How to haul canoe with utility trailer

-- Last Updated: Sep-22-05 9:31 AM EST --

I would like to haul my 17 ft fiberglass canoe on my utility trailer but am having difficulty strapping it down. I'm Driving a Honda CRV with a very short wheel base, which discourages car topping. The trailer is 4 x 8 ft with a 5 ft tongue and is equipped with heavy duty tires. This is a heavy duty trailer. I found an old fashioned car roof rack (the kind with holes drilled down the middle to allow cinch straps) and removed the drip guard mounting brackets and bolted the cross bars across the front and rear of trailer. The distance between the two bars is 7 ft. Approx 4 feet of the bow hangs over the front and 6 ft of the stern hangs over the back. I am using 8 ft cam buckle tie downs from Wal-mart. The straps go over the inverted hull and the large ‘S’ hooks are secured to the open metal mesh on the bottom of the trailer. I am using poly rope tie downs for bow and stern tie downs. The problem is that the trailer “jumps” and shifts a bit and the foam pads keep sliding off the cross bars causing the canoe to bounce and shift Several friends have suggested glueing carpet or rubber strips to the cross bars for better “grab”; moving the bow forward as much as possible; and perhaps using the original roof rack cinch traps as extra tie downs. Should I NOT use the foam blocks? Or should I design foot pads in front and back of the bars where the gunwales make contact so that there is a larger “foot print” for the pads to grab? Appreciate any suggestions from those who haul canoes with utility trailers.

One thought.
It might help to reduce your tire pressures. Utility trailers are designed to haul heavy loads. Spring stiffness and tire pressures are specified under the assumption that you will do so. Hauling a kayak or canoe is almost like pulling an empty trailer. I haul a 90-pound rowing boat on a Trailex trailer with the tire pressures at 12 PSI - a bit less than the Trailex-recommended 15 PSI. No bouncing, no tire problems.

Carpet or rubber are good
suggestions; I always pad my racks. Also, get some real canoe/kayak straps like NRS and loop them around the rack so that they are right next to the boat on both sides. Once the straps are tightened, the boat has nowhere to move.

Forget about the bars
and fashion some notched cradles out of lumber somehow for the gunwales to ride in. Can line the notches with hunks of carpet for a little cushioning.

Good comment on the tire pressure, I run only about 10psi in my Trailex tires as well.


Use the camlock type straps…
that come with Yakama and Thule racks. You can also get them at any canoe store or NRS.

There is no S hook involved.

You feed one end of the strap over the top of the canoe and then under the bar on the other side. Then back over the top of the canoe again and under the bar on the siden where your buckle is hanging down. Feed the strap end through the buckle and cinch the hell out of it.

Have some one that uses them show you how.

The canoe just about becomes part of your trailer and if done right it won’t move a fraction of an inch no matter how many bumps you hit.

You also don’t need front or rear tie downs with this method.



Tire pressure

– Last Updated: Sep-22-05 10:40 PM EST –

This is an update on my tires. They are listed as P215/75R15 with a rated max pressure of 35 psi. I double checked my pressure and they are at 26 psi. Should I go lower?

I liked the idea of fabricating notched craddles for the gunwales but more important, will opt for the loop straps, such as carried by NRS. Back to the drawing board. Will try to post photos. Thanks all. Keep those ideas coming.

for my utility trailer I bolted my Yakima Rack system to it. It fits on my truck too.

Utility trailer
I use mine for hauling boats - mixed canoes & kayaks…have an old garden kneeling pad tied to the front railing of the trailer and just lean the boats on that. Screwed on (wood base) a couple pieces of carpet remnant/samples for slide padding of boats…and sometimes use POOL NOODLES between multiple boats.

Don’t forget a hot pink bandana tied on the very end, waving in the breeze!

To stop any forward sliding,
the canoe should be strapped(not roped) to whatever frame you have on your trailer. Camlock straps from NRS or work great, and a 7’ spread should work if you have the straps onto those mounts, and tight. The mounts should be solid as if they were a part of the trailer itself. Important thing is, if you must make an emergency stop, you don’t want the canoe sliding forward. Good luck, MickJetBlue

Trailer tires/Yakama rack system
Hello All ~

I just wanted to clarify that my trailer, not the towing vehicle, has 15 inch tires [P215/75R15] with a rated max. pressure of 35 psi. Yes, these are a 5 bolt car-type tire. Swedge, if you are still reading this string, come back and tell me how you bolted your Yakama rack system to your trailer. In my case, I would need to raise my cross bars by approx 8 inches from the trailer frame for the canoe to clear the trailer jack handle on the tongue. If I am able to do this, I can move the canoe another foot to the front, which would place a tad more weight on the tongue, which might be a good idea. I am aware that tongue weight should be 10 ~ 15% of total trailer & cargo weight. I am planning to measure the gross weight and tongue weight.

Big ones
Wheels/tires that big are naturally going to ride better than the 8-inchers on the Trailex, so you probably don’t need to do anything too extreme. 20 psi would certainly not be too low, though, heck, there are cars riding around with pressures less than that.


Check out the picture on eBay
Thereis a ad right now on eBay, search under Perception kayak and you will see a two kayak plus gear set going for $1900-$2000 in Elgin IL. Anyhow, there is a photo of a canoe kayak cradle that comes with the deal. Just look at the photo. I think that type of frame and sling, two, so one on each end of your canoe, would solve your issue, and you could strap to trailer. Neat thing is, whne done, you could use these devices to store your canoe in the garage too! Where to get them, I don;t know (is it in the descrpition in the ad?) but you could make them. Thanks

Here’s the eBay link, for howeer long it is good. Look at the side pictures at the bottom, click to enlarge.

go to lowes / home depot buy 2 80 lb. bags of sand, lay them right at the front of your trailer. $6.00 no more bouncing trailer.