Help picking up a 16' canoe

Just won an auction of an Old Town 16’ 59 lbs boat. I need to carry it 300 miles home on a 4Runner that has an OEM roof rack. There are 2 cross-bars about 3 ft apart.

Please help to tell me how much and what type of roof I need to bring. I have couple 1.5 inch wide tie-down already. Do I need any foam block?

Happy paddling.


Check out “Guidelines” on this site

– Last Updated: Dec-18-05 3:55 PM EST –

Having cross bars that are only three feet apart doesn't sound like the best starting point, but you can make it work. It makes no difference if you use tie-down straps or rope. I prefer rope because you can do so many more things with it (if you know knots). Look at the diagrams of how to tie down a canoe in the "Guidelines" section of this website, and then think about adding some additional tie-downs as follows: Instead of just tying to the bow and stern for end anchorage, tie two ropes each to thwarts toward the middle of the boat too as follows. A pair of ropes from your front bumper (or thereabouts) to a thwart a few feet to the rear of the bow will prevent the boat from sliding toward the rear (the nearly-vertical lines from the bow to the bumper won't help much in that regard). Do the same at the rear: Provide a pair of ropes going from the bumper to a thwart that is a few feet away from the stern to prevent the boat from sliding forward when you hit the brake. Also consider adding a rope at each corner of your roof rack which wraps around the boat and re-attaches at the starting point (each of these ropes should be at the extreme forward and rearward edges of your roof rack, where the rack actually anchors tot eh roof. This will be at least several inches farther toward the front and rear of your vehicle than the actual cross-bar locations). Four such looped ropes will prevent the boat from shifting sideways or or "twisting", where the bow slides right and the stern slides left (or visa versa).

These extra tie-downs will do much much more to keep the boat from slipping around or your roof rack than simply cranking down your main straps extra tight. With the main support points being so close together (three feet), the wind will have a lot of leverage on those far-out ends of the boat to pry the boat around, and anchoring the boat against such movement is a good idea.

Re 4R racks…

– Last Updated: Dec-18-05 5:13 PM EST –

We carry canoes/kayaks all the time on our 4R - bars are about that far apart - usually use web straps/ropes as belly straps on each rack crossbar, and good bow and stern lines tied off to the tow eyes beneath the truck front and back. Can send you a few pix if you want 'em.
Just take it easy at first - we go the legal limit - and check straps/ropes every time you stop for coffee, etc. Have never had a problem in years and thousands of miles of driving.