Thule and bow and stearn tie downs?

Just bought my first kayak a Perception sport Conduit 13. I also bought and installed a Thule car rack with the 835 pro J type holders.The instructions show tie downs beside the ones that wrap around Kayak hull right at the jbars they also say tie downs on the bow and stearn to the front and back of the car are needed.I used mine without these tie downs on the front and back as they dont seem to really be needed.

Just wondering if other Thule car rack guys use the tie downs on front and rear of car.

two functions
First, and probably most importantly they give you a back up connection from the boat to the car and not boat to rack. Racks can fail.

Second, they help minimize the cross wind effects on your boat. With a 13 ft boat these probably won’t be great if the spread of your bars is a reasonable amount. Most people feel a bow line should actually be two lines tying the boat to opposite sides of the front of the car. They make very inexpensive tie down points that install under the hood and can be brought out when your hauling.

Good luck.

Ryan L.

tie downs
Questioning whether tie downs are needed can turn into 100 post threads too… Having seen more than one failed rack system where tie downs were not used, I don’t go anywhere without them. Failure as in, kayak still firmly attached to rack, rack no longer attached to vehicle - having separated at a high rate of speed.

Not pretty to the boat, and fortunately none of these had someone following their car close behind. Imagine that scenario.

But, I don’t use hardware on my tiedowns - just a good piece of low-stretch (sailing) line and knots. Good, solid, simple and quick. Don’t leave home with out 'em…

Front always

– Last Updated: Aug-27-11 12:02 AM EST –

We have loops from around the bumpers for the hood that we tie off to - no risk of the line coming loose and catching around the wheel. Knots are a trucker's hitch to create the loop then half hitches. (We use ropes, not the straps with hooks for the bow tie downs.)

But to the reason - with bow tie-downs you can see that the boat is getting moved around too much and stop to tighten it BEFORE it flies off the roof. So whatever does or does not go ont he back, we always have front tie downs on.

I never use rear ones

– Last Updated: Aug-28-11 8:30 PM EST –

and the only time I use front ones is when I am carrying my 19 pound J boats, and that is to protect the front of them from breaking when a tractor trailer creates a cross wind coming by at 75MPH.
I also use front ones on my 23 foot long 100 pound tandem kayak.
If my rack was attached to the vehicle factory rack, I would use cross ones, front ones, rear ones, and then cover the whole thing with a big safety net!
The only way my rack will come off is if the whole roof comes off.


Better SAFE then sorry.
There was a newspaper article awhile back that told of a canoe coming off a truck and hit a motorcyclist traveling behind it. The cyclist ended up in the hospital. I can see a lawsuit there.

I also recall an article in Seakayaker magazine where a kayaker had a brand new boat, didn’t use a bow tie down and the boat ended up coming off. There was a picture of the aftermath. It had been a beautiful white and yellow boat. Needless to say, the boat went to the dump.

It takes very little time and money to attach at least a bow line to your vehicle. Personally, I also see these precautions as an investment in a larger one.

Be safe, and enjoy your time on the water in your new boat.

Front without Rear
is only 50% of the solution. Always use both. Eliminates (minimizes) side-to-side motion as well as “porpoising” motion. Concur with line only; don’t recommend mechanical or ratchet systems.

Thule ratchet systems
I have several sets of them that came with Thule racks. They sit in a box unused. I don’t trust the metal hooks to not come loose. Like others here I use no stretch rope and a trucker’s hitch both front and back.

Ok then
Glad I asked. I will from now on use the tie downs. Thanks everyone for the replies. Took my kayak out lastnight for its first run. Did 6 miles.I had my gps with me to record the trip.

think about this
If your boat overhangs the back of your vehicle, rear tie downs will not necessarily prevent the boat from sliding forward out of the cradles if the belly straps get a little bit loose and you have to stop sharply.

This depends a bit on boat shape and the spacing between your cross bars. If the cross bars are set relatively close together and the boat does not get very distinctly thicker between the cradles, the boat can get ejected forward out of the cradles and belly straps in a panic stop.

Rather than use rear tie downs, which I don’t find do all that much to reduce boat yaw as long as two separate triangular tie downs are used on the front stem, I tie a line to the rear cross bar and secure it to some part of the boat forward of that crossbar. That will prevent forward movement of the boat. The front tie downs will prevent rearward movement, unless the boat is very long and the vehicle very short.

Smashed Kevlar CD Gulf Stream
After having seen someone’s CD Gulf Stream in kevlar fly off their vehicle and smash into an expensive pile of nothing, my motto is always always prepare for what MIGHT happen.

Use bowlines.

Unless that minute it takes to put them on is too big an investment to spare your boat getting smashed.

Here is my kayak on car
Ok two pictures of my kayak on my car, you can see it does over hang the back some.

Ah’ woodn’t take a chance…
Bow an’ stoyn tie-downs fer me - always…

Ah’s poysonally fixed 4 boats (‘yaks) dat went flyin’ off inta de sunset when de owner’s rack failed.

Fat Elmo

it’s not really a Thule thing
It’s more a matter of physics. It depends on how long your boat is, what the distance is between spreader bars, how fast you’re going to be driving, etc. Freeway driving with a 17-foot boat in high wind is one thing. Driving to the local put-in on back country roads with a white water boat is something else.

I second with radiomix
I do not have a boat as long as yours (only 8’3"), but I even still use the tie downs to hook it up to the frame and hitch of my car. The side straps are only able hold it to the racks themselves. After observing how the straps on the J-racks work, I realized why the bow and stern are tie downs are warranted, and its all due to aerodynamics.

If you do not have a cockpit cover then air could push inside the kayak’s cockpit and cause it to slip backwards while you are driving. Assuming if there force of the wind is strong enough it could slip through the straps on the J-racks and on to the road, or worse yet into the vehicle behind you. Basically it is a fail safe for the God forbid should happen. Personally I use both bow and stern tie downs combined with a cockpit cover to provide better aerodynamics (not to mention to keep rain out). I learned how much rain water can get into a kayak not too long ago :-X

Overall congratulations on getting your new kayak and gear. I just started getting seriously into kayaking this year, and I just went paddling today :smiley:

I don`t know why
this is always so heavily discussed. It takes less than five minutes to attach both the bow and stern tie downs. Is your boat and more inportantly the people behind you worth about three minuter of your time?

To me this isnt even up for discussion
It is just part of being a responsible boater.

thank you
For the blanket statement. There are plenty of responsible people who don’t put bow and stern lines on their boats. My canoe on my truck rack can’t have a bow line because it ends too far back on the cab. An extra strap from a thwart to the bed is my back up. I’m really just trying to start the argument again. People have been wanting to I can feel it.

Ryan L.

I figure it keeps those behind me …
from tailgaiting !

Jack L

Overtightning bow and stern lines
Can crack a kayak. I tie them so there’s no slack in the rope, without trying to pull them any tighter