Don't tie down too tightly

Be careful if you use cambuckles, ratchet cam tightenrs, or even old fashioned rop with a trucker’s hitch to tie your canoe or kayak to the carriers on top of your car.

The forces you can create with the tie downs can do damage to your boat as well as create a dangerous situation.

The damage you can to to your boat by tying the tip and tail too tight are obvious. With enough force, you can crack and fold your boat just like a breaking firewood over your knee.

What some folks don’t realize is the effect overtightening can have on the roof rack. If you have a factory installed roof rack, the biggest concern is breaking or cracking the often low-quality and brittle roof racks.

IF you have an after market roof rack like a Thule or others, you can pop the roof rack braces loose. Most after market roof racks have four braces with a rubber pad that goes on top of the roof and a hook that grasps onto the inner lip of the door flanges. You tighten these hooks usually with an allen wrench until the braces are held tight onto the car. NOW, what happens when you put a lot of downward pressure by tightening the straps from the boat to the car is that you push down on the carrier.

At this point, the grab hooks that hold the brace to the car can come loose and even pop off.

Next time you tie your boat to the roof rack, don’t just shake the boat to see if it is secure. Grab the roof rack brace hooks and see if they are tight inside the door. You might be surprised that is is not as tight as you thought.

Good points. Another issue is that an
overtightened rope or strap has less remaining capacity to absorb forces from driving over dead cattle, etc.

I like to tie it loosely
…so when the boat acts as a wing, I have some warning before takeoff.

tie it on sideways for more lift.

I will have to try that

– Last Updated: Sep-08-14 2:55 PM EST –

I was thinking of tying a kayak to the bottom of my car to counteract the lift from the kayak on the top of my car. But why fight it?

If you do that just be sure
to leave the portage wheels attached.

yes. they can serve as landing gear.

Someone sent me this photo a year or so ago. I don’t know who it was so I can’t give credit. I just know I did not take the photo, but it really fits this part of the thread


I’ve been tying down pretty tight. Even with it tied tight, it still wiggles around a bit. I use foam pads, no roof racks.

Nothing but good things will

Your credit card bill will dance!

Get serious

And say goodbye to the wiggle.

Don’t be silly, with the price of beef
… you don’t run over them unless they need tenderizing before you stop, and strap them to the other side of the roof rack. This is why you carry extra straps and a bag of charcoal briquettes.

even I can see that’s all wrong
…unless you’re driving on British or Australian roads.

I usually strap mine down that way
but sideslip down the road.

Ha ha. That photo is rich!

No doubt you save fuel because of the improved aerodynamics.


It’s true.
Does cause excessive uneven tire wear, but I figure it’s worth it in the long run.

maybe bigger tires on one side
or snows on one side and racing slicks on the other.