How do you car-top a few canoes?

I’ve got 3 S&G flat-bottomed canoes that nest together, sort of like those nesting Russian Dolls. I’ve traveled with them both upright (hull to the roof rack), and upside down (gunnels to the roof rack). It’s much easier for me to nest them, then load them upright on the top of the car than it is to load them upside down. Plus, when I load them upside down and secure them the innermost canoe (the smallest of the 3) tends to flex.

My question: most people seem to load their canoes upside down, is there a practical reason for this? Am I breaking some unwritten code or something? Also, my untested theory is that the aerodynamics work in my favor with them upright (the air flows around the bow instead of getting trapped in the hull) and I could use all of the gas savings I can get.

So, am I missing something here?

with the canoes open up, they can gather a lot of rain… That and with a regular canoe, the bottoms are not flat so they don’t rest well on their bottoms. The gunnels give a safe solid resting point for the canoes to travel on.

You get the best structural strength
with canoes resting inverted on crossbars. This is not to say that on-edge or inverted is unacceptable. The commonest way I’ve seen 3 tandems carried is two inverted next to one another on crossbars, and the third tied on top of the two, inverted.

The point about not catching rain is a serious one. You can get a dangerous load of rain sloshing around that could tear the rack off or throw your car around, or both.

As one who many times carries
two canoes with the gunnels down, I can’t visualize canoes being carried with the hull down, unless you have some sort of cradle for the hull to nest in.

Also for me it is a lot easier sliding them on the racks with the gunnels down.

Take note the next time you see a outfitter doing a shuttle with a trailer load of them. They will all be with the gunnels down

jack L

Those are all good points…
…I hadn’t really thought of the rain problem (duh!) but we mostly travel locally and on sunny days. Since the hull on the largest canoe is pretty well flat (and I’ve got a Handi-Rack, an inflatable roof rack) I don’t really need any special cradles…the rack conforms to the hull shape fairly well.

Loading them “hull down” is just easier, we nest them on the ground and then heft them up. It’s easier than gunnels-down and nesting them one at a time. Getting that last one up would require my wife to have much longer arms!

I guess I just wondered if there was something obvious I was overlooking…and that would be RAIN!!