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Padding on cross bars for canoe?

Funny how old threads pop up. Since 2016, I had to replace my Thule bars. The bars rusted because the plastic coating wore off the bars due to sliding canoes onto the rack from behind the vehicle. The culprit was the hardware Old Town used to attach seats and thwarts to vinyl gunwales. Each time I slid the canoe on the bolts took off a little chunk of plastic, then water got in and the bars rusted.

Now, I put a carpet-covered 2x4 on top of the bar in the back, the one the canoes slide over. It was to protect the bar, but also prevents wear on the aluminum gunwales of my Rendezvous. To my surprise, the carpeted bar holds the boats more firmly than the naked Thule bar, so a double benefit.D0925F54-EFE1-4831-BD6D-6CD04925ED7F.jpeg
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And, apparently, didn't do enough. I'm not sure what happened,either the crosswind was higher than I thought, or something, (perhaps the straps had gotten a little loose overnight?) but I almost lost the canoe last weekend. I did lose both foamies on the driver's side. I got the feeling that the canoe slid sideways and rolled them out.
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Bow and stern tie down ropes would prevent that.
Always use clear vinyl tubing from hdwr store but put it on the gunnels not the racks. Carry them and extras in paddle bag so I can use when on other folks vehicles regardless of their setup.
I use pipe insulating foam

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Always use clear vinyl tubing from hdwr store but put it on the gunnels

I've seen people clip lengths of this on gunwales. I once went into Home Depot to look for it, but didn't know what department it was in or what to ask for. So I didn't find it. What is the tubing actually used for?

I have tried putting slit lengths of foam pipe insulation on the gunwales, but found that water would collect in them in the rain. And since I used to leave some canoes on my van all season, unused for weeks, I ended up with some water damage on the wooden gunwales. The clear tubing looks as if it would clip on in a more water rain resistant fashion.
perhaps but if outside all the time they too will hold water
Don’t know what department to tell you, I always ask at the front desk. The vinyl tubing is much much more durable than pipe insulation. I have had some pieces for 15+ years.
I use Yakima Load Stops with minicell foam glued to both surfaces for padding to protect the finish on all my wood gunwales. The load stops really lock the boat in place, making bow and stern lines unnecessary. Minicell foam is much more durable than pool noodle or pipe insulation foam but still needs to be replaced after a couple seasons of regular use.
I’m curious to try the vinyl tubing for a more durable option. D89865D5-2179-45BA-902F-508492A31558.jpeg
Also use Yakima stops and love em but tubing makes extra padding unnecessary. Personally I still use bow n stern lines ‘cause straps or rack attachment can fail and I’m afraid of killing the folks in the following car when at highway speed.
I let my gunwales get scratched. It's a canoe and if I worry about what it looks like, it might as well not be a canoe.
The load stops really lock the boat in place, making bow and stern lines unnecessary.

Load stops reduce the need for bow and stern lines because they can reduce left and right wind yaw. However, bow and stern lines serve the additional (if rare) purpose of being a backup to keep the boat from flying off the vehicle in case the belly lines break or, more likely, the entire rack-tower system pulls off the vehicle. I've seen this happen with loose or rusty tower clips or rain gutters.
I use pipe insulation with gaff (cloth) tape that I think lasts longer and doesn't leave the gooey mess than duct tape does. I usually get 1-3 seasons out of it before replacing.
Inspired by the minicell blocks here, I decided to try something different...

View attachment 47578 View attachment 47579

The local MallWart has something called "Yoga Blocks" used for support during certain kinds of stretching or acrobatic exercises. They're firm and resilient, and a bandsaw cuts them very smoothly. My rack is a DIY special (Its what I learned to weld on) and i simply tie down with ratchet straps. I'd add a longer backup rope for long hauls, or any significant highway distance, but on the local county roads, I've never had the straps move at all. We'll see how long that foam stuff lasts.
Very nice! This certainly allows you to custom fit the foam to your gunwales and roof rack.
My truck cab loadbar is a Rhino Rack HD bar, which includes a rubber strip in the top. My T-bar receiver hitch rack is a Spring Creek, which also has a rubber strip. It is also extendable to 96” IIRC so in theory I could carry 3 boats. My boats don’t budge when I strap them down with 15’ long camloc straps. One of these days I’ll load the two tandems and trim the straps as they’re overly long but too short to tie down two boats with one strap. As it is I just know how many wraps on each side I need to wind up with a secure job and minimal tag end (5 wraps per side for the Prism and 3 for the Polaris). I use a bow tie down but not one on the stern; that rack is going absolutely nowhere.
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Always use clear vinyl tubing from hdwr store but put it on the gunnels not the racks. Carry them and extras in paddle bag so I can use when on other folks vehicles regardless of their setup.
@stevet What size tubing do you use? How do you slit it? Does it stay on by itself? I got some clear tubing from the hardware store but I couldn't easily cut it with tin snips. Had to take the dremel cutter to slit it (it did more melting than cutting), and the tubing is so stiff it seems like it'll be hard to get on, might even scratch the gunnels if I'm not careful.
Outside diameter appears to be 1 1/4”. Always able to cut with tin snips if I recall….again, been many moons! It is stiff but will mellow with age/use though it takes some time. I have Yakima racks with gunnel stops so tubing must be placed in the same spot every time. I put a pencil mark inside the hull so I can easily pop on the tubing and then load without having to adjust after the boat is on the racks. Don’t leave them on while paddling….they sink.


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