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Thread: Carrying a canoe. Or two.

  1. #1
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    Carrying a canoe. Or two.


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    I have been carrying my canoes either on a Quick-N-Easy rack on my '63 Ford Falcon, or on foam blocks on my '03 Impala, or inverted in the back of my service truck. But it is always a pain to load and unload by myself without damaging the vehicle, not to mention the high lifting. I am not as spry as I once was. So I decided to buy or build a canoe trailer. The premade ones are pretty pricey, a grand and more. So I started looking at converting a utility trailer. Low and behold, they have become pretty expensive too, even for the smaller cheaper ones. I have a 5x10 utility, but didn't want to change it. I use it too often as is. I started a search for used boat trailers. And found a Craigslist deal on a jetski trailer. Cheap. Here is what I found, a Karavan brand.



    It has working lights and new tires. The fellow sold his jetski and the buyer didn't want the trailer. I got it for $150.

    Here is the trailer that was my inspiration, found on ebay as part of a two-for deal with a pair of canoes. Which I didn't need. Note the extension bars inside the cross pieces.



    I welded the bars on the trailer today and gave it a paint job. Always tending to overbuild, I used dual uprights with a bar across them, heck for stout and all welded instead of u-bolts like the eBay pic. I had to stop there for the holiday weekend. I still have to add the bar extensions and a deck to hold a plastic storage box for vests and camping gear, and a cooler. I thought I would have to extend the tongue, but after mounting the 16' Old Town, it is just right. I do need to scoot the axle back eight inches or so to get more tongue weight though. I also need to add fenders. I'll post a picture of the results so far tomorrow with two canoes loaded sans deck.

    Anyone else use a trailer to haul their canoes?
    Last edited by Codger_64; 05-24-2012 at 09:30 PM.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  2. #2
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    I have a 5x7 aluminum trailer with a boat rack that I can haul my zodiac and a 12ft aluminum or my buddies 17ft clipper . Its great with two boats and all the gear leaving the truck empty.

    Where are pics of your 63 falcon man!!!???

  3. #3
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    No trailer here.

    I need to get a hitch installed on my van. Lugging and lifting. And it is high!


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad "the butcher" View Post
    I have a 5x7 aluminum trailer with a boat rack that I can haul my zodiac and a 12ft aluminum or my buddies 17ft clipper . Its great with two boats and all the gear leaving the truck empty.

    Where are pics of your 63 falcon man!!!???
    I'll include the Falcon as a prop in the trailer pictures I'll take today. No hitch on it or the Impala yet. Towing this weekend will be with the service truck. I'd love to have an aluminum trailer but... geeze-Louise... those are the ones that are usually so expensive! I often use a shuttle service and we have had to transfer all of my gear from my truck or car to their shuttle van, time consuming on both ends of the shuttle trip. I used the trailer as seen in the picture above last weekend and it was a relief, especially when I got to the takeout where the sorting of gear and reloading is all on me. The shuttle service is great about having their guys load my gear and canoe at their headquarters for the twenty-plus mile trip to the put-in, unloading it all there and carrying it down to the launch. But the trip ends at a gravel bar where the lifting and carrying is all up to me. I have some physical limitations and the process can take me quite a while to complete.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfattyt View Post
    No trailer here.

    I need to get a hitch installed on my van. Lugging and lifting. And it is high!

    Oh my aching back! That is a worse lift than my old service truck's headache rack! Maybe the pictures of my canoe trailer will inspire you to get the hitch and trailer done! I like the fact that I can leave the canoes loaded and use the trailer as a storage rack. Then spur of the moment canoe trips won't seem like such a chore. Adding the cargo box will keep the vests and other gear handy and ready to go also.
    Last edited by Codger_64; 05-25-2012 at 05:33 AM.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  5. #5
    loving the falcon. my grandpa had one when i was young one back in the early 80's. i miss him and that car. good finds Codger! glad to see you still love getting out. seems like the older my dad gets the less he wants to do.. not you though.

  6. #6
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    If he is like me, it may be more of a matter of what he can do rather than what he wants to do. I mentioned how hard it is to lift even my 86# canoe very high, but it also kills my knees to sit in a static position for a long time. I have a lung condition (COPD) that causes me to run out of oxygen during or after any major exertion. It isn't that I don't want to do things, it is that I can't. So I have to take it slow and take frequent breaks. And with no canoing partner (wives gone, kids grown and gone), I am left to my own devices for workarounds. Like hiring the shuttle. And taking my service dog, Jake, with me. He alerts when I am having breathing difficulty and lets me know if there are sounds I don't hear (medical alert and hearing assist). Some day before too long I won't be able to go at all. But until then...
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  7. #7
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    Until then just keep kicking and doing what you can. I enjoy your posts, your experience and practical take on things is appreciated.

  8. #8
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    Just aquired an old boat trailer last year for just these reasons. Haven't welded it up yet, but need to get a "Rountoit".
    Mine is gonna need a rack for our Tipi poles as well, so I wanna make the up-rights fit in a socket and be inter changeable
    as a canoe carrier. Water proof boxes on the decking need to be big enough to hold paddles and as much of all the other "stuff"as
    they can.

    Some day before too long I won't be able to go at all.
    Goin to the BWCA in July for a week, you'll be duffin it in my boat wether you want to or not ( in spirit)
    wooden-nickels-round-tuit.jpg
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

  9. #9
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    Mewolf, are you going to pack tipis into the BWCA? Maybe not, it would sure add to the labor at portages. What are you poles made of? I am looking at some ideas along that line with a stand of popple trees near us. A nice straight bunch of them about 15 feet tall would serve well after they are dried down.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Codger_64 View Post
    If he is like me, it may be more of a matter of what he can do rather than what he wants to do. I mentioned how hard it is to lift even my 86# canoe very high, but it also kills my knees to sit in a static position for a long time. I have a lung condition (COPD) that causes me to run out of oxygen during or after any major exertion. It isn't that I don't want to do things, it is that I can't. So I have to take it slow and take frequent breaks. And with no canoing partner (wives gone, kids grown and gone), I am left to my own devices for workarounds. Like hiring the shuttle. And taking my service dog, Jake, with me. He alerts when I am having breathing difficulty and lets me know if there are sounds I don't hear (medical alert and hearing assist). Some day before too long I won't be able to go at all. But until then...
    understood. hats off to ya for keep on keeping on. most would have quit by now. my dad just works a lot and when he gets time off he needs the rest. thats his main reason and i dont blame him. he is mostly healthy. does have extremely high BP that is being watch carefully now but thats about it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hung-solo View Post
    understood. hats off to ya for keep on keeping on. most would have quit by now. my dad just works a lot and when he gets time off he needs the rest. thats his main reason and i dont blame him. he is mostly healthy. does have extremely high BP that is being watch carefully now but thats about it.
    I'd be willing to bet that your Dad just doesn't tell you all that he has going on physically. I know I don't tell my own adult kids. I haven't figured out the alternative to keeping on doing what I can do. I may die in my canoe on the river? It would be a PITA for somebody I suppose, but not for me. Sure beats sitting at home wishing I was getting a paddle wet. And watching Jake swim. And catching a few smallies and bream.





    The "Green Submarine" (Dagger Tupelo) is mounted just to show that it will carry a second canoe as is. The second will have to go up top on slide out extensions when I add the cargo box and deck for an ice chest below. I am thinking about an ATV gun mount or rod holder on the bottom of the carrier bars to carry paddles. But there would be no way to lock them on. I am using a cable bicycle lock to lock the canoes on the trailer and at home (my last previous canoe was stolen).
    Last edited by Codger_64; 05-25-2012 at 12:40 PM.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  12. #12
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    Ive been thinking about doing something similar with my car dolly. I usually just load up my 12' john boat in the back of the truck, not too heavy, but that truck is a 1 ton with a worked 454 big block, and gets around 10 miles to the gallon, where as my car gets about 30 mpg.

    that jon boat only weighs about 100 lbs, and the car dolly weighs about 250 lbs, from the time I had to pick the thing up and carry it from behind another truck that I didnt have keys to, to be able to hook it up to my truck.

    I have a couple reciver htiches laying in my scrap pile, just have to modify one to fit my car, and modify the car dolly to carry the boat, and fishing trips will be 2/3rds cheaper this summer!
    Joe Calton
    contact joe357m@bresnan.net
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  13. #13
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    That is kinda where I am headed with my canoe trailer. I want to make some trips to Arkansas to canoe, but my Impala gets twice the milage of my service truck. Not to mention that it is much more comfortable on long trips and the truck is loaded down with tools. It has a cross bed tool box, two in-bed boxes, and the two side boxes, all full of tools and parts. I haven't been robbed yet, but it would only take once to hurt me badly. So I have to be careful where I park it.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  14. #14
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    Sweet car man and in great shape for a runner, that thing reminds me of cruising with my buddy in high school in his, how long have you had her?
    That little trailer behind it looks sweet, nice canoe by the way.

    As to my aluminum trailer.......I got a small inheritance 5 years ago and before I could piss it away bought 10 acres up in the Cariboo, paid off my truck and credit card and dropped 3400 on the trailer and 2600 on a 16 ft lund with an 18 horse and trailer. If that windfall would have come to me at 26 instead of 36 there would probably have been a lot of partying with little to show for it.

    The trailer has a big checkerplate toolbox 4ft by 2ft and 2ft deep on the tongue in front of the box. 205x15in rim tires with a mounted fullsize spare outside of the box, and independent brakes with a battery in the toolbox. Weighs 494 pounds and has a max load of 3500lbs. My stepdad is a sheetmetal worker and he said it was a lifetime trailer. One of the best things I own Imop.

    Going to university and broke now.....with some toys and property however.

    Good on you for soldering on getting outdoors despite some health issues. It will keep you going longer than "taking care of yourself" sitting at home as you mentioned, grandpa taught me that.

    My Grandpa only stopped getting out on his own to the lake fishing or hunting at 85 and he had a fair bit of health issues that hit suddenly when he was 70 and pulled through. Before that nobody could dig a goose pit in frozen rocky saskatchewan ground faster than him until he was 67 years old and my uncle stevie/ his youngest son was the man to do it at 27 years old and 6"4 250-265lbs. Tough old german/irish farmer with a razor wit.

    Lived alone for many years on the farm after grandma passed and the only time I saw him grumpy was when he was home with nothing to do. He was just to stubborn to take it easy and I swear its what kept him going so long. Just passed in sept at 93 years old, lived on his own till 87.

    You remind me of him getting out with your dog, including a lot of your post and views in the political forum here.

    Take care bud
    Last edited by Brad "the butcher"; 05-25-2012 at 07:59 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by willseeyalater View Post
    Mewolf, are you going to pack tipis into the BWCA? Maybe not, it would sure add to the labor at portages. What are you poles made of? I am looking at some ideas along that line with a stand of popple trees near us. A nice straight bunch of them about 15 feet tall would serve well after they are dried down.
    No, not taking tipis, just want to make the trailer convertable for either .

    I got Balsam poles, but Popple would be just fine for a lodge.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

  16. #16
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    My new trailer worked fine this holiday weekend carrying the two canoes. I still plan to continue my mods mentioned before. I did find some heavy wire display racks to make the floor of the deck for the trailer ($15 for the three, appx 4' x 3'8" each). I only mounted one this weekend with a pair of u-bolts to see how it fit (I just strapped the little canoe on top of it as seen above since the rack is flat). I'll use the other two to make a basket with locking lid and weld the whole shebang together and to the crossmembers of the trailer. My visits to the scrap metal dealers only yielded very rusty expanded metal mesh, not exactly a good starting place for the cargo basket I envision for this trailer. Off road "safari racks" are cool, but way too expensive. I had no luck with the cargo box yet either and I am loathe to donate one of my diamond plate aluminum bed boxes from my service truck. Or pay the bucks ($200+) for another one just for this project.

    Here is an eBay pic I snagged of someone else's effort at a canoe trailer. The "there, I fixed it" trailer.



    Or the "hold my beer and watch this" trailer. I am pretty sure the construction involved duct tape, bailing wire and WD-40.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  17. #17
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    This is my set up. Works well for us.


  18. #18
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    Nice rack! Of course I mean that in a manly sorta way.

    I've had "up-top" truck racks before and they always worked well. I just can't lift my 85+# canoe that high by myself any more. The little Tupelo, 29#, is no problem.

    I worked on the deck basket some today. I should have it ready to weld up by tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I'll borrow a die grinder to do the rest of the cutting. There are just too many cuts left on the two end pieces to finish with a hacksaw. The racks I am using are 12"x2" grids of 5/16" welded steel rods. Each endpiece has a curved bottom cut to follow the downward bowed trailer crossmembers (seen in the bare frame pic below). I'll have to wait until I decide on the cargo box before I cut and weld on the c-channel brackets to support that in front of the deck basket.

    The starting point:
    Last edited by Codger_64; 05-29-2012 at 06:33 PM.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

  19. #19
    Codger- that rack looks great—and practical. It would be a shame to put roof racks on that car! Being able to weld is sure a handy skill to have.

    Not to derail the thread, but... I was reading Bill Jordan's, No Second Place Winner, and came across something that reminded me of your signature. Thought you might appreciate it.

    "I have found that adventures are usually the result of inefficiency or lack of planning and can best be defined as something you didn't realize you had until you were back at home where you were wishing you were while you were having it." —Bill Jordan

  20. #20
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    That was actually the first half of the Thornton Wilder quote. It continues:
    And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.”
    The Quick-N-Easy roof rack looks Ok on the Falcon. It's polished aluminum brackets clamp onto the roof gutters and used varnished ash crossbars. And if I had a partner, it would be no big deal to get the 16' 85# canoe on and off the roof. By myself, I am one sneeze away from major damage. I finished cutting the basket and will get it welded today or tomorrow. Then on to find the right cargo box. I am just home for lunch right now. More work yet to do befroe the day is finished.
    "A knife in a mans hand is as precious as a diamond necklace on a womans neck" Felix Mirando

    As the great Andrew Martin once said "One is glad to be of service".

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