Bow and stern lines on Alaska trip?

-- Last Updated: Apr-11-16 10:21 AM EST --

I'm getting my PakCanoe ready for a summer trip. What should we use for our bow and stern lines? How heavy should the line be--what would you suggest?--and how long?

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There are hundreds of responses to this question.

What might not have been addressed is to use D rings as painters and not attach to the tubing… Put the D rings on the ends. I have a PakCanoe 170

just a suggestion
I’ve hauled folding kayaks for 14 years (including Pakboats) and what I’ve used to connect the bumper lines to the boats for longer drives is a loop of soft one inch nylon webbing wrapped and cinched around the bow and stern about a foot from each end, then sturdy braided sheath 1/4" nylon or polyester cord run through the free loop end of the webbing to the bumpers. I feel this distributes the load on the frame and skin better than directly tying a line to hardware on the boat and avoids chafing the cord against the skin. It also lessens the angle on the line to the bumper on shorter vehicles. I always tie a warning flag to the stern as well.

In fact, Feathercraft kayaks used to come with two lengths of 1" webbing stitched into loops for just this purpose, so it wasn’t really my invention.

Most Alaska rivers require a plane. then assembly on the spot.

My Pakcanoe seems to have withstood several fly ins on the Horton and the Thelon… in a bag

Painters or lining is the question. The D rings I have have done both.

Bow and stern lines.
Yakima and Thule both sell a set that uses a small pulley, hook and ratchet system, but other manufacturers sell them as well, you can Google canoe/kayak bow lines and find a bunch of them. I also use hood loops that attach to what is normally a 10mm fender bolt that’s under the hood and there are units that work on a rear hatch that have a rubber handle that tucks under the hatchback door. Everything works well. The load capacity for each unit is usually mentioned on the product website, but I don’t feel that’s an issue. The tie-down straps over your canoe or kayak are what’s keeping the boat on the rack. The bow/stern units help alleviate any wind lift that occurs from the front of the vehicle, and the straps don’t have to be Superman tight, just taught. I’ve used them on a trip from Oregon to Colorado and back and have never had a problem, I just check everything at every stop. Happy paddling!

ratchet lines
There may be people who post safety objections to the ratcheting line sets, but properly used they are very safe and effective. I’ve hauled multiple sea kayaks and canoes for years using them. The ratchet mechanism makes it easy to tension the line but once I have the rope as taut as I need it I tie off the end of the rope securely so that even if the ratchet device fails, the line is completely secured to both the bumper and the boat independently. But I have never had any trouble with the ratchets.

tie downs or painters?
Are you asking about bow and stern tie down lines used when car topping, or are you asking about painter lines; lines attached to the bow / stern when on the water? For tie downs 1/4 or 5/16 diameter and whatever length gets the job done. I am not familiar with pakboats or paddling in Alaska, but I would think 5/16 or 3/8 diameter and something about 6’ to 8’ in length. Be sure you have a means to store the painters where they are not hanging free and could become an entanglement hazard if you capsized.