Carrying a canoe while towing a trailer; recommendations? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #1
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Des Nolan's Avatar
Name: Des and Diane (D & D)
Trailer: Boler 1300, 1977 (#2033, "L EGGO")
Posts: 262
Carrying a canoe while towing a trailer; recommendations?

Hello All,

For years I have easily lifted my canoe onto the roof of my Toyota Camry (2,000 lbs towing capacity, which is what I need), and traveled far and wide with the boler on behind. But the car is getting older, and I have discovered that all new cars (with the exception of Hyundai, so far) have been cut back to a 1,000 lb. tow rating. I guess that "they" want me to buy a SUV, but if I really must, which one might I want?

I know that Ed & Marje are happy with a Toyota RAV 4 for their canoe/Casita combo., but are others out there using some other vehicle, preferably with a lowish roof, to satisfactorily take their canoe along trailering?

Any and all comments/observations/recommendations would be appreciated.


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Old 10-13-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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Name: Dave (and/or John)
Trailer: Scamp 16 SD std layout 6
Posts: 796
Subaru Outback is a good choice. Lower than most SUVs with a long roof and rack. 2700 lb (4 cyl) - 3000 lb (6 cyl) tow rating and AWD helps out on back roads. Subarus are limited to 200 lb tongue weight in the USA as are many other cars so that's something you need to check.
I bought Yakima cross bars and carry either 2 kayaks or my wide Scanoe on top.


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Old 10-13-2010, 06:04 PM   #3
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Trailer: Trillium 13 ft 1973
Posts: 265
Hi Des, We had, for the past six years, carried a 14' Sportspal canoe on the roof of the Toyota Sienna. No problems except it cut down on the opening of the rear hatch a fair bit. The (very) old aircraft aluminum canoe weighed only 42 lbs and other than thr "thrum" of the straps holding it down, we never noticed it was there. We did this every year for our three month snowbird escape to the Keys and the lakes. I almost fancied that the canoe helped disturb the air that the Trill was subject to...just like a trucker's air dam.
This year we have switched to two 9' kayaks which sit sideways on the "J" racks on the Sienna. After a summer trip to VT and the Adirondacks (to hook up with Dog & Kathy Roach) I could tell that the extra 40lbs and higher loft of the 'yaks was affecting the rig a wee bit. More susceptible to crosswinds and more "thrum" from all the straps. We'll know more after this years Florida over-wintering.
The upside is that I can now raise the hatch fully to access camping stuff. Maybe I have also just created a taller air deflector? Let you know in April.
Good hearing from you two...and maybe we'll connect at Emily in'11.
Happy trails...Alistair & Inge in The Road Toad
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:57 PM   #4
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
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Des, others will argue with me and say that I am giving you dangerous information... But you might want to see what the actual manufacturers rate their cars to tow, not their U.S. subsidiaries. For instance, VW rates the Golf and Jetta to tow 3,300 pounds, but VW of America downgrades that to 1,200 pounds. Toyota rates my car to tow 1,600 pounds, but Toyota of America downgrades it to zero pounds. There are MANY other instances of this. You are probably right that they want you to buy a (much more profitable) truck or SUV.

There are tow hitches made by reputable companies for nearly any car on the road. Do what you feel comfortable with. Some say that if you tow more than your car is rated for, and a involved in an accident, that you will be sued beyond belief. This may be true... But keep in mind that if you do everything perfectly legally and someone gets injured, you can still be sued.

Be safe and be smart. I am not suggesting that anyone do anything unsafe. It sounds like you are familiar with the ins and outs of towing with a small car. I think you'll be okay doing that with a newer car. If anything, a newer car will probably be more capable as a tow vehicle.
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Old 10-13-2010, 10:44 PM   #5
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,012
Just make sure you are towing in Europe if you have a problem

I don't know if you've already done this and *still* have a thrum, but twisting the straps usually de-thrumifies them.


PS: Des, I hear you on the convenience of loading up boats on a car roof. For a while I had a Toyota pickup with a camper on the back... racks were a bit over 7' off the ground... what a pain to load and unload from compared to my Volvo wagon!
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:14 AM   #6
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Trailer: 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
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I was in the exact same situation, was happy with the Camry, but it was getting old. My solution was a Toyota Venza, it has a lower roof than the Rav 4, higher than the Camry however, but fine. We got the V6 AWD, which has 3500 lbs towing capacity. We have now upgraded from our 13 ft Boler to a 17 ft Casita and are happy with the extra space and the bathroom. The Venza is our only vehicle and it is driven every day, takes more gas than the Camry of course but the difference in cost is not nearly the cost of buying and insuring a second vehicle.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:11 PM   #7
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Trailer: Boler 1984
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I tow with a 2006 Highlander and often have a canoe on top. For a new vehicle the Venza would be my choice. It has the same interior cargo space and engine optons [2.7 L, 4 cyl or 3.5L, 6 cyl] as the Highlander while being lower and more aerodynamic. It is also slightly larger than the Rav4. After all you know the old saying, "STUFF will automatically adjust to fit the available space".
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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Name: Remi
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I don't really know what are your needs and, more important thing, how much you want to pay. I personnaly have a Jeep Patriot 4x4. It's rated 1000lbs basic, but 2000lbs if you add the oil coller (about 300$ installed). It's not as high as others SUVs, and it's a really good on/off road vehicule (pretty impressive offroad!)
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Old 10-16-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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Name: Des and Diane (D & D)
Trailer: Boler 1300, 1977 (#2033, "L EGGO")
Posts: 262
Many thanks to all of you for your quick and thoughtful replies. We now have several more options to explore. This is a great forum for gathering collective wisdom!


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