Strapping down kayak on roof rack dent.

Hello. I am new to Kayaking and just took my boat out for the first time this weekend. I have a 10ft Pelican sit on top with a J rack. Knowing that I could dent the sides when strapping the Kayak down I tried to be carful. However, it seems as though not enough because I dented the side. it seemed as though if I didn’t strap the Kayak down with some force the Kayaks were too loose and would slip/rotate in place. Do y’all have tricks to keep from denting the boat on the rack.

this is my rack. Thanks for any help

Unfortunately that is the problem…

– Last Updated: Jul-05-15 10:41 AM EST –

with the cheaper model plastic kayaks.
We have fifteen year old nine foot long Perception Keowees, that I can cinch down as tight as I want to with out denting them, because the plastic is so thick, but all the newer ones that are sold at the big box stores will be like yours.
One solution which might help a bit is to get the extra wide straps that NRS makes.
I think they are 1-1/2" wide.
Another thing that might work is to pick up a piece of foam pipe insulation that has the slit in it, and put it around the portion of your tie down straps that will be against the boat.
It is very inexpensive, comes in different diameters and you can get it in the plumbing dept at Lowes or Home depot.

Good Luck,

Jack L

More foam
can be used to put under the kayak between it and the rack, also.

Foam is the greatest non-slip, non scratch thing ever.

Some stores sell just the foam blocks that people use without the metal carrier racks, you could play around with trimming some to fit. Alternate sources of foam, besides Ace-Home-Lowe’s, include spare pillows in your house with the covers taken off that are too flat now for beds, old foam bed/furniture pads, and giant diameter pool noodles at Wally World. Also, some boat upholstery repair places will have foam.

Now, for how to attach the foam. Last year I had to pad up a cheap kayak cart which my kayak didn’t want to ride on nicely. I took the high quality, dense salvage foam from another project (you never throw out great foam because it always has another use) wrapped it around the cart pipe and duct taped it, then wrapped it in strips of discard cotton socks which had failed, then vet- wrapped the whole thing. What is “vet-wrap?” It’s that wondrous elastic bandage stuff that sticks to itself and comes in different colors and doesn’t cost much, and not only is it good for holding bandages in place on critter or human, it is really good at holding foam onto different things you need padded. Will hold a wet kayak without scratching or sticking. Easier to remove than duct- tape, too, and won’t fail when wet.

You can probably do this Auxiliary Padding Project with just the oversized pool noodles (really cheap right now at Wally-World, was just eyeballing some the other day for “out of the box” repurposing) and some vet wrap over the duct tape.

bow and stern lines
Most of us who haul kayaks use bow and stern lines, meaning we tie both ends of the kayak to the car bumpers or other attachment points to keep the wind force from trying to rip the boat off the rack. If you do that you don’t have to crank the straps down. It is also the safest way to protect other drivers from a kayak coming off the car and since you can see the lines while you are driving it gives you an indication that everything is Kosher on the roof.

Also, don’t use ratchet straps, they are too tight. Use buckle straps, good ones, not the flimsy ones. If your boat does not have anything on the ends to tie to, get rid of the j-racks and carry it deck down directly on the rack with foam pool noodles slipped over the bars. It won’t affect the boat’s performance to have dents in the deck rather than the hull. Also the boat is less likely to slip around on the rack if you have the cockpit lip up against one of the racks.

Good heavens !
Don’t use the bow and stern lines for securing the kayak.

They are strictly for safety if the boat hold down straps or rack came loose.

The only time I even use them is when I have my long ultralight Comp cruiser on the racks, and that is just front ones to keep the wind shear from buffeting the long knife like overhanging bow.

Jack L

I did not say that the bow and stern lines REPLACE the straps, only that they help keep the boat from being torqued by wind and putting stress on the straps, which are, of course, ALWAYS the primary attachment to the rack. And to keep the boat with the car if the rack fails.

Added foam and wider straps…

– Last Updated: Jul-05-15 5:33 PM EST –

With the less expensive hull materials you have to go softer on its ride. Added foam and wider straps, as mentioned, help prevent the tighter strapped area from choking/crushing the hull material in the strapped area... Slowly get the hull in its original shape...and if possible use high density foam plus a thin layer of softer foam(to cushion even more), cemented(here & there) or velcroed to a layer of higher density stuff.

if the rear strap is snug on the rear vertical, the kayak fatter middle than ends then the rear strap prevents the yak from traveling rearwards.

If the front strap is snug on the front vetical and the middle is…

I’m wondering why the straps have to be

– Last Updated: Jul-05-15 9:13 PM EST –

So tight to keep the boat from moving. Possibly your strapping it wrong?

Boats in the cradle, deck facing out, hull against the back piece of the cradle. With a cam buckle strap, starting at the buckle against the deck in the vicinity of the cradle, the bight runs up over the edge (top) of the kayak in front of the cradle posts,

goes down, crossing the back of one let of the upright and under the cross bar,

comes up between the two lower bars of the cradle to the buckle then snugged down. This uses the cross bar to pull the boat into the cradle.

One strap per cradle. If possible tie the free end in a knot around something. This is a little added protection to prevent cam slips.

Ratchet straps CAN be used but only if you know WTF you're doing. You can seriously mess you're boat up with them if you don't. Buy quality cam straps, not the ones from Harbor Freight.

When I had that problem using cam straps
I pulled them moderately tight then rocked the boat hard. That left more slack in the straps so I pulled them tight again. Then, I rocked the boat a second time and the straps became slack again, however much less than the first time. I just pulled them down one last time and it was just right. Works every time.

Foam choice
Personally, I do not find standard open cell insulation pipe foam the best material for roof rack cushioning. It not only absorbs moisture it also breaks down eventually from weather and UV exposure. The closed cell foam used in pool noodles is far superior – denser, non absorbent and more durable. Pretty danged cheap too – I’ve picked up pieces for as little as 50 cents near the end of summer. Comes in a lot of profiles too and is easy to slice dice and carve for fit.

J rack and heat?
I had J racks a long time ago and dimpled my not so cheap (or plastic) kayaks. I had problems with composite, carbon/Kevlar or standard heavy-lay ups.

The problem was occurring with heat above 85F.

The dimples where severe enough to show stress lines after the hull returned to original shape (left sitting in the sun).

Needless to say I ditched those J racks (I always felt that the system was rather rickety anyway) and went for decent 4-cradle solution where the hull rests on swiveling large pads. No problems anymore.

I am sure if I transported my yaks in colder temps things probably would be better.