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Old 06-20-2009, 05:58 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2009
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Question Carrying Canoe Without Rack

I finally traded in my SUV last night, so now I have a Honda Accord. I haven't had the chance to put on racks for the car yet, but my trip is coming up. I have heard people use some type of foam with tie-down to carry canoe/kayak. The only thing I found is this one. Has anyone tried this before? If not, any other idea on carrying your canoe/kayak without rack on your rooftop?
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Old 06-20-2009, 06:53 PM   #2
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That is exactly what i've been using for the past 10 years or so...Works just fine.

When i take my van, i got a roof rack, but if i go with the Civic, i use those foams...
...And all that could have been.
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Old 06-20-2009, 07:02 PM   #3
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I've used the foam blocks a few times semi-successfully. I've used both rope and the fancy ratcheting straps. You have to be careful to make sure everything stays tight (and stop to tighten things up if the canoe starts moving) but it does work. Usually you can find some sort tie-down point in the frame. My Ford car has some nice hooks, but you can usually find some unused bolt holes to use if your car doesn't have anything similar. I generally run two ropes/straps each from the bow and stern (Either from a thwart or though slots in the gunwales) to appropriate points under the car (one each side) and two extra straps across the roof (perpendicular to the boat). I generally just slam these in the doors (watch out in the rain.. water will wick down rope and drip on you). Position the foam bocks as far apart as you can, keeping them in full contact with the roof (this depends on the boat and the shape of the car).

You may also want to put some rags between the tie-down ropes and your hood to protect the paint.

If you do go use ropes, I'd recommend looking up the "trucker's hitch". There are a few variations, on the web. I use one I learned from a kayak users manual, but I suspect they all work fine.

You should be able to find foam blocks at just about any canoe outfitter. NRS has a few different styles for example:

I think the ones I've used originally came from Oak Orchard Canoe in Rochester.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:00 PM   #4
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My experience has also been that the blocks do work but at highway speeds and/or windy conditions usually require attention as mben12 states to keep them from moving.
When my canoe is on my Yakima rack it never needs to be looked at again.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
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Depending on the configuration of your rack, I've found that cheap pipe foam insulation works very well. I have the canoe blocks but the pipe foam is easy and cheap. That's what I use when transporting any of my canoes.
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:16 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I'm getting the rack, but money is a little tight, so I'll use the foam blocks for now. Can't wait for my trip!
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:19 AM   #7
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Here is one other option which combines the foam blocks with a Yakima style bar.

The ability to have the gunnel clips makes this an appealing option. I would echoís the advise of other and say that if at all possible buy a Yak or Thule system. Also donít go cheap on tie downs.
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Old 06-21-2009, 08:45 PM   #8
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Yea, I'm not trying to saving money on the racks, just need to save up some.

Originally Posted by backwoodsman View Post
Adrian,I recently saw used racks on Craigs List for $20.Several of them.
Really? I haven't seen any, mostly it's a piece here and there, would take me forever to get a full set. But I'll start paying more attention.
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Old 06-22-2009, 05:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by WBB View Post
Here is one other option which combines the foam blocks with a Yakima style bar.
If Moneys tight right now you could make this style really cheap...

Hit Lowes and buy 2 - 10ft pieces of metal electrical conduit and cut them
to your preferred size. Get some foam from somewhere for the pieces that isolate the bar from your Car(The High density plastic stuff you see as packing material would work great) The Split Pipe Insulation from Lowes works great on your boat Gunnels.

Hit some dollar stores I have got ratchet straps from them that work fine.

Always use a set of Bow Lines (rope works) when lashing the Boat on.

Slap it all together for $20 I bet.

Good Luck


Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:40 PM   #10
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A word of caution... bow/stern tiedowns are important with these, and if you are using a plastic kayak it can be easy to deform it. As was noted, they have a tendency to wander as hiway speeds, especially when wet.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:38 PM   #11
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Bow tie down options

If your car doesn't have accessible tie points on both sides of the front (such as under the bumper), you can normally make a small loop using 18" of webbing on either side. Open the front hood and look for something secure in the front corner of each side to tie the webbing around. Leave the webbing out and close the hood when transporting a boat. Tuck the straps back in when not needed.

Securing the boat from both sides in the front is essential to keep it from moving side to side, as well as flying up. Make all the tie-downs snug, and avoid over tightening that could deform a plastic boat,
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:38 PM   #12
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I have used swim noodles grom the dollar stores, get three or four, two straps with clamps from lowe's or home depot are under ten dollars, under ten dollars, and secure the front and back of the canoe with rope. You can run the straps around your roof if you open your doors first. It will keep things steady for under $20. I find the blocks a bit pricey for what they do.
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:03 AM   #13
Rich Lockwood
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I have a friend who uses swim noudles and no rack.Use uses only 2 bow and 2 srern lines well angled. I would worry about not using a center strap,but he does this all the time.
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Old 07-09-2009, 11:49 AM   #14
Grandpa Paddler
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Foam blocks

I have them and use them when hauling with my short bed pickup. They work but I'm not comfortable with them, they tend to shift sideways at highway speeds regardless of how I tie down. I feel safer using my wife's Liberty with home-fabricated crossbars on the factory rack.

I have both ratching and cambuckle straps. I worry about overtightening the ratchets but also worry about not getting the cambuckles tight enough Someday I'll splurge and get good racks with gunnel clips.

...better to be up a creek without a paddle than to not be on the water at all!
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:01 AM   #15
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you might think of a HandiRack

Carrying a canoe on an Accord is a PITA.. Racks really dont do great especially with a two door..the spread is mingy. Had a couple of Accords a few years ago..admittedly not up to date on the new cars. Actually my first Accord died after 230000 miles and the second after 300000.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:35 PM   #16
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Mingy?? Mingy?? Stingy, right?
Your not from the UK, are you?
If you are, then we're talkin' something very different...
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:00 AM   #17
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Dicks sells a Yakima bag set. DO NOT BUY THIS UNLESS YOU BUY YOUR OWN STRAPS and Hooks. The straps that are in the bag gave me doubts that they would hold up well on a long trip but I still used them. I wasn't going far I figured. I strapped the Kayak to my car and made it 2 blocks and didn't even hit 30mph. POW!!! A strap that was the tying the Kayak down to the front of the car is flapping in the wind. My girlfriend and I both thought the strap was the thing that broke. Pulled over and the strap was fine so I started walking back down the street and found the metal hook. It was bent all most straight out. So the little wind that was hitting the kayak at about 25mph was enough to bend the hook straight. It’s not something that you can really over tighten either. All the straps are pull straps that your really can get to tighten very well. I also was following there instructions so I really don’t think it was the way I put it on the car. We are returning the pack and going to a Kayak out fitter to buy the stuff.
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