Carrying an 18-1/2 Foot Canoe and Tandem Bike on a 2018 Toyota Highlander with Factory Roof Rack

Question:

Hi Etailer team, We would need to be able to easily carry our 18.5 foot canoe or our tandem bicycle on a new 2018 Toyota Highlander. Neither item is very heavy just 45 pounds for the canoe, just long! Unfortunately the spacing of the OEM roof rack attachment points on the 2018 Highlander are fixed at 27.5 inches. Too short for our long loads. Is the a fix or work-around for carrying our long recreational equipment? Currently we have a 2006 Highlander that is able to carry these loads on its manufacturer installed rack. We cant buy a new car if we cant engineer a solution for our gear! Thanks for your help!!!

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Expert Reply:

There are canoe carriers that work with the bar spread of 27-1/2 inches on your 2018 Toyota Highlander. The Swagman Exo Aero # S65145 requires a minimum of 24 inches of bar spread. But I understand what you are saying. The canoe is so long you will need extra support.

If your Highlander has a 2 inch trailer hitch or if you added one such as # e98844 you could then use a load extender such as the Yakima LongArm # Y01149 or MaxxTow extender # MT70231. These will essentially add a third crossbar but one that is mounted via the trailer hitch rather than the roof. I have linked videos on both extenders for you.

But the roof may not be the best option since there isn't a tandem bike rack carrier that will mount to the factory crossbars on your Highlander. So if you went with a hitch you could carry both the canoe and the tandem bike on a Rack and Roll trailer # Y08106. The crossbar spread on this trailer is adjustable from 4 inches up to 48 inches so it has the spread to handle long boats and bikes. Since your canoe is so long you will also need tongue extension kit # Y08109. For a tandem bike rack that will fit use the Yakima Sidewinder # Y02071.

The etrailer hitch listed above measures 16 inches from the ground to the top of the receiver opening so to tow the Yakima Rack and Roll trailer level you will need a ball mount with a 6 inch rise, # C45100, and a 2 inch ball for the coupler, # 63845. And to activate the lights on the trailer you would need wiring harness # 118449 if your Highlander does not have the factory tow package, or # 56042 if it does have the factory tow package.

I know that all of this may not be ideal but it is the best, safest, and pretty much the only way to carry both the canoe and the tandem bike.

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Michael H

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