How Far Can I travel on foam inserts? (transporting by car 600 miles)

Hello everyone. I inherited a 17foot Grumman canoe. I don’t have racks and wanted to bring it home using Foam inserts. Manufacturer of the inserts suggest not exceeding 250 miles, what options do I have besides racks and trailers?

Is there no cheap way to transport this thing? Lastly, what kind of traveling experience is this going to be like (trying to transport from the Cleveland area to the Raleigh area)

Not sure what foam inserts are but if they can go 250 miles they should go farther if undamaged and adjusted correctly Just check them often.

Think they’re shown in the video. In addition to checking often, bow and stern tie-downs are a must - as well staying under or at the speed limit.

Considering the lack of tie-down places that are available on most modern cars, and not knowing what sort of situation you are faced with in that regard, I’d recommend renting or borrowing a utility trailer and strapping the canoe over the top of the open trailer box. Maybe you can do a good job of tying the canoe to your car’s roof, but from what I see on today’s cars, the odds are against it.

If you do put the canoe on your roof supported by foam blocks, make sure all your tie-downs are angled in a way such that “all of them are fighting each other.” That means that you can’t pull a single one of those ropes tighter without adding tension to all the others. At a minimum, you will need two in the front and two in the back, with each pair diverging at a wide angle. And to achieve the state of “all tie-downs fighting each other”, you probably do NOT want the rear pair of tie-downs to attach to the end of the boat, unless that’s just an auxiliary pair. The main pair in back should instead attach to a thwart, so that the lines run forward from the rear of the car on their way to the boat. That would be good idea in the front too, to increase the degree to which one pair of forward lines “pull the boat forward” and thus increase the degree to which they oppose those lines in back. Oh, and related to all that, do NOT just loop ropes over the canoe and down the other side. Instead, use a pair of ropes, each attached to a solid connection point like where a thwart joins the gunwale. You don’t want to encourage the boat to act like a pulley within a V-shaped loop of rope, and be free to wander back and forth.

I’ve seen the way too many people do this in really sloppy fashion, so I say seriously, putting a canoe on the roof with nothing but foam blocks is a recipe for having the boat wander all around up there, unless you’ve got quite a set of ropes aligned in opposition to each other, so again, if you aren’t pretty good with rope as it is, I’d recommend the trailer option. At least in that case you’ve got a solid support system and the ability to anchor the boat directly to the object that supports it, instead of to anchor points that are really far away from the boat. Are you worried about the cost of renting a trailer? Think of it as a very low purchase price for your new boat!

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments. impressive

Make sure your car roof and the foam blocks are clean since they will wiggle a bit and could scratch the paint on your roof (if that matters to you). Check the weather and look for a time when it isn’t too windy. Then for sure you want lots of good tie downs (ropes or straps) on the ends and around the boat since those are the only things holding the boat in place…maybe one from the front handle to one corner and another to the thwart and same front corner so you’ll end up with 8 lines holding the boat on diagonals. Plus at least a couple of straps around the boat and maybe through the vehicle if necessary. Bring extra so you can stop and add more if the boat is moving around. You’ll also find that you may want to stop and tighten up all your tie downs shortly after you leave since they will often loosen up and settle a bit after you spend a few minutes at highway speed. The truckers hitch is the classic knot so maybe you could learn this knot to help you tie it down securely. If there is a canoe shop near where you pick up the canoe you could ask them for help in tying it down.

I just did about 1500 miles with my fiberglass touring kayak. I bought some of these at REI which gave me some extra peace of mind (high bang to buck ratio). Also, I am a pretty calm driver so not too many g’s, sudden breaking etc. No problems at all. I don’t think there’s anything magical about 250 miles. Especially if you’re just transporting. There’s a bit of a hassle factor if you’re loading and unloading a lot.

I hauled a 14’ rec sit in kayak on my truck roof like that from Ruskin to Ormond Beach in Friday rush hour traffic in the rain through Orlando. The kayak took the trip better than I did. It was 310 mile round trip. A friend of mine used to carry his rec kayak of similar size on his car roof . He often had to stop and tighten up the straps after a few miles. It’ll work but not the best system.

I don’t get the 250 mile limit. Is 300 miles inviting a lawsuit? I believe they’re covering their lawyer’s arses. Foam blocks are an inexpensive substitute for a good (expensive) rack system, and with a dose of common sense, they work. All the required straps, including fore and aft tie downs, sensible speed and frequent checks to make sure it’s all tight are adequate.

If you have to - use bow and stern tie downs and stop to check the tightness and alignment of the canoe very frequently. And absolutely follow the advice of Guideboatguy on how to use the lines to restrict side to side motion. Canoes upside down have a deep and abiding desire to turn into sails. I don’t have the chucks that limit sideways motion. But I also line the canoe up so that at least one thwart is over a cross bar and strap the thwart to that. I haven’t seen many do this but it really enhances the security.

@Oregonpaddler said:
I don’t get the 250 mile limit. Is 300 miles inviting a lawsuit?

Perhaps the vibration in the straps will start leaving visible wear marks in the car paint over the doors if you drive very far with the straps in exactly the same place. So for a very long haul it might be sensible to stop and move the straps to a new position once every 250 miles.