Mounting a canoe

What is the best way to mount a canoe to a GFC? Thule has gunnel brackets that attach to standard cross bars, but not sure those would fit around the beef bars? Any diy ideas?


ratchet straps to the beef bars with a Jesus rope to front tow hook


Check out my build; I built my own 1020 roof racks to mount my canoe. @jedgar makes all the parts and has extrusion available for the same type of rack.

Then just use standard cam straps…No offence but I just cringed at the idea of a ratchet strap in the vicinity of my canoe :grimacing:


I modified the Thule load stops (gunnel brackets) to fit the slots in the beef bars. They were slightly bigger and needed to be ground down a bit. Not a big deal. I have 3 beef bars and a 16’ canoe, couple of straps around the front and rear bars and I’m good to go. Never used a front tie down even at highway speeds.


Same, I hate that front rope. Do you have pics of your mod? It might help others if they have a similar rack. Can you open the tent with yours? I’m curious if you can on a XL with a solo boat (14-14.5’)

I can’t with my tripping boat which is a PITA when on multiday/sport trips and I’m not using the boat for that stop.

none taken. I paid $100 for a canoe off craigslist. don’t care if it gets scratched. I abuse the stuff out of it. an EPIC secret pickerel spot on the cuyahoga is only accessible by canoe . there are logs, sticks, rocks, and a few beaver dams to get over THEN get through a quarter mile(17 kilometers) of lotus.

rope to the front? ya it’s insurance. I’ve seen what happens when they aren’t tied down properly unless this is the plan

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These were just a bit too big to fit in the beef bar t-slots, had to grind down the sides and a little off the bottom to get them to slide nicely in the tracks. Works great for canoe and hauling lumber.

No, I can’t open tent with a 16’er up there. fine for day fishing trips or somewhere where I’ll be for a few days.


I was just watching a youtube video of another truck camper and they were talking about a prototype rack system that can hold items under 300lb and it flips to the side so you can still open the tent. I think it would be really cool to have something that works like this with a GFC! Go to 4:40 in the video below:

There’s no need for gunwale brackets. You just need two Beef Rack bars and two NRS style boat straps. Make sure the beef bars are far enough apart, make sure the widest part of the canoe is in between the two bars (you want the front strap to have to widen if the canoe moves forward and the rear strap to widen if the canoe moves back). Wrap the strap around the beef bar, over the canoe, and around the other side of the bar. Make sure the straps come up right next to the gunwales. Pull really tight. The boat won’t go anywhere if you do it this way (no hooks to come loose, it’s easy to slide the canoe up without any obstructions on the rack).

The boat in these photos is about 16’ long. If your canoe is a lot longer then a front strap is a good idea but I never run one with this boat because the rack bars are so far apart it’s nice and stable. That’s one advantage of a camper over a topper for load hauling. Even on a short bed you have 8’ to support your roof loads.


While you certainly don’t need the gunwale brackets to secure a canoe, I find they have their advantages. Once you have them positioned for your canoe, you only need to move one of the rear brackets to load or unload. Then the canoe will stay in the proper position every time. Strap down as you described.
Plus they’re great for lumber, I like the added security for heavy loads. And finally for short trips, say from campsite to waters edge, I don’t even bother with straps. It’s not going anywhere.

I agree, I didn’t need load stops on my Yakima racks. The 1020 DIY rack I grabbed a pair of load stops from member @jedgar . Then used Dakine XL pads.

I run it as Wiley said.
With two long nrs straps. When going 80 on the freeway I like to put a one foot strap around the gunnel for the extra peice of mind.


We should have a GFC paddling trip meet up :joy:


I’m about 4 hours from the Boundary Waters :smile:. I don’t have my GFC yet, but will before next summer!