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New2TheFly

Canoe and Ladder Racks

14 posts in this topic

In need of some advise guys...

I just got a topper with a ladder rack and need advise on strapping down my canoe. My old topper didn't have a rack so I used the foam blocks when transporting. How do you guys suggest loading a canoe on ladder racks? My canoe is aluminum and I don't want to scratch it all up. Should I put something between the rack and the canoe? Any help is appreciated!

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You can still use the foam blocks or you can buy some smaller foam pipe insulation or cut up one of those foam "noodles" the kids swim with. That's what I use on my cars roof rack and it works great.

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Thanks Powerstroke. I assume you put the foam blocks on the rack rather than the canoe? Also wondering how you configure your straps. Do you strap right to the rack or to your vehicle?

Thanks again

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aluminum canoes are made to be beat around, i wouldnt worry about scratching it

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I Like using the blocks because they keep the boat from sliding around, they protect the gunwales and the are compressible so they will squish down under the pressure of the straps without harming the rack or the boat and the boat doesn't move.

If you're using a ladder rack or roof rack, place the blocks on the rack's crossbars. If you're using something like 2x4's where the surface is wider I place the blocks on the canoe.

I strap the boat to the rack with ratchet straps and then add the ropes on the bow and stern as a safety measure. The rack should be well rated to the weight of a boat so I wouldn't worry, but I figure worst case scenario at least I know it won't leave my vehicle.

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I like to use ratchet straps. I think I like them a bit too much. I used them on my aluminum topper when loading my canoe on it and, well, eventually the aluminum tubing gets a bit weakened by tightening them down too much. I bought a set of racks that are independent of the topper. This way I can crank them down and not worry about wrecking the topper. I get a bit carried away with tying the canoe down, also. Two straps each end and two over the middle on the racks. It ain't going anywhere. A bit of a pain, though.

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I used them on my aluminum topper when loading my canoe on it and, well, eventually the aluminum tubing gets a bit weakened by tightening them down too much.

So the ladder rack itslef became weak? My ladder rack is connected to the topper (aluminum) so how do I avoid running into the same situation? I'm in the same boat as you, no pun intended, I like to strap that baby down.

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By using true ratchet straps where you can really crank down on them you can put so much pressure on the topper that you can bend or crush the aluminum as if you were walking on the roof of your topper.

I get it tight enough that I can rock the boat but the boat doens't move, the car does. It doesn't need to be any tighter.

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It wasn't just the ladder rack that became weak, the frame of the topper, too. Like I said, I use ratchet straps and sometime one more click ain't a good thing. What I found was that sitting in my driveway was great but when you get onto a rough logging road, the truck would flex, for lack of a better term and the ratchets would get real tight on one side and loose on the other. That's why I went to the ladder rack that I have. It isn't affected by the truck twisting as much as the topper, which is clamped down to the bed rails. While I kind of agree with Powerstroke on not needing to tighten it down so much, I hate having my canoe wobbling. I worry it's going to blow off onto the car behind me, which is probably some really hot gal trying to get close enough to me to ask me for my phone number. That would probably make her lose interest.

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Thanks for the input guys. I will take it easy the first few times strapping the canoe down. Redlantern - Tie off the front and back of the canoe so it doesn't blow onto the car behind you with the hot gal. Maybe you'll get her number...

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When I bought a heavy flatback I also bought a canoe rack that fits the receiver hitch. Its fully adjustable and swings 360 degrees. So you lean one end of the canoe on the rack. Pick up the other end and walk it right over the truck setting it gently on the rack. Works great and sounds like you got a couple bucks to spend. After that line up the cross bar with the ladder rack and tie bar to rack, secure the rear to the canoe rack and go. Very easy.

But, like others said, scratches come with the outdoors that goes for the truck too! Brush scratches are a badge of honor.

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Don't get me wrong guys, I realize scraches are part of the game. More than anything I want to avoid causing deep grooves in the gunwales. If brush scratches are a badge of honor, consider my canoe AND truck well respected.

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I've used foam rubber that I've found at Ax-Man surplus, they usually have stuff that's a better quality then pipe insulation or pool noodles. But it's always touch and go with what they have and when they have it. It's one of the main reasons I visit the store every so often, just to see what they have for foam rubber. Yea, I can be weird. smile

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