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      Thule canoe clamps vs. foam blocks vs. bare cross bars     

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oldtownfunk
member (5)member
 
06/17/2020 04:07PM  
I just ordered a pair of Thule Evo Wingbar crossbars for my vehicle. They look quite stylish, and I wouldn't want to damage the finish on them. I'm debating three different methods of attaching the canoe onto the crossbars. Please help me decide which method is best:

1.) Thule Portage canoe clamps. Pros: extra stability while driving, comes with straps, clean appearance. Cons: expensive, clamps could get stolen unless you constantly remove and reattach them.

2.) Placing foam blocks between the gunwales and crossbars. Pros: would protect the finish, I already have an extra set, maybe adds extra grip/friction. Cons: could be clumsy and unnecessary, may actually worsen grip/friction.

3.) Bare canoe on cross bars. Pros: simplest. Cons: possible damage to the finish. (Maybe this wouldn't damage the finish, I'm just not sure.)
 
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jhb8426
distinguished member(1284)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 01:57AM  
Option 1 or 3. Ive done #3 with no issues. Found a set of thule brackets on CL for a good price. Would've bought them new if the CL deal hadn't appeared. Actually, made my own at one point.



 
billconner
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06/18/2020 05:52AM  
2 - but with pipe insulation instead of blocks. Clip on gunwale.
 
TrekScouter
distinguished member (374)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 07:47AM  
#1. The load stops are rock solid, and you’ll like how they look. You can use them for years to come on any Wingbar-equipped vehicle, not just for canoes, but also ladders, lumber, etc. I still have and use the ski racks I bought 25 years ago. The cam buckle straps are your best bet, too, so that’s an added benefit. Yes, I do put the load stops In my trunk at the entry point. It’s no bother, and it only takes five minutes for a week’s peace of mind.
 
06/18/2020 08:04AM  
We used cheap foam pipe insulation for many years--always have some around for home projects. A couple years ago we tried strips of yoga mat instead of the foam, and are impressed with the improved stability of the boat in cross-wind situations. I won't go back to the pipe insulation.
TZ
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1578)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 08:59AM  
I use the Thule canoe clamps and they work great. I angle them just right and it's easy to get the canoe in the exact same spot every time as well.
 
gravelroad
distinguished member (388)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 09:41AM  
#1. Have hauled a canoe from AK to NH to MN with zero issues. Put Loctite Threadlocker on the bolts and any thief will just bang up his knuckles in frustration. The tie-down kit that comes with it is aces.
 
LarryS48
distinguished member (107)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/18/2020 11:36PM  
I use Yakima Keel Overs (similar to the Thule Portage) on the Thule bars that Subaru offered on my 2019 Forester. They work great. Once strapped down, the canoe has been rock stable for trips of 1200 miles.
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 10:40AM  
I like using load stops because they give an extra level of security and for very short trips like my favorite put-in 1/2 mile away I can skip bow and stern tie-downs so loading and unloading is super fast. I put the driver's side load stops all the way to one side so they are against the rack towers and then use the straps to pull the boat towards that side. It's incredibly secure and bow and stern lines are just for insurance on longer trips or windy days.

I've never had load stops stolen in decades of use and even if it ever happened I'd just buy new ones.

Just FYI Yakima load stops will also work on your Thule aero bars.

I use clear plumbing tubing to attach to my gunwales and protect them. They sell it by the foot at most hardware stores. For me 1 1/4 inch diameter works best. It also adds more friction than foam blocks or foam pipe insulation. I'm more worried about protecting the canoe than the rack. ??




 
jhb8426
distinguished member(1284)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 01:43PM  
justpaddlin: "I put the driver's side load stops all the way to one side so they are against the rack towers and then use the straps to pull the boat towards that side. "

The picture shows the load stops with the vertical side facing away from the boat. I use mine with the vertical side facing the boat. I've seen others with the same orientation. Why do you have the vertical side facing out?
 
TrekScouter
distinguished member (374)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 02:18PM  
Interesting. The dedicated canoe accessories are designed so that the gunwale rests on the rubberized load stop, instead of directly on the crossbars.

Load stops for original square bars:




Thule Portage load stops for all newer bars, including new square bars:
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2020 05:46PM  
jhb8426: "justpaddlin: "I put the driver's side load stops all the way to one side so they are against the rack towers and then use the straps to pull the boat towards that side. "


The picture shows the load stops with the vertical side facing away from the boat. I use mine with the vertical side facing the boat. I've seen others with the same orientation. Why do you have the vertical side facing out?"


I'm loading onto a 4-Runner which is pretty tall especially with the added height of a rack. I'm on my tippy-toes with my arms fully extended and leaning to get the boat in place. With the vertical part of the load stops closest to me I can just get the boat over and load it. If I put the vertical (tallest) part inboard I can't reach over the load stops to load the boat while standing alongside the vehicle (or maybe it's just harder, I don't remember. I had them the other way when I first got them but quickly changed to make it easier to load). I think they work fine either way since the boat is pulled down by the straps and is pretty well trapped...I've never had any problems.
 
jhb8426
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06/19/2020 05:54PM  
TrekScouter: "
Load stops for original square bars:

"


Yes, these are what I have, and the orientation on the bar.
 
justpaddlin
distinguished member (370)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/20/2020 06:00PM  
The other reason mine are oriented the way they are is that otherwise they'd hit the hull before the gunwale on canoes with lots of tumble home.


 
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(569)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/20/2020 07:37PM  
I have the Thule Portage load stops. They work great, although strong side winds have made them move enough to allow the canoe to jump around a little. Never thought it was coming off, just took the next exit and re-tightened them and the straps, and back on the road. This was a big thunderstorm with gusts to about 50 mph, never had them slide under normal conditions.
Edit to add:
I have never taken mine off, never stolen, and the straps are top quality, and work great!
 
TominMpls
distinguished member(635)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2020 07:32AM  
I use the Yakima "Keel Over" canoe holders (on my Thule bars!) but they're basically the same as the Thule. I have giant canoe - Northwind 18 - and a small car - VW Golf. I'm always amazed at just how solidly the canoe holders do their job. The other methods you describe work just fine - I've done both - but they don't hold it all together like the holders do. Note that I also use the Keel Overs "backwards" - the vertical part is inside the canoe - but as long as all four are in the same orientation it holds the boat just as securely either way. I do it that way because the factory bars are so narrow, and a Northwind 18 is so wide, that I don't get enough width the other way around.

My canoe doesn't budge in my setup. Look at the picture and you can see why that's a big deal.
 
Bradv
member (38)member
 
06/25/2020 11:23PM  
+1 on the keel overs.
 
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