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Wednesday, 08 April 2015 00:00

Tie Downs - Securing Your Kayak For Transport

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One of the most important and expensive pieces of equipment to get to the water safely is your kayak. Countless times I’ve seen fellow kayakers improperly load their kayak on top of their vehicles, where it can be either unsafe or damage the kayak. Coming up with a secure system to transport and secure your kayak is something every YakAngler needs to figure out.

Whatever rack system you decide on the one thing they all have in common is tie downs. Tie downs are used to secure your kayak to your rack or truck bed, and if used improperly can damage either of them. One of the biggest mistakes I often see is ratchet straps being used to tighten down the kayak to a roof rack or truck bed. While this type of tie down does hold the kayak down, it can damage the rack or the kayak when over-tightened - which is easily done when using this type of device.

My favorite type of straps to use is cam or pulls-style tie downs. These are made by many companies and available in several styles, but the ones I use are made by Thule. I’ve now been using the same Thule straps for almost five years with no wear shown to them at all. You can walk into any paddle sport shop to pick up a set.

Another mistake I commonly see when loading boats on to the top of a vehicle is not tying down the bow and stern. Many people make the excuse, “I’m not going that far, so I won’t tie it down…” I always like to take the extra few minutes to do this, for the sake of my kayak as well as the safety of others on the road.

I’ve also added a front tie down attachment point on my vehicle to make it easier. I’ve tried two types of attachment points that go under the hood of your car. The first one you can add and remove simply by opening and closing your hood on it. It has a rubber tube on the bottom that holds it in place under the hood. The other is semi permanently attached to a factory bolt location under the hood. I have chosen the style that bolts down, as I always seemed to misplace the ones that were easily removable.

With the front, back, and sides tied down properly, you should now be ready to transport your kayak to any destination safely, and without damaging your kayak or vehicle.

Read 39122 times Last modified on Monday, 20 July 2015 13:19
Andrew Morrow

I've been fishing since I could walk.  When I was younger my grandfather would pick me up at my house weekly and take me to the local lake to bank fish with him.  I caught tons of fish from the bank this way but in 2007 realized I needed to get out ON the water and bought my first fishing kayak.  Since then you won't find me fishing any other way and I'm mostly on the Susquehanna or Juniata Rivers.  Besides kayak fishing I also am the chapter coordinator for the Central PA Chapter of Heroes on the Water.  


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# dante 2015-07-20 08:42
where do you get the connectors that attach under the hood?
# willhack 2015-12-05 09:15
The guy at the kayak shop gave me a neat tip - tie loops of paracord around both hinges of your hood, and use these as tiedown points for the yak. The loops can tuck out of the way when not in use, and you don't have to open the hood to get to them.
# sokyfishing 2015-12-31 17:24
I like the under hood strap idea.
# gggeorge 2016-01-04 15:22
I have a trailer for my four kayaks and when we are just going short distances and no highways I use bungees, like are used by the commercial canoe and kayak rental places. However if we are going on a long trip I will use ratchet straps and cable style bike locks through the scupper holes as back up.

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