How prevent roof rack slip, also need short vertical bar

Any advice to prevent side slip of kayak transported laying flat on factory roof rack with “flat” crossbars, in particular something like a load stopper or “short” vertical bar? Fold down stackers wont work since one day I forgot to fold down my Yakima Big Stack and heard the big whack as it hit my garage.

In more detail, I used 1" cam strap with Yakima big stack (a vertical bar) with no issue. Vertical bar on new SUV is now too hi for garage so I use strap alone and kayak has not flown of car yet. However, when driving 75mph in crosswinds (or passing trucks) I notice some “slight” shifting/wobble of kayak and dont feel confident without something to prevent that slight side movement. I have safety ropes front +back but they dont help. Using a 3rd strap that goes from front bar to rear bar worked but looking for something that save the 2 minutes the 3rd requires every time. Brainstorming ideas but figure ask the experts here instead what might work best like…1.5" vs 1" straps, ratchet buckle instead of cam, foam on top of crossbars for more friction, tie something like rope on on 1 side to act as stopper (not both sides since I slide kayak across bar to load/unload) …or my preference is buy/make some vertical bar less than 12" tall. I saw Yakima and Thule make “load stoppers” but unclear if they adapt to factory bar or how well they actually work? Seems like only buyable ones are either really short load stoppers or too tall vertical bars.

P.S. Its pedal drive so has hole in middle plus scupper holes so could somehow tie those holes off but dont want to risk pressure damage to those holes

Easy fix if you have raised rails.

Two straps for front. One goes over boat loops crossbar on pass side and loops the rail on driver side (not crossbar). Other goes over boat loops crossbar on driver side and rail on pass side. Guaranteed not to shift at all. One strap for back using crossbars, or two in similar manner for extra security. May want some give in case of an extreme gust.

For years people had simple roof racks, when cars and trucks had rain gutters. The racks were flat with no other extra pieces, cradles or stops. Canoes were secured with rope and a trucker;s hitch. For the highway and longer trips, it is important to secure the bow a stern to the bumpers of the hauling vehicle.

This method still works and saves a lot of extra money invested in do dads.

Good idea and I will do, and still open to other ideas especially if something as as simple as 1.5" strap is better than my 1". Subaru Outback has open “gaps” (not raised rail) on front and back of each rail so hopefully gaps work as strap will slant across hull since the gap is forward of the crossbar.

Not really important but any idea why 2nd front strap works just better than 1 (more surface area, different contact point, strap cant move cause its rail not crossbar, etc)?

What Sparky said. Just cross tie.

I have never bothered with the blocks to stop the movement of a canoe side to side for a similar reason. My bow line is always triangulated with a knot in the middle. And I add a strap underneath to hold a thwart to something that sicks up and would be a stopper from sideways movement in the part of my kayak rack that fits underneath the canoe. If I was dealing with bare bars I would just add lines or straps from the end of a thwart, lined up over a cross bar, to a spot on the side rails.

Sparky’s solution for a kayak just alters it by passing the straps completely over and around the kayak for each side. Ad they pull against each other if I have it right. But you still add security to he outer rails.

Two straps in front fastened as noted eliminate the ability to shift on the crossbar. Cant move right or left. Try it and try to shift on the crossbar pushing on the nose. I use this method on the interstates with a lot of truck traffic.

Right, the straps are holding the boat by locking in opposite directions

Thanks Celia…when you said "pull against " made me realize I mis-read Sparky post. I originally thought 1 strap as normal around crossbar side then 2nd strap with only difference to rail but now I see what he meant and how will pull against each other…wonder why the “articles” on how to tie down never mention that seemingly good idea (maybe cause requires other attachment points than crossbars).

Thanks also to ppine but for me that only works 99.99% of time but in hi crosswinds my experience is there can be a slight shift and while kayak has never come close to coming off, it does make me nervous. I only had 1 boat come off but thats when I forgot to tie it down and drove off…yikes !!

FWIW, for long trips like on the highway to Maine I always double my straps. Got told to do this years ago by an old hand and it is excellent. At the least, even if one strap goes the second is still doing the job.

IMO this eliminates the argument of straps versus ropes too that comes up periodically. No one ever finds a reason to complain once there is more than one strap at each point.

I do the same on the Hullivator, an extra strap around the boat and the cradle base to the side rails at each point. Makes it a bit more time consuming but I feel a lot better about the secirity.

and heard the big whack as it hit my garage.<<
My visual reminder is to pull the trash bin out and stick it at the front of the garage in my way so I can’t pull in :slight_smile: Knock on wood for luck, I have remembered to put the bin out most of the time.

FWIW, I have put $1 Store pool noodles (split with a razor) as well as foam pipe insulation from Home Depot over my metal cross bars to both protect the bar and my kayak from damage plus they seem to help minimize movement by the kayak on the bars. Larger diameter pool noodles can be tricky to find, but they are out there. Home Depot’s widest pipe insulation was wide enough and pre-split.

So completely under the crossbars also? I like it. Belt and suspenders. I wouldn’t do that for a short trip, but a long, highway one? Good idea in my book.

Or if you want peace of mind when bringing your new/used boat home from far away…Thule load stops (great if you have rectangular Thule bars) + 1.5 inch straps (1.5 doesn’t make much difference) + 1 inch cross strap in front only + clear tubing on gunwales to add friction + bow tie downs in case the roof comes off the vehicle. The canoe does not wiggle. :stuck_out_tongue:


I may not have described it well, but part of my loop goes around the cradle including under the cross bar to give additional support for the clip that holds the cradle in place. That way the clip is not doing all the work. So loop over the boat, once around that point, then to the rails and catch the strap into the buckle.

Then tie it all off again with extra strap lengths joined since my straps tend to be long… I could cut a couple shorter but somehow never quite get there.

It you can carry the kayak upside down, Yakima, Thule, and others make L-shaped clips for canoes that are only a couple of inches high that will keep a boat from shifting from side to side. Of course running the straps around both the rails and crossbars will prevent side slip also.

1" cam buckle straps are more than enough. They tend to have a tensile strength of well over 1,000 lbs. In an accident, the entire roof rack will generally break off before the straps break. I don’t advise using ratchet straps. It’s too easy to over tighten them and damage the boat. Due to the shape of the boat, straps need only be snug to secure it. Always back up with bow and stern tie downs.

A BIG +1 for the pool noodles I have old style gutter mount crossbar rails and pad the rails with foam noodle on both front and rear rails. Thicker the better and they actually have held up for thousands of miles .

When traveling at those kinda speeds you need to stop every so often and check your straps -they will loosen up.
Bow and stern lines to bumper etc will keep the craft steady in addition to Hull straps.
I routinely travel long distances with my Pungo 140 and at high cruising speeds, crosswinds - the West has plenty of 'em, passing on interstates. The above method has never failed to keep the kayak steady in place.

Old fire hose split lengthwise makes good padding for canoe trailers and rooftop racks.

I explored the ideas others gave and below is update on my results. First realize its a 70lb kayak (so no thwarts or others things to tie onto) on “factory” crossbars where my herculean arms lift kayak over my head to then “slide” it across the bars. Further, cross bars seem slightly curved across so desire something that makes centering the kayak easy. No one solution seemed perfect but a few together did the trick.

Bow and stern lines help the most. “Triangulated” line work better than a single safety line as they pull against each other.

Foam helped BUT I don’t want foam permanently on the bar since I slide kayak to load it. Instead I use 4 small pieces of pre-split pipe insulation that I place under each time. The problem is I forget to take the foam pieces off after unloading and then they blow in the wind but I now keep a dozen little pieces in my car. I only use foam for long highway trips.

I tried 2 straps using side rails instead of just around crossbar and that worked for no movement…BUT I don’t use since that created very noticeable annoying wind noise.

I did not find suitable “L” shaped load stopper clips since they all seemed designed to mount a certain way such that kayak would rest on a small lip at bottom of the “L”. Since I slide the kayak across that lip seemed like a headache.

What I use and really like instead of “L’ shaped clips was Yakima MightyMount clips. They come in a pack of 4 but I just use 2 on same side (since again I slide kayak across one side). This not only helps side movement BUT more importantly makes it VERY easy to slide kayak across so its perfectly centered, especially when loading in the dark. I did not use the Universal mightMount for $60 and instead got older car specific Mighty Mount (not universal) for just $15 at ReRack which states no fits for vehicles after 2010 but I ordered the ones that said Subaru and they fit 2020 Subaru just fine. They do not come with any mounting bolts but I already had a bunch of wing nuts and bolts from my numerous old Yakima round crossbar attachments that worked fine. I now wonder what others do (or not) to “center” the kayak on crossbars?

There is no need to center the boat left to right. Most people put it on one side or the other to make loading easier. It also often permits carrying a second boat or other gear like a bicycle. As far as front to back, have the boat supported as close to the bulkheads as possible or centered on the cockpit.

The “L” brackets are for canoes, not kayaks. I assume you are using some type of saddles with the Mighty Mount clips, or are you just using them to prevent the boat from shifting. The Mighty Mounts are actually designed to attach other rack components, not necessarily to hold a boat. If you just wanted to keep the boat from shifting from side to side, all you had to do is have the boat one one side or the other and run the straps around the front to back factory rails in addition to the boat and crossbar on the side closest to the boat.

I agree with restevens15 that centering left to right is not necessary. I started out doing it that way, I thought it would help the aerodynamics. Unfortunately it puts the kayak farther away from the side of the car, making it harder to check and tighten straps. I like having the boat over the driver’s side, since you can pull over on a shoulder and check straps quickly if something seems off, while being in harm’s way for a shorter time - ask me about checking straps on the Triboro Bridge sometime.

Having the boat mounted on one side or the other also puts the weight closer to the towers, away from the center of the crossbars, which is structurally preferable.

BTW, I don’t think there is any noticeable aerodynamic benefit to mounting in the center.