Red Rock Canoe Crates

Here's how we ship out Souris River Canoes to our retail customers!  Since we can't get UPS to install roof racks on all of their trucks, we have to crate 'em up and ship 'em out via a big, honkin' semi tractor trailer (or that would be an "articulated lory" if you're British).  I build every last one of these crates right here at Red Rock.  Now don't go inspecting my wood-working  precision - they're not works of fine cabinetry, but they do haul canoes really well.  Scroll down to see the what a #25 TORX bit looks like, too. You'll need a Torx bit, a charged-up cordless drill and a pocket knife (to cut the straps) to take the canoe crate apart.

I don't recommend car-topping this beast.  It weighs about 130 lbs.

Ready for the ride to Washington State

If you have a truck or a trailor, just take it home in the crate and use the wood for something. 

FYI - these completed canoe crates are about 17-19 feet long and about 40 inches wide, 22" tall so you'll need to take that into account if you want to haul it home on your truck or trailor. Remember to bring some rope and other tie-down stuff.

These are the tops and bottoms of the crates.  I try to stay ahead of orders, but we sometimes do run out.  Then it's back to the shop...

We've been asked about shipping canoes with travelers visiting the area and hauling the canoe on top of their car to our distant customers.  This works kinda-sorta-OK, but sometimes our customers have to wait a ridiculously long time before someone happens to be heading in their direction.  Plus, we've heard some true horror stories and wouldn't want to burden anyone with the problems that can occur by saddling up inexperienced canoe haulers and setting them free on the highway.  Our crate method seems to be doing really well, overall. 


This is a #25 TORX Bit that you can get at just about any hardware store for about $1.50.  It's a 6-point star bit that you'll need to remove the screws that hold the crate together.  So far, it appears to me that Torx screws are the strongest made so that's why I use these odd little screws.  I don't want any of them shearing off under stress during the ride out to a truck transfer station near you. 

A life of crime would be a bad choice for me...I didn't realize how defined my fingerprints are.

Darn! It appears that hand-modeling is out, too.

OK - your canoe has landed.  Now what?

When your canoe gets to the trucking transfer station near you, they'll call you or leave a message on your answering machine to arrange for you to pick it up. If it's a home delivery, they'll call to arrange a drop-off and someone will need to be home according to the appointment time.  IF you have a business that you can ship it to, they'll drive it right over to you when it gets to town without the extra home delivery charge (I don't have a clue why this has been the case).  Home delivery is available (and sometimes the only option) for about $40 -$90 more.  For some folks this is worth it due to longer travel distances especially if you live out in the sticks like many people who buy canoes do.  Our farthest place is Delta Juction, Alaska.  Talk about "Timbuktu" and this was way more expensive  to ship as well.  The canoe traveled by semi to Washington state from Ely, MN, then by barge to Anchorage, then 360 miles more by truck to Delta Junction - and it actually got there in one piece!  Whew!  And that was a bubble-wrapped canoe, too - no crate!  Crates weren't born yet.

When you get your canoe, before you sign on the dotted line at the truck terminal, check it over.  You need to see if they destroyed the crate or caused other damage which should be pretty easy to see.  Remember, just because the crate may be  cracked somewhere does not mean absolutely that the canoe was damaged.  We can live with cracks in the wood of the crate.   There is 1.5 to 3 inches of air space between the canoe and the crate so it should be able to take a pretty good hit without even touching the canoe. The only thing you'd need to check is that some crazy person didn't drive a forklift tine through the side of the canoe.  So just take a look at it, flip it over and inspect the gunwales.  They should be symmetrical.  When damaged, they are really pretty obvious.  They'll usually have a big dent pushed inwards.  With our canoe crate, this appears to be a pretty rare occurrence.  When we used to just bubble-wrap the canoes, about 5% (out of 100 or more shipped out per season) of them would be damaged in shipping and usually by bending up the gunwales.  (Aluminum is just not as resilient a a Souris River Canoe which usually bounces back) The canoe was fine, but it needed new gunwales which the average person on the street is really not equipped to install.  So, they had to refuse the order and call us whereupon we'd send the out a new canoe and eventually get the bent one back.  Then, we file a claim with the truck company, wait a long time, make a bunch of calls, and argue with transportation inspectors (who know absolutely nothing at all about canoes) while the trucking company figures out every little way they can avoid paying us for the damage.  Fortunately, necessity being the mother of all invention made me come up with a better way to ship canoes and it appears that everything is working pretty well now (knock on wood and don't hold your breath). You won't need to look over the canoe with a magnifying glass and chances are very good  that you won't have any damage (100% OK on all the canoes we've shipped out since late August 2003).  If you do have damage, call us and we'll go to the next step.  1-800-280-1078.   Thanks!  -JB-

Joe Baltich prepping a new Souris River for a
Red Rock Canoe Crate

Ready to go to Idaho, Illinois, and Oklahoma

Curt Hartleben labeling a Souris River Quetico 18.5 for a trip to California

Crating is a lot of work up front, but the canoe gets there in one piece - no headaches later


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Red Rock Wilderness Store
P.O. Box 690
2267 Fernberg Road
Ely, Minnesota

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Northwind Outdoor Recreation, Inc.
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Last Revised -Feb 18, 2012