How to Carry a Canoe on a Minivan

How to Carry a Canoe on a Minivan

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Canoeing is an inexpensive and relaxing hobby that can be fun for individuals or the whole family. Rather than renting a canoe every time, you can buy your own canoe and carry it on your vehicle. Transporting your canoe to and from the water need not be a challenge, even if you have a minivan. With your own canoe, you can be sure of your equipment and have the correct-sized canoe for your needs.

Items you will need

  • 3 ratchet straps or ropes

  • Blankets or padding

Place padding or blankets on the roof of your minivan to avoid scratching or denting your paint job. If you have a roof rack, you may skip this step, unless your canoe is longer than the rack. Roll up or fold blankets to create a barrier between your vehicle and the edges of the canoe. Place the padding near the front of the roof and near the back. You can also use pillows, seat cushions, mattress pads or any other type of padding. You don't need to secure the cushioning because the weight of the canoe will hold them down.

Put the canoe upside down on top of your minivan. Center the canoe on the minivan and make sure that there is not too much overhang on the front or back of the van. A small amount of overhang is OK or even necessary.

Strap the canoe down across the front and back of the canoe. Hook or tie the straps to the roof rack of the minivan. If you have no roof rack, run the straps down under the minivan and hook or tie the ends to the chassis of the minivan. Most vans have hook holes in the frame just under the door panels. Ratchet the straps down until they are tight, and tie off the slack.

Tie down the bow of the canoe to the front of your minivan. Depending on your minivan design, it may be best to hook the strap to the frame underneath the front bumper for extra security.

Check the canoe's stability by pushing on it and making sure it doesn't wobble or move around.


  • Make sure the straps don't obstruct your doors.
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