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Advice, Suggestions and General Help New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  best pick for vehicle to transport boat
  Posted by: Kim on Apr-07-13 6:12 PM (EST)
   Category: Canoes 

I almost purchased a new Honda Fit last week to replace my 1997 Honda Odyssey which is what I have used for getting my canoe or kayak to the water for the last 15 years. The Honda dealer told me I could install a Thule roof rack to do the job but just before handing over the money, I called Thule and they told me the rack for the Honda Fit was NOT recommended for canoes or kayaks, only surfboards and bikes. Now I am wondering what car to buy..... My son says he really likes his Jeep Wrangler but I would hate the poor gas mileage, I looked at a 2011 Honda CRV but can't decide if I really need that large of vehicle, no passengers will be with me except my dog. Any suggestions? I thought I had arrived at the perfect solution with the Fit and now I am at a loss.

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Messages in this Topic

 

  here you go Kim
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-07-13 6:28 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-07-13 6:34 PM EST --

http://www.fitfreak.net/forums/general-fit-talk/34210-fit-kayaks.html

Here's an image from the same website:

http://img180.imageshack.us/img180/9305/fitkayaks3.jpg

That car is too good to pass on. Have you tried Yakima or Inno racks?

 
 
  thanks
  Posted by: Kim on Apr-07-13 10:44 PM (EST)
The pictures were great, now I know the Fit will be a good fit for me. I had never heard of the Inno rack system. Your post is MUCH appreciated!
 
 
  you're welcome!
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-08-13 10:05 AM (EST)
I have had my eye on the Honda Fit for awhile now. Great car.

There is always a way!
 
 
  Thule said what?
  Posted by: dc9mm on Apr-09-13 12:02 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-09-13 12:04 AM EST --

Well I used there tool on there website to pick out my kayak rack setup from them. Here is a picture of my 2008 Honda Fit Sport which is older model but almost the same car.Pic of old Eddyline Nighthawk 16.
http://www.dc9mm.x10.mx/eddyline.jpg
I now put up my NDK Greenlander Pro which is even bigger at 17' 9" weight about 55 pounds plus I have had my 54 pound Tsunami 14 footer on the rack with the other kayak. So TWO kayaks on it at same time. I also go kayaking with a women who has the newer version of the Fit which is the current model and she also use Thule rack for her 14.5 foot kayak.

Last summer I was at kayak event up in Canada and a guy pulled in with 3 kayaks on his Honda Fit. Think it was yakima rack.Quite a site. He had two 17 footers and a shorter say 13 footer on his.

I now still have the J-bars on but also a set of V-saddles which are way easyer to load a kayak on. I would never buy J-bars again but since I had them I use them when a second kayak is needed.

 
 
  Is it possible
  Posted by: LeeG on Apr-09-13 9:19 AM (EST)
The dealer was responding to the possible weight you might be carrying? It's possible the load of two plastic kayaks might exceed Hondas recommended max load. Also a very light car isn't exactly the optimum canoe carrier for freeway driving.


I think the Fit is a great car but you might also check out the Hyundai Elantra GT.

Go to Yakimas website and see which car will allow your crossbars to be located far apart.
 
 
  nah
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-09-13 11:25 AM (EST)
Cardelo uses a Mini to transport his kayaks. If anything I'd get the same rack extension he uses.
 
 
  Reading Yakima Fit book
  Posted by: LeeG on Apr-10-13 11:15 AM (EST)
It's no problem. The Elantra has 3" wider track, 2" shorter and 200lbs more. The Fit is an exceptional small car but for regular roof loads at highway speeds I'd want something bigger.
 
 
  lots of people use the Fit to cartop
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-10-13 11:28 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-10-13 11:34 AM EST --

Seems like an arbitrary point to determine at what point a car is too small. If you consider quality and resale I'm sure the Honda would win out.

I just hate to see people make car choices primarily on kayak carrying when there's no proven reason to do so and unless the car is going to be used primarily for kayak shuttling. Otherwise it seems like there are other parameters.

 
 
  Small is good
  Posted by: carldelo on Apr-10-13 6:29 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-10-13 6:32 PM EST --

I do indeed regularly carry two boats on top of a Mini, at highway speeds, often for long distances. The size/weight is truly not an issue. Here's my standard show-off photo:

http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l234/carldelo/Cape%20Breton/RoadTrip010.jpg

If you think about it, most cars are about the same width, and overturning moments (due to crosswinds, say) are more a function of how high the boats are, rather than the weight of the car. That's why I never use J-racks. I had a high gust break a pair right off, but the boat in the V-bar carrier and the car itself didn't really move.

I think V-bars are much under rated as boat carriers, both for ability to move boats far apart on a narrow roof, and because the V cradles can be anywhere from 7-9 feet apart, which makes the boat quite stable.

http://s97.photobucket.com/user/carldelo/media/Pachena%20on%20Mini/Pachena005.jpg.html

In addition, a small car like a Fit or a Mini has a lower CG than a pickup or SUV, which also helps. BTW, the Fit is almost exactly the same weight as the Mini (both about 2500 pounds). I think it will be fine.

 
 
  Cardelo:
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-14-13 12:47 PM (EST)
Forgive me because I know you've posted this before, but do you have a link to vendors selling the V bar?
 
 
  ok. found it here:
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-14-13 2:45 PM (EST)
http://goodboykayaks.com/?product_cat=vbars

I cannot believe no major rack maker has bought this from him or made their own.
 
 
  Actually
  Posted by: carldelo on Apr-14-13 4:27 PM (EST)
I use Kayakpro EZ-Vee. They come in multiple lengths to suit different hull types (mine are 7' and 8'). They are powder coated aluminum, welded construction with adapters for either Thule or Yakima. I made my own adapters for my aero cross bars.

http://www.kayakpro.com/kp/kayakpro2/wwwhtml/contents/ez-vee.htm

I initially bought a Goodboy as my second carrier, but sold it and got another EZ-Vee. I liked the light weight, but not the bolted construction, or the rack connection with exposed bolts. Also, it carried the boat several inches higher, which I wanted to avoid.
 
 
  thanks man!
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-14-13 5:12 PM (EST)
It looks like Goodboy Kayaks only makes in batches or to order.

Bookmarked this time. Thanks again!
 
 
  Small Car
  Posted by: richardp on Apr-09-13 11:44 AM (EST)
Check out the Mazda 2 - similar in size and price to the Fit. They show a rack and Kayak carrier. Their stuff is usually made by Thule.
 
 
  Thule vs. Yakima
  Posted by: Kocho on Apr-10-13 1:14 PM (EST)
I read somewhere that, specifically for the Fit, the Thule system is a better option: stronger and less damaging to the door sills than Yakima. That particular Fit needed to carry 4 white water kayaks at a time, which is up to 200lb.

I drive an Insight and before that had the first generation Prius and never had issues with one, two or sometimes three boats on top. Yes, the little engine will strain above 65mph even on the flats due to the added wind resistance, but if you stay below that speed it is no problem. You do want front and rear tie downs for long boats to control the pitch up and down mainly and for short boats - for safety, should something come loose.

If you drive kayaks and canoes for a living every day on the car you might consider a larger wagon, but for short drives like I do (mostly within the hour, 2-3 times a week) a small car is perfect. With the gas money I save per year over an SUV or a van/large car I can probably buy a new kayak each Christmas ;)
 
 
  which one did you like better?
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-10-13 3:13 PM (EST)
Insight, or Prius?
 
 
  Different...
  Posted by: Kocho on Apr-10-13 5:42 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-10-13 5:49 PM EST --

For heavy city traffic the Prius is more economical. The current generation especially, which is also more powerful than the Insight. We have now an '08 Prius and '11 Insight and the two get roughly the same mileage in light traffic, the Prius beating the Insight by a couple of miles per gallons in stop and go. The Prius is more spacious, the Insight has lighter steering and softer riding and fewer rattles...

Hard to tell... If you regularly use the rear seat for adults, the Insight is not a great choice as space is rather limited. It is cheaper by $5k USD new so money-wise it is a toss-up until you hit maybe 100-150k miles to break even due to the better fuel economy of the Prius.

The insight is somehow simpler and more driver-oriented, if you can say so for a car that is built for economy and not performance, so I like that. As long as you don't expect it to perform outside of its limits, it is a good car and, so far, has been mostly reliable... Pretty comfortable too, even on long drives (for the driver at least, not good for rear passengers even of they are 10 years old, due to very limited foot room in the rear). I suppose, by European standards it might not look so small, but even the Fit has more rear room, but the Insight drives nicer and is quieter. I think in Europe you guys get a hybrid Fit, which would be nice, but not sure if it makes financial sense there as there are a lot of other cheaper and almost as economical small cars to choose from, that are more fun to drive...

Works great for my boating though. I fit a 9" whitewater boat inside regularly, and/or some more on the roof... With 2 surf skis on top and two guys with gear inside for 2 days, we averaged 40 miles per gallon while keeping up with traffic on the highway (would have been closer to 60mpg without the boats)

 
 
  wow
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-10-13 7:17 PM (EST)
Impressive that you can squeeze a boat inside!

What you wrote makes sense given each manufacturer's reputations and philosophies. Honda has always made more driver-oriented cars. Sochioro was a racer.

The one I'd like is the CR-Z, but they have to up the MPG to make it worthwhile.
 
 
  Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix
  Posted by: Waterbird on Apr-10-13 10:38 PM (EST)
I've been researching cars that would fit my lifestyle (kayaking, camping, biking, etc.) for a while. The Honda Fit was my first choice. Then I came across the Pontiac Vibe, the almost identical twin of the Toyota Matrix. They have the same engine; slightly different exterior styling.

The internal space is huge for such a small vehicle. Reviews for mechanical reliability are excellent---there are almost no problems with or complaints about this car; professional reviewers and consumers love them.

Professional reviewers say the Vibe is superior esthetically to the Matrix, which is good because the Vibe is cheaper in a used car.
 
 
  how about resale?
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-11-13 11:34 AM (EST)
I'd bet on the Toyota, even though it's basically the same car. This is what happened with the Geo Prism vs. Toyota Corolla.

I do agree with the reviewers re: aesthetics. Toyota puts out some ugly cars these days.
 
 
  Mitsubishi Mirage 2014
  Posted by: mr_canoehead on Apr-11-13 1:00 AM (EST)
If I were looking at a new car (which is unlikely as my 10 year old one is still running fine), I would seriously consider the new Mirage. Fantastic MPG using basic physics instead of advanced gizmos. The car is light, aerodynamic, and modestly powered.

I know some of you folks enjoy your 80mph+ interstates, but for more reasonable speeds, huge horsepower isn't necessary. I can tow a canoe with a bike, so even 70hp is enough to move it along at 65mph all day.
 
 
  That's not a car ;)
  Posted by: Kocho on Apr-14-13 11:23 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-14-13 11:27 AM EST --

Just looked it up - it is tiny! Smaller than a Ford Fiesta! Tall, narrow and short = wobbly handling, i suspect. 3 cyl. engine... May be perfectly OK as a city driver, but it would be close to dangerous (for the driver) on the highway... I had a Geo Metro 3 cylinder manual tranny at one time and I was getting 50mpg highway with it consistently. But it would blow around in winds a lot by itself - i can imagine (never tried it) that with a couple of large kayaks on top, a car like this might not be a good idea at all, unless kept under 60 mph on smooth roads for short distances and no large hills ;)

I suppose with a trailer it would be good for what you describe though. My Metro was only 45 horse powers and could keep up with traffic just fine if not loaded... But it felt much better drafting 18 wheelers than splitting air on its own ;)

 
 
  VW Jetta Sportswagon TDI
  Posted by: morayreef on Apr-13-13 8:00 PM (EST)
I have been driving a Jetta Sportswagon TDI for about 9 months now and I can't say enough good stuff about it. The turbo diesel gives you plenty of power all around and I get about 38 mpg city with or without roof rack, same 38 mpg highway with 2 boats on the car, 46-47 mpg highway without boats and roof rack. It has a long low roof line for easy loading. When I bought 2 year old TDI lease returns were only going for $2000 less than sticker on a new car.
 
 
  Makes sense to choose a car for Kayaks
  Posted by: FrankNC on Apr-14-13 11:56 AM (EST)
In the thread above, a post says it doesn't make sense to choose a car specifically for kayaks unless a lot of shuttling is involved.

We only run a couple shuttles a year but the kayaks just stay on the car for 6 to 9 months of the year. Otherwise we would do half as many paddles. Wednesday, Thurday, and Friday nights we often would not paddle if we had to go home first and get the boats off the racks and then load them on the car. It adds about 10 hours a week of paddling to our warm weather kayaking.

I highly recommend that you really do pick your car for paddling so you can leave the boats on top and paddle more often.
 
 
  that may be personal preference
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Apr-14-13 12:43 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-14-13 1:42 PM EST --

Last year I paddled almost every weekend. For me it's not that much of an inconvenience to load and unload my boat. I can do it in under 10 minutes. What takes me time is finding all my gear!

I'm speaking from personal preference, though, and if you like to keep your boats on top of the car, which makes sense, you make a good point. I'd rephrase my point to be that small cars needn't be excluded from the menu.

 
 
  Tracks
  Posted by: harry0244 on Apr-14-13 10:45 AM (EST)
If you have tracks for a rack installed, you can have a quickly removable rack that is mounted on a base solidly bolted to the roof. I have Thule tracks under the Yakima rack on my truck. I mounted the tracks farther apart than the instructions said. The reason for their spacing was reinforcing below the roof. I drilled though both the roof and the reinforcing, and the lower hole held the end of expanding nut stable while its middle expanded between the two layers.

For liability reasons, I do not recommend not following directions.

Harry
 

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