MISTERCANOEHEAD Canoe Transport & Storage Page
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TRANSPORT

There are many ways of fastening a canoe to a vehicle. How well the canoe is attached to the vehicle is essential! This may sound like a "no brainer", but having done a number of repairs caused by improper transport, I have got the impression that some people figure that gravity is the best form of attaching a canoe to the vehicle. Crosswinds at high speed need to be accounted for. When tying down the canoe, there should be at least two lines running across the keel and fastened either to the roof rack or clipped into the door frame. As well, the painters should be tied down to the undercarriage (not the plastic bumper!) both front and back of the vehicle. Tying the front at two points reduces the crosswind effect.

Use foam blocks to support the front section of the canoe when the roof rack is set back (as it is on many vans & SUVs) towards the rear half of the vehicle. Use old pieces of carpet or flexible foam (pipe insulation works well) to protect the gunwales when they are against the roof rack.

If there are no points under the vehicle to which you can tie ropes to, a simple solution is:
diy-handy-tie-down-loops

I made another version of this out of pvc pipe and webbing. They work really well on my van and on my son's smaller car.
DISCLAIMER: This worked for my vehicle, but I cannot guarantee it will work on your's. Each vehicle is different. Check with your mechanic to see if having the loops positioned under the hood and/or in the tailgate/trunk and doors will work.


If you don't have a roof rack at all, here is a possible solution. Use foam blocks between the gunwales and the roof. I would not recommend using webbing loops between the door tops and frame. Because of the tension, it could pull the door away from the frame and warp it. As well, when you open the door, the necessary tension on the line is lost.
I had a local metal fabricator make some clips that were shaped to the frame above the door. It was made out of 1/8" steel X 1" width with a 1/2" hole in the top end for the rope and coated with Plasti Dip to prevent scratching the frame.


STORAGE

Correct storage can add many years to the life of a canoe.
The longer that your canoe is in storage, the more important it is to store it correctly.

Whether you store your canoe inside or out:
- Don't leave the canoe in the water!
- Don't store the canoe upside down on the ground (too hard on the gunwales)
- Don't support your canoe from one end only
- Don't hang it from the handles, decks or thwarts
- Don't lay it down on its side
- Don't store the canoe near any major heat source (furnace or water heater).

INSIDE STORAGE:
The best way to protect against weather & sun damage is to store your canoe upside-down, (gunwales down) in a cool, dry, covered location. Inside a garage or shed is best.
If you are suspending the canoe from above, make sure that the canoe's weight is on the gunwales.
For a method of hanging the canoe in a garage or shed, see "Hanging Your Canoe" below.
OUTSIDE STORAGE - PROTECTION AGAINST the SUN and NASTY WEATHER:
Sunlight can degrade almost any canoe hull material as well as damage wood gunwales and decks, and cause paint to crack and fade.
If you have to store it outside, cover it with a tarp. Put some foam noodles between the tarp and canoe to give some air circulation. Keep the canoe off the ground so that moisture will not accumulate and rot the gunwales, decks and stems. Using a rack or sawhorses is the best option. Do not put heavy objects on top of the canoe or store the canoe on its side, as either of those will eventually cause the hull to warp. As well, be sure that rain and/or snow won't collect on the tarp and push down on the hull.

Prolonged exposure to cold won't harm most canoes, but repeated freeze/thaw cycles can damage seams, joints or cracks in the hull.

Be sure to maintain all the wood pieces on your canoe as recommended by the canoe builder.


This is what happens over time when a canoe is stored on its side. Water collects under the gunwale and eventually rots out the ribs and planking. The repair involves peeling back and possibly replacing the canvas in addition to replacing ribs and planking. This kind of repair can be quite costly!!

When you take your canoe out of extended periods of storage, inspect it thoroughly for any damage or needed touch-ups before going on the water.

HANGING YOUR CANOE

When suspending a canoe from anything, take into account the weight of the canoe and the force needed to pull down to lift it into position.
I have used the method shown in the photos for several years with good results. I am short, so lifting the canoes into a position high enough to park a vehicle or walk under it needs pulleys,etc.
This method is safe, since you are in control of the whole canoe when raising or lowering it, and can stand out of the way while you are doing it. Try to position the "slings" about 25% in from the ends of the canoe.