How to Transport a Canoe

A canoe ride can be an unconventional or even a unique way of having a first-hand experience of feeling the rawness of the outdoors


While some people prefer the uphill trajectory of a sunny day’s hike or the undeniable charisma of scuba diving beneath the waves of the sapphire seas, to take a ride on a humble canoe downstream a sleepy river can be as rustic as it can be. 


Oh, to hear the gentle splashing of water while you’re paddling aboard your trustworthy canoe!


But before you continue to navigate yourself down the gentle rapids of the river you’re on, do you even remember how you got yourself, more so, your canoe in there in the first place?


If you didn’t, let us refresh you with how to transport a canoe—either by a regular/pick-up truck, a car/van, or a camper/trailer.


How to Transport a Canoe on a Truck?

Or, more specifically, how to transport a canoe on a pickup truck?


You see, a majority of people who go on canoe trips find pickup trucks to be the most accessible vehicle—or mode of transportation—to carry and transport their buoyant, aquatic vessels. 


According to them, this is due to the entire transit of the canoe on a pickup truck being safer than other vehicles. Moreover, you don’t need to lift the canoe that high on a pickup truck. 


Additionally, the length of this heavy-duty vehicle, which measures from five to eight feet, also makes the canoe safer to mount as well as easier to transfer to-and-from destinations.

Coupled with the pickup truck’s amphibious capabilities, you can effortlessly reach the streams, rivers, or lakes on which you ought to dock your canoe. 


To utilize the pickup truck’s ability to transit your beloved canoe, it’s best to install a rack on the truck bed, preferably an AA rack which can be of good use to hang your canoe on, as it can easily support its weight and length.


Or you can also install a hitch extender, which can be attached to your truck hitch and act as an extended stabilizer for your canoe while on transit.


Once you have decided which extension you would add to your pickup truck, it’s now time to lift the canoe aboard it—which is considered the most challenging part of the entire transportation process due to the canoe being at most risk of damage. 


After lifting it, raise the front end of the canoe onto the truck’s tailgate and then lift its rear end, all the while pushing it with your momentum.


Afterward, you must secure the canoe using straps that feature a metal cam buckle, which is quick to assemble and provides secure tightness of the boat while on the road. Make sure that the straps are fed tightly into the anchor points of your pickup truck.


It is also highly suggested to install a red flag on the canoe’s rear end if it ever extends three feet beyond the truck bed. 


How to Transport a Canoe on a Car?

As for the challenge of transporting a canoe on a car, let us assume that your vehicle already has a roof rack built on top of it. Be sure to use cam straps or other methods for cinching and tightening the canoe down to the rack.


See to it that you remove everything inside the canoe before actually attaching it to the roof rack.


You must also ensure that your car’s roof racks can handle the entire weight of your canoe. Upon doing so, then you can finally mount your canoe atop your car—of course, with assistance, because a canoe can be heavy to lift all by yourself.


While mounting it, center the canoe and balance it on the roof rack’s crossbars to not flip-flop or oscillate while the vehicle is traversing. 


Wrap the straps securely underneath the canoe and then through the buckle to tighten it. The objective in this step is to make sure you would not end up on those funny internet videos wherein your canoe slips off your car while on the highway. And of course, to avoid any damage to your handy boat as well!


Lastly, thoroughly confirm that the loose ends of the straps are tied off. This is so that they won’t fly flap around the wind while driving towards your destination.


How to Transport a Canoe on a Camper?

You could also use a trailer van, or a camper, for easier transport of your canoe. It gives you a lot of flexibility, especially more additional, unused space for the canoeing gear and equipment you are bringing with you.


If you are going canoeing with a group of friends, then a camper/trailer might just be the ideal mode of transportation for you and your buoyant crafts! Campers can hold potentially more canoes attached to their back as long as a hitch system is involved.


To do this, all you need is to hook bungee cords on the trailer’s rear ladder. You could also use looped straps or the drawstring kind. Just see to it that you securely tighten the cords/straps before attaching your canoes!


Although a little pricey, you could also buy yourself a canoe rack which you can substitute to your trailer’s rear ladder where your canoes can be attached. A roof rack can also be an effective alternative so that you can carry your canoes safely atop your vehicle.


For cushioning purposes, as well as lessening the risk of damage while on transit, a foam pipe can also be used to insulate the canoe and the camper’s ladder or canoe rack, most especially if the terrain you will be traversing on your way to your destination is a rocky and uneven one.


How to Finally Transport Your Canoe from your Vehicle into the Water

Now that you and your canoe have safely reached your destination to go canoeing on, there is still one major endeavour before the hull of your beloved canoe finally touches the pristine surface of the river/sea you are to paddle on.


If your canoe is relatively lighter, then you could safely unmount it from your vehicle and carry it to the shore/bank of the body of water you are in front of. But, if the canoe you brought with you is quite heavy for one person to carry, it might be best that you look for someone to help you transport it to its final destination one last time. 


With all these said, finally transporting your canoe from your vehicle into the water is quite a critical chore to execute smoothly, given that not only you can break it if you drop it because it’s too heavy for you, but you could also injure yourself and other bystanders as well. You could even damage others’ property if you transport it haphazardly from your vehicle. 


So before finally breaking the water’s surface with your paddle, make sure to know these steps on transporting a canoe.