How to Transport a Canoe the Easy Way

If you are reading this, chances are you love canoeing, but you don’t actually live right next to the lake or river where you take your canoe out on the water. For someone in that situation, you will need to find out how to transport your canoe from your home to the water.

Transporting your canoe depends on a couple of factors, such as the type of canoe you have, how many you want to transport, and the type of vehicle you drive.

This article provides you with a guide on how to transport a canoe safely and efficiently. Plus, it shows you the equipment you will need and more.

Green canoe on the water

How to Transport a Canoe: What Do You Need?

Transporting a canoe means you have to safely mount the canoe and tie it down securely. How you move your canoe will depend on the style and type of vehicle you are using to transport the vessel.

There are a couple of ways to transport your canoe on your vehicle. You could pace the canoe on:

  • A pickup truck utility rack
  • A pickup truck’s bed
  • An SUV’s roof rack
  • A vehicle-pulled canoe
Canoe on the water
Source: Pexels

How to Transport a Canoe: The Most Effective Way

The most effective method of transporting a canoe typically depends on the vehicle, the canoe size, and how many canoes you’re transporting. Generally, you should always transport a canoe with its hull facing up.

You can also use certain racks together with an SUV or car’s rail system. With a truck, you can use the bed or its utility rack to haul the canoe. You can also use a pickup truck or an SUV to tow multiple mounted canoes.

Nevertheless, the most common method of transporting a canoe is via crossbars on a roof rack. However, while this is the most common means of transporting canoes on a car, you do not necessarily require a roof rack to move your canoe from your home to the water.

You can use other creative ways. A great benefit of not having a complex roof rack system is that you don’t have to worry about any permanent contraption hanging on top of your roof when you aren’t using it.

Using Foam Blocks

One of the most effective methods of transporting our canoe without using a roof rack is foam blocks. You can ratchet strap foam blocks seamlessly strapped to a vehicle and remove them when they aren’t used.

This method is an extremely inexpensive way of securing your canoe to a vehicle. What you really need to achieve this are two medium-sized foam blocks. Simply place a foam block on the bow of the canoe and the other on the stern.

Foam blocks come in various sizes and shapes, and you can even use a foam block kit, but the most effective types have a V shape or curve that can easily cradle the canoe. Wider and longer foam blocks are better because when more of the foam’s surface area cradles the canoe, it lowers the chances of damage.

Malone Standard Foam Block Universal Car Top Canoe Carrier Kit

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How to Use Foam Blocks

To use foam blocks, you will have to sit the canoe low, with the hull side at the bottom, right on the foam blocks to prevent possible damages to your canoe or car roof when you strap the canoe tightly to the vehicle.

Put the foam blocks at an equal distance from each other. That means one foam block should be at either end of the canoe.

Since you do not have a cross bar or roof rail to secure your canoe, you will have to feed the straps via your vehicle’s open doors. Once you run the straps through, they can be easily tied together or connected.

In addition to this, when placing the straps above the canoe, you will have to run them directly over the canoe’s top to where the canoe comfortably sits on the foam block. The most effective way to do this is to use cam straps.

Once you cinch everything down with your cam straps or ropes, you should ensure that the canoe cannot move or slide. You can use a tie down strap, long bungee, or rope to attach the bow and stern of the canoe to the back and front of the vehicle for added security.

Using Crossbars

You can use only crossbars to transport your canoe by simply placing the canoe on the crossbars and then strapping them down. By using straps, you secure the canoe in place, so when the vehicle is moving, you can be sure your canoe won’t move or slide about.

How to Use Crossbars

To use crossbars to transport your canoe, you will need to get rails on your vehicle. Most vehicles have rails that run on both the passenger and driver sides. The roof rails will also need to have crossbars attached to them.

With the crossbars, you can directly strap your canoe or choose to attach a canoe rack to the crossbars. The rack acts as a saddle to cradle your canoe when you strap it down. If you decide to use just the crossbars on the roof of your vehicle, you will need to secure your canoe using various ropes or cam straps.

Bottom Line

These are some of the ways you can easily transport your canoe. Always remember to securely strap your canoe to your vehicle, regardless of the method of transport you use. Double-checking this step ensures that you don’t end up with a nasty surprise where your canoe flies off your vehicle while you are on the highway.

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