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What Can I Use to Carry a Canoe on a 2004 Pontiac Vibe with Factory Raised Rails

Question:

I have a 100 lb. fiberglass canoe 14 long and am trying to determine if there is a roof rack system that I can use to transport it on my 2004 Pontiac Vibe which has factory side rails but no cross rails. I saw a Yakima base rack system that said it would support up to 125 Lb. but all of the water sport accessories I saw for it refer to kayaks, rather than canoes. Is there anything that would work for the canoe? Thanks.

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Expert Reply:

We do have a rack system available that will utilize the factory rails that run front to back. The Thule roof rack consisting of the Rapid Crossroad Feet # TH450R, 53" WingBar Evo Crossbars # TH711420, as well as locks # TH450400 will attach to the existing rails and provide cross bars.

With these cross bars you have a 165 pound capacity. If the roof load capacity of the Vibe is less, you must abide by that number instead. See the vehicle owner manual for roof capacity. Remember the weight of the canoe, 100 pounds, must be added to the weight of the carrier itself and that is the total load weight.

Canoes are typically flat-bottom and the saddles and cradles for kayaks may work, but they are not the best to use. And due to the open top of a canoe, if set right side up, there would be so much wind resistance, fuel economy would be greatly compromised and wind noise would be greatly increased.

The best way to carry a canoe on a roof rack is to flip it upside down. Thule has a nice Canoe Carrier, part # TH819, that will easily attach to the cross bar kit I mentioned above. It comes with 4 small cradles to hold the canoe on the load bars. It also has two load straps to secure the canoe to the load bars as well as bow/stern tie down ropes and hooks to keep the canoe from sliding front to back.

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