strap detioration? how long do they last

I recently got a canoe trailer and am keeping my 17’ grumman on it. The canoe is aluminum and being outside for it’s not an issue…but I’ve got to keep it attached to the trailer so it stays put. (it gets windy here and I had to chase it round the yard twice this past winter till I tied it to a big ol’ tree).

So I’m currently using straps like one would use to transport. These are now out in the weather (rain, sun) 24/7 (ok, sun for 16 hours anyway). This has to shorten their lives to some extent…

So what’s to look for? Are some straps better than others for this type of use?

In heavy use, I see nylon and polypropylene straps last 3-5 years if they are not lost or frayed beyond safe use. I just became aware of polyester straps which have superior UV durability, but haven’t used them long enough to compare.

Personally I would recommend rope. Learn the trucker’s hitch and you’re boat will be just as secure. You won’t think twice about the cost of replacing a few feet of rope every year whereas buying new straps every year can be expensive. Polyester rope is easy to find and does have the edge when it comes to UV protection.

NRS straps are good…
I lived in an RV for about a year and a half, my Wenonah Prism lived on top of the RV the whole time, I figure the straps were exposed to the sun for at least 2 years straight, once I moved into a house, the canoe lived on top of my Volvo wagon for the Summer months…

Bought them in 2004, they have at least 50,000 road miles on them.

Still use them today, they are a little faded, but still strong.

nylon vs polyester vs polypro
Nylon is the strongest synthetic fiber on a tensile strength to fiber diameter basis but it does stretch and definitely will degrade with continuous UV exposure. The problem is that the degree to which its strength has eroded may not be immediately apparent from its appearance.

Polypro is somewhat weaker, but still strong, has little stretch and I believe has somewhat greater UV resistance.

Polyester is definitely most UV resistant, which is why auto seat belts and shoulder straps are make of it. I have purchased polyester ratchet-action cam straps at Walmart.

how to
identify the material my current straps are made of?

Another vote for NRS
I would think that getting 5 years out of a set of well-exposed straps is a good deal. Even if periodically treated with 303 Protectant.

NRS uses polypro for their CAM straps (not ratchet)and they are often used in raft-rigging applications in the desert southwest.


My oldest ones are 15 years old
and are still good.

They have been used in the hot Florida sun for quite a few years.

I have new ones that I keep for “just in case”

I would be more worried about the cam-lock buckle and spring, and use WD-40 on each one three or four times a year.

Other than losing their original stiffness, I see no signs of deterioration.

Jack L

Too many variables to say
The constant exposure to UV is bad. But we don’t know how often the straps get tightened and loosened, whether there is lots of dust and sand in the wind, what kind of sharp edges the straps may sit against, and how fast you drive.

Polypro isn’t as strong (I believe tensile strength, specifically) as nylon, but it resists UV deterioration better. FYI, the red Malone straps are polypro. Most straps are nylon.

Check the straps for edge cuts or abrasion, and check the springs for weakness or corrosion. Always carry a spare set of straps with you. Always!

Instead of strap, use a cable lock
If the main reason for the 24/7 straps is keep the canoe in place on the trailer while being stored at home, you could keep a light weight cable lock on your canoe, then put the straps on when you transport. The straps would no longer be constantly exposed to the weather, and your canoe would have a bit added protection from theft as well as being secured to the trailer.

They last right up to the point when
they either fail, or you look at them and ask yourself, “I wonder if these things are still safe.” Think of them as if they were your army generals. As soon as you’ve lost confidence in them, or they you, it’s time for a change.

Straps are easier on the canoe than rope and easier to tension. When the straps start getting stiff, you’ll know when they do, it’s time to replace them.

Bill H.

Oh yeah, how long. Your profile says western PA, so you’ll roughly the same latitude as I am in IL, a bit more south. The straps should last easily 2 or 3 years, long enough that you’ll forget how much they cost :wink:

Don’t use ratchet straps, ok for cargo, can crush a canoe.

Bill H.