Unless you’re super strong and not worried about scratching your car, we recommend recruiting a buddy to help you load your canoe on your vehicle. Sure, it can be done solo, but it’s a whole lot easier with a little help.
Attach Foam Blocks
If you are using a foam block canoe carrier, attach the four foam blocks to the gunnels (two on each side) before loading the canoe. Place them at an even distance from the center yoke.
Lift the Canoe
Working with your partner, lift the canoe overhead and carry it to the side of the vehicle. Flip the canoe upside down together as you lift the canoe onto the roof of the vehicle and gently set it down. Only the foam blocks should be touching the roof of your vehicle.
Center the Canoe
Make sure the canoe is centered on the vehicle. On most vehicles, the yoke should be just behind the front doors. If you have a canoe rack, make sure the canoe is centered on the rack.
Secure the Center Strap
Secure the canoe to the vehicle using a center strap and Y straps on each end. The center strap goes over the belly of the canoe at the center point and through the car doors on either side. Tighten the strap and secure the loose end to keep it from flapping in the wind. Closing the car doors will keep the strap securely in place.
Secure the Ends
Next, secure the canoe at each end by connecting the strap to the canoe in front or back and securing the ends of the strap to your vehicle in a Y-shaped pattern. Choose secure tie down points on your vehicle. Tie off any loose ends.
Check Straps Again
Double check all straps for tightness before driving. After driving at highway speeds for a few miles, stop and check the straps again for tightness. Adjust as needed.
For visual learners, see the video below by Algonquin Outfitters: