Transporting and Storing your canoe

Views 5 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful


Storing and Transporting Your Canoe

Looking after your canoe off the water is simple and will ensure you will continue to get a lifetime of enjoyment out of your canoe. Follow these simple common sense guidelines to help avoid damaging your canoe.


If possible it is preferable to store your canoe inside in a garage or shed. The materials used in Canoe manufacture can be weakened in extremes of heat or cold and UV rays from the sun can also help in the deterioration of the material both structurally and cosmetically.

If storing outside is your only option then that's fine, just follow these measures.
  • Keep the canoe on upside down on it's gunwales to prevent any dents or "Oil Canning" of the hull. If possible store it on a rack or pair of bars 1.5 to 3 meters apart and off the ground.
  • Covering the canoe with a tarpaulin or similar cover will protect it from UV rays.
  • Choose your storage location so that it is not in direct sunlight and that no objects can fall from above damaging the hull.
  • Tie the canoe down as it could easily be lifted and carried off in a moderate wind as the canoe is actually very light for its size.
  • Consider locking the canoe with a chain or padlock to prevent theft.

For storing inside the same rules apply.
  • Store upside down on the gunwales and again
  • on a rack or pair of bars if possible.
  • Be sure the canoe cannot be knocked off accidentally damaging it or even falling onto people passing such as children.


Most people will transport their canoe on the roof of their car. This will usually mean you need to purchase a good quality roof rack system. Do not skimp on quality on your roof rack. Canoes are not that heavy but they do have a lot of wind resistance so it is important your roof rack is attached to your car securely. Other systems are available which we will cover further down the page.

A pair of bars going across the car are all that is required and the further they are apart the better. These are fitted to the car by way of feet which are designed for specific car models. For cars with roof rails fitted the bars will clamp onto these rails and these are a good secure option. Another tip is to use foam padding on the roof bars to protect the gunwales of your canoe. This also helps with giving the canoe more friction on the bars meaning it is less likely to slip and slide.

With a good roof rack in place you will now need a good pair of straps and a couple of lengths of rope or cord. Again do not skimp on quality. We supply racks and straps that are ideal and safe for the job. Simple cam buckle straps are favourite here as they are easy to use and secure. They consist of a flat webbing strap of 1" to 1.5"(25mm to 37mm) width and 5 metres in length with a simple sprung cam buckle at one end. Do not under any circumstances use bungees or any elasticated rope at all.

With careful lifting of the canoe upside down onto the car roof centralise it so that the canoe is well balanced from front to back and ensure the drivers view is not impaired. The canoe does not have to sit in the middle of the rack from side to side so some allowance for the drivers side can be made if your roof rack is wide enough to offset it to the passenger side slightly.

Use the straps to go around the bars on both sides of the canoe and around the hull of the canoe.

With the buckle facing you as high as possible against the side of the canoe you can then pass the loose end of the strap through the buckle and pull down tightly. Tie a couple of knots in the end of the strap and secure. This will be adequate for short trips on normal roads. For longer journeys, motorways or windy conditions then extra security is needed. Use the lengths of cord or rope to tie down the front and back ends of the canoe to the

towing points on your car. You can use the end handles or preferably if your canoe has a rope handle drilled through the hull this can be used.

There are other options for transporting your canoe.

We supply a foam block canoe carry kit which consists of four foam blocks with grooves that slide onto the gunwales of the canoe. You then have a number of straps which go over the canoe and then through the car doors pulling the canoe and the foam blocks tight against the car roof. Together with similar end ties to a normal roof rack this provides a surprisingly easy and safe method for people who may not want to or are unable to get a roof rack for their car or you may only be transporting it occasionally on the roof.

A lock for securing the canoe to the car and roof rack is also advisable for theft deterrent and may be required by your insurance.

These consist of a plastic coated wire with a hard ball one end and loop the other. One end is placed around a seat or thwart of the canoe and then through itself with the ball end then being locked in the car door.


For very short distances or for portaging we also supply canoe trolleys which are strong, light and fold down when not in use. They are easy to use for carrying around obstructions or for getting from the car to the water, etc.

Keith - Brookbank Canoes & Kayaks
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides