Excess roof rack strap length?

I couldn’t fit the whole question in the title but I wonder what other people do with the excess length of strap after you’ve tied your kayaks on to the roof rack.

I need the length when I start to wrap the straps, but once everything is good and secure I have 3-4ft of excess strap length. I wrap it around the roof rack towers and bars and tie it off so it’s not flapping in the wind but it seems to me that someone (maybe me?) should come up with some sort of wrapping mechanism to wind up the extra. It’s not a big deal but it takes time to do and kind of sucks when you’re tired from kayaking all day. I’m trying to streamline the whole process.

Shoelaces ?
Would you be asking the same about shoelaces ? Buy the right size or shorten them, etc.

Just store excess under your rear tire

Ummm, wait … Got that backwards.

DON’T store the excess under your tire.

Bicycle tube doughnuts
I use small rubber bands made from an old racing size bicycle tube cut to 1/2" width pieces. Slide the bands dowm the strap to the cam buckle, fold up the excess strap and tuck it in under the band. The bands do break down with UV and such, however one tube makes for ample replacements which I keep in an old Altoids metal box in my car door. Asparagus bands also do the job.

Imagine a boat owner with Marlinspike skills.

slip knot chain

– Last Updated: May-17-11 3:21 PM EST –

Easy to do, hard to explain in writing, but what could be called a chain of slip knots will shorten the excess down to about a foot which can then be tucked under the strap. You can get very fast and appear to be adept (w/o any real skill!). When you want to "untie," you just pull on the end and bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, all the loops come out. Sorry I can't show you -- maybe there is a youtube? I was shown how to do it once -- it really is very easy and efficient.

slam it in the car door
I used to laboriously cross wrap straps around the rack and tie them off. Gotten lazy in my old age – now I just make sure my final loose end is on the outside of the rack, open the car door and slam the excess inside.

I use that method sometimes

… especially when I want a wet arse when it rains :wink:

I do kinf of similar, but when I am …
carrying canoes, I use the extra to tie onto one of the thwarts.

I like having an extra foot or so

Jack L

cut or buy to fit
so there is less excess. I leave enough to take loose end of strap and take and overhand knot around tensioned strap below the buckle should it release.

I do as Jackl does
I take the excess webbing from the cam strap, loop it around the crossbar of the rack, and tie the end to a thwart (in the case of a canoe) or to the broach loop or grab loop (in the case of a kayak).

Doing so helps prevent the boat from sliding forward or backwards on the rack if the webbing is taut.

Hot knife

Scissors and a lighter.

We use both cradles and Js on our rack, and both have excess strapping -some more, some less. We just wrap the excess length around the crossbars and tying them off, no big deal.

We will pull them tight and close the doors on them -on a sunny day -from time to time, but a couple experiences when we were in a heavy rain for a while resulted in the straps’ capillary action siphoning water into the car -not good, not nice -so we just mostly wrap these days.

Because we have 6 boats, and several sizes, there’s no one size strap fits all, so cutting straps would be problematic, and we’d need to assign a pair of straps to each class of boats (SINKs, SOTs) we carry. We also use our generic hook-ended cam straps for other uses as well -I brought home a 3/4" sheet of redwood ply from the lumber yard on the roof today -so I’m reluctant to “cut them down to size” because do I carry stuff like that from time to time.

So call it a wrap and go. It’s easy and no big deal to tie your straps off when you load up and hit the road to


-Frank in Miami

try this …

or learn to tuck the excess strap in under itself like truckers do.

Got any old wetsuits around?
You could cut off a sleeve, cut it the long way, add Velcro tape along that new edge, and secure that around your excess strap.

I’ve always just found ways to tension the extra length and then triple-tied it at different points.

You can buy shorter straps. I’ve seen ads for 6’, 8’, 9’, 12’, and 15’ ones.

the shit you paddlers worry about…

Ah’ see a “Reality” TV show in de makin’


Extra length
The place that sold me my boat taught me to take extra length and wrap it under the cross bar and to the front and back of boat as an extra safety against the boat moving forward and backward.

I need all that flapping and slapping
to keep me awake.