Transporting Canoe

Looking for the best way to transport my Canoe, I’d prefer the roof rack to the trailer. However, what are some products or techniques used by you more experienced guys to transport your canoe’s. Mine is 17’ Trail Craft canoe.

Thanks in advanced for your help

more info
about your vehicle etc would be helpful in giving advice. Do you have a car, suv, truck? Does it have a factory installed rack?


You asked for the best.
I my opinion the best is a high end after market roof rack.(either Yakama or Thule), with gunnel brackets.

The canoe goes upside down on them, and is secured with double looped camlock buckle straps.

It actually becomes part of the vehicle if it is done right.



For roofs with no rack I use 2 foam

– Last Updated: Sep-08-07 2:34 PM EST –

blocks 6"x6"x12" with a channel cut 2" deep length-wise just wide enough for a tight fit for each gunwale amidship. Once the canoes on top of the car and resting in the blocks I tie off the bow handle on front driver's side against the gunnel (that's to keep any knots you tie on the passenger side, less vision obstruction), run it under the front bumper, over the bumper's pistons/posts, under and out on the passenger side of the bumper, then up over the bow handle next to the gunwale opposite from where you started. Leave it hang for now. Now on the passenger side tie a slip knot between the car and canoe close as possible to the car hood. Take the free (bitter) end, run it through the slip knot (if you tied it right it won't try closing in on itself. If it does you've tied the it wrong.) and pull on the bitter end toward the bow handle / thwart until the bow drops a few inches (about 4"). Keeping the line taught, loop the line around the bw/t and temporarily tie it off. Repeat the process at the rear of the car, tightening the line a little tighter than you did the bow. Now try pushing the canoe fore and aft. If it slides at all tightenthe stern line tight enough to where it's barely able to move then tie it off. Go to the bow and do the same. repeat the process until the canoe is level and cannot be pushed either fore or aft.
NOTE: Go easy! You can create enough pressure using a trucker's hitch to dent the roof of the car.
It will take a few trips under your belt to where you only have to tighten twice but once you get the hang of it your canoe can be on top of the car and on the road in under ten minutes. You can do highway speeds and, if you've tied it right, your boat won't budge.
Roof racks make the job simpler. I need to know however, if it's an after-market rack or not so I can advise you properly.
Have fun!

foam blocks
I use the foam blocks for my toyota camry that work very well. This process isn’t as difficult as it sounds and it’s easier seen than described. Below is a good link with directions and pictures. One quick point not shown in the pics is to fasten a loop of about 6in webbing folded in half to a solid anchor point under the hood. When you are ready to transport simply pull the loops up in between the hood/fender of the vehicle and secure the stern rope to them. When not in use simply let the webbing loops hide under the hood.


ok, awesome.
That link was very help full,

I have a large van, a car, and i was hoping to find how to connect to both.

I will have to go out an purchase a roof rack?

What are the blocks that were mentioned above, how do thy function?

thanks for the help


What Jack said.

if I read your post
correctly, you’re looking to use both vehicles (van and car) to transport a canoe. In that case, an aftermarket rack would most likely not be interchangable with both vehicles, but the foam blocks would be. In fact, it’s likely that they would still work even if the vehicle had a factory roof rack- depending on the height of the factory rack cross bars. Either way, here is a link to the foam blocks and you don’t need the foam block “kit”. The kit comes with two cam straps and extra rope, but for the price you can buy the “replacement” foam blocks, cam or ratchet straps and rope seperately for a little cheaper. Just read closely because some of the foam block replacements only come with two blocks and your needs will require 4.

I don’t have a link to pictures of attaching foam blocks, but the concept is very simple. Four foam blocks, each somewhere around 6in long, 4in wide and 4in deep. There is a middle section of the block that runs from the front to the back that has been removed

(as you will see in the pics)- such as a router would accomplish with wood. With the canoe upright- these missing sections fit snuggly over the gunnels toward the center of the canoe- 2 in front on either side and 2 in rear on either side- about 3f. apart from front to back when used on a car. Then place the canoe upside down onto the vehicle and slide the foam blocks(while attached to gunnels) close to the edge of the roof of the car. Then secure as the link above suggests.

Most dicks sporting goods will carry foam block. This kit should fit your needs:


racks vs foam blocks
Roof racks (per JackL’s post) are definitly the best way to go, but if you want to put them on two vehicles you are approaching the cost of a new canoe. The foam blocks will cost you less than $40, will be interchangeable among different vehicles and work great if you strap down correctly.

What do you think about this?
What do you guys think about this rack, it says it can take the same weight as the thule, and also fits accessories for both thule and yakima. Is this to good to be true?

I was thinking i would put this on my 97 toyota corolla, with the yakima canoe rack set.and of course tie down straps in front and back.

but just wanted to hear an opinion on it.

I have
only used my dads yakima brand of rain gutter attachments, but his are still holding strong after 13 years. I’m not familiar with the proline racks, but if they boast to be as weight bearing as the thule racks, I would say you can’t go wrong, especially for the cost. When I have the extra money for a rack I’ll probaly take a look at proline first for my 95 camry.

It looks like you could go with the proline rack for your car, buy the foam blocks if you still need a way to transport with your van and still come our cheaper than buying the yakima or thule racks.




If you have gutters
If you have gutters (and a full size van should) then by all means that is a decent rack for a great price !

just wondering what rack or non-rack you decided on using to transport your canoe…If you did go with the proline racks, I’d be curious to hear some feedback from someone who has used them.


I think that

– Last Updated: Sep-11-07 8:15 AM EST –

ProLine is what I ordered a few years ago because it was so cheap. I returned it the very next day after I received it. Terribly cheap construction. Paper thin metal used on the towers and the bars werent much better. If you look closely at the photo you can see that the towers are nothing more than thin sheetmetal with a couple bends in it. Its not alot of money but its still too much to waste IMO

brackets for raingutters
If you have raingutters, the “Quick-n-Easy” brackets are sturdy and much less expensive than Yakima or Thule. You can mount the brackets to a couple of 2x4s.

RayH- I appreciate the info about proline. I haven’t seen any of their products in person and their pictures available are limited, but they do boast the same weight limit as the thule tower feet…?

Paddingpika- I looked for the “Quick-n-Easy” on the proline site and wasn’t able to find it- do you have a link for that? Is it cheaper than the proline tower feet and load bar?