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I just took delivery of a 14' hypalon raft. I also got rid of my pickup and bought a Ford Expedition this week. I was planning on transporting the raft rolled up, but I'm wondering whether I could transport it on the Expy's roof rack instead. It would free up space and save me the work of deflating and re-inflating. Is there any reason I couldn't feasibly do that? I've done it with canoes, but this rafting thing is new to me. Tell me what you think. Thanks.
 

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I don't think I'd trust my roof rack with n inflated boat on the car.
That's my 14' NRS on my Subaru. If I don't use my trailer I'll roll the raft and put it behind the rear seat, PFDs and gear go in the back seat and frame and oars go on top.
 

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do it, but tie from the front and back as well as the rack that way you distribute the force evenly. Plus one of the mile stones of being a boater is running down the highway to retrieve an inflated boat. Lots of laughs after you get it back.
 

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Done it for short distances. And when raft is rigged as a paddle raft. I turn it black side up for a more aerodynamic ride... Otherwise, roll it up and put it in back.
Yes on the bow and stern tie downs.
 

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Wind resistance at 60mph puts incredible stress on things, ever seen a roof top matress folded in half as it flew down the highway? Be kind to your new toy and transport it rolled up. You even get better gas milage that way.
 

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Wind resistance at 60mph puts incredible stress on things, ever seen a roof top matress folded in half as it flew down the highway? Be kind to your new toy and transport it rolled up. You even get better gas milage that way.
All of this is absolutely true, and I'll add one more problem you will encounter with a raft on the roof rack. The air will expand and contract with the air temperature and sunlight, so you might start out with a properly inflated raft, but soon find it going flabby and flapping in the wind, or worse, overinflating and bursting. Don't do it!
 

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I dunno- my roof rack has a weight limit of 150 lbs. I woun't trust it to hold than a kayak (which btw- it's only so entertaining to have come loose at 70 mph and be dangling off the back of your vehicle in the rain...)
 

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I've put an inflated 14' boat on a number of different factory set ups, but only short distances and under 60 MPH. If space is an issue, roll it un folded, bow to stern like a carpet, with paddles in the middle. Then strap the roll to your roof rack. This works great and does not put any stress on the boat.
 

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I have a 10' NRS raft that I've hauled numerous times on top of my Volvo wagon and on top of a Chevy Suburban with no problems, including hauling a one piece steel row frame. I have Yakima racks on one and Thule on the other. I include bow and stern tie downs if I'm hauling it from my house to the Poudre (approx 15 miles on back roads) but not for short shuttles. Granted, my 10' raft is quite a bit smaller than a 14'.
 

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You can see the 2x6 pieces of wood that are mounted to the yakima bars using Yakima parts and longer bolts. They are 12ft long. The boats tubes fit perfectly and distribute the weight evenly. I usually put the cooler, paddles etc up top too so five of us can ride inside.

 

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Having the Subaru mounted under the raft like that will give you a lot of stability in heavy water, but could be a problem in shallows.
 

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Might just be playing devils advocate here, but many of you mention expansion/contraction as well as wind issues. Wouldn't rafts be put through a lot of the same stress on a trailer? I guess wind is a bit less since the vehicle is creating some draft for the trailer, but I've seen some big rigs behind little cars. Can't imagine in a setup like that the raft isn't seeing some wind.

I only ask all this because I was contemplating transporting a raft on top of my tacoma if I can't scrape the coin for a trailer. Mainly for more local day trips, and roll it up for longer hauls.
 

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Yes, wind resistance and air pressure issues are still there with a trailer. In my experiance transporting the boat fully rigged on the trailer is only effective for short trips between put-ins, for longer trips, mountain passes or highway speeds it's better to roll it up.

I once tried to drive my fully rigged cat boat from the Arkansa river back to my home in the mountains outside of Boulder. The trip has so much change in elevation that I had to stop about 6 times to re-tie the boat and keep it on the trailer, or to loosen straps that were cutting into the tubes. It would have taken far less time to roll the tubes in the first place.

By the way, the difference in gas milage is significant if the wind is blowing; I get about 17mpg with the tubes rolled up and as little as 8mpg with the boat fully rigged.
 

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A trailer is designed to take the pressure of cargo.

A roof is designed to keep out the rain and wind.

Roof racks list the capacity as 100 lbs.

I might try it as a shuttle with 1 boat, that's it.

It only take 10 minutes to inflate a boat.

Keep it safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Actually, after reading all the input (very helpful, thanks everyone), I've decided to trade the Expedition for one of those Subies that can be driven underwater. Don't know why I didn't think of that before!;) You've definitely convinced me I need to transport the raft rolled. I inflated it Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy the process was. Can't wait to go rafting. Around here river running is feasible all year. Thanks everyone.
 

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transporting the boat fully rigged on the trailer is only effective for short trips between put-ins, for longer trips, mountain passes or highway speeds it's better to roll it up.
I don't agree. I think maybe it depends on your trailer. I have been carrying my raft fully rigged to the river of a flatbed trailer for many years without problem. I do keep a careful watch on the inflation, making sure that it does not get over inflated. That means that most of the time, especially in the morning, the raft is soft. Not a problem. I strap from the frame to the trailer, not from D-rings. If the raft looks like it's getting to tight against the straps, I may have to let out some air. Easily done, and takes less time than ordering lunch at McDonalds.

 
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