One strap or two?

I have a CD Vision 130 that I carry on my Subaru Impreza using a pair of Thule 878XT,

They want you to strap it with one strap around the front and one around the back, but I find that one strap is long enough to catch both the front and back.

I was happy doing that with my $150 kayak for two years, but now that I have a more expensive kayak, one strap seems inadequate. I have been putting on two straps, each around both the front and back, but that takes rather longer to load and unload.

Is one strap adequate? The 878XT holds the kayak pretty good, the strap pretty much just stops it from coming off the cradles. There isn’t must force on it; pretty hard to see how it could fail; but if it did, I would lose the kayak.

So, one strap or two?

Most people

– Last Updated: Jun-23-12 3:18 PM EST –

use two straps but that is your call. I cannot see how you will get enough tension on both points while using one strap. But if that saves you $10-$15 then go for the economy approach just check to make your car insurance, if you have any covers boats on the roof.

If two straps is taking too long
my first thought is you are overscheduled.

Of course one strap works until it does not…then you have no redundancy in the system. If the wind then takes it off your cradles, that’s quite an expensive pull toy.

Your call. I am assuming you have a bow line attached.

For me, it’s
two ratchet straps, then a rope from the bow to the rail on the carrier at the stern end, and another rope from the stern of the kayak to the bow end of the carrier. So, it’s two straps and 2 ropes! Yep, takes a few minutes,both loading and unlaoding, but I’m not planning on having to “splain to momma” why the kayak went sliding down the interstate.

FOUR straps
The purpose of straps isn’t convenience or to save you time. It’s to protect other people on the road. The value of your kayak is irrelevant when you consider the cost of an accident that causes injury or death to other drivers and their families.

Two straps around the middle and one at each end. Seach this forum for recent comprehensive discussions of this issue. Don’t be a risk taker.

I tend to agree
with Waterbird. The stern line isn’t as important (since if you have failure on the other lines, a stern line won’t keep the boat on the vehicle no matter what).

What you may consider is finding a way to make a harness for the boat so that it is easier to tie down. For example, I often carry 2 boats on the car. Using rope and carabiners, I’ve made an X shaped tie-down that clips from the front of the boat to the tow points of my car. If I only have 1 boat, I simply double clip the carabiners.

I created a harness that goes over each boat, just in front and behind the cockpits, also made of rope and a a pair of wood dowels to add the rigidity to keep it all from getting tangled (kind of like a dog sled harness, if you can imagine that). Throw the harness over the boat and then tie down to the rack with bungees or a bit more rope. It takes just a few minutes to put the boats on the car and take them off at the other end.

Inspect ropes and ties each time and replace whatever shows significant signs of wear and you should have no problems.


You can MAKE the stern lines useful

– Last Updated: Jun-23-12 5:53 PM EST –

The stern lines WILL function to keep the boat on the roof if the tying method is done with a smidgeon of common sense. You can't push anything with a rope, so don't tie the rope at a location that does no good! Best to use two ropes in the front and two in back for similar reasons. Anyway, to make your stern tie-downs useful, attach them farther forward on your boat, instead of at the tip of the stern. Make the stern lines pull the boat in the opposite direction as the front tie-downs, and they WILL keep your boat on the roof. In the event of some other failure in the system (roof rack or main tie-downs), how will the front tie-downs keep the boat on the roof all by themselves (especially if there's just one)? They won't. The boat will most likely rattle off the roof sideways, and if you need to apply the brakes (do you think that might happen when you realize something is wrong up there?) it'll just slide off the front of the car. With properly aligned stern tie-downs working in opposition to the front lines, the boat can't move much at all.

Got a photo?
Always looking for a more efficient way to tie down. It IS labor intensive—four times on and off for one day trip.

use two
"The purpose of straps isn’t convenience or to save you time. It’s to protect other people on the road. The value of your kayak is irrelevant when you consider the cost of an accident that causes injury or death to other drivers and their families"

absolutely agree with that statement !

there was a fairly recent post on about roof rack failures and thier causes. One idea put forth was that by using a single strap for both front and back crossbars, you wind up pulling the two crossbars and mounts towards each other as you snug down the strap, weakening the attachment of the mounts to the car (i.e. they arent sitting flat to the roof anymore) - consensus there was to use two seperate straps to avoid that potential problem.

of course, none of teh people who had thier racks come off thier vehicles were using bow and stern tiedowns either - they help hold the rack to the vehicle, as well as hold the boat to the rack

labor intensive?
I just don’t see how using 2 straps takes longer than a single strap.

You still need to route the strap over both cross bars. So strapping down one then another takes no longer than strapping down one while making sure it’s got even tension over it’s entire length (over both sets of cross bars).

What you really need is two shorter straps instead of one super long one. Kind of reminds me of dry bags, a bunch of smaller ones works better than one big one. If you know what I mean…

I use 2, plus a bow line (stern line on longer trips). I second what was said about the second being a redundant system. if the strap you use breaks, using just one strap you won’t have the boat attached at all. So 2 straps provides redundancy.

The bow line is an extra redundancy. Not just in case a strap dies, but in case the rack system in full dies.

you gotta be kidding!
My first thought is just that - you gotta be kidding.

My second is that this confirms why I never drive behind anyone carrying things on their roof.

2 completely independent straps across the hull.

Plus a V-tie down from the bow to the front towing hooks. A stern tie down is optional for me - don’t crank it down tight if you use one - you can break a lightweight hull.

The bow tie down will keep the boat from being twisted by a side wind, as well as hang onto the boat if the rack comes off.

You will be responsible for the people in the car that you just stuffed your improperly secured boat into.

One strap?!? Unheard of

do it all the time
I have one strap that is long enough to go both ends, and under the racks. Bow and stern lines are also used. never had a problem.


exactly! Most people have never considered or had the wire spring on a cambuckle strap break. That releases the tension and that single long strap pretty much release the whole boat at hwy speeds!

Funny coincident …
but aar club be havin’ a woykshop on roof racks an’ de proper way o’ tyin’ down a boat next Tuesday… weez do dis (along wit udder safety woykshops) fer de newbie members an’ some o’ de boneheaded ol’ timers too.

Fat Elmo

Yikes - a possible broken cam buckle spring is a great argument for why you should always throw a couple of half hitches onto the strap after you cinch it down in the buckle. I always did it before, now I know why.