roof rack advice

I need advice on buying an easy-loading roof rack that will carry either a 17’ canoe or a 15’ tandem kayak. Is there such a rack? I’ve been researching racks and they usually indicate that they carry either a canoe or a kayak, not both. I was originally hoping to carry both boats at the same time, but I think we would exceed the roof weight limit if we attached a rack, a kayak, and a canoe to the top of our Toyota Sienna! So maybe we need something that would carry one or the other boat and maybe some extra gear alongside. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thule or Yakima
Check the load limit for each companies rack, you might be able do carry both with a wide enough bar spread, but on a low vehicle you may be knocking your head on the bars getting in-and-out, as they will overhang the sides of your car.

The vehicle manufacturers’ load limits
are excessively conservative, and Thule/Yakima weight limits are somewhat conservative. I could carry our (light, 48#) tandem and my 60# Looksha Sport touring kayak on our Honda Accord, but I would rather not…

The total width for a tandem and a kayak should be about 60". However, it may be possible to reduce that by mounting the kayak on its edge, with the cockpit facing the tandem.

Thule route
Rack systems can be puzzling but yours is fairly straight forward. I’m going to assume that your Sienna has a factory roof rack. It would require a Thule 450 foot pack that holds the bars and attaches to the railings like a super duty hose clamp. The recommended load bars are 50" but your vehicle width is wider than the roof so going with the 58" bars would be feasible. Assuming your canoe is 36" wide that should leave adequate space for a kayak carrier like the Hull-a-Port or Hull-a-Port Pro (if you have a low ceiling in your garage. Stated capacity would be 110lbs.

Hope this helps. If I can be of more rack assistance please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

thanks for the good information!


And check the sidebar with plenty of other rack system demo videos.

You can find the right rack
for your vehicle by going to the Yakima and Thule websites and typing in your cars make, model, and year. They will tell you exactly what you need for the base rack, as well as all the optional accessories for carrying different types of stuff. Definitely get some kind of J-cradle to carry the kayak on its edge. That will leave more room for the canoe.

buy a thule or yakima from craigslist…
i got 619.00$ worth of rack for 100$ woot!