Cam straps...

I’m considering upgrading my cam straps. They have served me well, but are showing signs of age. What brand is your favorite and why? Thanks!

I have a set of four blue Thule straps that came with my rack. After a couple years they show very little sign of wear, rarely slip, and don’t stretch much either wet or dry. The rubber covers for the straps do a great job of protecting your car (if you care) when you toss the end of the strap and it bounces off of your roof.

I’ve also had/used a set of North Water straps. They’re good too but not as good as the Thule ones.

I bought some from REI with rubber cam protectors, but they faded quickly and do show signs of wear after 6 years. I have several different lengths for kayaks (9’), and for two canoes on the rack(18’). I also have some 12’ for single canoe that are 8 years old that haven’t faded or worn near as much, but I have no idea what brand. What I am saying is if you learn of some good cam straps I wouldn’t buy the ones from REI, and I like most of what they sell.

I’ll second Sparky961’s recommendation for Thule cam straps. Third year for mine. Sometimes they get daily use, they’re still in great shape and that rubber cover also protects your boat. When it comes time to replace them, it will be another set of Thules.

I use NRS and have for years. I’ve had one buckle fail and 2 straps from UV damage.

No idea… I have had one wear out. I have assembled a collection of about 16. Sometimes I have to transport a trailer load of boats. Some of the straps have been around for more than fifteen years.
Most were gotten from stores or events with their logo on them… Just carry a spare strap in case the spring goes on one in use.

I like the ones with the cloth under the cam … I have had those for years and no idea if they are still made.

Thule are the best in all the different ones I have tried,.

Go for the inch and half wide over the 1 inch. Far better security and wider load distribution on your hull.


I have straps from NRS and from Rutabaga that have been doing hard work for years and show no signs of wear. They also do not seem to stretch much, if at all, when wet.

Have you thought about switching to rope? I’ve been using nylon rope for decades and never had a failure–in fact I’m still using the exact same lines I started with all those years ago. They’re nice and soft and will never leave a mark if you throw them over your vehicle, or boat. Yeah, I know this has been chewed on before, but so have the cam thingies.

My preferred are the old style NRS with the blue rubber covers on the buckles, but Yakima or Thule sued NRS for patent infringement, so those haven’t been mad for nearly 10 years and neither Thule or Yakima has used that design, either, which I prefer over the Thule and Yakima straps.

After the old style NRS straps, I have some Thule that work well, but since the rubber buckle cover slides over the buckle, it can slide back and expose the metal of the buckle when you toss it over the boat.

Some day I’ll learn knots so that I can use line or rope to secure the boats.

I have straps from Thule and NRS and they are certainly OK. The straps I like the best are made by Sherpak and seem to be a bit hard to find these days. I believe the same strap is now sold by Seattle Sports:

The large vinyl cam buckle protectors work quite well and the price is very reasonable.

Thanks for the input, all! To be clear, I’ve not suffered a failure of my 12 year old NRS straps, but I intend to replace them anyway. It just seems wise to me, like tires on my truck/ trailer, or the roof on my house. It’s cheaper to be proactive!

I just did the same on 2.

I do know some good knots, and have used rope for many applications over the years from camping, hauling heavy loads of bee hives, and sailing. I used rope lines for tying down canoes and kayaks too. I have come to like cam straps for car topping because most people I paddle with are at a loss tying knots when their boat is on my rack, and cam straps are a bit faster to use. Rope however is a fine way to secure your boat.

I can tie a bowline, half hitch, square and a granny knot.

5 years and counting on my Thule straps and they’ve been great.

I should get at least another 2-3 years out of them and then I’ll buy more Thules.

my go to straps are 20yo Neil Prydes. Much heavier duty than the freebies Perks use to send us.

@string said:
I can tie a bowline, half hitch, square and a granny knot.

What do you use the granny knot for?