input needed for hauling kayak on highwa

I have a Liquidlogic Remix XP10. For usual hauling, I strap it down to my Thule rack with two NRS straps across the width of the boat. When it comes to highway/interstate hauling, is it also necessary to strap down the bow and stern of the boat? If so, is using paracord fine?

-Darwin (

better options
The problem with paracord is that it tends to stretch. I prefer to use the perlon braided cord sets you can get for this (for around $10 or less) with the steel hooks on the ends. The hooks clip quickly under the bumper, then you tie the other end to the boat carry handles. I find it easiest to tie an overhand loop in the rope about 2 feet below the boat, run the loose end through the boat handle, then run it through the loop and pull the rope snug and tie it off above the loop. I’ve hauled many boats thousands of miles at highway speeds with never a slip.

short boat
Bow and stern lines help reduce slippage side to side when hauling. They also give you another line of defense. A short boat like yours is unlikely to slip much on a rack. But if you are really into an abundance of caution its not a terrible idea. Even if you just put a bow line on. It can save you in case of rack failure.

Ryan L.

I think it’s a good idea to control straps and cords every time you stop. Usually I have to tighten them a bit, not sure if it’s boat warp (plastic) or cords that lengthen? I use climbing ropes or PE.

Worse thing that happened is some days after reaching my destination, I had to haul the boat locally, and by chance I found that the rack was moving! I don’t know what would have happened on the highway! but now I’m more careful when I take the road, I don’t forget to control the rack, too.

bow and stern lines
Last Monday I was on I-90 in Upstate NY and observed a kayak, still affixed to the roof rack cross bars, on the median side of the lanes leaning against the guard rails. A car, perhaps the owner of the yak and rack, was pulled over to the right a half mile further. I can only hope no other vehicles were involved in this mishap. My usual launch is two miles from my house and I always tie the bow and stern lines.

I use a bowline at times
I often use it on trips over 100 miles, sometimes I even use it on short boats.

It reminds me that a boat is up there: Drive throughs & Garages

It is a visual indicator when the straps are loose.

Rain loosens the nylon, Wind shift the straps, sometimes they move a little on their own.

It makes the police man feel better. Some time the appearance of being safety conscious is very helpful. When loading three to six boats up bowlines are useful in convincing “the man” to only issue a warning.

It helps with the wind load on really long boats.

I use the straps that came with my Yakima rack. There are 2 tie downs and 2 straps with hooks on one end for exactly what you describe.

I had used rope for hauling canoes for years, but I have been very pleased with the straps performance over the last 2 seasons, with a fair amount of interstate driving.

stern tie down
I have a FusionS pretty similar to your XP10. For local trips (local roads, short distances, no highways) I always use a stern tiedown in addition to the belly straps. The stern is heavier in most boats. The stern tie down gives a little extra security against hwy wiggles.

But I can see the logic of tieing down the bow also, because at highway speeds there is a lot of lift generated. So if it’s hwy day, I use both.

But the most important reason to do it, is that either tie down serves as that canary in a coal mine. you can always check for them while driving, and if things are starting to go south up top, you have an early warning system.

have too many friends who lost their ww boats off their car tops when driving at night and never knew it :frowning:

As always, any time trying a new tie down system, stop and check the first 15 minutes or so for adjustments. At hwy speeds I check every couple of hours. Cheap insurance.

Outfitter in my area

– Last Updated: Jul-15-12 6:23 PM EST –

Uses nylon cording (white, durable, on the thin side).

My car doesn't have hooks under either bumper, so he created 2 short loops (one for the driver side boat and one for the passenger side boat - they got looped to where the car hood attaches to the car). Next he tied the boat (through the rigid cording on the deck) to the small loop. He used fancy knots - I use half hitches and other knots.

He also made 2 slightly longer loops for the back. I have a hatchback so he tied the loop on the adjustable luggage/storage knobs that are on the hatch floor. The loop hangs under the back door and then a longer rope is tied from the back of the kayak to the loop.

Not sure if this makes sense - but it works really well especially for those of us who don't have hooks or attachment areas under the bumper.

Nah! Why Bother?
Two straps are enough. Adding more, such as bow and stern straps only increase the probability of running over them when they come loose. It is a very common sight to see 21 ft. + long surfskis and outrigger canoes car topped traveling 60+ mph without bow and stern lines on Hawaii highways.


– Last Updated: Jul-16-12 9:20 AM EST –

Gotta strongly disagree with that. A long skinny surf ski won't be as affected by cross winds or by airflow uplift as a short wide sit on top, ww or rec boat. And outriggers are easier to lash firmly to a rack due to the construction. For the majority of kayak models, a bow- and/or stern-to-bumper line is extremely good insurance for both the safety of the boat and the people around you on the highway. The lines won't come loose if you choose the right materials and fasten them correctly. Even if one does, you should be able to spot it right away if you are paying attention, and pull over and fix it.

A wayward bumper line is a lot less hazardous to you and your fellow motorists than a flying kayak.

Besides, as has been mentioned before, having the lines in your field of vision while driving helps you monitor the position of the kayak on the rack.

two straps are enough
til one loosens or breaks and the boat goes airborne and hits the asphalt or the vehicle behind you.

I see plenty of 18’ + seakayaks w. two straps and two tiedowns. The length of the bow makes for a long fulcrum overhanging the hood, and is very susceptible to cross winds.

Takes maybe 3 minutes to add them. If they are tensioned properly they don’t come undone.

Use the bow and stern line
The Thule j hook bases can crack.

My broken pieces are still in my car, I need to clear them out and decide what to do with the one good Thule J Hook but if one broke it’s probably a matter of time before the other does.

I was fortunate, I had my kayak tied down front and back.

I lost a boat once
A couple of years ago my Yakima roof rack self destructed. A tower failed and the whole thing - rack and boat - came off at 70 mph. I had put thousands of miles on the rig with out bow and stern straps. The extra straps would not have prevented the rack failure but would have kept the whole rig from sailing off the roof. I still have nightmares of what could have happend if there had been a family in a minivan behind me. No more travel without bow and stern straps for me.


four straps are enough
Until three come loose or break.

Ryan L.


– Last Updated: Jul-16-12 2:32 PM EST –

I have pulled up beside people hauling kayaks numerous times to alert them to a boat that has shifted on the rack in a way that would not have happened if they had secured the ends. Lucky for some of them I always have a hunk of braided rope in my car.

Even had one shift on myself less than 2 weeks ago -- we had 5 boats to load after midnight following our paddle to see the fireworks. I was tired and in the dark got careless about my usual check of all the straps and tie offs before heading home. Fortunately I only went about 100 feet and over a railroad crossing when I heard a noise from the roof and looked back to see the stern line had shifted a foot to the left. PArked and got out and sure enough, the strap over the stern to the Thule rack had not been tightened which allowed the stern to pivot to the outer end of the rack. If not for that stern line the kayak (a $4,000 Feathercraft) could have fallen off when I hit the crossing.

If I come up behind a vehicle on the road carrying any boat on the roof without bumper lines I drop way back or pass it ASAP.

I forgot to mention in my initial messag
I don’t know if this would change any of your input or not, but I realized that, when I said, “Thule rack”, I neglected to mention that I meant just my Thule bars, which I strap my boat directly to.

I also have factory metal loops under the back and front bumpers of my Subaru.

Does any of this change any of your input? Sorry for my not being more thorough in my initial message.

Yup, I presumed that’s what you meant
I have used the exact same setup for years, boats strapped directly to the Thule bars and bumper tie offs (no other rack attachments except occasionally J-racks for one of the kayaks for long trips where oilcanning on the bars would be a concern). On some of my vehicles (old Subaru DL and Volvo 740) they were gutter mounted Thule setups and on the later vehicles (Volvo 850 and Hyundai Santa Fe with factory bars) the Thule crossbars were attached to the factory racks.

Nobody will ever convince me that bumper lines are “unneccessary.”

High winds
High winds can do a number on you. front and rear tie downs have paid off many times. it is nice to have them when the boat starts sliding a bit. Especially if you are on a road with no place to pull over and tighten the straps.

Yup ta stem lines!
An’ NO ta de parachoote line - Not strong ‘nuff under potential dynamic loadin’…