How Do You Haul a Canoe?

If you’re planning a canoeing trip, one of the most important things to consider is how you’ll transport your canoe. Whether you’re heading to a nearby lake or embarking on a multi-day adventure, it’s essential to know how to safely and effectively haul your canoe. Here are some tips on how to do it:

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Before you can haul your canoe, you need to make sure you have the right vehicle. Ideally, you want something with a roof rack or cargo carrier that can accommodate the length and weight of your canoe. SUVs, trucks, and vans are typically good options for hauling canoes.

Preparing Your Canoe

Once you have your vehicle ready, it’s time to prepare your canoe for transport. Start by placing foam blocks or towels on top of the roof rack or cargo carrier to protect both the roof and the canoe from damage.

Next, carefully lift the canoe onto the foam blocks or towels. Make sure it’s centered and positioned so that it won’t shift during transport.

Securing Your Canoe

With your canoe in place, it’s time to secure it for transport. Begin by tying down the front and back of the canoe using straps with ratchets or cam buckles. Tighten these straps so that they hold the canoe firmly in place.

Next, tie down any loose ends of rope or straps so that they don’t flap in the wind during transport. This will help prevent damage to both your vehicle and your canoe.

Safety Tips

When hauling a canoe, safety should always be your top priority. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always use proper tie-downs and secure them tightly.
  • Check your tie-downs frequently during transport.
  • Avoid exceeding the weight limit of your roof rack or cargo carrier.
  • Drive carefully and avoid sudden stops or turns.
  • Be aware of low-clearance obstacles such as overpasses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I haul a canoe on a car without a roof rack?

While it’s possible to haul a canoe on a car without a roof rack, it’s not recommended. Without a roof rack, you risk damaging both your vehicle and your canoe. It’s better to invest in a roof rack or rent a vehicle with one.

What’s the best way to tie down my canoe?

The best way to tie down your canoe is with straps and ratchets or cam buckles. These provide the most secure hold and are easy to adjust as needed.

How often should I check my tie-downs during transport?

It’s a good idea to check your tie-downs every 30 minutes or so during transport. This will help ensure that they remain secure and tight throughout your trip.


Hauling a canoe may seem daunting at first, but with the right preparation and equipment, it’s actually quite simple. By following these tips and staying focused on safety, you can transport your canoe with confidence and enjoy all the benefits of this exciting outdoor activity.

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Emma Gibson