Securing a Canoe

There is an art to securing a canoe to a vehicle, especially if you want it to stay put.  Every summer a canoe will fly off of someone’s trailer or vehicle and end up damaged in the ditch.  We show all of our Voyageur Crew how to secure canoes and most of our crew catches on more quickly than I did.

I think it took me about ten years to figure out how to tie a canoe down on top of a vehicle.  Many times I would think I would have the canoe secure and I would pull up on the canoe to find I had only accomplished strapping the canoe to itself.  Other times I would have the strap secured to the rack without the canoe.  Somehow I managed to learn how to do it.

It’s very helpful to have two straps for the main part of the canoe and then straps to secure the front and/or back of the canoe to the vehicle. Here’s some helpful information from one of our paddlers, thanks so much for sharing Ken!

“With the lack of good places on modern cars to attach a strap to, many people have no idea what to do. The easiest and cheapest solution I have found is the use of hood loops. I am sure you have heard of them, but if you have not, just go to Google Images and search for “hood loops”. Here is a screen shot of the results.”

canoe straps
Securing a canoe

“I spent about $10 for a pair of the bolt-on ones from Midwest Mountaineering and REI sells them for $5.95 pair. That is very cheap insurance against the loss of a boat and causing an accident. If I was using a vehicle I did not own, such as a rental or a friend’s, or there were no existing fasteners where I could easily attach the loops, I would simply use the “quick loops” that use a piece of hose to secure them in place. Those work especially well under the trunk lid of a car where there is seldom an existing fastener to use like there is under the hood.”

“You do need to put a twist in the rope & strap to keep it from buzzing like a clarinet reed as you are going down the road.”

Securing a canoe to a vehicle
A well-secured canoe

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