how tight??

-- Last Updated: May-18-06 10:20 PM EST --

Have made a couple of cradles for my trailer and using ratchet straps to tighten the 2 kayaks onto it. I have tightened them down to where I thought 'no way they're moving', and twice looked in the mirror and one of the straps had come off. I am going to modify the cradles as I don't like the way they turned out, but how tight do you make the straps? Boats are Old Town polylink, so not sure if they will warp permanently if tightned too much repeatedly or if I should just crank away.
Thanks for any input

not too
Tight on poly boats. What type of ratchet straps are you using?

With a quality strap, either Thule, Yakima or NRS (after their “break in” period) you shouldn’t have a real problem with them loosening. But I always tie some safety knots after you snug the boats down. A couple of half hitches should do.


– Last Updated: May-19-06 3:11 PM EST –

What you don't want is the straps to loosen.

The strap systems are supposed to jam if they are pushed from the inside.

It really should not be necessary to "just crank away".

I think
what is happening is when the trailer hits a bump, it bounces and the kayaks give a little bit, allowing the hooks to come out of the bar that they are into. What I am thinking of doing is changing the cradles a bit and using good quality bungee cords. If the boat gives, the cord should compensate.

What brand cradles?
And what brand straps?

Are they really “ratchet” straps, with winding mechanisms, or are they “cam” straps as sold by Yakima, Thule, and NRS? I see no need for ratchet straps on a kayak hull - cam straps have a great record of holding things down.


You should not use ratchet straps.
You should use cam-lock buckle straps double looped around the boat and the bar that is holding the cradles.

Also bungee cords should not be used. They break and worse than that they can put an eye out.



What hooks?
What hooks are you speaking of?

Was thinking of the cam straps and you helped me make up my mind. The cradles are just 2x4s that i have shaped to the shape of the boat bottom.

Job for tomorrow in the pouring rain.


Don’t crank hard
It shouldn’t be necessary, and it can damage the boats.

I use homemade cradles on my trailer, fashioned from wood with minicell foam pads, and strapped with regular buckle straps (not ratcheting).

Any movement is limited to a couple of inches fore/aft, nothing more even on a long haul.

Authentic Ratchet Straps.

– Last Updated: May-20-06 12:20 AM EST –

This type, but not this brand, just so we're all on the same page.

I have four Prijons, and my father an Old Town Adventure XL (polylink) and we both exclusively use Ratchet straps. Each boat is secured in a fashion similar to yours with two bars and two pairs of saddles. We do not use front bow and rear stern straps... just two straps across the boat for short trips (less than ten miles), and four straps across the deck for longer trips (just for security, but really, likely could use only two straps for this too). Ratchet them down so that the hulls just deform slightly. Trick is to make sure the strap crosses the deck at the lowest point--for instance behind the coaming. If they are placed on a high point on the deck, they will work themselves down to the low point from road vibration and be loose. They are very snug. I have never had any issue whatsoever with losing a stap, a boat, wind sway... nothing. I place the ratchet itself where the metal does not hit the boat or the vehicle to avoid abrasion. I would not feel as comfortable with pull-through cam straps; have tried them and that is just how I feel. I have never had an issue with hull deformity; what little deformity I see when I take the boat off is resolved--if not instantly--within the time I paddle for sure. Good luck and good paddling. Ratchet straps.

Matma: are you sure you are using the ratchet straps correctly? Two things: the strap must go properly through the ratchet; improperly and you can think it is tight when it can actually be pulled through. Check the instructions. Second, you MUST close the ratchet fully to engage the locking mechanism. If even slightly open, the ratchet is not locked. If you;re doing this, then need a new different brand of Ratchet strap.

been using them for
years with my canoes and never had a problem. I think it may be in part due to the cradles, which I am going to change. (Wasn’t raining today like they promised so worked on the yard instead.)

I have the kayaks so they are tilted a bit to one side, the flat 2x4 on one side and the angled piece on the other. This seems to be allowing the boats to slide a bit to the flat side and loosen.

I have an XL160 as well and noticed the deformity when I tightened, and as you mentioned it comes right out when loosened.


– Last Updated: May-21-06 8:38 AM EST –

Another Pnetter suggested these to me about six montsh ago, I have been using them on by pickup truck bars all springtime (including today) and they are SUPER.

Tire pressure specs

– Last Updated: May-21-06 12:47 PM EST –

on most trailers assume a pretty heavy load. Runnnig a light load with 30 PSI could be bouncing your trailer around more than it should. Consider experimenting with lower pressure. My Trailex with a 90-pound load runs best on 12 PSI in 8" tires.

never thought of the tire
pressure. That could be part of the problem.

tanks heaps.


– Last Updated: May-21-06 10:59 PM EST –

I use a pair of heavy bungee cords for each cradle of my Trailex. Had used straps for awhile but the rough ride was giving more chafing where the straps went over the deck than I was comfortable with. The bungees are nice since they'll absorb some shock and won't loosen.

I use ropes to restrain possible front-rear movement, say from heavy braking.


figured it out
the problem was me, or the way I was strapping them down. I was using one strap at each end of the trailer to hold down both kayaks, from one side,over one kayak and under the bar and then over the second kayak. This was allowing the boats to slide a bit to one side and loosen the straps. When I use one strap for the end of each boat it solved the problem. Think I will drop my tire pressure and try the good bungee cords though, along with changing my cradle design.

thanks for the info

I may
Looking at those cradles suggested by cooldoctor, I’m thinking about switching from the j-cradles we’re currently using. The thule cradles have been ok, but we’ve noticed some serious flex/movement with the yaks mounted on the sides in gusty crosswinds on the freeway.

I’m thinking this may be a better alternative/lower profile for the kayaks on our roof.

Ssarah: I agree.
I wish I recalled which Pnetter told me about them, but they were right. They are very well made, and have a substantial feel, and yet have about 4 inches across so cradle the kayaks well. YOu could, if you have a very fragile kayak, glue minicell to the cradle (if I had a fragile kevlar boat I might do that), but I find the soft rubber to work well. As you see, they have two sets of bolts, one long and one short, and with the nature of the “gripping” part in the clamp, check out the structure… they grip to large bars like my 2 inch truck roll bars, and small bars like Thule and Yakima, and square bars and everything in between. A serious contender for you. I love them (I should review them on Pnet). Good luck.

let me throw this out
one idea I had, good or bad, is to put 2 pieces of wood, about 3 inches wide, on short stands and have a bracket, like you would find on conduit, sitting in the middle of it and screwed to the pieces of wood. This way they would pivot and take the shape of the kayak that is sitting on it. A couple of pieces of foam on top should help.

Whatcha think???


Pool noodle
All I am planning to do is put pool noodles on the bars on my trailer, then tie the yaks to them. Any problems with this?