Strap Vibration/Noise

I tried looking through the archives but couldn’t find anything on this but I know it’s been discussed here…The vibration noise I get from my straps that I tie down our canoe with on our van is pretty darn awful. We have a factory rack with Thule crossbars. The straps are NRS 15 footers and I have bow and stern compression straps. I have used small bungee cords to keep the strap from hitting the van roof by tieing up the strap to the Thule bar. (Assuming I’m tying up the canoe in the proper way.) This has helped and did well for a 2 hour trip but today , we went on a 1/2 hour trip and it nearly drove me batty. (short drive for that) Any ideas on dampening the sound of the staps?

easiest problem you’ll ever have to fix
just put a couple of turns in the strap (actually one will do) wherever the wind can get to it. Just make sure the strap is not flat to the wind. End of noise.

use round rope
I really don’t like the flat straps. I have several, and of course they came standard on my Thule HullaPort “J” racks. Even those are a pain. Folks will tell you to twist your straps. You may still get major harmonics. Especially, if you have to strap over an open cockpit, the setup winds up acting like a giant guitar as you drive, with the straps as the strings, and the open cockpit as the resonance chamber. The simple solution is to learn 2 good knots, including an overhand loop, and multiple half hitches, and invest $10 in some basic nylon soft weave rope. Forget the straps. They offer the illusion of being faster or more convienient, but are really just more annoying, and arguably less secure, (depending on how well you’re really using them.)

I’ve long wondered about the practice of twisting nylon webbing straps. So, you take something that’s vibrating like crazy at highway speeds, and twist it so it vibrates against itself at high speed. I’m not aware of any studies about this, but it would seem to me like this might either weaken the load strength of the straps, or wear them prematurely. Try it yourself with the webbing that loops back on itself, like on the Thule HullaPort, and you’ll see that the webbing frays at the edges where the twists hit other webbing, or the boat. Why not just start out with a twisted rope that was meant to be twisted, and then you won’t have to worry about the strap wearing on itself.

I second the ropes. I’ve tried the
staps and find I have to adjust them more often than ropes. Rope has gotten me where I want to go with my kayaks and conoes for over 30 years, so I use what I trust. No wind noise. Learn the half hitch, nice, simple and holds well.

Ditto That.

the answer to strap vibration is …
3 ml rope. truckers hitch. bingo.

Ropes are illegal in New Jersey
A twist or two in the strap will work just fine.

You can also use something to tie the long runs of the straps to each other.

Another way is to push the strap through the hole in a pool noodle so the strap is covered by the noodle, just leaving the buckle exposed.

something else to think about

– Last Updated: Jun-18-06 7:38 AM EST –

You really shouldn't have any strap exposed for vibration to occur. The straps should be right up against the hull before being tightened up. That's what keeps the canoe from shifting side to side in truck turbulence and the like. If you have strap vibration, you may want to re-think your methodology. The Spirit II doesn't have enough tumblehome to create a gap between the hull and the strap. You should be able to keep your straps tight against the hull all the way down to the crossbars.

You can’t be serious!?
You aren’t really serious about NJ outlawing canoe/kayak transport with rope, are you?

Wrong car
If your vehicle is quiet enough for this to be a problem, why are you using it as a paddling car? You’re putting mud, sand, and stinky wet gear in a nice car, and driving it down sloppy put-in roads? An appropriate vehicle for paddling should already be so noisy itself that the sound of a strap humming is insignificant or even inaudible.

Where is it from?
If the noise is from the extra strap, the best way is to cut it to the appropriate length. I would use a solder iron to cut it to get a clean, sealed end. If the noise is from a long section of the strap flapping in the wind on a flat surface at highway speed, try covering that section with a foam tube (water pipe insulator from Home Depot) before you tighten up the strap.

Money back guarantee.

Well, to comply, I’d buy a cheap cheesy
thin strap, run it over the canoe/kayak, and tie the sucker down with my ropes.

Put one or two twists
in your strap and try if possible to keep the cam buckle down low (like between the grille and bumper). That normally stops it.

I have a trailer now, but when I was car topping I stopped using fore and aft straps and just used 12’ endless ratchet straps and really cranked them down. The boats never budged even in high wind. You really can’t do that if you have bars. (I had Nice n’ Easy racks with 2x4 tops)

I third the round rope.
I sprung for the Thule canoe tie-down kit when I purchased my roof rack. I use two flat straps across the hull of the boat to my crossbar - I then put a simple knot under the buckle and the excess goes into the car, but I use the round roap that came with the tie-down package for the bow/stern. Works like a charm and I’ve never had any vibration. Good luck!

Not sure if this ok on NJ but I

– Last Updated: Jun-19-06 9:49 PM EST –

use Thule straps around the yaks and the Yakima rope with their ratchet hooks for front and stearn ropes. I have never had any noise from them. I also tie up any extra so it does not flap.

we haven’t been down any sloppy wet access roads with the van…yet. I’m in the process of deciding on a type of cross bar for my truck. I can get the clip on ones for the roof (raingutters) but I’m looking for a cross bar to go on the back. I don’t want to get one of the ones that fit in the hitch because half the time we are taking our camper. For right now, I’ll leave the sloppy access roads for everyone else…

Strap vibration
For those who don’t wish to go with rope, the suggestion to give a twist in the straps is good advice.

One thing that can occur from vibrating straps is that the strap CAN break. Been there, done that! This is why you also don’t buy cheap straps. The kayak you see bouncing on the road, in your rearview mirror, may be yours.

ropes are illegal in NJ?
i’ll believe that one when you show me the printed word of law. that’s an impossible law to enforce … you driving down the highway at 55 mph and a cop flying by in the other direction at 55 mph and he’s gonna discern straps from ropes? moreover, it’s sooo stoooopid that even NJ couldn’t enact such law.

If all else fails
and you are not able to snug the straps near the hull per Brian’s suggestion, and a twist does not do the trick, try a bread bag twist-tie. Pinch the strap, wrap the tie around, and you will probably have disrupted the air sufficiently to eliminate the buzz.


Welcome to the Garden State
You won’t get stopped for having ropes tying down your boat. But, if you do get stopped for something else, and the cops is smart enough, and know about the law, he can give you a ticket, which will have a fine. KA-CHING, more money for the town.

The spirit of the law is so that you don’t have some trucker with a load of concrete pipes secured with some old half rotten piece of hemp. It makes sense, it’s jsut another ‘one size fits all’ rule.