so I don’t squash the yak. Protects sunroof as well.

For tie downs to the stern I run red (for visibility) straps from the through the two tonneau loops at the rear of the hatch. They are welded to the body and show no strain. Of course it helps to have a light kayak. I then run the straps under the rear window, which opens independently of the metal door. This is key to an effective stern tie down so make sure your car has this feature.

I started with this system in mid July and have over 600 miles, about half of it highway and interstate in rain & wind gusts up to 35 mph. No problems whatsoever. Check for tautness, esp. overnight if you tie up the night before, and checking 10-15 minutes into a trip is good also.

Good luck and many happy miles to you and yours with a new car and your canoes!