The Art of Safely Transporting a Canoe

In the world of outdoor adventures, few things compare to the thrill of gliding across calm waters in a canoe. But before you can embark on your watery escapade, you need to tackle the important task of safely transporting your canoe. A poorly secured canoe could result in damage to your prized possession, your vehicle, or even other vehicles on the road. Don’t worry, though – we’ve got you covered with some invaluable tips to keep your canoe secure during transport.

The Delicate Lift to the Roof

Transporting a canoe starts with safely hoisting it onto your vehicle’s roof. Remember, canoes are typically transported upside down with the hull facing up. As you carefully place your canoe on the roof, take caution not to accidentally slam it into your vehicle or scrape it against the paintwork, which can cause unsightly scratches.

If you have the strength and confidence to lift the canoe alone, ensure you carry it using the center yoke, as if you were portaging. Alternatively, if you have a friend or companion accompanying you, both of you can take hold of each end of the canoe and lift it onto the roof together.

Debating Between Ropes and Cam Straps

Choosing the right tools to secure your canoe is crucial. Traditionally, canoeists have relied on ropes, using time-tested knots to hold their canoes in place. However, if you prefer a simpler option, cam straps are a fantastic alternative. Unlike ratchet straps, cam straps are gentle on your canoe and won’t leave any scratches, thanks to their rubber fittings.

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When it comes to securing the bow and stern, a sturdy rope with secure knots will suffice. Alternatively, you can invest in bow and stern cam straps that come with accompanying hooks. If your vehicle lacks any designated tying points at the front and back, consider using Quickie Hood Loops for a reliable solution.

Canoe Transport on a Vehicle with a Roof Rack

If your vehicle is equipped with a roof rack, make sure it is in excellent condition and securely attached to the roof. In the absence of crossbars, you will need to install them. Once your canoe is centered on the crossbars, loop the middle of the strap around one end of the crossbar and toss both ends across to the other side of the vehicle. Secure the loose end of the strap underneath the crossbar on that side and fasten it to the cam. Repeat the same process with the other strap, ensuring a firm and immovable hold.

For short trips, these two straps should be sufficient. However, if you plan to drive a considerable distance, it is advisable to tie down the bow and stern of the canoe as well. If you own a pickup truck, there are various canoe racks available on the market to suit your specific needs and budget.

Transporting a Canoe without a Roof Rack

Fear not if your vehicle lacks a roof rack; you can still transport your canoe safely. You have the option of purchasing foam blocks designed specifically for this purpose. These blocks will protect your vehicle’s roof from scratches. Alternatively, you can use pool noodles to achieve the same result. In this scenario, assistance from another person will be necessary to help you maneuver the canoe onto the vehicle’s roof.

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Once the canoe is securely positioned, use cam straps or ropes to pass through your vehicle’s windows or doors, ensuring a tight and secure fit. Be mindful of the weather stripping as you do so. If using flat cam straps, your doors or windows should still be able to close firmly. For longer journeys, it is advisable to secure the bow and stern of the canoe with additional straps.

Safely Transporting Two Canoes

For those with a roof rack capable of accommodating two canoes, ensure the crossbars are sufficiently long or extendable. To achieve maximum stability, tie down each canoe to the middle of the crossbar and its outer end. Therefore, you will need four lengths of rope or four cam straps – two for each canoe. Also, secure the bow and stern of each canoe to the front and back of your vehicle for added peace of mind.

Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure your canoe is securely fastened, minimising any risks of damage to your gear or causing harm to others on the road.

Man Tying a Canoe Down to His Car
Image: Man Tying a Canoe Down to His Car

Do you have any questions about paddling? Our friendly Customer Service Team is here to assist you. Contact them at: 715-755-3405 or [email protected]

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