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transporting wooden canoe

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by drunde, May 24, 2005.

  1. drunde

    drunde New Member

    I just bought a wooden canoe and need to transport it for repairs and then of course use. I have a 1998 3 series BMW. It does not have a rack on top. I live in Madison Wisconsin. Any thoughts, suggestions on the best way to equip my car to safely transport the canoe.
  2. Tom Heys

    Tom Heys Paddler/Downwind Sailer

    Denise, Depending on its size, there are several ways to go about this. For instance I own an 18 foot canoe which weighs almost 120 lbs. I store (during the canoeing season) and transport her on a trailer expressly made for this purpose. For a smaller and lighter canoe securing it on top of your car would probably be preferable. If your canoe is very short (14 -15 feet) securing it to racks on top of your car (with ropes or straps), as well as securing the ends to some structure near the bumpers (also with ropes or straps), would probably work. Any longer than that and you might want to consider a "T" shaped device that is intended to be used in conjunction with a trailer hitch. This would support one end of the canoe while the other end rests on a rack on the roof. Roof racks are available comercially to do this; some people use foam blocks between canoe and roof. In either case, I would strongly suggest over-securing your canoe as opposed to under-securing it, even for short trips. Good luck, Tom
  3. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut


    Does your car have two or four doors?

  4. steve_hayes_maine

    steve_hayes_maine Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Do yourself a favor -- get a good rack.


    BMW 3 Series Sedan 1998-1992

    The rack systems available for this car are made by Yakima racks, Thule racks and Saris racks. These systems are all gutterless racks and clip into the doors and do not require any drilling. There is a small thin clip that holds the roof rack to the car. Once the rack installation is done safely you may be able to carry bike racks, ski racks, luggage racks, luggage boxes, surfboard racks, ladder racks, lumber racks, kayak racks and canoe racks. ​

    If you are going to routinely transport the canoe (and you can lift it to your roof), you should invest in a good rack. Do a Google on the make & model of your car and rack and you will get a lot of good choices. Why hurt your car and/or canoe with anything hap hazard?
  5. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Roof rack

    Hi, I had a 3 series and carried two canoes on it. Handling was affected, but I never had a problem. You can just feel the balance point difference. Here's what I did. My car had a substantial front bumper with license plate space built in and also substantial. I had a local person fabricate a plate that bolted to the license bracket. From the plate there was one bar that went vertical to a crossbar. I've seen other people with front mounted T bars, racers usually. The exact opposite is the trailer hitch
    t bar rack. Then I put 2 other racks on the car roof. I had three attachment points. My suggestion-get a three series wagon with a hitch
    ;-) then get the T bar that goes in the hitch. Then get one Yakima or similar to match. A trailer is nice but needs to be registered and stored somewhere, etc. There must be a dozen ways to solve this. You get what you pay for. Pay more, get more and you won't regret it.
  6. Tom Heys

    Tom Heys Paddler/Downwind Sailer

    With all due respect of those who have more experience transporting W/C canoes.... I would be willing to bet that I have more experience than the average bear carrying loads on top of my car, and I've never lost anything from such a position. You don't need to buy an expensive roof rack and you certainly don't need a new car. There are at least two philosophies on this matter. I would rather spend my dollars on more canoe than on more gear to carry my canoe. Having said that, I have had great success with foam blocks and straps and plenty of rope. With a long canoe I would certainly recommend some extra support such as that which might be derived from a "T" bar (front or back) or from a wagon or van (mini or otherwise). With a short canoe, such as Denise's twelve footer (we exchanged e-mails off-line), I would suggest strapping the canoe down to the roof (with protection of the roof of course) and tying each end in a triangular fashion to front and rear bumpers. Total expense would be 20-30 bucks, tops! I've done this plenty of times, for long distances and at relatively high speeds without difficulties. Regards (without intentional disrespect) to all, Tom Heys
  7. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    Standard foam blocks are not cut to fit the rails of a w/c canoe. I've found they do fit the Old Town thwarts' narrow section adjacent to the rails making a lower profile as the rails almost hit the roof. One cheap substitute is a couple of pool noodles across the roof. Tie the canoe down enough to crush into the foam & you are golden.

    A longer canoe should be placed w/ the widest cross section on the car roof, instead of roping out to the ends, just come up from the bumper area. A good thin cord can go thru the space between the rails. Also an 'S' hook can be slipped though this space and the cord tied to the other end.

    In college I used to transport my 16' Otca on the steel cab of a Willys CJ5 jeep using shock cords hooked around the inner rails stretching them to the door hinges & other places.

    However you fasten it, you have to have it secure. if it moves around while moving, you need to stop and tighten the cords. A padded rachet strap makes a good safety.

    I like using my current pickup cap ladder rack. Two straps over top, padded using the leg sections of an old pair of pants, pull the canoe down into the foam about 1/4" and it does not move...
  8. OP

    drunde New Member

    canoe transport

    Thank you to all. i got terrific advise and will try the cheap path with pads etc. to take the canoe the short distance to be refinished. Subsequently, I have priced the Yakima car rack (with boat loader) and will have that installed next week. Rutabaga here in Madison says that there is a great fit for the 3 series BMW. I'm so excited to have my first boat and that it is a wooden canoe. thanks for all your insights.
  9. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Denise, get the gunnel brackets too. they are well worth it. Then with two cam lock straps you should do well. Wiggle test. Once it is on give the stem of the canoe a little wiggle. the whole car will wiggle. or at least should. for foam blocks, the kind with the rubber glued on the bottom is best. Doesn't slip around.

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