keelover feedback

-- Last Updated: Dec-20-12 7:21 PM EST --

Does anyone have any feedback/experience they can share on the KEELOVER canoe Yakima brackets?

Looks Convenient & secure but would
still put a bit of padding (split pipe foam?) under the gunnel and use fore and aft lines to keep boat from sliding up/back especially if roof bars close together. Easy to add and remove - maybe too easy. Would check tightness at pit stops. Could save $95 and just use the pipe foam & straps - I’m cheap when it comes to gadgets. R

No experience with this particular item-
but from the experience I do have I much prefer rope tied using a bowline around the bars and a trucker’s hitch to tie the canoe to the bars over straps and buckles. My experience is that straps do not hold up well to sun exposure and that knicks or partial cuts cause total failure of a strap much more easily that a rope. But, others will disagree no doubt. It is true that a very fragile boat or a boat that you want to keep looking its best might do better with straps. I do use the canoe yakima canoe brackets because I find they work well to prevent the canoe from sliding around on the bars in the wind. The best racks I ever had involved two by fours with carpet attached. But they did not hold up well to long term weather exposure - Yakima bars are better in that regard.

This is my first canoe (an Old Town Pack) and I’ve no real way to carry it.

We have a 2004 Subaru and I am debating whether to use the factory crossbars with this keel over thing or go with a whole rack system.

Thanks for the reminder about bow and stern tie downs as well. I’ve got all winter to work on the trucker’s hitch and other useful knots.

Expensive gimmick, imo
This is just four straps with four clamps to prevent your canoe from sliding sideways.

You can get belly straps much cheaper than from Yakima. For example, from NRS or design your own at strapworks. Rope is better than straps in the bow and stern because you can tie it in a V, if you have the right bumper or hood attachment points, and then that rope can stay on your canoe as your painter lines when paddling. Rope will sing and flutter less than straps.

I have never had a problem with canoes sliding sideways when just strapped on plain bars, if you know how to strap and rope properly. I have used pipe insulation as a cushion, and that can help sideways sliding, but it also can dirty wooden gunwales.

From the first Yakima rack Mrs. Osprey purchased years ago as a birthday present I’ve considered Yakima racks a good value.

That said, I’ve certainly taken many a good safe trip with canoes strapped to factory car racks as well.

The “universal” nature of this particular product which appears to combine gunnel brackets with tie down straps looks appealing. I’ve used gunnel brackets for years and believe they do add to secure attachment – they aren’t essential, but I think they are worth the extra cost and effort. Mine are about 25 years old and are on their third vehicle. And the rack is on the car year round in Texas!

You can try less expensive routes first and upgrade as you see the need. If you use pipe insulation try to tape it in place or better yet use some long black wire ties to attach them to the cross bars so they don’t blow off.

I’ve got cam type straps from NRS that are 20 years old and still going strong. I prefer them for tying the canoe to the rack. They make trips several times each month. I too prefer GOOD rope and trucker knots for tying off for and aft.

Have fun in the Pack!

No experience with those.

I have been disappointed with my Yakima Gunnel brackets. My canoes tend to climb over those in strong winds.

Also the Yakima straps I have stretch more that the REI or NRS straps I have, making the boat(s)less secure.

When using the factory racks on my Rav4 I simply loop the strap around the side rail to prevent any side to side motion. That is much more effective than using gunnel brackets.

Tumble home
Brackets are useful if your canoe has tumble home; straps and ropes cannot be cinched tight enough to stop side-to-side movement. Driving conditions - distance, highway, trucks - also are factors for using brackets. I use them regularly with my Thule system (which I think is a far better rack than Yakima).