Prius car top rack or trailer?

I’m thinking of buying a Toyota Prius, but I’m also a paddler and I wonder if the Prius is practical for roof topping or, possibly, using a kayak/canoe trailer? I have a 12 foot Pungo kayak and an Old Town 12 foot Pack canoe.

Paddler Man


– Last Updated: Jul-03-07 3:14 PM EST –

My wife and I bought a Prius last year. We haven't put a rack on it yet because we have a nice set up on our other car: an Escort Wagon. I did however, look into it. You can carry kayaks on a roof rack on a Prius. At the time I found that I should have no problem putting our boats up there, (an 18' and a 16'.) There is actually a Prius owner web site, I don't remember the url now, but I spent a good deal of time there, the big question among the Prius fanatics was how much carrying boats affects your mileage. The roof line is a little strange, there are ridges along the doors, but both Yakima and Thule make systems that fit the Prius. We just drove the boats from Boston to Maryland on the Escort, I'm definitely planning on getting a rack for the Prius before we do another long trip. (Its a much more comfortable ride than our 8 year old Escort.)

I’m thinking about a Prius, but was concerned the antenna would interfere with carrying a yak. Any thoughts?

The antenna is in the middle: you could put two yaks up, one on either side.

I carry three 12-foot kayaks
on my Prius. Yakima makes risers to fit the Prius, and with a kayak stacker you can put three kayaks on edge just fine. the Antenna is not in the way if you can arrange the three kayaks appropriately.

However, for long boats, such as 16-17 foot tandem canoes and sea kayaks, there is a lot of windage and the two racks are only about 5 feet apart, so use caution and drive slow I guess.

Now I’m looking at adding a trailer hitch to pull a 6-canoe trailer for short local trips. That will shoot the gas mileage, no doubt, but it’s still better than my old Chevy Silveradol pickup.

How’s the mileage?

– Last Updated: Jul-03-07 6:25 PM EST –

I'm hoping the length won't be an issue, I am planning to get another rack in the fall for the Prius. The Escort is actually only 172" long while the Prius is 175" in length, and the bar spread is a little longer on the Prius in the Yakima installation specs. (I realized the first time I parked next to the wagon that the Prius is actually a bigger car all the way around, although somehow it looks smaller.) I've never had an issue with the 18' kayak on the Escort and that's on some long drives on the insterstate, so the Prius should do ok with a long boat, I sure hope so!