I didn't get the 17' Michi-Craft

I went out and checked the boat tonight. Great condition and the price came down to $250. The only problem was that I could not load it by myself on the top of my truck. I could lift it okay but balancing that 17’ beast and trying not to slam it into the roof of my truck was impossible. I told my wife If we get it I would not use it as much because would always need two people. I feel like I left a great deal behind but why buy something you can’t use?

Did I do the right thing?

There Are Ways…

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 8:04 AM EST –

...to load that canoe without killing yourself - a lot of the guys on this site can advise you better than I can.
All other things being equal, this need not be a deal breaker. If it's just loading that's the problem, you can find a way around it. One thing about an AL canoe - you're not worried about damaging it when handling it ashore!

You need the right kind of roof rack

– Last Updated: Jun-21-07 10:58 PM EST –

It would be wonderful if you could find a lighter canoe for that price, but that could be tough. In the mean time, if you can pick up the canoe, or get it onto your shoulders (especially if you put a clamp-on carrying yoke when needed), a little work in the roof-rack department will solve your troubles.

I don't know what sort of vehicle roof we are talking about here, but surely there's a way to solve this problem. Ideally, you can install two cross bars on the roof, and these cross bars will carry the boat. Then it would be great if the rear cross bar is close enough to the rear of the vehicle that you can simply lean the boat on that bar from behind, then set the other end of the boat on the ground. Then, just go pick up the low end of the boat and slide the thing up there. That's the method I use (except with one boat I have which is extremely light). A second option is to install a lengthwise bar connecting your two cross bars on one or both sides of the vehicle. Then you can lean the canoe on that side bar, slide it up, and shuffle it around to line-up with the car. That's the method my dad used for more than 30 years on various cars. I've installed that kind of side-loading bar on each side of my own roof rack, and occasionally use them, even though I prefer to slide a boat on from the rear when possible. You can see my side-loading bars in my Webshots album. Check out this photo...


...and the photos adjacent to it to see what a lengthwise side-loading bar looks like.

A third method is to hook a temporary extension on one of the main crossbars, so that extension sticks a few feet out from the side of the car. In that case, you lean the boat up on that extension bar, then pick up the other end and pivot it onto the other cross bar. Pivot the other end of the boat (the end that was first propped-up on the extension bar) onto the rack and you're done. The extension bar is removed except when loading and unloading the boat.

Others here can give you additional ideas, and there are even a couple of factory-made boat-loading aids available, though since you seem to be on a tight budget, going home-built can save a bundle if you can do it. No matter what you do, a real roof rack is the best starting point, whether you buy it or build it. There's no reason to have to worry about easing the boat onto a roof. With a good rack, you can take the heaviest boat you can lift and just flop it up there any old which way, and nothing gets damaged.

You asked, so I am answering
I think you made a mistake.

You evidently don’t know how to portage a canoe or you would have bought: “the beast” !

I can get my 80 pound Old Town Discovery on my shoulders and on my truck cap with ease just by using the portage method.

If you still want it and still can get it yell out and I explain how.



If it’s too heavy for you

– Last Updated: Jun-22-07 3:52 PM EST –

Then you did the right thing for the right reason.
Having said that you might look for some technique for lugging a big boat around.
One is to lift it on to your knees by the center (portage) thwart, then jerk it up over your head and let the thwart land on your shoulders.
Another is to lift one end at a time onto your truck.
If carrying it is not reasonable you can get carts to roll it around on.
Only you know what will and will not work for you. You won't paddle much if it's really difficult to get the boat to the water. You can't paddle if you screw up your back.

Good luck,

Get a little boat trailer. Then that puppy is low enough to be loaded easily. My dad switched to this method when he got the van (traded in the station wagon) and wanted to go out without us kids.