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How Do I Choose the Best Canoe Carrier?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A canoe carrier may be necessary for transporting a canoe on a car top or over land. Determine what type of canoe carrier you need so you can narrow down your search quickly. Some carriers are great for transporting a canoe from the house to the water, while others are great for transporting one or more canoes by vehicle. If you will be transporting canoes with your vehicle, first determine how many canoes you will be transporting at any given time, and take note of the make and model of your car before you go shopping.

Most car top canoe carrier models are designed only for one canoe, since the size of a canoe can easily take up the entire rooftop of the car. The canoe will also extend off the front and back of the roof, so mounting more than one canoe is often a precarious operation. Be sure the canoe carrier you choose for your car top will work with the make and model of your car; the manufacturer of the rack will often have a guide or chart so you can find the appropriate model. The two most important goals of any canoe carrier are stability and safety, both for other drivers and for the car itself. Be sure the carrier allows you to secure the canoe easily and properly, and that it will not scratch the finish of the car's paint.

A canoe carrier may be used to transport canoes over land.
A canoe carrier may be used to transport canoes over land.

Transporting a canoe with a pick-up truck often requires two support pieces. The rearward piece usually mounts in a trailer hitch receiver and provides a platform on which the rear of the canoe can rest. The front of the canoe will rest on the cab of the truck, and it should be supported so the canoe does not do damage to the truck's cab, and vice versa. Be sure the rear stabilizer does not shift or sway, and make sure it features hooks or attachments that will allow you to properly tie down the canoe.

A canoe trailer is useful for transporting several canoes at once. This trailer will often feature several slots in which canoes can be rested and secured. Be sure this trailer is road-legal; this may mean researching local, state, or regional laws. Make sure the vehicle hauling the trailer is heavy-duty enough to support the weight of the loaded trailer safely as well.

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    • A canoe carrier may be used to transport canoes over land.
      By: Zsolt Biczó
      A canoe carrier may be used to transport canoes over land.