DIY-Tie-down rubber pieces

Friend has the fancy (read $$$) yakima bow/stern tie-downs for his kayak. I went to buy them & thought the $40 price was ridiculous, vs the Riverside Canoe $13 one of same length. Only difference is the yakima has the rubber boot around the metal cam, to avoid scratching your car. I was thinking of making some rubber boots out of Sugru or something similar. Anyone ever tried anything this? Or is there a place to buy those rubber parts? I have googled everything I can think of & can’t find them. Got a new car and am worried about my cheap straps.

And no, buying the yakima straps isn’t an option, as I’ve got 3 boats & $120 in straps isn’t happening.

Thanks for any help.


What is Wrong with Cheap Straps
So what is wrong with the cheap straps? Are you worried about scratching your car or your kayak? I have the Yakima rubberized straps, but when I tighten the straps I place the cam section in the open space between the kayak and the cross bar. Therefore it doesn’t contact the boat or the car. I also assume you are talking about the straps around the kayak and cross bars and not the bow and stern tie downs as stated. My Yakima set doesn’t have rubberized bow and stern tie downs. I don’t use them anyway as I use paracord for tying down the bow and stern. Thule makes a rubberized cover that goes over the cam, but I actually hate them as the rubberized section never stays put.

If Thule “boots” will work
you can get them special ordered from REI.

Want something cheap that won’t scratch?

– Last Updated: Jun-09-13 10:52 PM EST –

Use rope. Learn some basic knots. Cam-lock straps are "good enough" but they actually have more slip potential than properly-tied rope. I often use Thule straps, and when looped around 2x4 cross bars (high friction on the wrap-around part) and over the boat, I find I need to grab the bottom, wrap-around portion and yank it tight to get the slight bit of slack out of the length that's on the other side of the cross bar from the buckle, and in doing so, the buckle always slips (never fails - it has slipped a little every time I've ever done that). Now, that's a harder pull than the straps will ever get in normal use holding down the boat, but a good knot won't slip no matter what, so one should never get the idea that straps are "better". And if you know proper knots and are good at tying them, rope is actually quicker than straps. And of course you will never scratch your car with rope either.

Closed-cell foam
Buy a $10 closed-celled foam camping pad at Walmart (about 1/4" or 3/4" thick). Cut it into rectangles, whatever size you want. Make a slit in one end and thread the strap through the slit. Problem solved.

REI Riverside straps
Not the same boot as the expensive straps, but they work for me.

Same here.
I had a set of those with the rubber boot on them, and threw the boots away. -Just extra stuff to get in the way.

I always put the buckle in the open space, and on the cheaper straps I don’t even like the rubber flap that comes on the back of the buckle.

Jack L


cheapest tie-downs i can find
even 13 bucks seems like a rip-off :wink:

7.75 for 20 ft tie-downs, cheaper for shorter lenghts

if you really need the padding to go around the buckle, go to the ubiquitous pool noodle, cut a 4 inch section, cut it in the middle down half-way, and done.

Cheap pads
Cut a piece of neoprene to the approximate size of an index card. Fold in half and stitch or glue along two sides to create a pad that is open on one side. Use scissors to cut a slot in the obvious place. Thread the strap through the slot.

Mine have worked for years.

Was going to try this
After I posted this I saw a company that sells their straps with neoprene wrapped around the buckles.

I always put the buckles in the open cockpit area for the around-the-hull ones. This is more about me being a clutz & always dropping the buckle end onto the car when doing that, whether it’s around the hull or bow/stern lines.

Thanks everyone.

Can you spell “rope”?
Polyester rope? Easy to tie, doesn’t stretch when wet.

I can indeed!
I was going to reply that every real boater I know calls it “line”, not “rope”, but then I’d be like a lot of the people on here who throw out snippy comments over non-issues.

What is with the attitudes on this site lately? Used to be full of people who were willing to help, exchange ideas & discuss things, without sounding like a bunch of high school kids.

Rope versus line

– Last Updated: Jun-27-13 10:55 PM EST –

Well, as long as we are quibbling, a line is just a length of rope that is either in use or is ready to use. In other words, a line has a purpose, while rope is just a material for which a purpose has not been assigned (as well as the bulk source from which lines of specific length are obtained), and it's okay to refer to it as such. Thus a person can elect to make their tie-downs from either of two materials, "rope" or "straps", depending on personal preference.

But if you use rope, just be sure you tie it with a "knot" rather than a "not". Just as the name implies, the "not" isn't effective at all.

bow/stern lines?
Your original post mentions bow/stern tie-downs. If that’s what you mean, I wouldn’t use webbing straps for that. They vibrate and hum annoyingly when used as bow/stern lines. Use rope for that, and save the straps for strapping the boat to the bars. No need for the fancy rubber thingies, just wrap the extra strap around the buckle, or position the buckle so it’s not resting on the fiberglass.

But once you assign the duty of “tie-down” to your “rope”, it became a “line”, no? Because you assigned it a specific duty. Therefore by your definition, it is now a line, not a rope.

And I was always told it was line once it crossed the transom, no matter if it had an intended purpose or not.

But I’m glad to see someone else on here be nitpicky, without being pricky. :slight_smile:

I like the yakima rubber things
I can toss the strap to the other side and not scratch the car or the window. Without is have to have really long straps so I can walk them around the end of the car instead of throw them over the car.

Rope makes even better tie down lines than the webbing straps and camlock buckles, unless the ones you are with cannot tie a truckers hitch. In that case straps are better for the know challenged.

Put me in the rope (or line) camp, too. Only thing that’s good about straps is that you can’t get them tight enough to dent your Royalex canoe, while when using a trucker’s hitch you can get rope so tight that it will leave a mark on the surface of the canoe, so you have to be careful and use thicker diameter rope to make it less likely. But I’m SO much more confident in rope tie-downs than I am straps.