paddle on roof rack

Any DIY ways to strap your paddle on roof rack?

I used to tie a kayak paddle or my
poling stick with a single length of polyester rope (doesn’t stretch like Nylon when wet). I would loop one end, pass the rope down under the bar, back around the other bar, and then affix with a trucker’s hitch. You can also use bungees, or there are solid rubber bungees. Don’t let a bungee put your eye out.

Sticky backed Velcro

– Last Updated: Jun-04-12 6:37 AM EST –

I use the 16" - 18" lengths of sticky-backed velcro strips from most any big department store or $$ store. I attach the sticky sides together and just wrap them around the paddle and rack.

They work great for holding cross-country skies on the rack too. Note! Where I go I don't need to lock anything so I don't need a fancy hold-down carry system.

Lightweight and flexible, I use them to strap my paddle into the canoe while portaging, and I'm never without a few wound around the straps on my backpack.

Since cleats are not part of most paddling experiences, I find that my velcro strips work well to tame the coiled painter in bow and stern and secures them to the built-in handles on my canoes.

I'm usually not without some in my pocket or pack because they are so handy... And cheap too.

Heck, they will even work as makeshift handcuffs in case you find someone trying to make off with that Bending Branches paddle. Be sure to install with the soft side in so you don't offend the offender.

Tie Downs
If I were to tie down a paddle, I’d probably make some loops and place them just above the paddle blades. Then it’d be pretty easy to attach the loops to the boat rack with a single line and/or clips.

Generally, since I have long boats, I just break down the paddles and put them inside. I’ve felt the amount of wind a paddle blade can catch at 50+ mph before and it’s really quite impressive, so if it can be done, I prefer to have them inside the vehicle or boats.


Bicycle toe straps
Use a pair of bicycle toe straps. They’re basically miniature cam straps.

The millions of micro movements
the paddle will experience up there will wear it out prematurely.

I use the same straps for the kayak and paddle.

The kayak sits in U-cradles and the paddle is placed on the rack alongside the kayak directly above the feet of the rack. I place the buckle roughly by the deck seam of the kayak and from there the strap goes over the kayak, under the load bar, back over the kayak, under the load bar on the inner side of the rack foot, over the load bar and paddle shaft to the outer side of the rack foot, under the load bar end, and finally to the buckle and tightened.

The benefits?

  • Safe
  • Fast
  • Simple, no extra hardware
  • Paddle and kayak are both secured in all directions (strap both sides of the rack foot prevents slippage and kayak movement sideways, paddle blades prevent paddle from slipping forward or back)
  • Buckle is “automatically” drawn away from the hull when tightening (no scratches).
  • Built in “alarm”: If the straps aren’t tight enough the paddle will rotate due to wind pressure while driving and start rattling against the hull causing enough noise to be noticed inside the car long before the straps become dangerously loose.