The 9 Best Canoe Racks for 2022

Popular mechanics; Courtesy of Thule

Canoeing is a relaxing way to explore the outdoors, but installing a DIY solution to strap one to your car roof can be a stressful start to the day. Canoe carriers keep your canoe secure while you’re on the road, and there are models that are compatible with all kinds of vehicles, from sedans and SUVs to pickup trucks and even trailers. Most are designed to attach to factory-made or specialty racks that are already installed, but there are also options available for bare tops, so you can always rely on your canoe on your next outdoor adventure. .

Best Canoe Racks

What to consider

The most important factor to consider when selecting a canoe rack is compatibility – the rack you buy should fit both your car and your canoe. You’ll want to make sure the product will fit your car’s existing roof racks, whether you have a factory rack or a specialized system, or if you don’t have a rack, buy one that works with the bare roof of your car. . It’s also important to check the load capacity of the stand, or how much weight it can safely hold, to make sure your canoe is safely supported.

Other things to consider include ease of setup, how the canoe is loaded, and whether the rack comes with all the necessary straps and ties.

How we selected

To find the best canoe racks, we looked for the top rated products from respected brands like Yakima, Thule, Rhino-Rack, and more. We evaluated each product on rack compatibility, load capacity and ease of use, prioritizing options that work with multiple roof rack styles, as well as a few choice for cars without luggage racks already installed.

We looked to include options for a range of vehicle types and consulted user reviews to get an idea of ​​each canoe carrier’s potential strengths and shortcomings. Additionally, every canoe rack we write about has an average rating of 4 stars or more.

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Best overall

KeelOver canoe carrier

  • Universal fit
  • Tool-free assembly
  • Padded saddles

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 119 pounds
  • Compatible media: Universal
  • Straps included: Yes

The Yakima KeelOver canoe carrier is an excellent choice for transporting your canoe. It comes with four saddle-style mounts that can be installed without any special tools, and their universal design fits most Whispbar, round, square, and factory bars.

The saddles are made from rubber which cushions the gunwales of the canoe while keeping it stable, and fore/aft tie-downs and straps are included.

This rack has a maximum load of 119 pounds, which is more than enough for most canoes, and the product is extremely well made, so you can use it for years.

After: The best bike racks for cars and trucks


Economic purchase

Boats Canoe Car-Top Roof Rack Kit

  • Reasonable price
  • Easy to install
  • Works with most vehicles

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: Not listed
  • Compatible media: Universal; bare roof
  • Straps included: Yes

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a canoe carrier, this economical option works with most vehicles and is your best bet. The pads can be used with bare top cars, as well as most factory rack systems, and the non-slip foam blocks help protect both your car and the canoe.

The kit works with canoes up to 14 feet long and 32 inches wide, and it’s incredibly easy to set up – just place the pads on your car roof and load your canoe. The kit comes with several straps to attach the boat, as well as a storage bag for all the components.


Best all-in-one system

Big Foot Pro Universal Car Mount

  • All inclusive
  • Universal fit
  • Moderate price

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 90 pounds
  • Compatible media: Universal
  • Straps included: Yes

For an all-in-one solution to transporting your canoe, this system saves you from having to purchase additional straps or other supplies. There are four padded gunwale brackets, four universal mounting blocks and eight 40mm and 50mm mounting bolts with T-knobs, plus a set of safety ties forward and aft and two 12 foot buckle straps.

The rack can hold canoes weighing up to 90 pounds and its universal design attaches to factory round, square or oval cross rails. The saddles are made of durable polycarbonate and feature padding to protect your canoe and car.


Ideal for bare roofs

Universal inflatable soft roof bars

  • Universal fit
  • No roof bars needed
  • Includes air pump
  • Cannot be used on cars with side curtain airbags

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 175 pounds
  • Compatible media: Not required
  • Straps included: Yes

If you don’t have a roof rack on your car, this option allows you to transport your canoe safely without damaging your vehicle. The inflatable bars can be installed on just about any car, and they are secured with five metal D-anchors.

The bars are certified for use at highway speeds and have a high load capacity of up to 175 pounds, and you can install them in minutes without any tools. The inflatable stands come with sturdy ties, bow and stern lines and a pump for quick and easy inflation. The only caveat is that they cannot be used on cars with side curtain airbags.


Best saddle rack

Nautic 570 Series Kayak/Canoe Carrier

  • Big surface
  • Side or rear loading models
  • Universal fit
  • 3 year warranty
  • Tools needed for installation/removal

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: Not listed
  • Compatible media: Universal
  • Straps included: Yes

The Rhino-Rack Nautic 570 provides extra stability for your canoe or kayak with its saddles, which feature a large contact surface. They’ll hold your boat securely while you drive, and they feature universal mounting hardware that fits elliptical, round, and square roof crossbars.

This rack is available in side-loading and rear-loading configurations, depending on how you like to load your canoe, and two 18-foot tie-downs with buckle protectors are included. The system is also UV and water resistant, and it’s also backed by a 3-year warranty.

After: Top rated kayak racks for your car


Ideal for Thule racks

Portage Canoe Rack

  • Easy to load
  • Canoe cushions
  • Quick Draw fasteners
  • No stern/bow straps included

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 100 pounds
  • Compatible media: Thule; round bars; most factory racks
  • Straps included: Yes

Thule is an extremely popular manufacturer of car racks, and if you already have a set of Thule racks on your vehicle, the Thule Portage Canoe Rack is the best way to transport your canoe.

All four saddles are compatible with any Thule rack, as well as round bars and most factory racks, and they have a maximum weight capacity of 100 pounds. It’s easy to load your canoe into the carrier thanks to the sloped sides, and the padded base provides padding to prevent your canoe from being scratched during transport.

The rack also comes with tie downs that have buckle bumpers, to protect both your car and your canoe from scratches.


The most versatile

Lockable roof rack

  • Works with multiple looms and boards
  • Universal fit
  • Rubber coated straps
  • Expensive
  • Fasteners not included

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: Not listed
  • Compatible media: Universal
  • Straps included: Nope

The carrier is not limited to canoes, it can be used to carry kayaks, surfboards, paddle boards, etc. It has a universal design that fits square, round, Aero, and most factory bars, and its floating strap design makes it easy to load your boat or board onto the rack.

Its straps have a rubber coating that helps prevent scratches or scuffs on anything you’re carrying, and it also comes with plank pads and locking covers. However, if your crossbar height is between 1.25 and 2 inches, you will need a long bolt kit (sold separately) to use this mount.


Ideal for trucks


  • Robust construction
  • Height adjustable
  • Strong load capacity
  • Anti-wobble design
  • Saddles not included
  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 165 pounds
  • Compatible media: N / A
  • Straps included: Nope

If you’re looking for a way to transport your canoe in a van, the Thule Goalpost is a worthwhile purchase. This accessory mounts into a 2-inch hitch and is made of corrosion-resistant steel with an anti-wobble design.

The goal post can hold boats up to 165 pounds and its height adjusts between 46 and 67 inches to accommodate different trucks. It includes a 58-inch load bar where you can attach water sports racks, and there are even two load stops for added stability while you drive.

However, keep in mind that this product does not include saddle mounts – you will need to purchase a product like the Thule Portage Canoe Rack separately.


Ideal for trailers

Trailer roof ladder bracket

  • Works on closed or open trailers
  • High load capacity
  • Wide range of applications
  • Wood and straps not included

Key specs

  • Loading capacity: 100 lbs/crossbar
  • Compatible media: N / A
  • Straps included: Nope

This configuration is designed to be mounted on closed or open trailers, and its durable brackets are made of extruded aluminum. Once the brackets are up, you install 2×4 lumber (not included) to act as the crossbars, and the load capacity is 100 pounds per crossbar, more than enough to support a canoe. Just keep in mind that this product is only a rack system for a trailer, so it does not include the straps or clips needed to secure your boat.

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