I thought these details would be worth sharing after a request for something like this on Facebook. I used a couple of glass handling suction pads bought off e-bay and a piece of plastic tubing I had hanging around. The suction pads need to fit so that the hollow handles face sideways across the vehicle roof – total cost less than £20 for 2 of these. I used quads, but doubles would also work, although the handles would be set relatively further back on the roof. The tube needs to be flexible because it has to bend slightly. This has the very useful side effect of holding itself tightly in the pad handles.
I also recommend putting some end stops onto the rear roof bar to stop the canoe sliding off sideways! Catching a falling canoe is no joke. A set of small steps is also very useful, because working at a roof height of around 2 metres is very different from working at normal car height.
This set-up works brilliantly. Not really for leaving on the van when you are driving – but I do for short journeys and just tie the pads on with some rope.
The rolling wheels on the end of the canoe are highly recommended. The first set were a bit flimsy, so I made some more substantial ones which I use all the time. These were cobbled together from some angle iron and a couple of cheap e-bay wheels (£10 for these).
I’ve included a picture of my winch system as well because it makes the whole loading and unloading process very simple. I leave the bow wheels on the canoe when I store it. So from from car port to top of van is around 10 minutes with relatively little lifting. Just as well, as the Venture Prospector feels a lot heavier than the claimed 32kgs!
Any questions – please ask in comments.