When it comes to transporting your Kayak, tying it down can be the easiest thing in the world, or the most frustrating when you are not sure exactly how to do it properly. If you are a new Kayak or boat owner and have never tied down one before, then it is definitely recommended to carry out a little bit of research beforehand, to make sure you are doing it right – after all, no one wants their boat to come flying off their vehicle after investing so much time and money into it!
In this article, we take a look at how to tie down a kayak in the simplest way possible so that you can do it with ease. It is recommended to carry this out with the help of a friend depending on the weight of the boat, as sometimes it can be difficult to balance in the beginning.
The first step is to purchase a pair of good quality cam straps, also known as ratchet straps or lashing straps. These are generally used to tie down cargo and equipment during transport. There is no need to tie them in a particular knot; simply feed the straps through buckles and tie them down.
Step 1 – Crossbars
You should make sure that your kayak is centred between the car’s crossbars and that it is running parallel to the car.
Step 2 – Cam Straps
Position the buckle of the cam strap so that it rests on the sides of the kayak just a few inches above and to the side of one crossbar. The other end can be placed over the kayak.
Step 3 – Loop
On the other side of the vehicle, take the end of the strap and simply loop it underneath the car’s crossbar and then throw it back over the boat, making sure the strap is facing the inside where the crossbar attaches to the roof. This will help to prevent anything from slipping during transportation. Repeat this for the first side of the vehicle and cinch it down securely. Remember to make sure the strap is always facing the inside.
Then repeat this process with the second crossbar.
Step 4 – Tighten
This is where you have the power to tighten your kayak and keep it in place. Tighten both of the straps until they are sort of snug, but not too tight. Doing this could possibly crack any fibreglass and hence ruin your kayak altogether, so it is recommended to go light here.
Step 5 – Tie-up
Take the loose ends of the straps and tie any remaining on to the crossbars. Doing so will back up the cam buckles and prevent the slack from moving around during transport. To make sure the kayak is completely secure, give it a shake from side to side and see if it moves.
If you feel like a little bit more security is needed to hold your kayak in place, then this can be done by purchasing bow and stern tie-downs. These straps are attached to the front and back of your kayak and tied to the vehicle. This helps gives peace of mind especially when driving in strong winds, and when leaving your kayak on the car for a longer period of time.
Tying these straps is easy,
– Simply start by hooking the end of the line with the ratchet on to a grab handle on the front of the kayak.
– Then attach the opposite end of the line to a strong point on the vehicle. This can be, for example, the tow hook, or in the case of not having one, a hood loop strap can be attached. It is recommended to never attach straps to plastic as this doesn’t hold them in place.
– Taking the free end of the line, pull to tighten it until it feels nice and snug, again being careful not to overtighten.
– Finish by tying off the loose end just under the ratchet and repeating it with the stern line (the line at the back)
All in all, tying down a kayak is fairly easy to do, and keeping it simple is the way to go. Here are some extra tips when it comes to the process.
By tying fancy knots or wrapping the straps in various different ways over the kayak, this may lead to problems down the line. Keeping things simple is the fastest and safest way to go about it. As well as this, if you are not as tall, or you have a taller vehicle, it is recommended to use a small stepladder so that it is easier to reach the straps when mounting your kayak on the car.
Keeping a foldable ladder in your vehicle would be a good idea when out and about. To stop vibrations when driving, add a simple twist on the cam strap which will stop the frustration when driving.
If you want even further security and safety for your kayak, you can even purchase locking cam straps and locking cables which can only be unfastened by using a key. This is perfect for when you are on vacation or leaving your vehicle unattended at any time.
When driving, it is also a good idea to stop every once and a while to double check your kayak hasn’t moved. Sometimes you can only tell after driving that something will change, so this is always a good point to consider.
Finally, if you can’t source cam straps or bow and stern tie-downs, you can always use the plain and simple rope to do the trick. The best type would be non-stretch and water resistant. Tying them in a ‘tucker’s hitch’ will make the lines perfectly tight.
And there you have it! Now you know exactly how to tie down a kayak, so hopefully, you will be able to do it with no problems the next time you attempt it.