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Old 10-18-2011, 06:46 PM   #1
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How to carry your canoe?

Hello out there, i have Yakima raingutter towers and 78 bars on my e350 extended, which are mounted fairly close to the back for a cargo box. I've never carried my canoe, which is a pretty big one, with this van, but i'm about to. I usually put it upside down on the roof rack of most cars/trucks, or use my little foam supports and sit the canoe directly on the roof. I'm thinking the extended van is gonna be too long though for the canoe to sit upside down. I have not measured it all yet, but i'm wondering if there's a better way to haul a canoe (without a trailer)?
I suppose i could sit it right side up, but of course that wouldn't work in the rain, and it would look pretty stupid too. Any idears?
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:25 PM   #2
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

Why not just add two more crossbars up front so that you have four evenly spaced bars. Wrap the front and rear bars in foam pipe insulation and black duct tape (or electrical tape). Use some of your foam to support the middle the canoe - I assume there is some rocker, so upside down the center gunwales will sit higher off the bars than the bow and stern. If there is a big gap, maybe get a Yakima roof basket to spam the middle set of bars, and place your foam in that to support the center of the boat.

The nice thing about an EB van is that you don't need bow and stern tie-downs. Just strap to all four bars. The downside is it can be a challenge to get a boat up there.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:43 AM   #3
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

I like the idea of four bars, but cost is part of it as well. 2 more bars and 4 more towers is a 2nd rack, which is a couple more hundred. I'm wondering if anyone has done it with 2. I completely agree that you can do just about anything you want to up there, It's an island up there. another holdup with four bars is that i'd like to do at least some solar up there soon. I'm gonna install my 78" bars up there this weekend, and see how hard it is to get the canoe up there in the first place. My canoe is about 18' by 36" at the widest point, it's an old Grumman aluminum passed down from my dad, so at this stage i'm thinking i can actually put it beside my roof box and still use that too when i'm taking the canoe. I'll post some pics of what i come up with as soon as the weather permits me to get up there and expirement.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:45 PM   #4
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

Instead of using 2 pairs of bars, space the rack bars as needed to support the canoe, then use some wood or pipe rails running between them (lengthwise with the van) to support the cargo box. I once had a vehicle with three rack bars where the outer bars supported the canoe and the middle bar both supported a jury-rigged bike rack; the middle bar end also was an annoyance when loading the canoe by myself.

Even with widely spaced bars on a van, I recommend using a bow tie-down to handle windloads when driving down the highway. This keeps the canoe from being pushed endwise through the tiedowns and also relieves some of the pressure of the wind pushing the canoe on the back bar trying to blast the bar off of the vehicle.
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:18 PM   #5
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

hmmm. Very good thoughts indeed. I too like the idea of tying down the bow to the nose of the van, to avoid wind pushing as you said, but also as a visual so you always know where the boat is, and that it's tied down, and that you have one up there in the first place. You can't NOT notice straps right in front of your windshield.
Thanks for the thoughts, i'm gonna try some different setups this weekend with the 2 bars i currently have.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:31 PM   #6
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

My SMB (bought used) came with rails bolted to the penthouse and a tower system that slotted into the rails. The rails allow me to change the spacing from closer together for my shorter whitewater kayaks to the ends of the rails for my 16' canoe.

Here's how I loaded 2 canoes this spring for a 6 day trip on the St Marys River on the border between Georgia and Florida:







When tying down canoes (or long kayaks), we have three types of motion to restrain:

Teeter-totter (from wind blast coming up from the windshield and from vehicle pitching from driving over RR track, speed bumps, etc.)

Rotational (spins parallel to ground, usually induced by cross-winds and wind blast from on-coming semi trucks on two lane roads)

Longitudinal (wind pressure pushing boats & rack back while driving and boats shooting forward during emergency stops).

Having the bars farther apart (1/2 to 2/3 of boat length) controls teeter-totter very well and rotational motion reasonably well.

Diagonal bow tether help control rotational motion

A bow tether that slopes towards the rear as it goes up to the roof-mounted boat keeps the boat from being blown back and helps hold the boat down against the blast coming off of the windshield.

Canoes are huge wind catchers and need to be well restrained. Also, if you use straps for bow tethers and tie-downs, make sure they have a few twists in the frre-air portions to keep them from vibrating like mad - the hum will drive you crazy and they fray through very quickly.
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Old 10-24-2011, 01:55 AM   #7
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Re: How to carry your canoe?



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Old 10-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #8
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

Wow bones!, neat pics. I'm trying to figure out what happened in the middle one (Coke truck crash). It doesn't really look like the canoe had anything to do with it, i'm thinking the Coke truck was just in a collision with a truck with a canoe on top? It looks like the canoe was still attatched when mayhem ensued. Anyway, i'd love the story on this one!
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:09 PM   #9
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Re: How to carry your canoe?

Here's what i came up with over the weekend. I just finally got the last pieces to my new roof setup, and will still be adding bike rails, but with the canoe up there, all i can or want to fit with it is my new roof box. I gathered up Yakima raingutter towers, a Sportrack AeroXL 16cu.ft. roof box, and 78" bars (10 inches outside of the towers on each side so i can eventually put some extra bike rails up there, but bikes will usually be on my hitch rack). I will have a tandem mount up there on one side since it is too wide (long) for the hitch rack, and i'm gonna build that myself. Also, i'll be adding some 4" ABS black pipe for water storage up there.
With the 78" bars, the box and canoe fit side by side. I could've moved my forward Yakima bar to the front for a more stable setup, but could not use the box at the same time without a 3rd rail.

My canoe is a big one at 18', but the extended van is even bigger, anyway, i had to put it way forward so the rear doors would clear the stern and the bow could have straps straight down to the anchor points without rubbing the paint too bad.

Looks kind of funny but it works.

Also, i will have a strap coming down from the stern to my bike rack or rear hitch, which i'm hoping to run on the left side and still be able to open the right rear door at least, i'll post a pic of that later.

I just drove it to work today and it's pretty quiet. I know the canoe is making some noise, but the Sportrack box is gonna stay up there and loaded, but centered of course when the canoe isn't up there. I was really curious how much noise it would make.

Just a little entertainment. I'm absolutely amazed what this fiberglass box will hold vs. the Thule softbag it replaced. Here's a list of what's in this thing, and it shuts easily:
1 Coleman 8 man instant tent (A big A$$ tent, about the size of an EZup in it's bag!!!)
2 folding camping cots in bags
1 big bag chair with footrest
3 other small bag chairs
busdepot awning in a bag (about the size of another bag chair)
2 thermarest mattress pads
2 adult sleeping bags
2 kids sleeping bags
3 leg camp stool
1 metal frame backpack chair

I was impressed!
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