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PostPosted: May 12th, 2019, 8:30 pm 
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Hi folks,

We're growing our fleet of canoes now and have 2 grandkids we want to ease into tripping. Wife will take g-son in one boat and I'll take g-daughter in other. But we have to cart our canoes to destination and would prefer doing so in one vehicle rather than driving two.

So, that brings us into canoe trailer territory and wanted to get advice on what to look out for. I see square utility trailers out there that seem too short. Modified single axel boat trailers seem like they can work, especially if you can replace the winch and v-pads with cross boards for setting the boats on. They seem to be better matched to canoe lengths as well.

We have a 16' Pal and will be getting a 17' cronjie. Truck has trailer hitch already so towing is not an issue.

Any recommendations - do we go with a custom made boat trailer or look for a canoe specific trailer. What solutions have people found? We'd like to keep under $2k for the trailer but rather have something sturdy and to spec rather than a make-shift work-around.

Thanks for your advice and help.

Ken


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2019, 9:04 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
Why not put both canoes on the roof of your vehicle?

Safe, reliable, DIY extensions for roof racks are easily made at home in an hour or less, and are far, far less expensive than trailers.

I've done it, and can explain how if you're interested. Trailers are great, but for only two canoes, you don't actually need one.
Cheers.

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PostPosted: May 12th, 2019, 9:37 pm 
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guyfawkes041 wrote:
Why not put both canoes on the roof of your vehicle?

Safe, reliable, DIY extensions for roof racks are easily made at home in an hour or less, and are far, far less expensive than trailers.

I've done it, and can explain how if you're interested. Trailers are great, but for only two canoes, you don't actually need one.
Cheers.


True, my frontier has a roof rack on it. I did extend out with 2x4's tied to the cross bar once and had two canoes on there before. But it didn't feel that great to drive with. Our thought was that we could also wheel the trailer into our greenhouse/tarp car garage in the backyard and rest the canoes on top of it rather than on chairs as per usual situation. The trailer seemed like a nicer way to travel with a 2 canoe scenario and easier to take the boats off a put in the water than a roof rack.

But I appreciate the advice. Thanks.

Ken


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2019, 10:25 pm 
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Unless you need the trailer for gear storage as well as the canoes it does seem like overkill and possibly unpleasant overkill. If the truck isn't great to drive with 2 boats up top what makes you think it will be pleasant towing a trailer?

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 5:34 am 
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If you're set on a trailer then I'm sure you can get one modified to suit but I've seen bike racks and canoes loaded on to pop-up trailers (some that I would not to follow too closely) so perhaps an old pop-up trailer frame may be something to consider. MY concern would be that's just one more thing to have to maintain (bearings, working lights, etc) and worry about for parking but as you said you are settled on it providing multi purpose solution for home storage as well.
Niagara


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 8:02 am 
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
Quote:
but rather have something sturdy and to spec rather than a make-shift work-around.

You can buy a good utility trailer that meets your sturdiness criteria for well within your budget. Make cross-members front and back wide enough to carry the canoes side-by-side as per the roof-rack solution.

I've got 2 2x6's that I tie on to my 5x10ft trailer. Screwed in some die-downs. That's it.

Or spec out something more elegant and have your local welder or whomever make it for you. Consider it custom-made as opposed to a make-shift work-around.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 8:22 am 
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Here in the Ottawa area there are several people who make custom trailers for a reasonable price - not sure about where you live.

But as per above I'd look at just putting 2 canoes on top. I have the Thule 79" bars and they work great on my Suburban. My buddy used to have a VW Jetta wagon and had the same bars on top and used to be able to carry 2 canoes as well.

As long as the gear fits that would be my choice as well personally.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 11:33 am 
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TLDR: Roof rack crossbars over 2-boat trailer (and why comparisons)

When we first needed to carry a family four pack of canoes I built a trailer to haul two of them, carrying the other two atop roof racks the minivan.

I bought a ubiquitous 4’ x 8’ stake body trailer platform with a standard 3’ long tongue, but used a different design than most canoe trailers.

Since I only need to carry two canoes on the trailer I stacked the shortest two boats on crossbars vertically up the center, eliminating the need for a very long tongue. The canoes could be placed with the bows less than a foot from the vehicle without impinging the turning radius. Even jackknifing the trailer in a backup oops the bow couldn’t touch the van.

Rather than have a cargo box area where the bottom boat was centered I made narrow boxes along either side, 8’ long x 2’ high x 10” wide. All the long linear stuff that didn’t need to be kept dry (the side pockets had hinged lids, but not 100% waterproof) went in those boxes; paddles, tarp poles, water containers, etc. Serendipitously those open side pockets also proved to fit bicycles.

The vertical stack design worked very well for our 2-boat trailer needs, but when we bought a full sized van with 11 feet of rain gutter I stuck four Quick & Easy crossbars on it and off-set four canoes taper nestled, all gunwales down, all with gunwale stops, two belly lines each and bow/stern lines. With everything in/on one vehicle we had no need for a trailer, and blessed was the day I stopped unnecessarily towing a trailer. There were a lot of reasons I didn’t much like using a trailer.

Let me count the ways; backing up, making sure I had enough turn around room (didn’t always), not being able to use some gas pump orientations, merging onto crowded highways with 30 feet of van, trailer and hull overhang, checking trailer tires and bearings and lights, parking lots that were not amenable to towing trailers, extra axle tolls, tags and registration fees, car camping spots occupied largely by 30 feet of van and trailer, etc, etc. Eeesshhh.

There are more reasons I disliked towing a trailer just for two boats. A long, narrow, switch-backed dirt road found to be impassibly blocked springs to mind; I had to back out a half mile before I found a spot side enough to unhook the trailer and turn it around by hand and do an incremental 12 point turn with the van. It didn’t help that the mountain drop off on one side was scary steep, and that white knuckle episode made me forever queezy about towing a trailer up an unknown road, which was “let’s explore this put in” limiting.

guyfawkes041 wrote:
Why not put both canoes on the roof of your vehicle?
Safe, reliable, DIY extensions for roof racks are easily made at home in an hour or less, and are far, far less expensive than trailers.


Other than the very customized 4-crossbar Quick & Easies I have used manufactured racks for the last 30 years, either Yakima or (mostly) Thule. Pricey at first, but we have reused those racks in full (the same Thule racks fit two CR-V’s and a Leer truck cap), or in large part with new feet/towers, on five subsequent vehicles. With the long crossbars, out to the edges of the side view mirrors, I can rack two canoes, even two tandems if I put the gunwale stops inside the hull.

BTW, rack fit guides default to the shortest crossbars that will work; that’s a nope for carrying two canoes. I figure if the crossbars don’t extend past the side view mirrors it’s street-legal (?), and unlikely that I’ll clip a crossbar on a street sign or jogger’s noggin. I may clunk my own head on them getting out, but will learn eventually.

It’s hard to even guesstimate the canoe toting miles put on those racks, at least a couple or three thousand miles a year, with a few 5000 mile+ trips thrown in for good measure.

Call it at 70,000 rack miles at a low guess. Rack cost, with some accessories purchased new, maybe $400 at today’s prices. Someone check my math, but I think that’s 0.005 cents a mile. 70,000 miles towing a trailer or 70,000 miles self-contained, I’ll take roof racks with wide crossbars in a heartbeat.

If you foresee the need to eventually carry more than two canoes a trailer makes sense, otherwise roof racks are much easier (and less expensive)

Should you go the trailer route have a look at the BMO trailer page for ideas, their canoe trailers are the product of decades of continual design improvement (and note the length of the tongue needed to carry canoes side-by-side).

http://www.bluemountainoutfitters.net/trailers.html

Were I to redesign a trailer I would use crossbars compatible with either Thule or Yakima; their manufactured accessories like gunwale stops, cradles, bike racks or even rocket boxes are common used, pricey as hell new and worth the design engineering that went into them.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 12:46 pm 
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Mike McCrea - amazing insights, thank you so much. As to everybody else, I will explore getting a better roof rack solution for the truck.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 2:33 pm 
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Wow 4 canoes on top - I'm having trouble picturing that, got any photos?

Great tips there Mike. As always. Thanks.


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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 2:41 pm 
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Find a cheap used boat trailer like this one in Brampton for $1.00 and build a rack on it:

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cargo-utility-t ... nFlag=true

There are lots of boat trailers still around from the 60's and 70's that have outlasted the boats they came with. a boat trailer will have the length you need and more than enough weight capacity for a couple of canoes.

Stacking a couple of canoes vertically will keep them in the wind shadow of the vehicle which will give a lot less wind resistance than carrying them on the roof. I had converted a boat trailer of ours to a canoe/kayak trailer for about a year before we inherited another boat that needed the trailer. Pulling the boat trailer with a canoe and kayak on it was almost unnoticeable.

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PostPosted: May 13th, 2019, 3:28 pm 
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Prospector16 wrote:
Wow 4 canoes on top - I'm having trouble picturing that, got any photos?

Great tips there Mike. As always. Thanks.


Four boats on the roof, "rack" made of two 2 x 2's, heading out for 100km shuttle to the put-in on really bad lumber roads in Northern Quebec.

Attachment:
4boatsonvan.jpg
4boatsonvan.jpg [ 344.94 KiB | Viewed 372 times ]

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PostPosted: May 14th, 2019, 5:40 am 
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The Vickers hardness is pretty high on that mirror mismatched strenuously abused safari .... ehehe :D


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PostPosted: May 15th, 2019, 1:14 am 
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Location: Virginia
We did the math, once upon a time. Buddy drove a 2000s model Chevy Silverado with the 4 boat trailer behind it - V8 pulling 4 boats and gobs of gear - 13mi/gal. I drove Chevy Trailblazer - 3 boats on top, 3 guys inside, packed to the roof with gear - V6 - still got 20+/gallon. Trailers are great if you have a fleet size turn-out for a trip. For a strike team of two boats, go with the roof rack.

Love the functional chaos of the 4-boat tie-down, Ben. Necessity is the mother of invention. Make it work!

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2019, 2:14 pm 
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kgd wrote:
I will explore getting a better roof rack solution for the truck.


The easiest way to compare the available rack systems that will fit your vehicle is to go to a site like Rack Warehouse and enter your make/model/year/etc into the Fit Guides for Yakima and Thule (and others).

https://www.rackwarehouse.com/fit-guides.html

We recently ordered racks for my wife’s new Forester. Although we have used mostly Thule in the past for that vehicle Yakima had the better system.


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