So I have 2 vehicles, a tahoe and a VW rabbit (I know it sounds like there's a joke coming, but there isn't). Anyway, my VW is my daily commuter. It's reliable, and does great on gas, and I want to use it to portage a 16' American eagle canoe. I have no roof bars (and I have a sunroof). The canoe is a relatively big one. Any of you canoe/kayak guys running hatchbacks? What kind of roof racks are you using? I really don't know what I'm looking for, or if I should just say screw it and buy a trailer and tow it around with the tahoe? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance: )
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr
One of the issues you will have with the hatch back is that once the canoe is up on the roof you won't be able to open the hatch.. I can open my trunk but not without releasing the stern line, but not fully open.
One con about the Thule Aero bars is they have a rubber strip across the centerline (slot) of the bars and it is not a "non marking" black rubber so if you slide the canoe across them or at the contact points, (I carry mine upside down), it leaves black marks on the gunwales or on the white gelcoat of my SUP.
One main con when using soft Surf racks is the straps that you run through the car wick water and drip inside the car, and summer time rains come with no notice here.
If your car is a hatchback a suggestion is to drape a rubberized bath mat across the edge of the hatch, lift the bow/stern onto the mat, lift the other end and it will easly slide it on a set of hard racks (soft racks may try to slide or roll). The rubberized backing with keep the bath mat form sliding.
Just to elaborate, I'm a 44 year old retired Navy SAR. I haven't hit that geriatric wall yet: ) The tahoe is a different story. She's a 97', has 150k on her, and every time she has an issue it costs me a grand. Really trying to avoid using it if possible.
Trailer would cramp my style, kind of limits you to launching at a ramp where there are trailer parking spots. I launch thru to many holes in teh mangroves on the side of the road.
The key here is to find a "rain gutter roof rack" that fits well with your car. It clamps on the roof where your doors are so you don't need to drill. Get one with a high mount so you can still open your hatch door with the kayak/canoe mounted. You can also get tall kayak saddles for the same effect like the Yakima Mako Saddles. If you have trouble loading, look for kayak rack rollers, they're wheels you mount to the rear hatch or rear rack bar and you roll the kayak up. I use one to put a 16'' kayak on a SUV.