New Owner-to-be but clueless on carrying


Wife, son and I went paddling a few weeks back and are hooked. We just found a great deal on an used Old Town Camper (thanks for the reviews) and we are driving to pick it up Friday. But, I want to make sure I have everything I need to load it correctly.

I’ll be hauling it on a 2012 KIA Sorento. It only has the “side” roof racks, so I’m assuming I need to buy:

  1. Cross racks: I am looking at these here since they are compatible with Thule and Yakima accessories:

    2)After that, I’d like to get an all in one kit unless it’s cheaper to buy separately. Do the foam blocks work well? Should I look at this Yakima kit?

    Is there another kit I should look at? Should I just by some solid rope and/or tie downs after I get the cross racks?

    Thanks in advance!

consider Thule load stops
I am not familiar with APG racks. Perhaps someone on this forum is. The bars are rectangular and appear to be of the same dimensions cross-sectionally as Thule bars. It looks as if it should work on your factory rack. I have seen quite a few folks get by simply by lashing 2x4s to the factory side bars, however.

The Yakima gunwale brackets are designed to work on rectangular Thule bars as well as round Yakima bars, but I would consider instead getting a set of four Thule 503 Load Stops instead:

I think these work better on rectangular bars than the Yakima gunwale brackets. They can be placed on the bars with the vertical or the sloped side abutting the canoe, whichever works better, and your straps or ropes can be run through the opening in them. I have been using these for 30+ years and have never had a failure.

You can tie or strap your canoe directly to the rack without either gunwale brackets or load stops, but either will prevent the canoe from migrating laterally on the rack, and will considerably reduce yaw of the canoe on the rack caused by turbulence from passing trucks or side winds.

As for tie downs, some folks prefer rope, some prefer cam straps. Either work fine so long as you know how to tie some knots.

A little more
I agree with Pete that those cross bars look very much like Thule bars, and the Thule gunwale or load-stop attachments are likely to fit better than the Yakima ones.

For additional tie-downs, finding good attachment points on modern cars can be a problem. Lots of people use loops of straps anchored to bolts under the hood which hold together body panels of the car. Find some bolts fairly near the edges of the hood (there’s often a row down each side of the body, right below the hood edges), and use these to attach your tie-down loops. Others here can supply a link to photos online showing the details on how to do this. Anyway, when not in use, the loops are out of sight beneath the hood, and when being used, they stick out from beneath the hood for easy access.

See the “guidelines” section right here on this website for some advice to get you started using good tie-down methods.

bow an stern lines
Do not forget bow and stern lines. if you do not have a place to tie down to in the front get some nylon strap hood loops. They go under a fender bolt and up between the hood and fender so you have a place to tie to. Just put them under the hood when not using.

Do not trust your tie downs since you are new to this. After a few minutes pull over and check. Then Pull over a gain after a while at highway speeds. Watch the bow lines. If they start moving stop as soon as it is safe and check things out. Just be cautious and safe but get the canoe and GO!!!

Try to not get the belly ropes at the widest part of the canoe. You want the wide part between you straps/ropes to your racks. This way it is harder for the canoe to slip out of the straps/ropes. Have used the foam blocks on my Thule racks but the better way is to improvise gunnel stops from some bolts and wood and some foam.

Next upgrade will be better paddles. Other than getting a high end canoe good paddles will make the most difference. Gotta love my bent shafts.

The footings are the most important part
Look pretty sturdy but that’s you part…you need to test them out in person before making a trip…marketing alway conspires with the photographer. Make sure the thing that resists stress isn’t just one bolt hidden amongst plastic. What’s their return policy… Get them on and lean on the bars, once on, …bigtime. Try to move em’…if you can’t = a smell of success…if you do…return. and get Thule’s footings and bars = they’re solid. $.01

I tried the cross bars you linked to
and found them to be a huge disappointment both in terms of fit (at least on my Expedition) and quality. I sent them back and bought the Yakima Railgrab setup. It was expensive but I’ve been very pleased with it. I’ve carried all sorts of combinations of boats including my tandem and solo canoes plus a kayak and fishing poles in a rod tube on it without any issues. YMMV. Congrats on the boat and being bitten by the bug!

you mentioned foam blocks
I have a car top kit that includes 4 blocks and a single tie down strap for the roof and both fore and aft straps it does well for a canoe and you don’t need any roof racks, it would work with the kia if the canoe fits between the side racks. if you were going any distance I would use 2 tie downs to the roof

I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but get you 2 NRS straps for the tie downs around the boat. They are simple, quick and reliable as all get out. I have the 12’ length for my boat and they are perfect.

Good luck

If you see
that canoeing is not just a passing phase and you’re in it for the long haul, then investing in good racks is a good idea. Just go ahead and get Thule. Also the canoe stops. They’re expensive but in the long run worth it.


“worth it” could be debated

– Last Updated: Jul-22-14 7:22 PM EST –

In a more typical retail market, I bet those load stops would sell for $10 each, not $70. A set of four costing $280 might be "worth it" so some, but as easy as it is to work with a rectangular bar shape, I'd probably buy about $20 worth of "overpriced" material to make something just as good, if not as pretty.

$70 for a set of four
Thule 503 load stops typically sell for around $70 for a set of four, usually less than a set of Yakima gunwale brackets.

Oh, right you are
I checked everything but the text. Should’ve looked there first. Knowing what Yakima charges for cross bars (and knowing both outfits charge too much for everything), I actually wouldn’t have been surprised if the cost had been what I first thought.

foam foam

– Last Updated: Jul-22-14 9:53 PM EST –
REI and Campmor sell blocks.

Buy hats

The straps go thru blocks and around hull
One loose end ties to right side your vehicles rack and so the other side on left vehicle.
Walmart sells ¼ cord on a black holder. Buy 2. Tie thwarts to vehicles side rails. Tie bow and stern down drilling holes for eyebolts if necessary. Rub pads can be electrical taped to bow/stern cord from Walmart blue sleeping pads.

On editing, remember a bow tie method with short strap and 2 grommets. One grommet bolts to frame under hood. Strap snakes out from under hood to grommet a bow rope. Search that online in Google Images.

Strapping and cams are available from Seattle Fabrics or hole from Walmart.

I road tested foam blocks carrying a Grumman at Bonneville but recommend local speeds under 60 with occasional checks until you get the hang of it.

Been haulin canoes
for about 47 years now. for the first 2 or so years I went through every kind of hauling system and rack imaginable. About 25 years ago I realized that I was in this thing for the long haul and needed the best, easiest system I could find. I was hauling expensive hand laid canoe all over the U.S. and it was silly not to have the best I could find. I have no financial or personal interest in Thule, its just the one I prefer. I resisted getting the canoe stops due to the expense, but after buying some wondered what took me so long.

In principle I agree
I agree that nothing beats locking the boat to the rack in that way, especially on the front bar. I use a combination of Yakima and home-made stuff for my rack (someday it will likely be 100% home-built). I have Yakima bars for carrying one boat (but they are padded, precluding the use of factory-built gunwale brackets), and when I need to carry two boats, have auxiliary wooden cross bars (also padded) that clamp on right alongside the Yakima ones. With the single-boat bars, I loop ropes around the hull from both sides that pull the boat tightly to the right and left so it can’t move sideways (the rack has home-built anchorage points that no factory rack has), and with the two-boat bars I use clamp-on gunwale brackets that I built myself. When it comes to something as low-tech as gunwale brackets, “the best” is not by definition built in a factory, but regardless of the source, they are great to have.

if you end up using foam blocks …
… until you get a rack/bar set up , just be sure the block bottoms are clean , and the roof top where the blocks will set is wiped clean .

That is if you care about the paint getting scratched chaffed and dulled where the block and roof paint make contact .

Oh , and when learning how to strap (cam buckle strap) your canoe to the bar , you’ll find that pulling the tag end of the strap “DOWN” to tighten … is so much better , easier and gets tighter , than pulling the tag end ‘up’ to tighten :slight_smile:

plus , just make a ‘snug’ (not tight) once over knot in strap right at the cam buckle , after you’ve got the strap as tight as you want it … this just a back up safety , in case the cam buckle starts to slip on the strap .