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Canoe on Blazer


Down to Earth

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Any recommendations on what to use for transporting my canoe on top of my Blazer that has the factory rack on top of it? Years ago when I had an old Honda Accord, I used a set up of straps and foam blocks. I don't have them anymore and not really sure what is out there now. What would be a good system to go with? Thanks.

Andy

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Get the same foam blocks and at least 4 good heavy ratchet straps. 2 on front and 2 on back. Strap down as wide as you can to your bumpers or whatever you can to stop any side to side movement.

This may seem like a bit of overkill but at 60-75 mph you will be glad you had a bit too much rather than watch a bunji blow up and your canoe looking like a crushed soda can.

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I had the same predicament. After messing around with foam blocks, and different methods, I finally just splurged and bought cross racks that fit onto any factory racks. I bought the Thule brand ... they carry them at Gander. They were pricey - around 100 bucks for the whole deal - but well worth it. Now I just slide the canoe onto the top of my Jeep Liberty, and tie down onto the spare tire on the back and use two tie-downs (one to the left and one to the right) on the front, hooked to the frame. Easy to do by myself and I never have to worry about losing it on my way down the road. I use the heavy duty ratchet straps as well. Worth it for peace of mind.

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Don't know what your factory rack looks like but years ago I built the best car top canoe carrier I have ever used. The rails on my pinto station wagon had incerts that would accept a standard bolt. I used a 2 X 4 as a cross piece and added a short section of 2 X 4 as a spacer over each rail to get it up high enough. Then I cut a piece of 1 X 4 and tapered it so it fit just rite under the molding that runs along the top of the gunnels. Add a spacer that just fits between the moldings and fasten this to the 1 X 4. This spacer needs to be just thick enough that with the canoe upside down on the 2 X 4 you can fit the 1 X 4 inside and use it to hold the molding down against the 2 X 4 cross beam and not crush it when you tighten it up. Drill two holes through all three boards and drive a T nut into the holes in the 2 X 4 from the bottom. Make two bolts with some sort of huge T (so you don't need a wrench) on the head end to go through the boards and into the T nut. Of course you need two of these but build the front one first because you need to get the canoe in place and measure the length for the back one.

In use you put the canoe on top of the two cross braces positioned a little forward. Then you position the front 1 X 4 inside and slide the bolts through but do not tighten. Walk to the back and pull the canoe back so the boards are wedged tightly against the inside of the gunnel and molding. Position the 1 X 4 for the rear cross brace inside the gunnel and insert the screws and tighten all 4. The gunnels should be clamped tightly against the cross braces and the canoe will be firmly attached to the car. My friend bult one like It and with our families we canoed all over the place. If you want I can tell how we adapted the carrier for two canoes so we could leave one car at pick up point.

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I have a funny story regarding our home made canoe carriers. They hold the canoe so firmly you don't ordinarily need any ropes and since it's all held from the inside the canoe looks like it's just sitting on the cross bars. Well, one day we pulled into an ice cream stand and while we were waiting for the girl to make our malts we saw a young man checking out my friends canoe. He looked puzzled and finely asked my friend, "what hold's it on?" Without batting an eye, my friend told him that the way canoes are shaped, air pressure holds them on top of a car. No need for ropes and things. The kid bought it. I sure hope he asked someone else before he tried it himself!

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