HAULING YOUR CANOE
Our canoes are pretty tough, but any canoe can be damaged, given enough ingenuity. To avoid buckling your hull or otherwise damaging your canoe when hauling it, remember the following:
Remove all ropes from your canoe before hauling it. Loose ropes may get caught under the wheels of your car and pull the canoe right off the racks. The result is not pretty.
Do not use ratcheting straps. Ratcheting straps can provide enough leverage to buckle and crack your hull.
It is safe to remove the front thwart of your Souris River canoe for solo paddling. However, it should be replaced when car-topping your canoe. If you car-top your canoe without the front thwart in place, be careful not to over-tighten your straps, or you may buckle the hull.
Hauling you canoe with a roof rack
Straps are preferred over ropes for hauling your canoe. While ropes will to the job, straps are less prone to coming loose. (However, heed the caution above regarding ratcheting straps.) Place the straps or ropes close to the canoe to keep it from sliding around on the racks. If your roof rack has a metallic surface, consider applying rubber (such as a bicycle inner tube) or foam pads between the canoe and the rack, to keep it from shifting.
Even with roof racks, tying the front of your canoe to the car is recommended to keep it stable. See “Hood Loops” below for more information.
Hauling you canoe without a roof rack
If you don't have a roof rack on your car, you can still safely and easily haul your Souris River canoe. Rain gutters are not necessary. Foam pads and straps can be purchased from most outdoor stores, or from us when you order your canoe. The following pictures show how you can quickly use them to fasten your canoe securely to the smallest car rooftop.
This photo shows a car loaded and ready to go. Twelve foot straps are long enough for most applications. The straps go around the canoe directly above the pads, and through the car. Straps are preferred over ropes, as they stay tighter, and fit through the door openings more easily.
Note that in wet weather, some water may seep through the strap and drip in the car.
This detail shows the strap passing through the open doors of the car.
When using foam pads, it is important to tie the front of the canoe to keep it from sliding sideways. By attaching our tie-downs under the hood (see below), this job can be made quick and easy.
Pass a rope through the canoe's grommets and tie it so the rope won't slide. Then tie the rope securely on each side. Now, you're good to go! Don't forget to stop and check the straps for tightness periodically.
When is the last time you crawled under the front of your car to loop a rope around your bumper, or some other rust-encrusted protrusion, to find a tie-down for the front of your canoe? Well, here's a solution.
Made from a two-foot length of high-quality tie-down strapping and grommetted, this hood-loop can be quickly bolted under the hood of nearly any vehicle. Just pop the hood, and remove one of the bolts on each side of the front corner of the fender, and bolt a strap in on each side. Tuck the strap under the hood when not in use. When it's time to tie-down a canoe, slip the strap between the hood and the fender, and close the hood. Now, tie a rope from the bow of the canoe to each strap, to keep the canoe from sliding sideways in the wind. The nylon strap will not mar the finish of your car.