Security alarm for traveling with kayaks

Just had a friend have her Old Town Loon 111 stolen off the top of her car in Springfield MO. We are getting ready to travel to the UP with our two kayaks on our traler and I was just curious what everyone does to secure their kayaks and canoes when they travel?

I have seen alarms that use a cable ran through the items you are securing. Break the cable set off the alarm. I was looking for something like that I could run through the eyes on the kayaks and attach to the trailer. There has to be some product out there for this. Sometimes you just can’t take your boats in the hotel room with you if you have to stay out. Nothing like getting a 14’ kayak in a elevator!

Any suggestions?

Cable and pad lock
either through the seat and around the rack bar or around the bar and secured to the boat. All you can do is keep the honest people honest. Park next or close to the office.

Cable lock plus extra strapping

– Last Updated: Feb-05-13 10:47 AM EST –

And park under a light, near the door.

Here is a source for cable locks, there are others that have similar ones. Wrap them around everything in sight to be visually confusing.

Also, just slow the thiefs down with extra straps. Double the straps front and back, both bow and stern tie downs and a couple of cable locks... if it takes them 20 minutes to figure out how to even detach the boats from the racks they'll likely move on.

I am sure you can buy alarm things that will go off if some connection is broken. Or you can just add some objects that will fall down and make a lot of noise if the kayaks are dislodged.

If they are pros looking for certain kayaks, they'll probably get around anything. If it is an opportunity grabs - something that is pretty easy to manage for a lighter boat like the Loon - just making it take time and parking under lights should do it.

Cable lock alarm
We had three straps on the boat and she parked in a well lit area right outside her hotel room. Just not enough.

That said I just found something I wish I had known of before today. LOCKALARM.COM just placed order for several units!

Portable Alarm
How about something like this tucked up inside? I had something similar that I used to use for my canoe.

i cant believe
Someone stole a loon.

Few extra straps, have a conversation with your insurance, and just enjoy your trip.

Ryan L.

I am talking 6 straps plus cable
FWIW, we never travel major trips especially overnight with less than 5 straps/cables per boat.

Double straps front, double straps back, 2 plus 2 equals 4. Bow line plus stern line, 2 more.

6 straps or ropes before before you even get to the cable.

If you want add complication, run a really long strap thru something on the boat and set it so that the cam is inside the car.

There is also a bit much portability in a Loon or any of the pumpkin seed boats. They are little and light.

Straps & painters as deterrents…

– Last Updated: Feb-05-13 7:05 PM EST –

Using tie down straps & painters as deterrents to boat theft is only slightly better than using nothing at all.
A well sharpened sheath knife will go through tie down straps & painters like hot butter.

A couple of guys, working together, can get out of their pickup, cut through 4 tie down straps & 2 painters, throw a small boat in the back of a pickup, and be back on the road in about a minute.

Steel cables locking a boat to a roof rack will certainly slow them down, but steel cables can be cut with bolt cutters. I'll bet bolt cutters wouldn't have too much problem cutting through roof racks either.

My solution is to use 2 tie down straps, 2 painters, and 2 steel cables (on each boat)if I'm concerned about security.
I always park in a well lit, high traffic area.

If it's a very expensive boat that I really don't want to lose; I'll take it to my room. Did so with a 13 foot Bell Flashfire in Jackson, Mississippi. The inconvenience of having the boat in my room was much less than finding my boat gone the next morning. Jackson, Mississippi police are either overwhelmed with pimps, whores, and crack dealers,or just ignore them. Motels & restaurant parking lots along the I-55 corridor in Jackson, Mississippi was teeming with them; thus boat was moved indoors.
Not a place I'll ever willingly stop again.


P.S. Crack is Missouri's #1 cash crop; the tweakers have to pay for it somehow. The sale of a stolen Loon 111 probably kept some tweaker stoned for the best part of a day.

Alarms are useless
How many times have you seen anyone pay attention to a car alarm? It is so common for them to misfire or sound when there is no actual theft going on that people ignore them.

You Can Make Thieves Take Time…
…make 'em make noise, make 'em bring tools…and there’s not a heck of a lot more you can do.

Best I’ve come up with is a length of 1/4" stainless steel 1x19 rigging wire with eyes swaged in each end and a BIG padlock - a real bear to cut, even with good bolt cutters. They’ll likely move on to an easier target…

Fill the boat with ping pong balls.
I once saw an old video of Hohnny Carson as a house thief. Once he entered the house, everywhere he looked for loot would cascade ping pong balls out at him. Eventually he just gave up.

Suggested before
For sit-on-tops:

Opaque plastic box strapped to kayak

For touring kayaks:

Heavily tapped up rear hatch cover.

For both:

Sign - Caution live snakes inside


A few baby rattles in either the box or hatch.


Kayak lock
The best you can hope for is to slow them down. Most cables can be cut with bolt cutters, but most thefts are spontaneous acts done by someone who saw an opportunity and took it. Most of these guys aren’t traveling around with a full tool kit.

Cable locks can be cheaply made.

To determine the length, pass a line around the kayak and rack, then add about 1’. Many Marine Stores (West Marine, etc.) Carry the end hardware, and use of their swageing gear is free. The last one I made cost me about $12.

Extra straps aren’t a deterent, since they can easily be cut, even with a pocket knife.

Get a 23 foot, 100 pound tandem.
I would pay them to steal mine !

Jack L

Cable lock
I agree, all you can do is slow a thief down. I think I made mine for less than $10. Coated cable and connectors from local hardware.

Also you posted in Feb. That you are traveling with a camper to the UP in a few weeks. You do realize things will be pretty solid for another 4 months, right? Ha! Must be a hearty trailer camper. My gress is that you won’t have any trouble finding sites!

They have locking straps
They have locking tie down straps that have a wire in them ( sort of like steel bleted radial tires) which makes them harder to just cut and steal the canoe or kayak. I use a couple of cable type bicycle locks thru the gunwales and around my roof rack bars.

There is no absolute deterrent
BOB is right: a sharp knife will go through straps and ropes like butter. Mere seconds.

I sleep in my canoe van.

I have a 12 gauge Ithaca Model 37. I have a golok machete. I have lots of sharp knives. I have bear spray. I have a Louisville slugger. I used to have a German Shepherd and may get another.

I may or may not have any or all of these routine outdoors items in my van at any given time.

No one has ever stolen a rec kayak from my van.


I have rosary beads dangling from my rear view mirror, a bible in the shotgun seat, and a portrait of Divine Mercy taped on the inside wall of my van. I have an unconfirmed belief that these items have a greater theft deterrent effect when I park for the night in the parking lot of a Roman Catholic church – as I often do – than when I park in the parking lot at Yale.

If I’m toting a solo canoe with a removable sliding seat, I remove it.

I also use lasso and other cable locks.

Best idea so far…
Get a really long heavy boat that no one wants to carry.


This is what you want
Lockable, steel reinforced tie down straps:

Not cheap, but if you have a couple of thousand dollars of kayak on your roof overnight somewhere, this is the best deterrent. (Hopefully your rack will itself lock to the roof.)

These come in two lengths. The shorter will handle most narrow sea kayaks. The longer will handle wider kayaks and SOTs.

for me
I would think the best is a combo of steel cable locks and some kind of alarm that YOU can hear. Hopefully alarm goes off soon enough before they cut all the cables so you can get there and start yelling making them run.I would prefer to be armed but if out of state thats not likley.