long road trip with canoe

I mostly make very short trips with the canoe on the roof of my SUV.

I am planning a very long drive, about 15 hours each way.

Do you suggest I do anything special with the canoe or rack for such a long trip? I currently have a Thule rack and run two straps to the rack, and two straps from the bow and stern.

No different
Just do the same as you do for short trips.

Check that things are still snug when you stop for gas, pee breaks etc.

sounds funny…
but would wrapping the canoe in some type of saran wrap material help with gas mileage- at least the bow section

No, but it would leave chunks of the
wrap all over the road and drive you nuts with the flapping.

no wrap
though I usually put a well secured hatch cover on any kayak i haul at high speeds to reduce turbulence, that really isn’t feasible with the large area open in a canoe. You should be fine, just check the straps at every stop (they can loosen as the force of lift at highway speeds lifts the boat). When hauling a canoe, I always add a strap securing the thwarts separately to the rack as well as the straps over the hull. Do be aware, especially with an SUV, that the handling of the car at high speeds will be affected, particularly if it gets windy during the drive. You’re already riding with a high center of gravity and will now be even more top heavy and experiencing a bit of airfoil lift from turbulence under the canoe. Avoid swerving and high speed turns.

I’ve seen no objective information on
the effect of carrying a racked canoe on mileage, and on related mods such as rack fairings, etc. My personal belief is that a float bag in the bow smooths wind flow, but not that much, and float bags can get trashed in the process.

On the tie down system, use of gunwale brackets that Thule and Yakima offer will add some extra stability. I had to make an emergency stop with my canoe on Yakima gunwale brackets, and the boat didn’t budge. I’m sure that without the brackets, the boat would have slipped forward in spite of the ropes.

homemade brackets
I used a 2in cube of wood and hose clamps on all 4 corners of where the canoe sits. Sometimes the front of a boat will start to swing sideways. That is why you need something on all 4 corners.

Only tip I might offer
is to put a small drop of light oil on the spring clamps to keep the proper tension in them. I do this at the beginning of the season.

nothing special
The same thing you do for short trips will work for long trips.

long trip tie-down
as I get older and more safety conscious, I think one more tie-down helps: On any trip that I might have to stop suddenly, (which is all of them, come to think of it) I tie a rope from the rear cross-bar to the thwart that is forward of that cross-bar.

If you have to make a panic stop, the bow and stern end tie-downs don’t really help arrest the canoe’s forward momentum. And its possible for the canoe to slide forward “inside” the tie-downs across the racks.

A rope tied between the thwart and the rack behind it should help prevent the canoe from sliding forward under quick deceleration. Depending on the thwart-rack spacing, I’ve also used a bike U-lock, that adds some security while stopping at rest stops and leaving the canoe.

I suppose, depending on the speed, rate of deceleration, and cross-bar and thwart strength, you might snap that rope and/or still lose the canoe. But if you have to stop that quickly, you probably have other concerns as well.

just my $0.02

I do that when my canoe is loaded on
a vehicle where the bars are clamped to factory rails, like my erstwhile Outback.

But on our Accords, with Yakima Q-towers, I am not confident that the tower mounts are strong enough to withstand an emergency stop. My Q-tower and bars are made into a single unit by a strut from the center of the rear bar to the center of the front bar. This means that when the canoe’s momentum bears on the gunwale clamps, that momentum bears on all four Q-towers.

But the most important thing
is that the canoe has lines running to the vehicle itself, not only to the cross bars of the rack. If you have lines for and aft tied to the vehicle itself then the canoe is more likely to stay with the vehicle even if the rack lets go. In addition to lines fore and aft you could also run a line from a thwart to a tie down on the rear of the vehicle to add extra protection in event of a sudden stop.

Ditto on the winds being an issue. I drove cross-country with a canoe on top and the windy sections sucked. Not a great time to have a jeep liberty.

A canoe trailer
As my dear husband and I began to incorporate canoes into our long road trip vacations more and more, we got less and less comfortable with car-topping our canoe or canoes on long distance trips. Even with multiple tie-downs, bow and stern, and over-the-top ties and side brackets on our Yakima racks, we’d still experience times of nerve-wracking, white-knuckle driving because of heavy cross-winds and heavy large-truck traffic. More than once when it got quite scary bad, we’d get off the freeway and take longer and more sheltered routes whereever possible. The purchase and use of a tow-behind trailer really helped that situation. It traveled well behind and was hardly noticeable, canoe could be tied security over the span of the trailer arms, light weight so easy to disconnect and push into place at motel when we wish to go out to dinner in town. We even left it in a parking lot (with permission) at visitor center in Great Basin National Park while we toured the park.A slick solution: http://www.slickrydr.com/ .

^^^ This is key ^^^

– Last Updated: Oct-15-11 3:42 PM EST –

I don't worry about panic stops so much as what might happen at the end of one. I DO NOT want my boat (along with my rack) going through the rear window of the minivan I rear-end.

I forget what MacGrady called it (a "snub line", I think) but a stout line from the rear trailer hitch or tow point tight to the center thwart of my canoe is the best I can do to prevent such an occurence.

Tie the thwarts to the bars…
That thward-to-bar tie can be the most solid and safest of the tiedown points…my $.01

You put on a seatbelt

– Last Updated: Oct-16-11 8:10 AM EST –

the same way when traveling to the grocery store as going cross country. Seems that securing your boat the same way everytime is the best way to go.

Winds on the Great Plains can be unnerving and big semis make a big wash turbulence so I give those guys a lot of room behind them.

Check the straps every rest stop to make sure nothing is wearing oddly or has loosened. They may loosen when rained or snowed on.

Almost home after 8000 miles of cartopping canoes (trip took five weeks). My truck is pretty old and has a V8 engine. Mileage is miserable no matter what the speed. Bout 20 mpg. I do avoid the 75 permitted in Utah. I think mileage really suffered too going up and down mountains..in this case from sea level to 12,000 feet.

Drove from CA to Glacier with a canoe.
Won’t do that again.

It was secured well, no issue with the canoe lifting or shifting. but the winds seriously affected handling, and the gas mileage sucked.

Next time I will leave the canoe at home and rent at my destination – assuming I can find a rental that is not some aluminum beater.

Interesting and valid considerations -
I can feel a difference between my streamlined kevlar canoe and my heavier fish formed tandem plastic sot.

The work load on a lower horse power engine will be much more demanding if you go up and down mountain ranges, and engine performance will suffer.

If you have a short wheelbase vehicle, the wind effects from passing trucks, and any high winds, will be more pronounced on your vehicle and yourself.

If your everyday casual trips do not include mountains, and you will go through mountains, or,

if you do not regularly trip on the highways and your trip will be on the highways, well, be aware of some different circumstances you may need to contend with.

Tie downs
Your tie down method should be sufficient. I have done several long trips (30 hrs one way, two canoes) with a similar tie method I never had any issues. I use a Yakima rack with load stops.