Locking a Kayak on a Car Roof Rack

I want to be able to lock our kayaks to the car roof rack – for those times when we stay overnight at a hotel and the kayaks are outside in the parking lot on the car.

Poking around the Web, it appears that the Lasso cables are popular. I watched the Lasso “how to” video, and it looks like you need a drain hole in you kayak to run the cable through. I don’t think my kayak (Dagger Alchemy 14L) has a drain hole, and I’m not sure my wife’s kayak (WS Tsunami 12.5) has one either. So how would I securely hook the cable to the kayak?

Are there other/better ways to lock a kayak to a roof rack? It is unlikely that we would bring both into the hotel room…


basic lock
The Lasso does not requite a hole to go through. Maybe there is a SOT model that you were looking at. But the one I use has 2 loops - you put a loop over each end and then wind the cable around stuff (rack, etc.) until it is tight and then lock the two ends together.

But the Alchemy has a lock loop right behind the seat. So I use a standard lock to connect that loop to a short bike lock cable (the type with 2 small loops in it, maybe 2 feet long - often used to lock a wheel to a U Lock). The bike cable is attached to the rack.

Treat that Alchemy as a play boat and scratch the hell out of the bottom (as mine is) and it will be less attractive to thieves.

As Peter says, the lasso doesn’t need anything to lock to, it loops around the kayak.

Some boats also have lock loops, also as Peter mentioned.

If you have an old-style composite boat with composite seat bucket, there’s a space where the seat bucket meets the coaming big enough to pass a lock thru. Nice if it works, because it also conceals the lock to an extent.

I always keep something noisy inside one of the hatches, like a soda can or something.

just remember that rack bars can be
sawed through in about 60 seconds with a hack saw or battery operated sawzall. The yakima and tule cross bars are not heavy steel and won’t deter the determined thief. Consider a locked tether to your vehicle, not just the rack.

If you want a locking point on your boat, consider installing a U-bolt with backing plate; see this link for an example: http://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine–u-bolts–P002_060_008_003

use stainless of course

There’s a better way
I found the Lasso locks cumbersome and not as snug as I would like. A better alternative is locking straps that replace the usual tie down straps. They’re lined with steel cable and have a key lock. (Which only makes sense if your rack also locks to your car’s roof.)

Kanulock and Thule both make their own versions:



I have a pair of both. The Kanulocks appear to be a little more heavy duty, but the locks are fiddlier than on the Thules. Both work fine, and I have left boats on the car overnight without a concern.

In addition to cable locking my boats to the rack I also disguise them when leaving them parked unattended overnight . I carry the lightweight canvas painting tarps that come in 4’ x 20’ size and drape and lash one around each of the boats. My reasoning is that thieves are going to want to cruise for a likely boat by visual spotting and then hit it fast. Having the boats’ identity and value camouflaged may make them a less desirable target for both theft and vandalism.

Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I have not lost a boat yet in 14 years of hauling them around and often leaving them out on the street.

Lots of good advice. Yes, my Alchemy does have the lock bar just behind the seat – I wondered what that was for! :slight_smile:

the Lasso cables have loops at the ends
of the cables that has a lock in the middle to connect the two sections of cable. You slide one cable loop over the bow and the other cable over the stern of your kayak. Then I also run one section of cable between the seat and the side of the the kayak. Just be sure to take out all the slack and keep the cable taut so that the loops may not be removed from the bow or stern without unlocking the system. Furthermore, run the cable under the roof rail and also under the cross bars (one would have to cut them both). Once you have secured the boat, the next time it’s easy. Then park your car where it can be seen easily in the dark (under a light, in camera view, front of motel/hotel. Take all your gear/paddles/PFD, etc. into the motel room.

the vehicle near the office after asking the mgr for advice.

buy a car alarm system.DIY install.

place 2-3 shock sensors on, under, and at the rear bumper.

hook the siren system to a car horn mounted on the rack. Supply the DC directly from battery thru a relay with the siren output activating the relay. The ground goes thru a $15 flasher unit handling 3+ amps.

or just use an alarm siren…with battery voltage not alarm voltage…needs 10-12 ga wire supply avoiding voltage drop. There are online calculators for voltage drop…see Powerstream.

Idea there is preventing access. Allowing access allows vandalism and damage when the perps try removing the kayak. Cables do not prevent trying to steal nor theft.

One way around this is wrapping the hulls with multiple loops of loose heavy wire. Maybe not visible in the dark.

Avoid military base areas. Motel parking nearby apparently from my experience risks theft attempts.

Google Maps
is anti theft using the street view

eg https://goo.gl/pPqVk8

TAG’s parking area maybe next door to the Hampton Inns video surveillance cameras

as a positive example.

plan ahead.