A caution on new tiedown straps !

-- Last Updated: Oct-09-05 6:31 AM EST --

I have been using the same tiedown straps for about twelve years now, and they are nice and plyable.
I always cinch them down as tight as I can get them regardless weather I am using them on canoes, kayaks , composite or poly.
When the boats are cinched down to the cross bars with them you can grab the bow or stern and try to pull sideways and there is no way they will budge.

Today I broke out a couple of new ones (two different brands) and did my normal gazillion footpounds of pull on each, but no matter how hard I tried to cinch them, the strap still wanted to slide a little when I was done.
When I had both straps on as tight as I could get them and grabed the bow, I was surprised to find the canoe would slide sideways about an inch.

Needless to say I changed them out for my old ones.
I plan on using the new ones to tie down some lumber and use them on short slow trips until they get some good flexibility to them.

So use caution when you are using new ones!


Where did you buy those?
I’ve never experienced anything like that, after probably a dozen new straps from various sources over the past few years. You might consider returning them, as they are not fit for their intended pourpose (IMHO).

I’d also be wary of stretching the lifetime of a set of straps more than a couple years of even moderately active use. The do deteriorate from sun, salt water and stress. The consequences of strap failure are too awful to contemplate – or pinch pennies over (IMHO).



They are good straps.
They are just too stiff.

One is a Thule that came with a set of Thule J cradles, and the other came from the Great Outdoor Provision Company with their logo on it.

I think they will be fine once they get “broken in” from some use.

I am just giving a warning.



Wash them in plain water
I thought there might be chemicals (allergens) on some new straps, so I washed them under plain running water. Much to my surprise, the straps generated mounds of suds!

Maybe yours are soapy, too. If not, you haven’t done any harm.

Sounds like a good idea
I was thinking back when I was in the navy how the hard core swabs would drag a new pair of dungarees behind the ship for several days, and that would take all the new stiffness out of them.




After you had everything set and you found that the straps slipped, where did they slip? Where the strap went under the cross bar? Were the straps still tight, or had they loosened up?

You will likely see my set up when you are out my way but it is simple and typical. I have factory longitudinals, Tule cross bars, and two differant types of Thule boat holders. I have been using the Thule straps that came with the roof stuff and not seen your issue, yet. I do normally let the straps soak in fresh water after getting in the salt a couple of times as the salt begins to stiffen up the straps. But yours are new?

I did wind up putting a piece of rubber on each of my Thule rear pads to hold the boat a bit more securely. Before I did that the stern of the boat would move side to side even with the strap tight.

BTW: I talked to the race sponsers last evening and was told that Subaru has provided a 700 dollar bike which will be raffeled off. I did the race practice last night in the rain, only two other touched folks were there.

happy paddling,


I could never get them as tight…
as I wanted around the canoe.

Normally I tighten down the straps with a gazillion foot pounds of pull on them. Usually as I start to pull on them I have to hold the other side of the strap until they get tight enough so they don’t slide, but I never could get them to that point.

The canoe is a shiny smooth royalex one and it was rainy, so the whole surface was slippery, but after I changed to my old straps I could immediately get them super tight.

On the bike raffle: Too bad they didn’t put those bucks into lowering the entry fee.

On last Saturdays Lumber River 40 miler the big prize was a guided raft trip for two on the Nantahala River, and my wife won it.

Man you are getting to be hard core - going out to practice in the rain !

I’m looking forward to that race down there as I look forward to them all.



Hey, Jack, vie gehts?

We use 1" hand-cinching cams nylon straps, and from our brand newest to our oldest, none have failed to torque up such that when I wiggle the boat(s), the car doesn’t wiggle, too.

What you NEED to do to prevent slippage is to use a set of nice, lime green, hot pink, or day-glo orange pool noodles over your bare bars, to cushion & seat your canoe(s) and halt that side-to-side sashaying.

Course, with THOSE colors, THEY might wanna do it on their own, before you take take them down and you & Nanci


-Frank in Miami

I Had To Chuckle

I spoke with the co-owner last night about entry fees and motivation. The subject is semi-defensive and I suspect has spawned some internal debate. I shared my opinion that setting the entry fee level is a normal business issue and that at one time or another every business is faced with the same dilema. The business wants to generate as much income, (proceeds for charity in this case), as possible and at the same time want a high customer volume, (racers in this case). There is no correct answer unfortunatly. However, as we know, racers will begin to fall out as costs go up. I explained that if a fifty percent reduction in fees resulted in twice as many racers that the land trust and their business would gain tremendously. More people there would mean more raffel purchases and more product sales for the store.

Then I suggested that some of the proceeds from the raffled items should be directed towards lowering the enty fee. This idea created a shock and I did not pursue it.

Anyway, I am glad that they made adjustments for you. And, in all fairness, they admitted that they are rather new to this whole concept and appreciated your feedback.

happy paddling,


may be onto something. I’ll bet that during the weaving process some sort of lubricant (like detergent?) might be used, as nylon and polypropylene are hard on machinery. At least, their threads are hard on sewing machines.

I’m going to wash a new set of Yakimas I have this weeekend to check for suds.

Question: I have seen some Thule straps that appear to be much thicker than the Yak or NRS straps. Anyone have experience with them vs the competition?


My thought would be starch
the belts look so good in the store maybe they use a little starch to keep them flat.

Have you ever been aboard the USS Purdy?

Same Thing A Couple Years Ago
Had some from L.L. Bean that slipped like that. I tossed them in the back of the truck bed and since they were black, the same color as my painted on bedliner, I forgot about them for a few weeks. They were dirty and had been rained on. I cleaned them off with a hose, tried them again, no slippage. Now they’re my favorites. WW

One of them was a brand…
spanking new Thule and that was the stiffist and worst.


Interesting replies
My wife said she will put them in a mesh bag and throw them in with the next wash.

In the mean time I’ll stick with using my old straps.

Thanks all for the input.



Stop with the growth homones already
Jack we know you all are strong but gripes man, ease up on the growth hormones in your family, next thing we hear you will be tearing up phone books for kindling fires.

A point on super tight straps or ropes…
If you tighten a strap or rope as hard as you can, then a good part of the breaking strength of the strap or rope is used up already. An unusual force, caused by an accident, driving over a mattress (it’s been done), pressing under a low carport, may exceed the breaking strength. Not likely in most cases, but it could happen.

Also, as has been mentioned now and then, boats can be damaged by excessive strap or rope tension. When my ABS Synergy was new and soft, I noticed small dents when the ropes were removed. I have heard worse cases.

Canoe gunwale brackets, kayak cradles, and intellegent use of end rope triangulation can reduce the need for the cross straps or ropes over the hull to be super tight.

Recently I had to make an emergency stop to avoid rear-ending a truck which had not signalled a turn. It was gratifying that the Synergy did not move forward at all with two moderately tight cross ropes, a single stern rope (recent Accords have only one tow eye at the rear), and a bow rope. All ropes were moderately tight, and the brackets were snug, but no rope was anywhere near as tight as I could have made it.

I disagree
I have always tightened them as tight as I can get them and always will.

That is double looped (one strap under the bar and twice over the boat in two places).

On kevlar and poly canoes and kayaks (includes rec kayaks, QCC’s, as well as a competition cruiser and various other canoes.

I don’t use front and rear tie downs and never will. They are a waste of time.

If I couldn’t have gotton those straps I mentiond above tight than yes by all means I would have used front and rear tie downs, but I just changed them out to others that I could cinch down tight.



P.S. Drive defensively (not tailgaiting) and you won’t have to slame on your brakes like you mentioned

wadda you mean defensively?
I have driven with you Jack, and you drive faster then my brother!

…next time you walk!



I know this is an old post but I am really tired of everyone saying bow/stern straps are a waste of time. As a former kayak guide and long time kayaker I know the importance of these. I saw for my own eyes the reason why. One day as I was on I-95 I saw a jeep with a thule rack on it with one sea kayak and a touring kayak. It passed and about 5 miles up the rode I saw a horrific site. What had happpended was the thule rack gave out. Some how the towers broke sending the two large kayaks crashing in the car behind it. That is the reason for bow and stern straps. If the rack or the main starps give out something is at least keeping the kayaks attached to the car until you pull over to the side instead of sending 17 foot projectiles into the 6 person family in there mini van or the unsuspecting motorcycle behind you. Oh and it is the law in many states that you do this for that type of load since I’m sure it extends over the front and back of your veichle. It is and easy and inexpensive safty messure. I don’t understand why people still won’t do it.