Ever have a strap/cam buckle fail on you?

Those wood strip canoe are gorgeous! What year is the Ford truck?

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1984 Ford F250 Diesel - 20mpg, inherited from my dad with 80K on it. My wife drove it as my pit crew support with a yellow Lab riding shotgun.

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I never have had a tie down strap fail, nor have heard of anyone with one failing. Have gone cross country, across state, and across town with no issues. If the strap is fraying, don’t use it. Tie in front of bulge in boat and in back, have the bowline so you can see if there is any slippage. I always put in 1/2 hitches using the tail of the strap - to use up the length and to protect against the clasp giving way. Also, if you can, at least wrap the strap around the permanent part of the rack, just in case your rack gives way - though I haven’t had that happen either.


Buckles slip all the time. Use rope.

Thanks everybody for setting my mind at ease about straps snapping or buckles breaking. It must be pretty rare if none of us know of it happening.

If it increases your travel confidence to double strap, then to you, it’s worth the effort. I will not be double strapping.

There is already redundancy in most of our tie-down systems. If you use two belly lines plus stern/bow, that’s four straps or ropes, and you could have one or two fail and the boat is still going to stay on the rack. I typically use a bow strap and two belly lines, no stern line because, in my vehicle/boat case, the stern line does little. The most important function of the bow line, IMO, is to visually alert me if the boat starts moving, such as it would if I lost a belly line. Also, it reminds me not to drive into overhead obstructions (like my garage).

Like ppine, I’m mostly a rope guy. However, I got a new kayak saddle that I like and it’s made for straps, so I’ll probably be using straps more frequently. And good luck to Mr. ppine on convincing people to use ropes. Yes, I know, ropes are faster, easier and in most ways equal to straps, except for one thing: most paddlers can’t tie knots.

Love yknpdlr’s photo’s of those long boats on short vehicles! Seems like a cross wind would almost knock the vehicle over with all that sail area. I was once driving across I-10 along the Mississippi, Gulf coast in a strong sidewind. There were a lot of bridges and elevated roadways on which the wind severely rocked my truck, and the boat was moving on the rack. I kept stopping and adding more lines to try to arrest the movement. By the time I got to Florida it looked like my truck was attacked by Spiderman. I didn’t have load stops then, which would have helped a ton. I can’t imagine that drive with a 34’ canoe up top!

i know nothing of kayaks in any way or of tying them down to a rack, but for transporting canoes, my Thule bar has moveable gunwale right angle blocks that firmly lock the canoe securely in line. Always with flat webbing and cams finished with a half hitch at the cam. NRS provided free cam straps at a recent Adirondack 90 mile race. I have many of these.

As far as stern lines go, for transporting extra long voyageur or C4 canoes I may use mid body or stern tie downs (usually just rope with a trucker’s hitch) to ensure there is no bouncing and movement on the rear support rack. For more normal size canoes, according to master canoe instructor/builder Charlie Wilson, the stern lines are not normally necessary unless you plan to drive in reverse at 70mph. Bow tie downs (rope with trucker’s hitch) are secured to convenient bolts with attached webbing strap loops located just inside the edge of the hood.

If the saddles you are referring to are the Yakima ones with slots on the side for straps, I’d caution against just strapping to the saddle, which a lot of people do. Run the straps through the slots and either under the load bars or better yet, through the side rail attached to the vehicle’s roof.

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In the event of a rack failure, unless the main straps also attach to a roof rail, a stern line can prevent slinging the whole assembly off the front of your car in the event of an accident. Rack systems will usually fail before the straps holding the kayaks to them fail.

If using factory crossbars, these sometimes come loose in a serious accident. In crash tests you will see them tumbling off the roof even with no load.

Yes. I posted my experience here.

Which is why I double strap… this was a flaw in the strap that was not visible to the eye.

I understand that people love their ropes- but the same thing can happen with rope. I periodically get new rope to tie my kayak off where I vacation in Maine. It is easier than finding that a unseen weakness caused it to snap and my boat went sailing into Muscongus Bay without me if I mess up on a high tide overnight. I am usually clear of the water line on the beach I use but best laid plans and all. The ocean will get your ass if it catches you napping.

Two of anything is safer than one because if one fails the other is still in place. This is not about ropes v straps, just redundancy.

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On Monday we replaced our two season old Roof Tent with a AlluCab (from South Africa) which has a roof rack capacity of about 100 kg (we will be taking them off before raising the roof so that’s very conservative)
I suppose there are not any Overland kayak campers here, but we did a lot of research and it came down to this one being the gold standard. I’m curious about the rope vs ratchet strap philosophy as we begin to plan our summer excursions to remote lakes. It can get very steep (4 x 4) so having a superior method of tie down will be important. As you might realize, I am the only safety officer so maybe I can get some advice once we have it mounted on the Defender.

When the tent is down

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