type of car?

Out of curiosity, what type of cars do you generally find the most suitable to support your racing habits?

Obviously being able to conveniently sling your outrigger on top is a requirement, and equally obvious is one can make any type of vehicle work for them. But I'd like to know if you guys have found anything that you think would be idea. ie sport wagons, Suv/cuv's, sedans, hatchbacks etc..

Submitted by odie on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 4:04pm

By far the best vehicle I have owned for paddling would be my 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon. The racks on the top of the car were spaced out really far from one another so that the boat was secure even on gusty days. Also, the width of the car made it possible to load 4 canoes or surfskis across the top (and a few stacked on top of that!) The inside of the Vanagon was so spacious that I could do an early morning run on my surfski, shower at the beach and change comfortably inside inorder to make it to work on time. Also, I could pile my entire long-distance crew (10) plus a coach and a helper inside after a race and give everyone a ride back to their cars.
The two downsides to a Vanagon:
~If your not close to 6 feet tall you will need a stool to put your boat on top of the van
~That car broke down A LOT! So now I drive a humbling Voyager van (yep...a minivan) so that I can put my 'ski on top for short distances (and no gusty winds) AND I can safely drive my kiddies around too.
I think Luke has a pretty cool ride happening...maybe he can post a picture of his pimped-out-paddle-mobile.

#1 Mon, 10/22/2007 - 4:29pm

never owned one, but a Volvo Station wagon V70 works well.

long flat roof line for that rack spread and tons of space for gear. also, the low roof line means easy access to canoe racks ( I'm < 6') and avoids the overheight charges that BC Ferries charge when travelling to races on Vancouver Island.

go low, and long..2 guys at my club killed their Hurricanes driving into Parkade entrances.. ( Ford pickup and Chevy Denali)


#2 Tue, 10/23/2007 - 5:51am

89 Volvo 740 Station Wagon.

The roof racks are miles apart (for stability), and I can still use the cheap roof racks because I have rain gutters. The car can't do over 130 km/hr (downhill with a tail-wind) so I won't have to worry about the boat's being stressed out. I can sleep in the back, although I can't stretch completely out unless I go diagonal (I'm 6'4"). And if that VW Van runs into me, I'll win because the car's built like a tank.

I can fill the car with over 25 lifejackets, 25 paddles and 2 dragon boat steering oars. Ama's can be put inside the car (if I don't want them to get wet?).

When it comes to loading boats on my car, I have a little compartment in the back that allows me to keep everything I'll ever need for rigging - foam, duct tape, bungies, rope, etc.

It's not exactly a chick magnet, but neither am I. On a positive note, I put my boat on the roof more often (and thus go paddling more!) because it makes the car look WAY cooler.

Don Mulhall
Penticton Racing Canoe Club
Penticton, Canada

#3 Tue, 10/23/2007 - 7:18am

Volvo 850 turbo. wagon Best loading ever.

#4 Tue, 10/23/2007 - 12:37pm

Toyota Tacoma

#5 Tue, 10/23/2007 - 6:47pm

Volvo Station Wagon, Great paddling car, better chick magnet.

#6 Tue, 10/23/2007 - 7:17pm

the superferry...both your car and boat fits in it!

#7 Wed, 10/24/2007 - 12:10pm

83 Turbo Volvo Wagon ... Sweeeeeet for racks and gear...

#8 Thu, 10/25/2007 - 3:07pm

nice to see Volvo's under-represented here ahem

I've considered the volvo wagons even though their pretty pricey.. and these days they're Ford parts bin specials I hear, but I'll need to research that

I've nixed the idea of getting an SUV, it's too big for my needs, and the weight/mpg is no better than my piece of crap minivan.

been thinking of something along the lines of smaller suvs (cuv's they call them now), or a sport wagon.

#9 Thu, 10/25/2007 - 6:46pm

Has anyone used any of the following to get a wider bar spread on a car with a narrow bar spread?

Thule 887

Noble Hardware rack

Adirondack Rowing Shell Rack

#10 Fri, 11/09/2007 - 8:08pm

GM pick up with front bumper rack
dose the trick for me

#11 Sat, 11/17/2007 - 2:27pm

I had a bout of severe road rage yesterday I I was punching it, slamming the brakes and hit some high speeds chasing this guy... and the canoe stayed on top of the explorer. I was impressed. You always wonder "how far can I push this" pretty good.

#12 Tue, 01/15/2008 - 11:05am

Dodge conversion van .

#13 Tue, 01/15/2008 - 2:16pm

My idea of a perfect OC1 vehicle is one with cushy suspension and plenty of sidewall on tires to handle the roads. Regardless of how much support your rack has, the boat takes some unique stresses up there that it's not built for, especially when you have stiff suspension and the latest ridiculous sidewalls that are the rave (completely useless tires functionaly) combined with bumpy roads and jerky steering, acceleration, and braking. Be careful out there, these boats are strong in the water and like tissue out of water.

I always make strong efforts to drive smooth and "ease" over bumpy terrain while car-topping.

#14 Tue, 01/15/2008 - 2:36pm

I've yet to sling an OC on top, but I drive an Subaru Outback wagon. I've never had a problem with dugout canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, long boards, short boards etc...The lower roof line makes getting things on and off easy, and no worries about height clearance. There's a perfectly decent internal cargo capacity as well, especially when you fold the back seats down. The all wheel drive is nice too. I've outfitted mine with a Yakima rack and it all works like a charm.

ho`opili i ke kai

#15 Tue, 01/15/2008 - 2:36pm

Toyota Highlander: Can handle two OC-1s, two road bikes inside, paddling and biking gear, weekend luggage and tow the six man outrigger. Just make sure you don't get the LX with the air foil on the hatch. You can't open the hatch with the air foil and boats on top.

#16 Tue, 01/15/2008 - 3:06pm

Click the photo for enlarged image..

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

#17 Tue, 02/05/2008 - 2:06pm

I use a Burnham Boat Sling (google them) which is sort of similar to the Noble. Best accessory ever for my canoes. Going from Arizona to California to paddle, we'll regularly cruise at 100 - 110 mph. Canoes are rock stable even on a windy day. If you have to drive far, they are the way to go.

#18 Tue, 02/05/2008 - 4:26pm

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