how much weight is car topable?

i can handle a 174 oldtown discovery by myself, although i couldnt handle much more, but i dont know how heavy it is. does anyone know the weight of it? it was made maybe 8-10 years ago. what do you consider the heaviest one person can handle?

I don’t know about the 174
but the Old Town website lists the 169 at 85 lbs. I would imagine the 174 is close to, and probably heavier, than the 169.

The max weight one person can handle really depends on the person. I an probably car top a lot more than my 70 year old dad, but a lot less than Michael Strahan.

Don’t worry about what other people can do - worry about what you can handle safely.

The question is how much you can
or your car can handle?

Some cars have limits of 70 lbs. Some people have limits of 150lbs.

I have no problem picking up the heaviest of canoes, but if it’s windy and the boat starts to blow causing me to twist, that’s painful and dangerous. My suggestion, use a well designed boat cart when you can.

Who is the person?
For me it would be about the weight of your Disco 174, and safety would depend on the terrain. For others it would be more, for others it would be less.

At first I thought your question initially was about how much weight you can place on a car top. I dug up this picture to show you a shuttle run. The one on top is a Disco 174, lower left a Supernova, lower right is a Spirit II.

I am way over the hill and
I can load, unload and carry my 80 pound OT disco by myself.

If you have a comfortable well balanced portage yoke and know how to get it on your shoulders, (if you want I can describe my method),it is very easy.

As for weight on my racks and roof, I have had the 80 pound OT Disco, and two long poly kayaks up there all at the same time.



that little car is loaded! thanks for the pics and the replies. definately a help.

Its mostly about the car.
I am a senior citizen and find that I can devise ways to get an eighty pounder seven feet up onto a Tundra with high tower racks.

Not prettily, but up there.

However some car roof racks are rated at 125 lbs or less. One Disco OK…two Disco not OK.If you load with foamies you want to be sure you put the foamies on the A and B pillars…otherwise you will dent your roof perhaps for good.

Big canoes but not a little car
That’s an old S class Mercedes!

Us old people have been cheerfully
exceeding car manufacturer and rack manufacturer limits for decades. It requires care and mechanical judgement, so it is not something I would recommend to just anyone, but I would cheerfully carry my old 90 pound Tripper on our new Honda, with its short 30" bar spread. I once carried our 85# Moore and my 50" Hahn on our little VW Dasher station wagon.

I do recommend putting at least one strut between the front and back bars of Yakima or Thule racks that are attached with clips. You can use bike carrying troughs, or make a custom strut. This strut is very helpful in keeping the bars and clips from shifting when loading or carrying heavy canoes.

In response to old age, I have replaced heavy with light boats over the last ten years. But the main issue with loading is the same as with portaging, getting the canoe up on your head and shoulders to transfer it to the racks. With my old, heavy tandems I threw one end over my head and then backed into the portage position. With the new boats, the traditional center throw is much easier than it looks.

Nice bunch…
the kids are cute too. But that is the ugliest fish I have ever seen - not the Obama Fish, the Sturgeon.

With the right rack, no problem.

– Last Updated: Nov-16-08 2:36 PM EST –

Your canoe is one of the heaviest ones out there, and if you are a fairly small person, it might be tough. I'm sure someone can post a link describing methods of lifting a canoe up on your back, or I might find one later if I do some searching. In the meantime, once you get the canoe up on your back, the rest is easy if your roof rack allows you to put one end up first, like this:

Then step out from under the boat, pick up the back end, and slide it on the rest of the way.

As an alternative, since we are talking about an Old Town Discovery which is a very tough boat, maybe you'd feel okay about picking it up by one end and dragging it to your car, and lifting one end up on top first, but I never advocate dragging boats.

An easy way to modify your roof rack to allow this loading method is to add a length of pipe on one side (both sides works better if it's a small car), and use that to lean the boat against. In this case, you load the boat from one side, not the back. Then, as you slide the boat up holding the back end, twist it around to line up with the racks. The advantage of having a lengthwise bar on BOTH sides of the car is that once the canoe is on top, it can be oriented in ANY direction, allowing you to mess around with getting it lined up properly AFTER it is up there.

Here's a shot showing how I set up my rack to allow sliding a boat up from the side:

There's a lengthwise bar like that on both sides of the car.

Good work, and that also shows how
struts between the front and rear rack bars will have a stabilizing effect on the whole assembly. I’m surprised that Yakima and Thule have not “officially” offered such longitudinal struts.

they used to

– Last Updated: Nov-16-08 3:43 PM EST –

about sixteen years ago I had a Honda Accord and as it was a two door there was no place for a rear attachment..The entire Yakima set up was a box shape..the two clips on each side were less than two feet apart. so there had to be a longitudinal spreader bar.

yakima still did
in 04 had a girlfriend w/a ford focus , man that roof was small so they had the long bars to add stability , seems to have worked with 2 glass yaks ontop , one 16’ an one 15’9"


senior loading on high roof


You can only do it because you’re so tall!


I carried a full size couch on my taurus
Wind is what will rip the racks off. That is why I drill up thru the door frame to attach Q tower braccket

I carried 350 pounds of sheetrock
and plywood on a little VW Dasher station wagon. But that was with Quick’n’Easy towers and massive aluminum crossbars with longitudinal struts.

I’m on my fourth car with Q-towers, and have not had wind or sudden car motion pop a clip off. Still, I admit that the idea of drilling and screwing clips to the door frame has occurred to me.