View Full Version : canoe roof carrier

06-03-2008, 02:31 AM
I want to make a canoe carrier that mounts to the roof rails on my wifes explorer. Has anyone out there made one or seen any drawings? Thank you.

06-03-2008, 03:29 AM
Best thing I ever did to carry the canoe is cut a pair of slots in each of a pair of 2x4's to match the profile of the edging at the points where the front and rear racks would be. The 2x4's were also grooved lengthwise to fit over the rails on the roof rack. Once the canoe was dropped into the slots, it would stay put very well. I used a rope tied to one side of each rack, the rope passed over the canoe, under the rack, then back over the canoe again. The length of each rope was adjusted so that a loop on the loose end could accept a bungee cord, which would hook into the loop, pass under the rack rail, then hook back into the loop again.

This method kept the canoe's edging from becoming damaged, and kept the canoe in place on my 4x4, which I frequently put through some pretty rough miles.

The 2x4s also stiffened up the cross rails, which in turn made the ends of the racks flex less, so they would stay put longer.

Norman Atkinson
06-03-2008, 04:33 AM
We've carried skis, e canoes, kayaks, rigids and folders plus windsurfers and even mountain rescue stretchers by using nothing more than single bar ladder racks.Way back in 1964 or 64 I took a folding Klepper Slalom kayak plus gear inside at 87mph on the top of a Mini Cooper from one end of England to the other.

It does suggest that you have yet to grasp the fact that a canoe or kayak is reasonably aerodynamic as well as hydrodynamic.

I live for part of the year in the French Alps where the Kilometre Lance or Flying Kilometre was first run in the Olympics. The gear was tested by a bloke on skis standing on the roof of a fast BMW car going flat out.

If it will help further, the canoe and the kayak are placed in the water with the holes on the top. You are supposed to sit in them!

Really, what next?????


06-03-2008, 06:35 AM
Appreciate the comments Norm, but just to clarify: the holes go on the bottom when it's on the rack :D

06-03-2008, 06:52 AM
Why not use those sponge rubber blocks and ratchet tie downs? I've used them many times with no problems. Just make sure they(the tie downs) are on tight.

06-03-2008, 07:06 AM
I'm putting a boat rack on my tiny car.

They used to make a product that went in to the reciever hitch, it had a post that went up and it mounted to the outboard motor mount. You drag the boat up to it, attach it, then you can spin the boat around so that you don't scratch the roof all to heck.

You could do something very similar.

Norman Atkinson
06-03-2008, 07:30 AM
Swarf and S,
Obviously the Oz have to resort to Eskimo Rolls but I have travelled for thousands of miles with the place for the guy to sit- facing the sun or whatever we have in the UK.

Think of it. The strongest part of a kayak has to be the keel as with ships which date back since long before Roman Times. A trio or more years ago, I did a 'first' on a Roman galley off the Island of Mljet in the Kornati where the Yugoslavs believe St Paul was shipwrecked. I put the Dan Markers on her and I assure you it the keel was intact with the remaining bits of the ribs encasing the amphora on the keel. Few of us can go further back into first principles. We have a genuine Eskimo kayak preserved here. It would crack if carried 'keel up' We Brits do pretty well in rowing- the shells are often in sections but they are carried the correct way up.

The only 'Cuddy handed' dinghy which is car topped on its gunwhales is the Mirror.

I was going back to Uffa Fox, the guy who sailed the English Channel on the end of a 5' plank and later went to design the Airborne lifeboat to save allied airmen. It was dropped on 2 chutes, keel down.

I should mention that I both built and competed in slalom canoes.
I live on the banks of the Tyne and we, my mates and myself built the first glassfibre K1.
There is a Brit film called Morning Departure. It tells the story of a T Class sub which struck a mine. At the same time as the film reached the cinema, a T class sub was hit in the Thames. She was HMS Truculent.
It was a Navy job to try to save their lives. A little RAF Devon appeared, she had rushed out of workshops to help. Old VP-981 is still about and airworthy.

And so am I!

Bottoms up


06-03-2008, 07:33 AM
Yeah, but you gotta keep the rain out while you're in the pub car park.
(yup, I've done some Avon Descent)

Norman Atkinson
06-03-2008, 07:57 AM
Well, Sparks old son- you are not the 'Sparks' of the real 'Cockleshell Heroes'
I trained with the sister of the one of the Marines who took part in the film- British Olympic Team and with Bill Horseman who was the first to loop a kayak

I was discussing only the other month with Col,Alex Johnson who was one of real cockleshell guys. The dinner table stopped eating when we were discussing how two Marines could roll a fully loaded folder with airbags along the gunnels.

And Avons???? An old Redshank perhaps and the Avon itself???? Well, my mate is up for the nuptials but sails in the River Avon.

Bin there-- before the tee shirts were printed!

06-03-2008, 08:03 AM
Certainly not SBS me old son!
Though I know one of the survivors, living locally. I have the deepest respect for em, mad bastards!

The Avon Descent is a local event (WA)


Cheers, Lin

Norman Atkinson
06-03-2008, 08:22 AM
Lin, part of the year I live just above- at 1800 metres above the River Isere in the French Alps. Nice grade 3-4 stuff. My other bit- the Aviemoron bit is the River Spey in the North of Scotland and here, the Tyne, the Tyne, the coaly tyne, Queen of aal the rivers. Outside my Spanish home is the Mediterannean Sea 300 feet below. I have my share of the wet stuff!

Whilst one of my sailboards is still behind the house somewhere, I have had to give up my aquatic larks. The question came that whilst I could sail or canoe until Hell froze over, I was unable to get back in again in a capsize.
I would now put good people's lives at risk.

I still have that far away look- the water going green over my shoulders and the scrape of the boot on the rock face and the swish of skis turning in perfect parallel as my wife and I turned hand in hand.

In a few short hours, I will be 78 but the old frame is a bit doddery now.

Enjoy - and I'll now sit and watch.



06-03-2008, 08:50 AM
and have a loony soup for me :D

06-03-2008, 12:05 PM
I want to make a canoe carrier that mounts to the roof rails on my wifes explorer. Has anyone out there made one or seen any drawings? Thank you.

I mounted the Yakima system to the factory rails on my Caravan. It's just a 4" long T-nut with a bar that screws on top of it. The sweet thing of the Yakima is that the towers and bars mount on that bar with a sort of round dovetail, so you can slip on and off the rack, leaving the mounts in place on the rails. No point in lowering your mileage when you don't need a rack on.

In the past I've used gutter towers bolted to 2x4's for my racks, but the issues and geometry on the caravan made buying it the path of least resistance. I did make an aluminum upright system for carrying kayaks that can be folded down for canoes without having to climb up on top the van. With center uprights it's a snap to carry 4 whitewater kayaks. on a 5' bar.

06-03-2008, 03:08 PM
I once used Yakima "double-cross" clamps on a Ford Windstar (or maybe it was an Aerostar) with 1 1/8" dia. tubing. Dunno if the Caravan has the same rail setup.

The Yakima stuff isn't cheap though, and I assume one of your motivations is to save money. Besides, any nitwit can BUY something that works, so what is the glory in that?

Still, a walk around a parking lot looking at Yakima racks might give you some ideas of how to proceed.

06-03-2008, 04:34 PM
I got my Yakima stuff off ebay, paid like $100 total for towers, lock cylinders and bars, and you can improvise the bars if you're inclined. It all depends on your personal time vs money vs fun factor. I got my jollies with the upright rig.