Strapping down a kayak to roof rack if kayak does not have any sturdy place to attach ratchet hooks?

I have been strapping down my kayak to the j-bars, but I have been adding an extra strap that goes through the scupper holes for extra security. After reading other forums, I found out that this can apparently damage/crack the scupper holes. But, my kayak literally doesn’t have a single place on it to attach bow and stern hooks to. The front handle can be pulled off with just arm strength so that isn’t reliable.

So my question is, do you agree that I should avoid putting straps through the scuppers (I do not tighten tight and I use cam straps)? If I should not be using the scupper holes, then how in the world am I supposed to strap the kayak down to prevent forward and backward shifting??

For the scupper hole strap, I feed it through the hole, and then wrap it under the railing that is permanently attached to my car so that if the other straps came loose, the kayak would not go flying.

You can add bow and stern pad eyes to attach tie downs and carry handles to. You should use kayak tri split rivets and you need a rivet gun, and drill with 3/16 bit.

Could you please share a link to a pad eye that would work? Most that I have seen so that they cannot be use to tie the kayak down. But I am new to this, so what do I know.

Use one piece cam or ratchet straps, stay away from hooks and do not put your straps through the scuppers. The scuppers are the most fragile place on a SOT kayak and the hardest to fix if you break the seam in between, which you can easily do by over tightening a strap.
If you want to put a bow or stern line on, a metal pad eye would work, provided you can get inside to attach it with a machine screw and a nut. Rivets may not be able to hold if the boat was to come loose at highway speed.
All that being said, provided you are using good straps on your J Hooks, you boat looks small enough that two straps should firmly hold it.

I would use two loop cam straps and strap it on with the double over method to the Js. Then if you want that little extra protection stick a line thru one of the holes and don’t tie it tight. It will be there is God forbid the straps came off.

I also doubt it would ever move with two straps done properly. If you are going a long distance check them once in a while to make sure they are tight.

Use two straps every place that most people use one. Double protection and no need to risk damage to the scupper holes. I have used double straps for years, at the recommendation of a much, much better paddler than I will ever be.

I would make every effort to get something up front that would allow you to run a bow line. It is the best early warning system that something is going awry up top that you can have. Doesn’t have to be super tight, just taut enough to help keep things straight.


Use cam straps. Ratchet can apply to much pressure to plastic boats. Put the widest part of the boat between the J hooks. The straps either side as the boat narrows will help keep it from moving forward or back. I of the checks I did is after I strap the boat in, go forward and grab the bow and give it a good shake. Then go back and double check all the straps. This does almost the same as driving a couple miles and rechecking. Which is also a good idea.

Ratchet straps crunch boats.

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Good God, never use Rachet straps. No real paddler ever uses them. Use boather cam straps.
You can literally crush a car with a cam strap that how strong they are. Too much pressure, you’ll have a deformed boat.
Don’t be a noobe.

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It would help to see it on the car. If your straps are both in the narrower ends than the middle of the kayak, the two straps will hold it fine. As long as they hold it so that the front strap keeps the kayak from sliding forward and the back from it sliding back, you are fine without any others. If the J-racks are in the widest part of the kayak, run extra straps around the narrower parts of bow and stern (two straps), snugly around them, and tie them to the either the j-rack or your cars permanent rack.

Cam straps only! Ratchet straps are the #1 way to crush your hull or create stress cracks. Just go over the top, under the roofrack, back over the top, and pull straight down back thru the cam. One on front and one on back. No stern or bow straps needed. Been doing this for years on all my kayaks. Cleanest and safest way to go without risking damage.

Cam straps slip. Rope is best.

Most people these days cannot do a decent knot, especially new paddlers.

That is why I said two straps at each point. If one slips it isn’t fatal. In fact better redundancy than one rope.

Extremely simple solution and I am constantly shaking my head about why I seem to be the only one in a bunch I ever see doing it. It does not take oodles more time.

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Examples of a split rivet that won’t pull out and a pad eye. Both can be found online in stainless or brass. Many varieties available.

Pad Eye

I’ve used tri-split ¼" stainless rivets to attach a ladder rack on my truck. Has handled hundreds of pounds of 2" x 21’ steel pipe with no problem. Quarter inch stainless rivets need a serious tool to set, but you don’t need anything as large as that.

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Just wondering how you seal these to prevent water or rain leaking into the truck sorry if this is too off topic

With the tri-split rivets the part of the mandrel that stays in the body of the rivet is pretty tight, but you could always use a dab of Lexel, marine caulk, Marine-tex, etc. to further waterproof it. On the truck, it was on the bed rails so it didn’t matter.

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Oh yes the bed of a pickup would matter less. I am working on the roof of a van. The inside is finished off so a different standard for dry. Threaded rivets are great.

They make closed end sealing rivet nuts. They don’t have quite the pull-out resistance that split rivets have, but should work well enough in sheet metal. If using aluminum rivet nuts be careful not to strip the threads by using too much force in setting the rivet nuts and avoid frame members under the sheet metal.

Be aware that galvanic corrosion is a possibility between aluminum and sheet steel. Thin sheet steel can also eventually cut through aluminum if there is any play between them.

One problem with specialty rivets is that they can be hard to find, tend to be expensive, and are usually sold in quantities larger than you need.

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