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Foam Blocks And Tying On To Top Of A Car

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by JonE, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. JonE

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I haven't transported a canoe on the top of a car for many years. Previously I used the foam blocks and would tie the canoe using a couple of ties to the door handles on the side and then strategically tie the bow of the canoe and the stern to places on the bumper.

    Is there some universally accepted method for tying down a canoe on the top of the car that won't allow it to lift off the roof of the car and become kindling for your next bonfire?
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Get a set of roof racks designed for your vehicle. Thule, Yakima, and Malone, make good, solid rack systems, and there may be others as well. They're nt cheap, but well worth every penny.

    I've had the foam blocks work their way loose on the highway... it ain't pretty.
  3. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    For a wood canoe, I'd narrow it to Thule or Malone (which look like knock-off's of Thule).
    And what ever brand you pick, get the L brackets to constrain the canoe, and spread the load on the rails.
    (I have a canoe with 2 perfect 1/2 rounds molded into the rails from setting on round bars, done by people who should have known better.)

    Or you can get alum towers and make you own from 2x stock. These work well and are lots cheaper. (I used these for many years on 2 different vehicles. The advantage in the manufactured pieces is they are usually easier to put on and take off the car, and they can come with locks.

  4. OP

    JonE Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Interesting. I noticed that Yakima sells the blocks and cheaply.
  5. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Don't rule out Yakima...some of us prefer them to Thule and others. I have four different Yaki rack sets and have had great luck with them. As Dan notes, be sure to get the gunwale mounts..that's what keeps the boats from shifting on the crossbars.
    Some Thule accessories will fit Yakima and visa versa.
  6. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Do your canoe a favor.... get Yakima or Thule. You will be fighting the foam blocks from Wisconsin to LA all the way.
  7. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    No need for 1/2 rounds molded into rails if you use gunwale mounts with round bars, as Mike advises -- Yakima calls theirs Loadstops:

    yakima load stop.jpg s load stop.jpg

    I've cartopped many canoes (and other things) many miles for many years using Yakima round bars like the one above, with gunwale brackets like the one above, often at interstate highway left lane speeds, and have had no damage from the round bars. And as the Yakima picture shows, the brackets are useful when cartopping equipment (ladders, furniture, etc.) or material (lumber, pipes, etc.) other than canoes.
    MGC likes this.
  8. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Agreed, you have to use them.
    In my case it's likely they didn't, or maybe they didn't just to get the canoe up and they set it "hard" on the round tube, before repositioning to the bracket. Either way, I now won't let my canoes travel on round bars, just to avoid possible problems.

    I am curious, why would one prefer a round bar to a rectangular bar?

  9. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    A round bar can be preferable when a car's roof line is curved, causing the surfaces of square cross bars to be on different planes, making the object being carried sit, in effect, on the sharp edge of a triangle, or on the tilted edge of a gunwale bracket. Contemporary car designs often have such roof lines. With round bars, the brackets can be adjusted so a gunwale (or other object) can lie o the full, flat surface of the bracket.
    MGC likes this.
  10. Mark Z.

    Mark Z. LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Why do some prefer round bars on their roof racks?

    On some cars the planes of the flat bars are not in the same plane as each other. Think of the rounded contour of the roofs of some cars. So, when you lay a canoe gunnel across the flat bars, the edges of the bars bite into the gunnels. This is even worse than the round bars. (Round bars can be cushioned with thick pipe insulation.) With the round bars, the gunnel brackets can be rotated so the gunnels lie flat on the gunnel brackets. Also, round bars are inherently stronger than flat bars of the same thickness material. One further thing to be aware of is that some gunnel brackets have thin grooves molded into them to bite into whatever is put on them. These will also bite into wood gunnels. I had to sand the offending grooves smooth to prevent this.
  11. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Ok, I'll buy that. I've always had long surfaces to spread the bars so not matching has not been a problem. (full size van, mini van, truck w/topper)
    I do use a piece of carpet between the bar and canoe so minor mismatches are taken care of. (even with the brackets)

    When I 1st saw round bars, the brackets either weren't offered or folks didn't get them, as it was years before I saw the 1st bracket.

  12. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I bought my Yakima brackets in the 1980s, and even used them earlier this week. Sometimes I'll lay a little pad of synthetic fake sheepskin on each one to give wooden gunwales even more protection, but in general they're pretty easy on the canoes. One thing which really helps is making sure the straps or ropes over the boat have zero stretch. This means avoiding nylon in particular as it stretches like crazy, especially when wet. I use Yakima straps, which would be awfully hard to beat. Keeping your boats from moving around every time a big truck goes by can make a big difference in how much wear and tear they get during transport. Also, only a fool would transport a canoe on the highway without tying the ends down securely. Since we transport canoes with the brackets, kayaks in cradles, two of our recumbent trikes in a roof-top basket, skis in a ski rack and an occasional bit of other stuff like lumber on the same set of Yakima bars it all works out great.
  13. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Note that Yakima's new gunnel brackets have a soft cushioned material for the gunnels. The issue I have with them is that they're black, and the color comes off on your gunnels. On darker gunnels, it's hard to notice, but on ash or spruce ones, it's downright ugly.

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